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Jordan Westburg at second base in Orioles lineup for MLB debut

At least for the first game, Westburg is playing second with Adam Frazier on the bench

MLB: MAR 05 Spring Training - Orioles at Rays
Jordan Westburg will be fielding grounders - hopefully - at second base in his debut.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Orioles made the reported callup of Jordan Westburg official on Monday morning, and they made his presence in the lineup official with the release of the lineup ahead of Monday’s game. Westburg is making his MLB debut at the second base spot, at the #7 spot in the batting order.

Tonight’s scheduled Reds starting pitcher, Brandon Williamson, is a lefty, which probably has a lot to do with where the Orioles decided to plug in Westburg for his first game. Left-handed infielders Gunnar Henderson and Adam Frazier are both on the bench to begin the game, with right-handers Westburg, Jorge Mateo, and Ramón Urías occupying the second, shortstop, and third base positions.

The full Orioles lineup is as follows:

  1. Austin Hays - DH
  2. Adley Rutschman - C
  3. Anthony Santander - 1B
  4. Aaron Hicks - RF
  5. Ramón Urías - 3B
  6. Cedric Mullins - CF
  7. Jordan Westburg - 2B
  8. Ryan McKenna - LF
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS

It is worth noting that Westburg has pronounced reverse splits in his Triple-A performance so far this season. That is, despite being a righty batter, he has hit righty pitchers much better (1.033 OPS) than he has hit lefty pitchers (.674 OPS). These are relatively small sample sizes, only 81 plate appearances against lefties, but still, it stands out: Only one of Westburg’s 18 home runs was hit off of a lefty.

We can be sure that the Orioles are well aware of this fact and that they have a good reason to debut Westburg here anyway. That Williamson hasn’t been very good this season (5.40 ERA, 5.78 FIP) in seven starts to date might have something to do with that. Two out of three of the Reds starting pitchers are not good. So that’s not a bad opportunity to have a prospect get his feet wet.

It’ll be interesting to see whether Westburg shifts around and really how often they choose to play him in general. Fellow infield prospect Joey Ortiz did not get a whole lot of playing time and was demoted to make room for Westburg today. Those who seek to derive meaning in the assignment of uniform numbers may find it noteworthy that Westburg has been assigned #11, perhaps a sign he’s meant to stick around and play more than Ortiz (#65) did.

As of this writing, the Baltimore area is under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9pm, so there is potential for a disruption to either the game’s start time or even maybe whether it’s played tonight at all. Hopefully for Westburg’s sake and also the fans who’ve been hoping to see him at least all month, the weather accommodates the game happening smoothly today.