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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles outfield has both upside and question marks

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Opening Day roster projections have begun, players are trying to stay healthy, and spring training storylines to watch.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Good morning Birdland,

If the Orioles entire outfield can click at one time, they can be dangerous. Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays are two players that have found themselves on numerous Top 100 prospect lists over the years. D.J. Stewart was a first-round draft pick. Anthony Santander came out of nowhere to challenge for a Gold Glove. And Cedric Mullins has some impressive defensive capabilities of his own while also being the best bunter in the league.

There is a lot to like in this group, but none of them have a track record of success at the big league level. There are concerns about health, sophomore slumps, and just general regression.

But if ever there was a time to get the most of out a young group like this, the 2021 Orioles might be the ones to do it. There is pressure coming from within the organization in the form of Yusniel Diaz, Ryan McKenna and Heston Kjerstad among others. And while the O’s are expected to compete just yet, those days are coming.

Links & Notes

Santander comes to camp healthy and without hurt feelings | School of Roch
Can Anthony Santander replicate his performance from a season ago. Many teams beyond the Orioles will be interested to know that answer. If he can, there is a chance he becomes a hot trade candidate by the middle of the summer.

For Austin Hays, health is “most important thing in my career” | Steve Melewski
How Brandon Hyde balances his center fielders will be interesting. Cedric Mullins was impressive last year after returning from the alternate site, but Austin Hays has the upside of the duo. It’s possible that neither one is the center fielder of the future for this team, but they both have pretty much perfect fourth outfielder profiles.

Projecting the Orioles’ Opening Day roster | The Baltimore Sun
By this point a few local outlets have put out projections for the Opening Day roster, and Matt Harvey making the squad as a member of the rotation is a recurring theme. It’s a bit surprising for a guy that hasn’t had a sub-5 ERA since 2018. However, it does sound like he has focused on some elements of his game that could allow his stuff to play up, and it’s not like the Orioles have a ton of better options anyway.

5 storylines to watch at Orioles camp | Orioles.com
For me, it’s all about Trey Mancini’s return with the rotation being a secondary concern. It’s just impossible to not like Mancini, whereas we all pretty much know that the starters are gonna be a disaster even if one or two shine.

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Current O’s catcher Chance Sisco turns 26 today. The former top prospect has split duties behind the plate with Pedro Severino the last few seasons and owns a career .205/.330/.361 batting line.

Chris Parmelee turns 33 today. The first baseman played in 32 games with the 2015 Orioles, including an electrifying debut in which he went 2-for-6 with two home runs.

Happy 39th to Gustavo Molina. The former catcher spent seven games with the 2007 Orioles, going 2-for-9 at the plate.

And of course, it is the 65th birthday of Orioles legend and baseball Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. The former third-round pick spent 13 seasons with the Orioles (1977-88, 96), hitting 343 of his 504 career home runs in the black and orange. He was named Rookie of the Year in 1977 and went on to win three Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards while in Baltimore. Murray was given his spot in Cooperstown in 2003.

Orioles history

2003 - MLB Commissioner Bud Selig bans the use of ephedra by minor league players following the death of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler the week prior. Players on the 40-man roster, like Bechler was, are not prohibited from using the drug.