There are now 70 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. In uniform number terms, that is Travis Lakins Sr. days to go until real baseball is back, which is a lot of days. After yesterday, I’m looking forward to when the temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit again. Alas, more cold is in our near future.
We are now in top prospect list season, as different publications put out their rankings now that we’re within a month of the start of spring training. Earlier in the week, Baseball Prospectus dropped its customary top 101 list with six Orioles on it, including Jackson Holliday at #1 overall. Yesterday brought another ranking, with Baseball America putting out a top 100 list that also has six O’s prospects on it, with Holliday at #1 there too.
At BA, Holliday’s position as the #1 prospect marks the third straight preseason list where the Orioles have had the #1 prospect in the game. Two years ago, it was Adley Rutschman. Last year, the top guy was Gunnar Henderson. Now it’s Holliday. In the 35-year history of Baseball America, this is a feat without precedent for an organization. The publication itself noted that only four teams have ever had three #1 prospects at any point.
Six Orioles prospects on BA’s list is actually down from last year, when the Orioles had eight players make the list. Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, and Jordan Westburg all graduated to MLB, while Connor Norby and Joey Ortiz fell off on the bottom end. The O’s still have six thanks to Samuel Basallo (#10) and Coby Mayo (#25) arriving on the list and Heston Kjerstad (#41) playing his way back on. Colton Cowser (#34) and DL Hall (#93) are still in the top 100.
Isn’t it remarkable to think that this time a year ago there was NOT universal hype about Basallo and Mayo? The signs were there that these guys could be coming into last year with a head of steam, but the big prospect rankings mostly hadn’t bought in yet. That’s sure a different picture now.
Coming off the 101 win season last year, this is more to point towards the continuation of an exciting era for Orioles fans. They won as many games as they did last year and in some ways it feels like that wasn’t the best possible team that Mike Elias could have built.
It’s not automatic, especially with two other AL East teams (Yankees and Rays) joining the Orioles with six prospects on this year’s top 100, but it’s a nice start. Eventually, the Orioles are going to need to see an Elias-acquired pitcher on one of these lists. It hasn’t happened yet. Even that doesn’t mean everything, since he traded for Kyle Bradish and Bradish just had a great 2023 season without ever having been a top 100 prospect. But if the O’s aren’t going to sign quality pitchers, they’re going to need to find their own somehow.
Around the blogO’sphere
As we all know, this has not been a big offseason for Orioles news up to this point. We did get a little something yesterday as the team announced the official pitchers and catchers report date for the start of spring training. It’s going to be Valentine’s Day, now just 27 days away, that this milestone towards real baseball’s return is reached.
Sights and sounds from the opening of the new Orioles Dominican Republic academy (Orioles.com)
A larger number of beat writers than I honestly expected got themselves trips to the DR to cover the facility opening. It looks pretty good!
Orioles top fantasy baseball prospects (Pitcher List)
For those who are more interested in playing fantasy baseball than me.
Blue Jays reportedly in agreement with Yariel Rodríguez (MLBTR)
Not directly related to the Orioles, one of their competitors has signed a Cuban pitcher who’s coming over from the Japanese league. I was intrigued by Rodríguez at the start of the offseason mostly as a possible bullpen addition but it seems like the Jays view him as a starting pitcher. Nothing personal, but I hope he sucks whenever he faces the Orioles.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2009, the Orioles acquired Félix Pié from the Cubs in exchange for pitchers Garrett Olson and Henry Williamson. This proved to be an exciting day for fellow Camden Chatter Stacey, if not so much for anybody else.
There are quite a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2022-23 catcher Anthony Bemboom, 2006-08 infielder Brandon Fahey, 1999 two-game pitcher Brian Falkenborg, 1993 five-game pitcher Kevin McGehee, 1988-2001 outfielder Brady Anderson, 1976-88 pitcher Scott McGregor, 1962/67 infielder Mickey McGuire, and 1956-57 pitcher Mike Fornieles.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: philosopher Montesquieu (1689), Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne (1882), actor Cary Grant (1904), baseball free agent pioneer Curt Flood (1938), and football manager Pep Guardiola (1971).
On this day in history...
In 1486, England’s King Henry VII married Elizabeth of York, a match that brought together the previously-warring houses of Lancaster and York in marriage under Henry’s new Tudor dynastic banner.
In 1778, British explorer James Cook arrived at the Hawaiian Islands, which he is believed to be the first European to discover. Cook initially dubbed these the Sandwich Islands.
In 1993, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was observed in all 50 states, the first time this had occurred after the federal holiday was signed into law a decade earlier.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 18. Have a safe Thursday.