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Monday Bird Droppings: Heading into Rule 5 protection week with decisions to make

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At the end of this week, the Orioles will decide which Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to add to the roster and which to leave exposed.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Mike Elias and his front office team have some decisions to make about prospects this week.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now four months and 13 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. For those who find more comfort in the milestone of the beginning of spring training, pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Sarasota exactly three months from today.

As ever, these dates continue to assume there will be no disruptions to the 2022 MLB calendar resulting from an anticipated owner lockout if a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not negotiated before the current one expires on December 2.

At the end of the week that is now beginning, the Orioles will have to decide which Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects will be added to the 40-man roster. Remember, that group of players is, broadly speaking, 2017 high school draft picks (like DL Hall) and 2018 college draft picks (like Kevin Smith). That deadline is coming on Friday.

The roster, as you may have heard, has plenty of room at the moment. The draft is scheduled for after the expiration of the CBA, so it is possible it will not actually take place and thinking about this will be wasted energy. That’s how life goes sometimes.

Over the weekend, the Arizona Fall League played its Fall Stars Game. The most interesting Orioles prospects sent out there, Kyle Stowers and Yusniel Diaz, were injured and left the team early. The O’s representative in the Fall Stars Game was reliever Nick Vespi, a possible 40-man addition candidate. Vespi pitched a scoreless inning where he allowed only one walk. In the league overall, he’s struck out 17 batters in 13.1 innings.

If you are thinking you aren’t too concerned with Nick Vespi, yeah. That’s the time of the offseason it is. Especially when it’s highly unlikely the Orioles will sign any significant free agent. There are some rumblings that some of the big free agents might want to get their deals locked in before the CBA expiration, so that could create an earlier offseason deadline than is typical. That’s only about two and a half weeks away. Big names could end up coming off the board after all.

The Rookie of the Year award winners will be announced tonight at 6pm Eastern on MLB Network. When the top three finishers were named last week, Ryan Mountcastle’s name was not among them. I’m a little curious if he gets any votes enough for a fourth or fifth place finish and if so, how far out of the top three he was.

Around the blogO’sphere

Watkins on re-signing with the Orioles and new training plan (School of Roch)
Perhaps you missed the news that Spenser Watkins, after being outrighted from the 40-man roster, re-signed a minor league contract with a spring training invite. He’ll be headed for Driveline Baseball this offseason, which has made an impact for a number of other players. Maybe it can take him to a new level.

Orioles prospects using instructional camp to build bonds, habits, and get ‘1% better every day’ (The Baltimore Sun)
I don’t know about you, but any story, no matter how small, about the growth of Orioles prospects is an insta-read for me. Here, The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz talked to infielders Jordan Westburg, Gunnar Henderson, and Coby Mayo. If all goes well, they could occupy the same infield at Camden Yards some day.

Rutschman wins Minor League Gold Glove (MLB.com)
Could I have told you previously that they give out minor league Gold Gloves? No. Am I nonetheless pleased Adley Rutschman won one? Sure.

In 2021, this lefty elevated his game on O’s farm (Steve Melewski)
Now that Alexander Wells has made it to MLB, I think my favorite lower-tier prospect in the Orioles system is Drew Rom. Hard not to be fond of the soft-tossing lefty types as a lefty myself. Can Rom make it work? We might get a better idea based on how he pitches for Norfolk next year.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1983, Cal Ripken Jr. was named the winner of the American League MVP award. In winning the MVP, Cal became the first player in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year one year and then win MVP the next.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012/2016-19 pitcher Dylan Bundy, 2002 pitcher John Stephens, and 2004 seven-game reliever Darwin Cubillan.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: British prime minister William Pitt the Elder (1708), actor Ed Asner (1929), singer-songwriter Petula Clark (1932), actor Yaphet Kotto (1939), wrestler “Macho Man” Randy Savage (1952), and Wu-Tang rapper Ol’ Dirty Bastard (1968).

On this day in history...

In 1777, the Continental Congress approved the first document governing the new American nation, the Articles of Confederation.

In 1942, the Naval Battle of Guadalcanal came to an end with a victory for the Americans, as after several days of fighting, Japanese Navy ships attempting to escort troop transports to the island were chased away. The transports still pushed ahead for a landing and were attacked at dawn by aircraft from nearby Henderson Field. The failure of the operation persuaded the Japanese to eventually abandon efforts to retake the island.

In both 1979 and 1985, devices from the Unabomber were in the news. In 1979, a package began smoking in a flight from Chicago to DC, resulting in an emergency landing. In 1985, a bomb addressed to a University of Michigan professor exploded when opened by a research assistant. The assistant was injured but survived.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 15. Have a safe Monday.