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Weekend Bird Droppings: All aboard the Yusniel Diaz hype train

Rodriguez answers questions, Diaz mashes, the O’s lose, and Wells starts

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MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

It is a golden rule of spring training that the statistics accumulated during this time of the year do not matter unless those statistics are good. In that case, you can take them as gospel that the player in question will be amazing in the season ahead.

So even though it has only been seven games we can be confident in saying that Yusniel Diaz is ready for the bright lights of the big leagues. So far this spring he is 4-for-13 with two doubles, a home run, three walks, and two strikeouts. Sounds like the start to a Rookie of the Year season to me.

In seriousness, Diaz’s tenure as an Oriole has been...difficult. The outfielder arrived in 2018 as the centerpiece of the trade that sent Manny Machado to the Dodgers. Since then he is yet to reach the heights that made him a Top 100 prospect worthy of such a move. His low came last year, when he battled injuries and managed a meager .498 OPS over 65 total games.

Making an immediate jump from that to a big league role seems too good to be true. Not to mention, it’s tough to see Diaz starting ahead of Austin Hays or Anthony Santander in the outfield corners, and he doesn’t fit as well as Ryan McKenna does in a fourth outfielder role. Someone in that mix would need to be hurt or traded before there was room for Diaz.

But that does not make Diaz’s performance thus far any less encouraging. This season feels like a make-or-break moment for the 25-year-old. The Orioles have outfield prospects coming down the pipeline in Kyle Stowers, Colton Cowser, and others that Diaz will soon need to beat out. If he can’t force his way into a big league role soon then it may never happen for him in Baltimore.

Links

Q&A: Orioles’ top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez is adjusting to big-league camp | The Athletic
Everyone wants Grayson Rodriguez to throw more innings this season. In this interview he says that he expects things to be different than in 2021, when he was typically limited to a max of five innings per outing. Who knows how drastic the change will be though. He cannot jump from 103 innings to 200 in a single season. So, what is acceptable? 120? 140?

The Orioles’ roster is littered with questions. Here’s who might be the answers. | The Baltimore Sun
There are position battles on every roster, but what the Orioles have going on with the infield is pretty absurd. It’s basically a slate full of utility infielders that will likely move all over until Brandon Hyde feels somewhat comfortable with the set up. My guess is that on Opening Day we see Rougned Odor at second, Jorge Mateo at short, and Ramón Urías at third.

Took time for Taylor to find new team | School of Roch
It would seem that Beau Taylor is not a favorite to make the Orioles’ big league roster. He has just 25 games of MLB experience and is now entering his age-32 season. But teams are always desperate for backstops, and a solid spring could earn him a spot elsewhere in the league or possibly down on the farm.

Orioles lose to Rays; Another start for Tyler Wells; Diaz is making an impression | Baltimore Baseball
The later we get into spring with Tyler Wells working in a starter’s role, the less likely it seems that he is going to be coming out of the bullpen to begin the year. That move would make the Orioles’ decision to add no other veteran arms to the rotation mix beyond Jordan Lyles make a little more sense. So the rotation would be: John Means, Lyles, Bruce Zimmermann, Wells, and one of the many young arms that disappointed last year. I mean, it’s not ideal, but at least it is somewhat better than this time last year.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Junior Lake will be 32 this weekend. His Orioles career lasted just eight games during the 2015 campaign.
  • Matt Harvey is 33. The veteran righty found his way to Baltimore a year ago and became one of the team’s most-oft used hurlers, struggling to a 6.27 ERA over 28 starts.
  • Jesús Tavárez turns 51. The switch-hitting outfielder appeared in eight games for the 1998 Orioles.
  • Jarvis Brown celebrates his 55th. During the 1995 season he played in 18 games for the Orioles, what would prove to be his final action at the MLB level.
  • Mickey Weston is 61. Between 1989 and ‘90, the righty pitched to a 6.88 ERA over 16 total appearances.
  • Dave Van Gorder turns 65 this weekend. He made his way into 12 games with the 1987 Birds.
  • Dan Morogiello is 67 years old. The southpaw’s entire MLB career last just 22 games in 1983, when he allowed just 10 earned runs over 37.2 total innings for the O’s.

This weekend in O’s history

1960 - The Orioles require that a series between them and the Cincinnati Reds is moved from Havana, Cuba to Miami, Florida due to potential political unrest.

1994 - A swap between the O’s and Mets lands first baseman David Segui in New York while shortstop Kevin Baez and pitcher Tom Wegmann head to Baltimore.

2010 - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts plays his first game of the spring after dealing with a bad back.