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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Heston Kjerstad takes batting practice

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One of the O’s top prospects is back on the field, Tyler Wells has been good, and DJ Stewart is hurt.

NCAA BASEBALL: JUN 10 Div 1 Championship Super Regionals - Ole Miss at Arkansas Photo by Andy Altenburger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning Birdland,

This won’t be an original take, in fact I think I even said this in a Bird Droppings recently, but I’m not getting too hung up on final scores in the season’s final month. I do not enjoy watching the Orioles lose, but I am also aware that the losses don’t matter as much as some of the encouraging individual performances do. And there have been plenty of individual performances worth attention.

The bullpen was asked to throw all 9.2 innings of Tueday night’s loss to the Phillies, and they did a pretty good job. Really, the only player that had a bad outing was a Cesar Valdez, who had just been recalled from Triple-A. That happens. But it doesn’t erase the good done by Conner Green, Marcos Diplán, and Tyler Wells. The point is that the guys who may have a future on this team looked good, and one of the players that will likely be removed from the 40-man roster (again) this offseason struggled. You take that.

And of course, there is Cedric Mullins. He had two hits, including a double. The other hit should have been a home run, his 30th of the season. But apparently the decision-makers in New York disagreed, leaving him on 29 long balls for the season. But really, it just continues to be impressive what he can do at the plate. He is a game-breaking talent that every single team in the league would like to have in their lineup. It’s been a couple years since the Orioles had that type of player.

The O’s have pushed the playoff-hopeful Phillies this series. It would be fun if they could snag a win tonight and take two out of three.

Links & Notes

Notes: Kjerstad takes BP; arms sharp in Philly | Orioles.com
This feels like pretty huge news even if it might not really be. The Orioles told us a month ago that Heston Kjerstad was taking on physical activities down in Sarasota. Perhaps batting practice was part of that. Regardless, it is nice to see Kjerstad swinging a bat again. The O’s rebuild would get a huge boost if a talent like his was able to restart his climb to the big leagues.

Orioles closer Tyler Wells feeling tired — but thankful — as he nears end of rookie season | The Baltimore Sun
It’s unclear what role Tyler Wells will carve out in the Orioles’ pitching staff. Some think he could start. Others may view him as a backend bullpen piece. Whatever the case may be, he has had a nice season, especially considering that he took such a huge leap from the minors to the bigs while missing all of 2020 due to the cancellation of the minor league season.

Stewart’s placement on injured list latest change to outfield | School of Roch
Roch makes a decent point that the Orioles outfield, which looked like an organizational strength just a year or two ago, is a little less shiny now. Mullins has been terrific, and Austin Hays has rediscovered his groove. But nothing is guaranteed there. A hot start for a few members of the outfield in 2022 could help ease some anxiety.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Luis Ortiz turns 26. The right-handed pitcher appeared in three games for the Orioles between 2018 and ‘19 after being acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade at the 2018 trade deadline.
  • Chris Ellis is 29. The current Orioles hurler has been impressive through five starts this season, and should be in position to compete for a rotation spot in 2022.
  • Luis García is 46 years old. All six of his big league games came with the 2002 Orioles.
  • César Devarez turns 52. The catcher played in 16 MLB games, all with the O’s from 1995 through ‘96.
  • Happy 59th birthday to P.J. Forbes. He played in nine games as a middle infielder for the 1998 O’s.
  • John Stefero is 62 today. The catcher played in two seasons with the Orioles, 1983 and 1986. Altogether he was worth 0.4 bWAR across 61 games.
  • Bob Harrison celebrates his 91st. He played in two big league games, one each in the 1955 and ‘56 seasons.

Orioles history

1966 - The Orioles win the AL pennant for the first time in 22 years, and it’s the franchise’s first pennant since relocating from St. Louis.