There are now four months and ten days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day 2022. We are within three months of when pitchers and catchers will report to Sarasota to begin spring training. As has been the case since I started noting this countdown, this is assuming there is no disruption to the 2022 schedule from the anticipated owner lockout if the MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on December 2 without a new agreement having been reached.
Today’s excitement, such as it is, will revolve around the announcement of the winners of the MVP awards for the 2021 season. For the AL, Shohei Ohtani would seem to be the runaway winner. The National League remains beneath my notice and I do not care who should or will win for that league.
There is not a whole lot to get worked up about for that in Birdland, obviously. Cedric Mullins might sneak in around the 8th place to 10th place range on some ballots and that’s about it. This will probably not occur with enough frequency to have him even finish in the top ten. His season is a remarkable accomplishment regardless of how many voters put him in what spot of an MVP ballot.
Here is a question for you: Do you think that the next Oriole to win an MVP award is currently in the organization? If so, who do you think it will be? There’s no shame in thinking the most obvious answer of Adley Rutschman.
Last night, Cy Young winners were announced. To no one’s surprise, no Orioles pitcher received any votes. The last Orioles winner of a major player award (MVP, Cy, Rookie of the Year) was Cal Ripken Jr. winning his second MVP in 1991. The winner for the AL Cy, Toronto’s Robbie Ray, is a guy who whined that the Orioles were stealing his signs when they were beating him up in a September game. He may have won the award by virtue of having the best overall results of any AL pitcher this year, but nonetheless, what a loser.
One other troll aspect of Ray’s Cy win comes from the fact that he was on the 2014 Detroit Tigers. There are five players who were on that pitching staff who have now won Cy Young awards. David Price, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander had already won Cys prior to 2014. Rick Porcello and now Ray have gone on to win Cys as well. And still that team won zero games against our Baltimore Orioles in the ALDS that year. All the past and future Cy winners in the world don’t help much if your bullpen sucks.
A bit more exciting before week’s end will be tomorrow’s deadline for teams to add Rule 5 draft-eligible prospects to the 40-man roster. The Orioles continue to have 32 players on their 40-man roster. They have room to add as many prospects as they wish.
Mike Elias has not been shy about adding prospects the last couple of years. After adding just one player to the 40-man shortly after being hired in 2018, Elias added four prospects in 2019 and six in 2020. This year seems to be shaping up in the 4-6 range as well. We’ll know for sure by the close of business tomorrow.
Around the blogO’sphere
How will Fuller and Borgschulte mesh on Orioles coaching staff? (School of Roch)
Among other tidbits about the Orioles new co-hitting coaches, Roch shares the expectation that one coach will be in the dugout during games while the other is in the batting cage.
3 tasks facing Orioles new pair of hitting coaches in 2022 (The Baltimore Sun)
“Improve plate discipline” was the first thing I thought of, and sure enough, it’s also the first thing The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz thought of.
Will a 100mph fastball get this pitcher on the 40-man roster? (Steve Melewski)
Melewski stumps for reliever Félix Bautista, who started the year in Aberdeen, ended it in Norfolk, and posted a 1.54 combined ERA and 14.9 combined K/9 along the way! Impressive, though the note of caution and the reason I think he might stay off the 40-man roster is his 5.8 BB/9. With eight open spots on the roster, though, the O’s can add as many guys as they want. If they want to go as far as six, Bautista might be the sixth of six.
One other bit of Orioles news yesterday: DL Hall threw a baseball.
Words can’t describe how good it felt to pick up a ball again getting better everyday and can’t wait til it’s time to toe the rubber again pic.twitter.com/oR5Cc2XvFD— D.L. Hall (@dl_hall33) November 17, 2021
Hall is clearly pleased by this development, so I will try to be pleased as well. I have to admit, though, that I was unaware he had not been throwing up to this point. The fall instructional camp has been going on for a month. Hall’s last game pitched in the 2021 season was June 12, so the stress fracture in his elbow that shut him down really had him out of commission for a while there.
Here’s hoping there are no setbacks from here on and he can be at full strength when spring training rolls around. Hall is one of the Rule 5 eligible prospects who is pretty much guaranteed to be added tomorrow.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1954, the Orioles and Yankees completed a 17-player trade. Among the players sent to the Yankees was future perfect game in the World Series pitcher Don Larsen. The Orioles, along with others, received soon-to-be knuckleball-tormented catcher Gus Triandos.
In 1964, Brooks Robinson was named the Most Valuable Player of the American League. He won the crown for a season in which he batted .317/.368/.521, and, probably more impressive to the voters of 1964, drove in 118 runs. This was the franchise’s first MVP win. Brooks finished in the top three in each of the next two seasons as well.
There are two former Orioles who were born in this day. They are: 2002 three-game pitcher Steve Bechler, and 1993-95 pitcher Jamie Moyer. Bechler passed away during spring training in 2003 at the age of 23 years old.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: photography developer Louis Daguerre (1787), poll master George Gallup (1901), first American in space Alan Shepherd (1923), novelist Margaret Atwood (1939), University of Maryland basketball standout Len Bias (1963), actor Owen Wilson (1968), Maryland-born fashion designer Christian Siriano (1985), and seven-time Olympic gold medal sprinter Allyson Felix (1985).
On this day in history...
In 1883, five standard time zones were instituted for the North American continent. The original agreement was made between American and Canadian railroad companies, which needed a standard time rather than the chaotic local times that existed before.
In 1928, the Walt Disney-directed cartoon Steamboat Willie premiered. This was the first synchronized sound cartoon. Though it was the third cartoon featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Disney today considers this date to be Mickey’s birthday.
In 1978, the Jonestown cult carried out the murder-suicide that led to 918 deaths. A visiting Congressman was killed by cult members earlier in the day.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on November 18. Have a safe Thursday.