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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Waiting for the Gunnar promotion

The O’s moved several of their top prospects up a level yesterday. All that’s left is to bring the #1 guy to the bigs.

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2022 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Even on an off day, it was an exciting time in Birdland yesterday. The Orioles announced a slew of promotions involving several of their top 30 prospects, led by outfielder and 2021 first-round pick Colton Cowser moving up from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk. Also moving up: shortstop Joey Ortiz (from Bowie to Norfolk), infielder Darell Hernaiz (from High-A Aberdeen to Bowie), and just-drafted outfielder Jud Fabian (from Low-A Delmarva to Aberdeen).

The elite talent pipeline is alive and well, my friends. Cowser is the most exciting of those call-ups, putting the 22-year-old, who batted a ridiculous .341 with a 1.037 OPS at Bowie, on the doorstep of the big leagues. But perhaps the most intriguing call-up in the short term is Ortiz, a flashy defender whose bat has been red-hot for the past two months. Assuming Ortiz takes over everyday duty at shortstop for Norfolk, the guy who formerly manned that position — one Gunnar Henderson — could soon be on the move as well.

Henderson, the #1 prospect in baseball, has seemed to be on the verge of a big league promotion for weeks now, but Mike Elias thus far has resisted the temptation. Perhaps this is the week that it finally happens. Maybe not today, as the O’s continue their road trip with three games in Cleveland, but this weekend’s homestand against a woeful Athletics team might be the perfect time to introduce the 21-year-old wunderkind to the majors. Even if Henderson doesn’t come out swinging a hot bat right away, it’s not as if he’ll detract much from an already struggling O’s lineup, which has been particularly unproductive at third base and second base. And in the best case scenario, he’ll catch fire quickly and provide a much-needed offensive boost to the Birds down the stretch.

This is what you do with an elite talent pipeline: develop players who can help the team win. So let’s make it happen and call up Gunnar.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only player in O’s history with an Aug. 30 birthday is right-hander Kris Foster (48), whose seven appearances in 2001 were the entirety of his big league career.

The Orioles’ last win on this date came three years ago, when their offense absolutely went off in Kansas City for a 14-run, 21-hit explosion. Leadoff man Hanser Alberto went 5-for-6, the first (and still only) five-hit game of his career. Pedro Severino had four hits, one of seven Orioles with multi-hit games. John Means, pitching in his hometown, worked seven innings and allowed just two runs.

On this day in 1996, Eddie Murray inched within one homer of the legendary 500 mark, mashing his 499th dinger in a 5-2 O’s win in Seattle. Pete Incaviglia, making his Orioles debut after being acquired the previous day, made a heck of a first impression by crushing a grand slam.

And on this date in 2014, the O’s acquired outfielder Alejandro De Aza from the White Sox. Though it wasn’t a splashy acquisition, De Aza turned out to be a key contributor down the stretch (.877 OPS in 20 games) and in the playoffs (.867 OPS in six games) before the O’s faltered in the ALCS. De Aza was far less successful for the Birds the following year, getting designated for assignment in June.