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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ future is on full display

The Orioles’ exhibition loss yesterday featured appearances by many of the club’s top prospects, including a dazzling D.L. Hall outing. You love to see it.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Get used to this face. You’ll be seeing more of D.L. Hall soon.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I’m not saying that the spring training version of the Orioles is more exciting than the one we’ll see in the regular season, but...I’m not not saying that.

Case in point: yesterday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Phillies, despite ending in a 7-1 loss, featured a smorgasbord of intriguing young O’s talent. A whopping seven of the Orioles’ top 10 prospects — all but the injured Adley Rutschman and Heston Kjerstad, and the recently reassigned Grayson Rodriguez — made an appearance in the game. In the eighth inning, in fact, the Orioles’ infield consisted of Gunnar Henderson (#3 prospect), Jordan Westburg (#6), Coby Mayo (#7), and Joey Ortiz (#15). That, my friends, is the kind of infield I could get used to. And if all goes well, we could see that combination, or a similar one, taking the field for the regular season Orioles in a couple of years.

But in yesterday’s game, the hitting prospects took a back seat to pitching prospects D.L. Hall (#5) and Kyle Bradish (#10), who combined to toss three scoreless innings. Bradish had to gut his way through, working past two hits and two walks in two innings, but Hall was simply dominant. The Birds’ top lefty pitching prospect made mincemeat of Phillies batters, first striking out former #1 overall draft pick Mickey Moniak — on three 98+ mph fastballs, ending with 100 mph heat — then fanning Adam Haseley and inducing a liner to center from Nick Maton. Three up, three down, and Hall barely broke a sweat, impressive for a guy who hadn’t pitched since last June because of a stress reaction in his elbow.

Hall, like all the other prospects mentioned here, will have to wait his turn with the Orioles. He and Bradish were among the players optioned to the minors after the game. Once these youngsters start to make their major league debuts, though, there are going to be a lot of fun times in Birdland.

Links

Kremer satisfied with first spring start (O's lose 7-1) - School of Roch
One-time prospect and now frustrating enigma Dean Kremer had some thoughts on yesterday’s start, in which he coughed up two homers but felt good about his stuff. I do hope he can salvage some kind of decent big league career, but it’s been a rough go of things so far.

Orioles send Yusniel Diaz, DL Hall to minor leagues; Bradish, Alexander Wells also optioned - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Among the Orioles’ latest cuts was Yusniel Diaz, who'd been hitting the ball hard this spring with three doubles and a homer in 16 at-bats. Nice to see, but after batting .161 with a .498 OPS in Triple-A last year, it’s fair to say he needs more seasoning.

Two more minor league hurlers worth watching in 2022 - Steve Melewski
Who are some of the more unheralded O’s prospects worth getting excited about? Melewski makes a case for strikeout artists Zach Peek and Brandon Young.

How Camden Yards changes will affect hitters - MLB.com
Mike Petriello crunches the numbers on the Orioles’ left-field wall change and estimates that there would have been 200 fewer homers at Camden Yards over the last four years. Two hundred! This is going to take some getting used to, even if it benefits the O’s in the long run.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Only one Oriole in history was born on this day: the late Juan Bell (b. 1968, d. 2016), who struggled to a .167/.196/.242 batting line in more than 100 games after the O’s acquired him in the Eddie Murray trade.

On this day in 2018, the Orioles kicked off their regular season with a dramatic walkoff win, with Adam Jones’ 11th-inning homer giving the Birds a 3-2 victory over the Twins, their eighth straight Opening Day win and third straight walkoff. It was a fleeting moment of joy before cold reality set in, as the O’s lost their next five games and eventually finished with a franchise-worst 47-115 record. At the time, March 29 marked the earliest date the O’s had ever started a season, though it was topped the following year when the Orioles opened on March 28.

And on this date last year, Felix Hernandez opted out of his contract with the Orioles, officially ending the former Mariners ace’s comeback bid with the Birds. The right-hander was thought to have an inside track at a rotation job but suffered elbow soreness in a spring start. Hernandez never ended up signing anywhere else, so it appears his MLB career is over.