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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles offense looks ready for the season

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In O’s news: More shakeups at MASN, Rutschman waits, Mountcastle emerges, and a new podcast episode!

Baltimore Orioles v Minnesota Twins Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

We are nearing the final full week without baseball. Get hype!

The Orioles bats have started to heat up as the season draws near. They erupted for 11 runs in a win over the Pirates on Friday night. The offensive barrage included three home runs, one apiece from Trey Mancini, Ryan Mountcastle, and Cedric Mullins. Pedro Severino, Anthony Santander, and Austin Hays each added a double. The win raised the club’s record to 6-11 in the Grapefruit League, which is still bad, but it’s better than Houston at 3-10 at the bottom of the standings. So, that’s something.

What’s important is that a lot of the players that matter (sorry, other guys) are having nice springs. Hays has a .862 OPS, Mullins an .886, and Santander an .892. Mancini has a .321 batting average while we wait for his power to re-emerge. And Mountcastle has been a tad unlucky with a .208 BABIP, but he has six extra base hits to make up for it.

There is a lot of talent in this Orioles lineup. The return of Mancini makes it longer and more dangerous to opposing pitchers. Given the expected struggles of the pitching staff, here’s hoping Birds bats live up to their potential.

Links

The Road to The Show™: Ryan Mountcastle | MiLB.com
I couldn’t tell you every intriguing rookie that is going to take the field in 2021, but Ryan Mountcastle sure feels like a guy that should be among the favorites to take home the Rookie of the Year award this season. He’s guaranteed to start and be given plenty of chance to drive in runs. Plus, he’s pretty good too, which helps.

30 huge spring decisions, one for each team | MLB.com
Did anyone else know that Rio Ruiz has played more games for the Orioles than anyone else since Brandon Hyde became manager? That feels impossible given that he’s not especially good, but it makes sense considering just about every other position on the field has been in the flux the last few years.

Top executive is latest to depart MASN amid network’s preseason upheaval | The Washington Post
There is a lot going on at MASN, and none of it feels particularly good to outside observers. It could all be the result of the dispute between the Orioles and Nationals nearing a conclusion, and the network preparing for whatever comes next.

As the Orioles slow-play Adley Rutschman, his 2019 draft peers are already fighting for big league jobs | The Baltimore Sun
I’m not sure I buy the premise here. Andrew Vaughn and Bobby Witt aren’t so much fighting for a big league job as they are just showing how talented they are before their clubs inevitably option them to the minors for the minimum number of weeks before they can’t accrue a full year of service time in 2021. Rutschman will probably face a similar scenario this time next year.

Injuries & Lineup Predictions (Ep. 60) | The Warehouse Podcast
You know that you have to clean around the house today. Pop this pod in your ears to make the time go a little faster

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

It’s the 50th birthday of infielder Manny Alexander. The journeyman spent 11 seasons in the big leagues with six different teams. His stint in Baltimore ran from 1992 through 1996, during which time he had a 39 OPS+ across 152 total games.

Arguably the best catcher in team history, Chris Hoiles, celebrates his 56th birthday today. The backstop played all 10 years of his MLB career with the O’s, turning in a career .262/.366/.467 batting line. He was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2006.

Mike Young turns 61. The outfielder began his time in the majors with six seasons as an Oriole from 1982 through 1987. He finished fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1984 and had a 112 OPS+ as a member of the O’s.

Finally, left-handed pitcher Paul Mirabella is 67 today. He appeared in just three games for the 1983 Orioles, which would make up his entire stay in the Charm City.

This day in history

1995 - Due to their refusal to field replacement players, the Baltimore Orioles cancel the remainder of their spring training games. The regular season would not start until late-April following negotiations between team owners and the MLB Player’s Association.