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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The O’s instructional camp is underway

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Most of the Orioles’ top prospects gathering in one place? Yay! None of it being available to the media? Boo!

MLB: All Star Game-Futures Game
Number 3 prospect DL Hall headlines the stacked group of youngsters headed to fall camp in Sarasota.
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s been more than two weeks since the last of the Orioles’ minor league seasons wrapped up, and I don’t know about you, but I’ve been missing the daily updates about the Birds’ young players on the rise.

Fortunately, yesterday brought a jolt of exciting news for prospect hounds. The O’s announced their roster for their fall instructional league camp, which began yesterday in Sarasota and will continue through Saturday, Nov. 20. While the roster doesn’t include the Orioles’ top two prospects, Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez, almost every other young player worth knowing about will be there. DL Hall. Gunnar Henderson. Colton Cowser. Jordan Westburg. And so many more. A whopping 19 of the Orioles’ top 30 prospects will attend — essentially every top prospect except those who have already gotten MLB playing time or significant high-minors experience (and also excluding Kyle Stowers and Yusniel Diaz, who are currently playing in the Arizona Fall League).

Most notably, the roster includes 2020 first round pick Heston Kjerstad, who will finally be taking part in baseball activities after having his pro debut delayed by an extended bout of myocarditis. It’s great to see him back. Other prospects whose seasons were curt short by injury — including Hall, Joey Ortiz, Carter Baumler, and Anthony Servideo — will also be on hand, as will the majority of the 2021 draft class.

With this much young talent gathered on one field, it should be a treasure trove of prospect news...or at least it would be, except that the camp is closed to the media and the public. Lame! Come on, the O’s couldn’t just stick a camera somewhere on the field and give their fans a chance to watch these guys in action? And yes, I’m aware they aren’t going to be playing any actual games — the camp will mainly be focused on “specific individual development,” according to the press release — but still. I’d rather watch video of O’s prospects throwing side sessions than watch a Red Sox/Astros ALCS game.

Links

Orioles 2021 Minor League report - MLB.com
Speaking of prospects, Joe Trezza checks in on five who just had, or could be about to have, a breakout season. Four of those five will be at the instructional camp. Again, we can’t get just one camera there? Throw us a bone!

Orioles face difficult offseason decision on Mancini - BaltimoreBaseball.com
I understand it from a baseball perspective, but I’d be extremely bummed if the Orioles traded Trey Mancini this winter. If they do, hopefully they send him to a contender. But not one of the annoying ones.

Defense doesn’t deserve diminished attention in offseason - School of Roch
In the latest example of why fielding percentage is a pretty useless statistic, the O’s had the third-best mark in the AL, despite nearly all of their infielders grading out poorly in advanced defensive stats. Having watched the 2021 Orioles try to play defense, I’m going to side with the advanced stats on this one.

This O’s late-season addition put his best foot forward - Steve Melewski
Real talk: Is Chris Ellis the Orioles’ #2 starter right now? If he is, good for him, but that also says a lot about the state of the O’s rotation.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 27th birthday to Anthony Santander, the 2020 Most Valuable Oriole who unfortunately scuffled through an injury-hampered 2021 season. Santander is arbitration-eligible for the first time this winter and faces an uncertain future with the Birds, but he’s certainly provided some memorable moments over the years, including when hundreds of kids from the UK became his biggest fans. Enjoy your day, Anthony.

Coincidentally, Santander is one of three Orioles born on this day whom the club selected in the Rule 5 draft. One was 2019 pick Brandon Bailey (also 27), who never appeared in a regular season game with the Birds, and the other was 2003 pick Jose Bautista (41), who lasted just 16 games with the O’s before being jettisoned, then went on to hit 344 home runs in a 15-year MLB career, mostly with the Blue Jays. Other Orioles born on this day are 1988 right Oswaldo Peraza (59) and 1966-67 catcher Vic Roznovsky (83).

On this day in 1959, the Orioles pulled off a superb trade with the Dodgers, acquiring first baseman Jim Gentile for shortstop Willy Miranda. Gentile emerged as a productive slugger for the O’s, earning All-Star nods in each of his first three years in Baltimore and helping the Birds become a winning team for the first time in their young history. Gentile was Rookie of the Year runner-up in 1960 and finished third in the AL Most Valuable Player vote in 1961, when he tied with Roger Maris for the league lead in RBIs (141). He was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1989.