Two months and 11 days from now is the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. Each of us probably has a different (or nonexistent) level of optimism as to whether that is able to occur in the face of the ongoing ownership lockout of MLB players. Pitchers and catchers reporting to Sarasota on time in less than a month feels, to me, increasingly unlikely with each passing day of no movement.
Orioles fans continue to aim our hopes past the 2022 season. The future hopes got a little boost yesterday with the release of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list, featuring five Orioles minor leaguers, including Adley Rutschman at the very top of the list. Also ranked for the O’s were Grayson Rodriguez (6), DL Hall (52), Gunnar Henderson (57), and Colton Cowser (98).
MASN’s Steve Melewski noted that this is just the third time since the publication began putting out rankings in 1990 that the Orioles have had five top 100 prospects. They also had five prospects at this time last year. Ryan Mountcastle graduated to MLB, Heston Kjerstad dropped off due to his health-related lack of play, and Henderson and Cowser were new entrants.
It’s encouraging that the O’s could get two new players on the list to replace the ones who are no longer on the list. When Mike Elias talks about building an elite talent pipeline, that’s one important part of it. It is critical to be able to keep acquiring and developing new prospects even once the team starts having more success at the MLB level again. That will get tougher once the team stops drafting in the top 5, but hopefully their international efforts will start paying off by the time that happens.
Melewski also noted this is the first time the team has had two prospects in the top ten at a season-opening list. They did come very close ten years ago though, with Dylan Bundy at 10 and Manny Machado at 11 prior to the 2012 season.
I hope that Rodriguez can end up having much more of an impact on a successful era of Orioles baseball than Bundy ultimately did. At least Bundy might still have an indirect impact, since he was traded for four pitching prospects who could play a role in a better Orioles future. Kyle Bradish, added to the 40-man roster back in November, figures to be the next one in line from that trade to get a shot at the MLB level. You know, whenever the lockout ends. It all comes back to that.
Around the blogO’sphere
O’s 2022 rotation candidate: right-hander Jordan Lyles (Steve Melewski)
I’m going to be a happier Orioles fan when we aren’t in three-year periods where Lyles is the biggest free agent signing and also when we aren’t heading into seasons where Lyles-tier pitchers are slotted into the #2 spot in the rotation.
Who will provide relief for the Orioles in 2022? (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff handicaps the returning relievers from the end of the 2021 season, expecting all six of this group to be headed for the Opening Day bullpen.
Brutal closing stretch spoiled Paul Fry’s once-strong 2021 (The Baltimore Sun)
The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz also had Orioles relievers on his mind yesterday. His running January series on the Oriole of the Day takes a look at Paul Fry. The main thing I come back to about Fry is how much Jim Palmer was “I’m not saying, I’m just saying” about “sticky stuff” whenever Fry pitched and stunk after the mid-season ban.
Because You Asked - A New Era (School of Roch)
This is the third “Because You Asked” for Roch since the calendar has turned to 2022. The lockout is rough for writing about baseball. Among his prospect-related thoughts, he guesses Heston Kjerstad will start the minor league season at Delmarva, with newly-signed infielder César Prieto potentially beginning as high as Bowie.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There are a number of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012 catcher Luis Exposito, 2014-15 outfielder David Lough, 2008-10 reliever Matt Albers, 1998 infielder Ozzie Guillen, 1988 four-game pitcher Bill Scherrer, Baltimore-born 1971 pitcher Dave Boswell, and 1960-61 outfielder Gene Stephens.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Declaration of Independence signer Richard Henry Lee (1732), Star Trek actor DeForest Kelley (1920), astronaut pioneer Buzz Aldrin (1930), and filmmaker David Lynch (1946).
On this day in history...
In 1929, a film called In Old Arizona was released. It holds the distinction of being the first full-length motion picture with talking to be filmed outdoors.
In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner were sworn in for their second term of office. This was the first elected presidential term to begin on January 20, following the 1933 adoption of the 20th amendment.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, officially becoming the youngest person to begin a full term as president. He was 43 years and 236 days old when sworn in. The qualifier “full term” is necessary because then-Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was elevated to the presidency after the assassination of President McKinley when Roosevelt was 42 years and 322 days old.
In 2009, President Barack Obama was inaugurated, making him the first African-American President of the United States. Obama was also one of nine presidents, along with the previously-mentioned T. Roosevelt and Kennedy, to assume office at an age younger than 50.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 20. Have a safe Thursday.