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Weekend Bird Droppings: Hitters minicamp ongoing in Sarasota

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All eyes on are on the prospects as spring training draws ever closer.

MILB: JUL 03 Gulf Coast League - GCL Rays at GCL Orioles Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Baseball is being played at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota this weekend. The Orioles spring training home is hosting a minicamp with some the organization’s top prospects outside of the 40-man roster. The camp is being run by Brandon Hyde, a few members of his staff, and Norfolk skipper Buck Britton.

It’s exciting to have any baseball news to read about, especially when it involves big name prospects. I think that what’s most interesting to me is how Heston Kjerstad looks. Things have been looking up for the team’s top pick in 2020 as he bounced back from a lengthy bout with myocarditis, but it remains a long road. He is yet to make his professional debut and has certainly fallen behind many of his draft classmates. But much of that can be wiped away in 2022 if he looks like the guy that the O’s selected second overall out of Arkansas.

The inclusion of César Prieto is also noteworthy. The 22-year-old is brand new to the organization, and while he enters with an intriguing skillset and impressive stat line it would seem he is a notch below many of the players headed to Florida this week. Of course, that estimation could change once the team sees him up against some of the best talent in their organization. It should also give them a better idea of which level to begin his 2022 campaign.

Due to ongoing precautions, I think you may be hard-pressed to get much new footage from the regular beats for this minicamp. For Twitter users, I would recommend giving @Eric_Birdland a follow. Eric’s work can be found all over the internet, and he is a regular at Ed Smith throughout the year. He has already posted a few clips of batting practice this weekend and more are sure to come.

Links

Orioles’ latest minicamp features top 6 position player prospects, several major league coaches | The Baltimore Sun
I suppose this is the sort of thing we have to look forward to if spring training starts before a new CBA is agreed to. I am all about watching and learning about the team’s prospects, but a lack of big league influence for those prospects feels awfully empty.

The Orioles got an infielder into the top-100. What will the next sign of progress for the farm be? | Maximizing Playoff Odds (Jon Meoli)
There is a good point in here about the top-tier pitching prospects that the Orioles will cultivate beyond Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall. It’s a worthy inquiry, especially since neither Rodriguez nor Hall were drafted by the current regime. It’s either a position where this group prefers to bring in talent later on in their development, or their drafts just have not lined up with hurlers that they saw value in compared to the available hitters. Considering some of the reports that they coveted Jack Leiter last year, it seems to be the latter.

Another sampling of Orioles spring training storylines | School of Roch
A major league storyline that interests me heading into spring training is the look on the infield. To me, it seems like Rougned Odor is the second baseman, and Ramón Urías certainly deserves the shortstop job, but third base is a mystery, and it’s not clear that any one of the positions is particularly settled. It’s tough to leave Jorge Mateo on the bench considering what he did in his cameo, and he seems a better fit on the middle of the infield rather than a corner. It’s all up in the air.

A look at the only 20-20 player on the O’s farm in 2021 | Steve Melewski
I enjoy reports like this on less-heralded prospects. Zach Watson has one loud tool, his speed. But he paired that with 21 home runs last year between Aberdeen and Bowie. That makes him an intriguing major league prospect with the look of a useful fourth outfielder.

Adley, O’s top prospects ready at minicamp | MLB.com
The prospect pool is boiling for the Orioles. Depending on which publication you prefer, the Orioles have about seven of the top 125 youngsters in the game. That is more than enough to form a rock solid core that, with proper free agent investment, can go on quite a run. I know we have to play the 2022 season first, but I am already jazzed about 2023.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Cord Phelps is 35 this weekend. The infielder played in three games for the 2014 Birds.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez turns 38. The righty spent four lackluster seasons in Baltimore from 2014 through 2017, accumulating a 5.22 ERA over 594.1 total innings.
  • Aaron Rakers is 45. He pitched out of the bullpen 13 times for the O’s between 2004 and ‘05.
  • Charlie Greene turns 51. The backup catcher made his way in 18 games for the Orioles in 1997 and ‘98.
  • Outfielder Sherman Obando is 52. He played in two different seasons for the O’s: 1993 and ‘95.
  • Marty Brown is 59 years old. His O’s career lasted just nine games in 1990.
  • Chico Carrasquel turns 80. The infielder wrapped up his solid career with a 1959 seasons spent in Baltimore.
  • Dave Leonhard celebrates his 81st. The hurler spent his entire six-season career with the Orioles from 1967 through ‘72.
  • Maryland native Bobby Young (d. 1985) was born in Granite on this day in 1925. The infielder was one of the players that came with the franchise from St. Louis and went on to play two seasons with the Orioles in 1954 and ‘55.

This weekend in O’s history

2006 - The Orioles make a trade, adding starting pitcher Kris Benson from the Mets in exchange for Jorge Julio and John Maine.

2010 - Miguel Tejada signs a one-year, $6 million deal with the Orioles, his former squad. The shortstop will move to third base in his new role.

2012 - Wilson Betemit inks a one-year pact with the O’s.