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Friday Bird Droppings: Where we’re still dreaming on Orioles prospects

After an encouraging start to the minor league season, O’s fans may already be getting hyped for the MLB debuts of the club’s top prospects.

San Diego Padres v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

With the Orioles off last night, my baseball attention turned to the West Coast — specifically Seattle, where it was one of most exhilarating days in recent memory for Mariners fans. The club called up not one but two highly-touted prospects to make their MLB debuts simultaneously: mega-talented outfielder Jarred Kelenic, the fourth-best prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline, and right-hander Logan Gilbert, ranked No. 28. For a club that entered the night with an uninspiring 18-19 record — not to mention a 20-year postseason drought, the longest in professional sports — the infusion of two exciting young wunderkinds onto their roster provided a jolt of electricity for Seattle sports fandom.

Someday, perhaps, the Orioles will be in a similar boat.

The O’s have had a few much-ballyhooed debuts in their recent history — Manny Machado in 2012, for one, and who could forget Matt Wieters’ 2009 debut that brought a sellout crowd to Camden Yards — but never two on the same day. Frankly the O’s have rarely had even two MLB-ready prospects at the same time who were worth getting amped up about.

But that could change soon, at least if their rapidly improving minor league system is any indication. The O’s have four players in Pipeline’s top 100 — Adley Rutschman, DL Hall, Grayson Rodriguez, and Heston Kjerstad — and it just so happens the former two are currently battery mates at Double-A Bowie. Rodriguez is just one level below them at High-A Aberdeen.

As of now, none figure to arrive in the majors at exactly the same time. Rutschman, a number one overall pick who was drafted out of college in 2019, will probably advance the quickest, with prep picks Hall (drafted in 2017) and Rodriguez (drafted in 2018) to lag a bit further behind as they move up the ladder. Orioles fans will be happy to see each of them whenever they arrive, even if it’s at a piecemeal pace.

Still, imagine it’s 2022 and the Orioles announce that Adley Rutschman and DL Hall will both be making their major league debuts on the same day? Oh, would that be a glorious day in Orioles history. I’m already buying my ticket.


Anthony Santander rehab assignment -
Good news for the struggling Orioles lineup: Anthony Santander could be back soon. Of course, Santander was also struggling before he got hurt, but you know.

Anatomy of a pitching coach: How Darren Holmes’ ‘unique’ background helped the Orioles’ bullpen become baseball’s most improved - Baltimore Sun
Random Darren Holmes factoid: he has the worst ERA in Orioles history (25.07) of any pitcher who made at least five appearances. He had a pretty good pitching career otherwise, though, and now a pretty good coaching career, too.

If you have an ace, should you consider trading such a player? - Steve Melewski
This is not a question the Orioles have had to face very often in recent years. It's also not a question I want to think about with John Means just yet.

Home hasn't been sweet for Orioles; Missing a no-hitter; Thomas Boswell's retirement -
Rich Dubroff writes that he has never covered or attended a no-hitter involving the Orioles. Aha! I’ve got one up on him — I was at the Wilson Alvarez no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. I was eight years old and had no idea what was going on, but still, it counts.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 67th birthday of “El Presidente,” Dennis Martinez, who began his 23-year MLB career with the Orioles from 1976-1986. He won 108 games in an O’s uniform, was traded at age 32, then notched another 137 wins afterward, becoming the winningest Latino pitcher in baseball history until Bartolo Colon passed him in 2018. Also born on this day was catcher Les Moss (b. 1925, d. 2012), a member of the inaugural 1954 Orioles.

The last Orioles victory on this date was in 2016, when they won their seventh consecutive game with a 9-3 thumping of the Tigers. It was a one-run game until the eighth, when the Birds broke it open on Jonathan Schoop’s grand slam, his second homer of the game. Coincidentally, Schoop now plays for Detroit. (Or maybe it’s not a coincidence and the Tigers signed him because they remembered that game.)

On this day in 1983, the Orioles played a ridiculous game in Texas in which the two teams combined for 25 runs and 41 hits, with the O’s ultimately winning 14-11 in 11 innings after trailing 5-0 and then leading 10-5. Eleven different Orioles batters collected a hit, including John Shelby, who didn’t even start the game but still ended up going 3-for-4. A two-run double by Lenn Sakata and two-run single by Rick Dempsey provided the extra-inning lead.

And in 2006, the O’s rallied back from a three-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Royals, 8-7. Royals closer Ambiorix Burgos walked the bases loaded to start the inning, and the O’s did the rest on three straight RBI singles by Javy Lopez, Nick Markakis, and Kevin Millar.