Good morning, Birdland!
(Editor’s Note: Your hardworking Camden Chat writers finish Bird Droppings the night before, so the morning’s news of Adley Rutschman making his MLB debut was beyond anyone’s imagination at that time. For the news, see the last sentence’s linked post. Feel free to freak out either there or in the comments below. Merry Rutschmas!)
Now that was a fun night at Camden Yards. The Orioles broke a lengthy losing streak against the division rival Rays, beating them 8-6 thanks in no small part to an eye-opening debut from Nick Vespi and a colossal home run from Rougned Odor.
It was one of those wins that makes it feel like the team is turning the proverbial corner. There was fight. There was promise. There was intrigue. All things that they have largely lacked prior to 2022.
But the headline is Vespi. The lefty had tossed 14.1 scoreless innings in Triple-A to begin the year, and started off his big league career with two more clean innings, striking out three in the process. Relievers are volatile and all that jazz, but Vespi sure looked every bit like a viable big league reliever on Friday night.
The southpaw is the latest member of a revamped Orioles bullpen that has kept the team competitive, even on nights when they probably didn’t deserve to be. It is an island of misfits with the highest pedigree belonging to Keegan Akin, a former second-round pick of the O’s. Vespi and Akin are the only two homegrown arms on the entire big league pitching staff. Everyone else has either been traded, waived, or released from other organizations. That isn’t always a formula for success, but it is certainly paying off for the Birds.
Orioles Outright Logan Allen | MLB Trade Rumors
This feels like a decent outcome for all involved. Logan Allen has struggled in the big leagues to show off the talent that made him a top 100 prospect. Now he gets to stick around the Baltimore organization and potentially get another shot for a club that, despite improvements, will still be looking for innings as the summer wears on.
Previewing Orioles’ draft strategy for No. 1 overall pick selection | CBS Sports
No one really knows what the Orioles are planning. What does seem apparent is that there is not one single prospect head and shoulders above the rest of the field, which complicates any sort of prediction-making.
Nevin producing with steadier playing time (plus Kjerstad update) | Roch Kubatko
It is not a huge update, but Heston Kjerstad is progressing towards a professional debut. The first step is going to be intrasquad games down in Sarasota before he is sent out to an affiliate, presumably Delmarva.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Joey Rickard turns 31. The former Rule 5 pick stuck around as the Orioles fourth outfielder for four seasons from 2016 through 2019, compiling 1.5 bWAR in the process.
- Matt Wieters is 36 today. One of the Orioles’ hottest prospects in his day, Wieters had himself a really solid big league career, spending eight years with the O’s, winning two Gold Gloves, and a trip to four all-star games.
- Andrew Miller celebrates his 37th. The recently retired lefty was a crucial piece of the 2014 Orioles bullpen, striking out 34 batters over 20 total innings.
- Tommy Davis is 49 years old. His MLB career spanned five games, all with the ‘99 Birds.
- Chris Widger turns 51. The catcher played in nine games with the 2006 Orioles.
- Bob Molinaro is 72 today. His stint in Baltimore lasted only eight games in 1979.
This day in O’s history
1956 - The Orioles acquire third baseman George Kell and pitcher Connie Johnson in a trade with the White Sox. Kell will fill in as the team’s third baseman while youngster Brooks Robinson gets up to speed, and Johnson will lead the 1957 O’s in wins.
1962 - Starting pitcher Robin Roberts signs on with the Orioles, where he would spend the next four seasons and win 42 games with a 3.09 ERA.