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Top Orioles prospects Holliday, Basallo, and Mayo among spring training invites

The non-roster invitees to spring training have been announced

Bowie Baysox v Akron RubberDucks
Jackson Holliday’s inclusion on the invite list isn’t surprising but it’s still exciting.
Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Jackson Holliday is coming to Orioles spring training. That’s no surprise. He was there last year too, as was Coby Mayo. It’s still exciting. Just as exciting and only a bit less surprising is that fellow top prospect Samuel Basallo is also on the O’s spring training camp roster that the team announced on Tuesday morning, just eight days ahead of when pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Sarasota.

In all, the team announced a non-roster invite list of 20 players. That’s down a big amount compared to last year, when the team invited 30 in addition to the players on the 40-man roster who are automatically included. I think that reflects a big league roster that’s not got quite as much room for players to break in to the Opening Day roster picture. Things are more settled than they were even a year ago.

One of the reasons that the non-roster list was so big is that they had invited ten infielders, including a number of lefty-batting first base/designated hitter-type players, perhaps wanting to see who could break out with the change in the shift rules that happened for last season. Ryan O’Hearn ended up emerging from that group of players to have a substantial role with the team as the season progressed.

For the 2024 camp invites, there are just three infielders, all of whom are prospects: Holliday, Mayo, and Connor Norby. They have invited only a single non-roster outfielder, compared to five non-roster guys (two of whom, Colton Cowser and Heston Kjerstad, were real prospects) in the outfield a year ago.

The full list of non-roster invites sent out by the team:

Pitchers (11)

  • RHP Justin Armbruester
  • RHP Wandisson Charles
  • LHP Tucker Davidson
  • LHP Luis González
  • LHP Ronald Guzman
  • RHP Chayce McDermott
  • LHP Cade Povich
  • RHP Garrett Stallings
  • RHP Albert Suarez
  • LHP Andrew Suárez
  • RHP Nathan Webb

Catchers (5)

  • Silas Ardoin
  • Daniel Bañuelos
  • Samuel Basallo
  • Maverick Handley
  • Michael Pérez

Infielders (3)

  • Jackson Holliday
  • Coby Mayo
  • Connor Norby

Outfielder (1)

  • Daniel Johnson

We can probably get an idea of what the team views as its near-MLB rotation depth based on the prospects who were invited here. Armbruester, McDermott, and Povich are all guys who closed out last season in Triple-A Norfolk’s rotation - with varying results - and it’s not a stretch to think one of these guys could be called upon if there were an injury or even two to the assumed big league rotation by June or July.

The rest of these pitchers are probably hoping to audition for a bullpen role that would likely not materialize until after the season has started. After the trade of DL Hall, who I’d assumed would be in the back end of the bullpen, there’s a need for some lefty reliever depth behind Danny Coulombe and Cionel Pérez if either one of them gets hurt or does the “this reliever who has been good recently suddenly sucks” routine. Pérez already did that routine last year! Except the team didn’t give up on him and he did do a lot better in the second half of the season.

“Will Jackson Holliday make the Opening Day roster?” is almost certainly going to be the biggest ongoing storyline for the Orioles throughout the spring training season, so of course he’s invited. I’ll be interested to see how many games Basallo and Mayo get into before getting re-assigned, and if they get any time against more advanced competition.

One of the fun things about being an Orioles fan right now is that the team won 101 games last year and these guys are either breaking down the door right now or very close to doing so. If one of the starting pitchers spends this spring and then minor league season looking like a member of the 2025 rotation, even better.