Good morning, Camden Chatters.
Yesterday was a fairly quiet day for MLB roster moves, with Carlos Correa finally having successfully completed a physical and signed with Minnesota to take the last remaining big-name free agent off the market. But there was still some notable baseball news, as ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that all Triple-A parks will use an electronic strike zone — slangily referred to as “robot umpires” — for the upcoming 2023 season.
Olney writes that half of the AAA ballparks will have every pitch called by the ABS (Automatic Balls and Strikes) system, while the other half will still have a home plate umpire make the calls but use ABS for ball-strike challenges. (It’s not known yet which system the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate, Norfolk, will use.) It’s the biggest step yet in an experiment that has been gradually working its way up the minor-league ladder, and a clear indication that MLB hopes to bring the ABS system to the majors sooner rather than later.
Baseball purists will surely scoff at the idea of an electronic strike zone because it deprives the game of the “human element” or some such. But I say bring it on. If there’s a viable, reliable system that can correctly call pitches 100 percent of the time, or close to that, then baseball will be all the better for it. Umpires do their best, but calling pitches with the naked eye — especially those that bend or curve with filthy movement — is an incredibly hard task, even for those fully trained. Most baseball fans have surely seen some missed ball-strike calls that affected the outcome of an at-bat or even a game. The number one priority should be getting the calls right.
Of course, it would be just the Orioles’ luck if an electronic strike zone comes into effect just as they’ve brought up a catcher, Adley Rutschman, who is one of the best pitch-framers in baseball. That valuable skill would become nearly obsolete. Oh well. He’s got a few other skills, too.
Information on Orioles spring training report dates (and O'Hearn update) - School of Roch
We finally have an official report date for Orioles pitchers and catchers, and it’s Feb. 15. Mark it on your calendar! I mean, there’s not really anything for fans to do that day, but still.
Noting projection system stats for 2023 for Adley Rutschman - Steve Melewski
Friend of the blog Dan Szymborski talks about his ZIPS projection for Adley, which forecasts him being one of the best players in baseball in 2023. See? Who needs pitch framing?
Hernandez gives Orioles another bullpen option - BaltimoreBaseball.com
This is the second straight offseason the Orioles have claimed a 25-year-old lefty reliever with gaudy strikeout numbers but horrid walk totals. The last one was Cionel Pérez, who turned out pretty good. Can lightning strike again with Darwinzon Hernandez?
The Orioles could be in a position of strength with late-developing infield needs around the league - Maximizing Playoff Odds
The O’s have infielders to spare, so they should try talking trade with the 20 or so teams who almost signed Carlos Correa but didn’t.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles right-handers were born on this day: Oliver Drake (36) and Odell Jones (70).
On this day in 1982, Orioles legend Frank Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, a well-deserved honor for one of the biggest superstars in MLB history. Robinson was the first player to win both the NL and AL MVP award, accomplishing the latter in 1966 by winning the Triple Crown and leading the Orioles to their first championship. Among his other feats, Robinson bashed 586 home runs, was a 14-time All-Star, won Rookie of the Year, and was the first African-American manager in MLB history.