There are now 35 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day, which is to say that five weeks today there will be real baseball. The number 35 is currently in use by Adley Rutschman, and hopefully it will be for some time to come. It should have been retired for Mike Mussina’s Hall of Fame career before Rutschman ever arrived, but now that Adley has it, he’s welcome to it for as long as he wants.
Spring training games are only two days away. However, you will have to wait until more than a week into the exhibition schedule before MASN, the Orioles-owned television network, will actually bother to televise one of these games. Saturday afternoon’s game will, at least, be on the radio in Baltimore on WBAL and its sister stations, as were all Orioles games (that didn’t conflict with Ravens games) last season.
Yesterday saw one more site drop its top 100 prospect list with Orioles represented fairly well. That comes from FanGraphs. Those paying close attention already knew these rankings from when they posted their Orioles-specific prospect list. FG has six Orioles in the top 100, with some serious hype for Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday, and some caution about Grayson Rodriguez (who’s still 17th) and Colton Cowser (unranked).
The FG duo of Eric Longenhagen and Tess Taruskin is also very high on Coby Mayo (36th), with DL Hall (64th) and Joey Ortiz (66th) in among the top 100 as well. Other sites had as many as eight players from the Orioles system in their top 100, so this isn’t one of the most exciting ones there’s been, but it still shows a system that’s near the top of the league.
What’s exciting in the short term is that there’s a strong chance that four of these six prospects will appear for the MLB team this year. Henderson’s a lock for the Opening Day roster and Hall and Rodriguez sure ought to be. Things have reached the point where the talent pipeline is depositing talent onto the MLB roster beyond just one high-profile Adley Rutschman debut.
Many of these prospects should also be appearing in the early spring games, not that we’ll get to see many of them. When there are road games and the regulars don’t travel early on, the lineups ought to have a bunch of prospects. When there are late-inning substitutions for those regulars early on, those should be prospects as well. Spring training performance means very little, but it will be cool to see them in Orioles uniforms and hopefully a nice experience for them.
For today, well, it’s another day of workouts and bullpens and batting practice. My excitement level for this stuff is never high. All we can do is hope nobody gets hurt.
Around the blogO’sphere
During first full-team workout, O’s skipper reminds team they haven’t done it yet (Steve Melewski)
“Last year, we put ourselves on the map, and we’ve just got to keep going,” manager Brandon Hyde said he told the team. No complacency building up here.
Kyle Gibson brings veteran boost to Orioles (Orioles.com)
The biggest-dollar Orioles free agent signing of the offseason - not that this is saying much - is embracing the veteran role that he was signed to bring. Now to see if he can also pitch better than he did last year...
Bradish aims to solidify place in Orioles rotation; Cowser looks to shine in first camp (Baltimore Baseball)
Kyle Bradish says he hasn’t spent much time thinking about the competition for the Orioles rotation. He just knows he needs to do work on improving what he showed last year.
Will a healthy Jorge Mateo steal 50 bases this year? He says: ‘Put it on the books’ (The Athletic)
A precursor question might be if Jorge Mateo can get on base enough times to steal 50 bases, even with the new stuff going on this year. I’m not sure that the answer to that is yes.
Rodriguez’s pairing with Rutschman a camp highlight (School of Roch)
When Grayson Rodriguez is pitching and Adley Rutschman is catching, it is not difficult to imagine some bright things coming in the very near future. Hopefully this feeling carries over to the regular season.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2016, the Orioles were reported to have agreed on a three-year contract with free agent outfielder Dexter Fowler. This kicked off a strange 48-hour saga that ultimately saw Fowler appear in the Cubs spring training camp with a new contract there instead.
The .276/.393/.447 batting line Fowler had with Chicago in 2016 would have gone a long way to making up for some of the 2016 team’s deficiencies, particularly against left-handed pitchers. I’ve long believed that the 2016 O’s plus Fowler would have won the division that year, then who knows what else might have happened in the playoffs and on into the next year? Alas, it just wasn’t meant to be.
There are a pair of former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 1995-96 outfielder Bobby Bonilla, and 1981-87 outfielder John Shelby. T-Bone Shelby was also later a coach. It’s his 65th birthday today, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: diarist Samuel Pepys (1633), civil rights activist W.E.B. Du Bois (1868), baseball Hall of Famer Ray Brown (1908), author Bernard Cornwell (1944), fashion designer Daymond John (1969), and actress Emily Blunt (1983).
On this day in history...
In 532, Byzantine Emperor Justinian I placed the cornerstone for what became the Hagia Sophia. This was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. Converted to a mosque after Ottoman capture of Constantinople and into a museum in the 20th century, the building is again an active mosque since 2020.
In 1455, according to tradition, the Gutenberg Bible was first published. As you may recall from history class, this was the first Western book to be printed using movable type.
In 1836, Mexican forces began a siege of the Alamo, whose Republic of Texas defenders were trying to preserve independence for their newly-proclaimed nation.
In 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima in World War II, Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal snapped the famous photograph of six marines raising the American flag. More than a month remained in the battle, though, and three of the six men were killed before it was over.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on February 23. Have a safe Thursday.