In a better world, Orioles pitchers and catchers would be reporting to Sarasota five days from now. In this world, the ownership lockout of MLB players continues, with the league not having made any kind of CBA proposal to the players in more than a week. Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to address baseball media today, one result of which could be an official acknowledgement that spring training won’t start on time. The league and players will have their next meeting on Saturday.
The world we have is not that better world, so as the lockout rolls on we must make the best of it. There was, at least, some fresh Orioles prospect-related stuff to talk about yesterday, as Fangraphs rolled out its 2022 Orioles prospect list, with Eric Longenhagen and Kevin Goldstein ranking 45 players in the system and listing another two dozen or so worth keeping at least a little bit of an eye on.
A number of Orioles prospects have really improved their stock on this ranking compared to last year. Top-end talent Adley Rutschman, Grayson Rodriguez, and DL Hall all saw a boost to their FV (Future Value, Fangraphs’ simplified measure of putting prospects in ranked tiers). Gunnar Henderson made a little jump. Colton Cowser debuted in a good position. Coby Mayo made a big jump in this ranking.
I hope they’re right about these guys. The report’s closing quote on Rodriguez is particularly exciting to see:
Rodriguez will likely make his big league debut in 2022 and has the potential to be a No. 1 starter and Cy Young candidate.
As the great sage Stone Cold Steve Austin was known to exclaim: “Oh hell yeah!”
Other prospects who aren’t ranked as high on the list quietly improved. That group includes pitchers like Drew Rom, Kyle Brnovich, and Jean Pinto. Brnovich wasn’t ranked in this article last year and Pinto wasn’t even mentioned. Some Orioles international signings are starting to make their way into the rankings as well. FG’s 2022 list has two of this year’s fresh signings in the top 15, Leandro Arias and Cesar Prieto, with one of last year’s headliners, Maikol Hernandez, at 20.
Not every player in the system has made progress compared to a year ago. Two prospects from the Manny Machado trade have dropped out of this list entirely: Yusniel Diaz and Rylan Bannon. It’s quite a fall for Diaz, but with his 2021 being plagued by injuries and poor performance, it would only be the echo of his long-ago prospect hype keeping him any higher on a list. Others who took a tumble from the ranking are Adam Hall, Zac Lowther, and Garrett Stallings.
All in all, though, the list reflects some real improvement on the farm, improvement that there’s reason to hope will be starting to show up at the major league level this year and even more substantially next year. The last five years haven’t been a very fun time to be an Orioles fan. Once the owner-imposed lockout ends, things should start to get more fun soon afterwards. I’m looking forward to it.
Around the blogO’sphere
Nothing normal about Hyde’s first three seasons with O’s (School of Roch)
Roch observes some of the weird things that have happened during Brandon Hyde’s tenure as manager that were no fault of his, including a whole lot of COVID-induced changes and now the looming delay of the season calendar due to the lockout.
A conversation with Orioles prospect Colton Cowser (Fangraphs)
A double O’s content day for Fangraphs yesterday, as they also ran this interview with 2021 first rounder Colton Cowser. There’s nothing earth-shattering in here, but it’s interesting to hear about some of the philosophy and experience from a guy who rates as one of the team’s top prospects.
Oriole of the Day: Joey Krehbiel enters 2022 as bullpen candidate after brief Baltimore stint (The Baltimore Sun)
If you didn’t get enough of thinking about Joey Krehbiel earlier this week when his turn came up on our Know Your Orioles 40-man series, here’s Nathan Ruiz’s take on his Oriole of the Day set of articles.
Fewer homers allowed could be a big plus for this pitcher (Steve Melewski)
It’s been noted before, and will be noted again, that one problem for John Means has been giving up home runs. The change to the left field fences at Camden Yards could make a real difference for him.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 29th to Jorge López, who I hope can continue his small sample size success as a reliever into the coming season, whenever it actually arrives.
A few former Orioles were also born on this day. They are: 2009-11 infielder César “Maximum” Izturis, 2007 reserve catcher Alberto Castillo, 1997-99 catcher Lenny Webster, and 1954-59 pitcher Billy O’Dell.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: poet Boris Pasternak (1890), singer-songwriter Roberta Flack (1937), gold medal swimmer Mark Spitz (1950), Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan (1967), and actress Stephanie Beatriz (1981).
On this day in history...
In 1258, a Mongol army led by Hulagu Khan captured the city of Baghdad after a 13-day siege. This began a week-long sack of the city and led to the end of five centuries of rule of the Abbasid Caliphate.
In 1920, Polish general Józef Haller de Hallenburg performed a symbolic “wedding to the sea” in celebration of Poland regaining territory on the Baltic Sea coast for the first time since 1793.
In 1996, IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer won a game against chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, though Kasparov still triumphed over the full match.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 10. Have a safe Thursday.