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Thursday Bird Droppings: One more rave review for the Orioles farm system

Baseball America’s ranking of all 30 farm systems puts the Orioles on top

Gunnar Henderson, wearing a white Orioles uniform, swings a bat while staring seriously at the camera
Gunnar Henderson and seven other top 100 prospects are part of why the Orioles have the #1 ranked farm system.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 28 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. It is just four weeks from today. The number 28 was used most recently by Jordan Lyles just last season. It’s currently unclaimed for 2023.

Between now and then are another 27 spring training games to be played, including two days where split squads play a game apiece. Today’s spring contest sees the team travel to the Tigers camp to play Detroit starting at 1:05. It does not see us with any opportunity to have a Baltimore-oriented broadcast, or any chance to see at all, because neither team is televising the game and only the Tigers have it on the radio. We’re still four days away from the first game that MASN will bother to televise.

Not that being able to watch yesterday’s loss would have brought much joy. The Orioles did not break up a no-hitter until the ninth inning in a 2-1 defeat by the Blue Jays. It’s not like this was some kind of spring training road scrub lineup. It was a home game and the O’s deployed a lineup that looks like what a regular season lineup might on a day where Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson both do not start.

After scoring 20 runs over the first two spring games, the Orioles have lost three straight while scoring a combined seven runs. Nothing counts for four weeks, so don’t start worrying about anybody yet.

Let’s talk about something more exciting. Baseball America unveiled its rankings of minor league systems for this season, an exercise it has been doing annually since 1984. For the first time in that ranking’s history, the Orioles have been named as having the #1 farm system in the league. This has been a good marker of teams on the upswing over the last decade and a half.

In the past 15 years, BA #1 farm system teams have gone on to 13 World Series appearances within a few years of their #1 ranking, with five teams winning the whole thing. That includes four consecutive #1 ranked organizations starting with the 2015 leader having gone on to win the title in the intervening years.

Success is not automatic from collecting a bunch of high-ranked prospects with some noteworthy depth behind the top 100 players. It’s a great starting point, though, and it’s fun to see one more ranking take note of the quality of the Orioles system right now.

Their reign isn’t going to be long. Within a couple of months of the regular season, all of Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, and DL Hall should have lost their prospect eligibility. That’s good, because we hope they’ll be benefiting the MLB team, but they won’t be counting for the farm any more.

The Orioles would have to get very, very lucky to stay near the top without those guys. Depending on how things go with trades and promotions this year, any or all of Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, and Jordan Westburg could also not count for Orioles farm system rankings this time in a year. Again, that would be good!

The goal of all of this is to get a sustainable, winning Orioles team. A regular infusion of prospects is an important part of that, but they don’t need eight top 100 guys a year to do it, as long as they supplement the group with the right free agents and don’t cheap out on arbitration commitments for valuable players. We’ll see where things look in a few years. For now, the near future is looking pretty bright around here.

Around the blogO’sphere

Cole Irvin impresses in Orioles spring debut (
The lefty, who the Orioles acquired from the Athletics in January, is staying humble about his place in the rotation competition, saying he doesn’t think he has a guaranteed spot for the start of the season. I think he does anyway.

Holliday feels comfortable in his first Orioles camp (Baltimore Baseball)
I’m here for any and all “Jackson Holliday is fitting right in to the MLB camp stories,” and I’ve got to enjoy them while they last because I assume he’s going to get reassigned to minor league camp soon enough.

Versatile Vavra makes strong early impression in O’s camp (Steve Melewski)
Seems to me like Vavra’s going to have to make a stronger impression than all of Lewin Díaz, Nomar Mazara, and Ryan O’Hearn to make the team out of camp. Or else have an injury in the infield mix somewhere, which nobody wants.

Two seams in a pod: Dean Kremer, Kyle Bradish ‘did everything together’ to train for Orioles rotation battle (The Baltimore Sun)
If Bradish and Kremer are both pitching their way into the rotation and then pitch well enough to stay there, I think things will work out okay for the 2023 Orioles.

Armed with three new pitches, Eduard Bazardo aims to make Orioles bullpen (The Baltimore Banner)
“It’s about throwing strikes,” manager Brandon Hyde said. It usually is. Bazardo is one of the more anonymous (to Orioles fans) players on the camp roster. A number of the fringe pitchers got torched in their first outings of spring. Bazardo is not one of them. Maybe we’ll hear his name again in the regular season.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a number of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2013-15 pitcher Bud Norris, 2001-07 outfielder Jay Gibbons, 1990-95 infielder Leo Gómez, 1958-59 outfielder Joe Taylor, and 1954-55 outfielder Cal Abrams.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: library founder Thomas Bodley (1545), early Texan Sam Houston (1793), writer/illustrator Dr. Seuss (1904), baseball Hall of Famer Mel Ott (1909), final Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev (1931), musician Jon Bon Jovi (1962), actor Daniel Craig (1968), rapper Method Man (1971), and actress Bryce Dallas Howard (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1807, Congress passed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves. The act took effect on January 1, 1808, the earliest date allowed under the Constitution for such an act.

In 1836, the Republic of Texas proclaimed its independence from Mexico.

In 1949, Air Force Captain James Gallagher landed his B-50 bomber Lucky Lady II in Fort Worth, Texas, 94 hours and one minute after the aircraft took off on what became the first non-stop around-the-world airplane flight. There was one mid-air refueling on the journey.

In 1962, Wilt Chamberlain made basketball history when he scored 100 points in a game against the New York Knicks.

In 1978, two people stole Charlie Chaplin’s coffin from his grave. There was an attempted ransom involved, but the coffin was recovered and reburied in its previous space in Switzerland two months later.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 2. Have a safe Thursday.