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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Orioles announce new training facility in Dominican Republic

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The O’s continue to build a pipeline, Hyde goes with closer-by-committee, and Long is a deep thinker.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Birdland,

Opening Day is right around the corner, and that is very exciting. But it’s what the Orioles are doing off the field this week that keeps replaying in my head.

On Monday, Hannah Keyser at Yahoo! Sports published a piece with quotes from every AL East GM. In it, Orioles boss Mike Elias had some really interesting things to say about why he ultimately decided to conduct a full rebuild rather than piecing things back together.

Although Elias has said similar things in the past, it is always refreshing to hear him reiterate that this type of full-scale organizational rebuild is not something that is meant to happen once a decade. Instead, the plan is to do this once while building out a “pipeline” that continually refills the club’s minor league system with talent.

Then on Tuesday, with almost perfect timing, the club announced that they are developing a 22.5-acre training academy in the Dominican Republic to cultivate a new wave of talent in the region. This is a massive step for an organization that just a couple of years ago was dramatically lagging behind the rest of the league in this area.

It’s really hard to fault Elias or the Orioles regarding any of the steps they have taken to develop young talent the last 2+ years. The club has made investments and the progress made has been reflected in steadily improved minor league system rankings.

Of course, the biggest step remains. The O’s need to turn all of these intriguing young players into proven major leaguers.

Links & Notes

The Orioles’ improving offense could still be hampered by a lack of on-base threats | The Baltimore Sun
This has been an issue for the Orioles going back to the Buck Showalter/Dan Duquette era. It is what has created a void at the top of the club’s lineup ever since Brian Roberts begin to experience recurring injuries and cease to become a real leadoff hitter more than a decade ago.

This Oriole is absolutely beloved in the UK | Orioles.com
It would be pretty cool if Anthony Santander could turn into a legitimate star this year. Would make it seem like that group of young British scouts in 2019 were a little clairvoyant.

O’s opt for closer by committee in 2021 | Orioles.com
I have always been a fan of closer-by-committee approaches regardless of who is in the bullpen. But it makes even more sense for a team like the Orioles, who don’t have an experienced “closer” on the team, not to mention the Cole Sulser experiment went sideways last summer.

Orioles Hitting Coach Don Long Answers a Question | FanGraphs
I suppose I never realized how philosophical and theoretical coaching big league hitters can be. But I suppose it makes a lot of sense. These guys are the best in the world. They made it to the majors somehow. It’s unlikely they need a complete mechanical overhaul as much as they need a shift in perspective.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! Just two former Orioles from long ago share this momentous day with you:

  • Dick Kyhoski (b. 1925, d. 2007) was a first baseman that spent seven seasons in the majors. He was an original Oriole, coming over from St. Louis in 1954, and played in 100 games for the club in Baltimore during that inaugural campaign.
  • Saul Rogovin (b. 1922, d. 1995) pitched for four different clubs during his eight-season MLB career. He appeared in 14 games for the 1955 Orioles before being released in July of that year.

Orioles history

2010 - Orioles infielder Miguel Tejada sees his probation sentence for misleading Congress and withholding information about steroid use in baseball during a 2005 hearing extended by six months because he did not complete the required 100 hours of community service in time.