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Friday Bird Droppings: More praise for the Orioles’ prospects

The Athletic’s Keith Law ranked the Birds’ farm system as the third-best in baseball. How far this team has come!

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles
Gunnar Henderson is the headliner of an O’s organization rich with prospects.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s a day that ends in Y, which means there’s more folks heaping praise on the Orioles’ ever-impressive collection of prospects. Today it’s The Athletic’s Keith Law, who ranked the Birds #3 out of 30 teams in his ranking of every farm system in baseball.

Law is actually the low man in his assessment of the Orioles, as both FanGraphs and MLB Pipeline ranked the O’s as the #1 system in MLB in their most recent updates in 2022. Law slightly dings the Birds for their relative lack of pitching prospects, with Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall the only standouts. Still, the system is swimming in bona fide hitters, which Law describes as “the best collection of position player prospects in baseball.” That includes “four prospects who could be everyday shortstops in the big leagues,” referring to Gunnar Henderson, Jackson Holliday, Joey Ortiz, and Jordan Westburg.

All four of those guys, along with nearly every other major O’s prospect, will be on display when the club reports to Sarasota for spring training in two weeks. The Orioles announced their non-roster invitees to camp, a list that includes Holliday, Westburg, Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, Connor Norby, Coby Mayo, and Cade Povich, who will join 40-man roster guys Henderson, Hall, Rodriguez, and Ortiz. Many of those guys are likely to make their MLB debuts sometime this season, as Henderson and Hall did last year. Add that group to last year’s rookies — Adley Rutschman, Félix Bautista, Kyle Stowers, Kyle Bradish — and you’ve got the makings of one of the most talented young groups of players in baseball.

Though I haven’t been particularly enthused by the Orioles’ passive, frugal offseason, they certainly have the potential to be a ton of fun this year — and, if all goes right, they could emerge as one of the best O’s clubs in recent memory. What a long way they’ve come from the prospect-barren, hapless organization that bottomed out less than five years ago. The future is truly bright in Birdland.


Hyde and Elias take fan questions as Birdland Caravan kicks off at Bel Air High School - Steve Melewski
The Orioles’ four-day tour of the region began with a question and answer session with Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde yesterday. I wish Elias’ answer to the Trevor Bauer question had been “hell no, never in a million years,” but I suppose his response was more diplomatic.

Questions keep coming as Orioles ready for spring training - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko offers his thoughts on Adam Frazier, Grayson Rodriguez, John Means, and...Dexter Fowler. Ugh. THAT guy.

Now retired, Darren O’Day reflects on time with Orioles and the rebuild after his trade - The Baltimore Sun
O’Day says that with he’s going to spend some of his newly found free time gardening. When he plants the seeds, does he do it sidearm?

Press release: Orioles announce single-game tickets on sale February 8, 2023 -
If you too are getting excited about the upcoming season, tickets go on sale on Wednesday. Be there or be square!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Seven ex-Orioles were born on this day, including last year’s primary second baseman, Rougned Odor (29). Odor hasn’t signed anywhere since leaving the Orioles this winter, but there’s probably a team that will take a flyer on him on a minor league deal. Despite his waning production, he was a great clubhouse presence for the surprising Birds and is still under 30.

Other former O’s with Feb. 3 birthdays include right-handers Brooks Kriske (29), Scott Klingenbeck (52), and Don Welchel (66); outfielder Fred Lynn (71); and the late righty Harry Byrd (b. 1925, d. 1985) and outfielder Jim Dyck (b. 1922, d. 1999).

On this date two years ago, the Orioles made a splashy minor league signing, inking former Cy Young winner and Mariners legend Félix Hernández to a non-roster deal. The righty was years removed from his last decent season, but was expected to break camp in the Birds’ rotation, telling reporters that he had his sights set on the Hall of Fame. Two weeks before Opening Day, though, Hernández suffered an elbow injury in a spring training start and never pitched again. Alas. I would’ve been fascinated to see King Félix pitch regular season games in an Orioles uniform, even if he likely wouldn’t have been very good.