Good morning, Camden Chatters.
These are words we haven’t said about the Orioles in a long time, but...the international signings just keep pouring in.
After the O’s pounced for 24 signings — including a team-record $1.7 million bonus for outfielder Braylin Tavera — when the signing period opened Saturday, they’ve continued to stay busy on the international front. Yesterday, Baseball America’s Ben Badler reported on three more Orioles signings, all from the Dominican Republic: right-hander Ronal Herrera, outfielder Juan Martinez, and right-hander Miguel Mesa.
That brings the Orioles’ current signings total to 27, one of the highest totals of any team (by my count, only the Dodgers and Marlins have signed more so far, per BA’s signings tracker). And it’s not just about quantity, but also quality — two of the Orioles’ signings, Tavera and Leandro Arias, ranked among MLB Pipeline’s Top 50 international prospects.
What a refreshing change of pace this is from pre-Elias regimes, when the Orioles (by ownership decree) all but refused to get involved in the international amateur market. Twenty-seven signings would be unheard of, and the few players they did sign would be nobody with any true prospect potential. These are exciting times in Birdland.
On that note, today’s Camden Chat Sporcle quiz has an international theme. Can you match the Orioles players, past and present, with the countries or territories in which they were born?
The connection between the Orioles’ Camden Yards wall call and another international haul - Maximizing Playoff Odds
For those complaining about the Orioles’ modifications to their ballpark, Jon Meoli points out that whenever the Elias regime changes something, it’s usually for the better.
César Prieto gives Orioles potential 2022 infield help as part of international signing class - Baltimore Sun
Normally it takes at least half a decade before international amateur signings begin to show up on the major league radar, but the 22-year-old Prieto could be ready as soon as this season. He's been compared with contact-hitter extraordinaire Nick Madrigal. I’d gladly take that.
A closer look at a couple of minor league hitters - Steve Melewski
Melewski interviews Ryan Fuller about two less-heralded O’s hitting prospects, including Andrew Daschbach, whose power is described as “right up there with Adley (Rutschman) and (Kyle) Stowers.” Color me intrigued.
More on Orioles’ signings and releases - School of Roch
The downside of adding a bunch of new players to the system is that a few minor leaguers have to be released to make room, and Roch Kubatko rattles off that list here. I can’t say I’m familiar with any of the names, but best of luck to those guys in whatever’s next for them.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! I don’t know what it is about January 18, but a whopping seven former Orioles were born on this day, including two members of the O’s Hall of Fame:
- Outfielder Brady Anderson, the Orioles’ all-time leader in stolen bases, noted fitness guru, and owner of some epic sideburns, turns 58 today. And I’ll bet he still looks like he could suit up and play.
- Lefty Scott McGregor, who spent his entire 13-year career with the Orioles after being acquired as a minor leaguer from the Yankees, turns 68. McGregor went 138-108 with a lifetime 3.99 ERA, including a 20-win season in 1980.
Others born on this day are utility guy Brandon Fahey (41), righties Brian Falkenborg (44) and Kevin McGehee (53), infielder Mickey McGuire (81), and the late right-hander Mike Fornieles (b. 1932, d. 1998).
And that list of Orioles with Jan. 18 birthdays could increase to eight if Anthony Bemboom, whom the O’s signed to a minor league contract in December, gets into a game with the Birds. Bemboom turns 32 today.
On this day in 2009, the Orioles acquired former Cubs top prospect Felix Pie in a trade for lefty Garrett Olson. Pie, despite showing glimpses of his potential, never put it all together in Baltimore, ultimately batting .259 with a .694 OPS and 14 homers in parts of three seasons with the Birds. But he did hit for the cycle that one time, so that was cool.