One scout's thoughts on the Orioles: Davis, Jones, Mancini, Schoop, Bundy and more -
Dan Connolly

One scout’s thoughts on the Orioles: Davis, Jones, Mancini, Schoop, Bundy and more

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

I love talking to major league scouts and picking their brains on the Orioles. The problem, of course, is that other teams’ scouts are careful about being quoted on the opposition. And Orioles’ staffers, understandably, don’t like to publicly criticize their own players.

So, it gets tricky.

Occasionally, though, one will give me his opinion, so long as there is no connection to his team. That happened recently with an opposing scout who saw the Orioles and their farm system several times this season.

I broke this into two parts. Here are the scout’s thoughts on some of the big league Orioles. I’ll follow up later this week – possibly tomorrow — with the second part that will focus on select Orioles’ minor leaguers.

It’s one man’s opinion, keep that in mind. But I’m always intrigued to hear what professionals think about the guys I watch practically every day during the summer.

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  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 7, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Dan, those were all great observations and comments, however they weren’t exactly revalations. One thing I disagree with, is his assesment of Bundy being at best a #3 starter. Let’s not forget how young he is, what he’s overcome and the park he pitches every other game in.

    I think better days lie ahead for this kid. I just hope the bulk of those are wearing the black & orange.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm

      I knew some people would disagree with the his Bundy thoughts. I’m not sure I agree either. But I can see his rationale. And … one man’s opinion.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 7, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Given the way fatigue caught up to him last year, I don’t disagree with rating him a #3 starter — for now. His upside is still very good, and I’m looking forward to greater seasons ahead.
      As for the Scherzer comparison: irrelevant. Get us to that point, and I’d be very happy to trot Bundy out there against him!

  2. bigdaddydk

    December 7, 2017 at 8:18 am

    A lot of this is spot on. Bundy may be a pretty good #2 when it’s all said and done. Gausman has the highest ceiling of anyone on the big league club, as best I can see, but he needs to figure out how to pitch instead of throwing. When he’s on, he’s magnificent. I hope he can capture the consistency he needs.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:51 pm

      In retrospect I probably should have dug a little deeper on Gausman.

  3. Orial

    December 7, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Excellant analysis. Like Boog said-nothing we don’t already know just put more into detail. Concerning about Davis,Manny,Jones. Jones’ heart is here but his frustrations and a body that seems to be breaking down make a change of scenery almost imperative. He’s(scout) so blunt and to the point that I’m kind of afraud to see his minor league analysis.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      Well, you don’t want him hedging, right? This particular guy tells it like he sees it. And I appreciate that. And I can tell you, in the years I’ve known him, he’s often right on. He called Joseph as a solid big league backup when it looked like he’d never get out of AA.

  4. 54orioles

    December 7, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Can’t wait for the next part of this article. Any disagreement I have on the first part would be superficial. It is always great hear from someone who is not a “homer” and I do not believe you are but many local announcers are.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Yeah, no one pays me to be a homer. Writing and broadcasting are different animals. Especially when those broadcasters are with team entities. I understand that fully.

  5. Jaconnol

    December 7, 2017 at 9:44 am

    I’m happy your mystery scout included Caleb Joseph in this brief assessment. This player always seems to get overlooked. It appears that he works hard, is always prepared and truly enjoys the game. Sounds like what used to be called “the orioles way”! Looking forward to watching him start.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      You likely will see a lot of that this year.

  6. Bkr555

    December 7, 2017 at 9:58 am

    I wish he mentioned how Manny wasn’t really running to first base in some situations last one seems to want to explain this.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      My sense is only one person can explain that. And it’s not a scout.

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 7, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      One of the signs that makes me I’m longer in favor of signing him to a huge contract. I’m concerned about his “maturity” and “work ethic” once he has that HUGE guaranteed payday.

  7. Dpsmith22

    December 7, 2017 at 10:00 am

    Jones’s injury concerns are TOTALLY due to the fact that Duquette has never provided him with legitimate outfielders beside him. If you notice, the last few years, Jones gets tired/banged up near the end of the year? Well, when your running a track meet every game, this is what happens, you wear down. Why do you think Jones called Duquette on the phone?

    Trumbo/Smith/Kim were all ranked in the bottom 2% of outfielders, defensively. Rickard’s defensive metrics weren’t very high either, although he could move.

    This is just one of the many failures of Dan Duquette.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:57 pm

      Kind of preaching the choir on this one. The worst was Snider in right. Jones was almost playing two positions. And his defensive metrics — which you all know I hate — took a major hit.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 7, 2017 at 1:30 pm

        and yet, despite the MANY examples, Dan Duqette still has a group of O’s fans, that support his work.

        The fact that the O’s ERA under Duquette is at 5, tells me alot.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 7, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        Ahh Travis Snider. An acquisition only 1 man in the world thought was good.

        Acquired to start for a team, coming out of a loss in the ALCS…..with world series aspirations…Yea Duquette, good call.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      I’m not a Duquette basher. He’s made some good moves and some bad. I don’t always agree with his methods but he’s had a lengthy career and almost never has had losing seasons. Not coincidence in my opinion.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 7, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        i appreciate your honestly in your columns, Dan.
        Allow me to give you information and you can at least see where I am coming from. Feel free to comment. I enjoy educated responses to why I may be off-base.

        Considering the following facts:

        -ALL-Star quality core of players
        -8th highest payroll in MLB
        -Middle of the pack MiL system

        Should this team be playing .500 baseball over the last 3 years?
        When your rotation is 25th in baseball in 16′ and you NOTHING to improve that, your not good at your job.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

      I will say it was an absolute miscalculation on his part to stand pat with the rotation he had in 2016. Especially once Tillman’s injuries began to surface. Gausman’s and Tillman’s struggles were hard to predict. But nothing else was. So I’ll definitely give you that. I don’t think it makes him bad at his job — teams don’t gladly hand over pitching — but that decision was a bad one. Then and in retrospect.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 8, 2017 at 2:48 pm

        Lets not forget there is no way after their showings in 16′ could you count on Ubaldo or Miley. So 3/5th of the rotation was VERY questionable.

  8. Bancells Moustache

    December 7, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Woof. The torching of one Christopher Lyn Davis was just plain brutal. Gotta love scout-talk. Fortunately, as of yesterday a high average first baseman who hits for power is available on the cheap. Bring back Rafeal Palmeiro!!

    • bigdaddydk

      December 7, 2017 at 10:57 am

      I’d bet he wouldn’t watch so many third strikes. 🙂

      • Dpsmith22

        December 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

        It doesn’t take good scouting to see a hitter taking obvious strikes for strike 3, that he is guessing.

        I agreed with most of what he said though lol

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 12:58 pm

      I like Raffy. We had a good relationship. He was always very respectful with me. That’s all I have to say on this matter. 🙂

    • OsFanStuckInNY

      December 7, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Do you have an opinion on Raffy’s contention he didn’t abuse intentionally? I recall he took B12 was it? From Tejada? And didn’t Tejada later get busted for something abusive? I recall hearing Tejada was busted and immediately wondering if Raffy has been telling the truth. On the other hand, when I first saw the Raffy Viagra ad, my first thought was: steroids have a side of effect of erectile dysfunction, don’t they?
      Questions I’ve been wanting to ask. Care to comment?
      All that said, I’d love it if he can pull off a come back.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Always been conflicted on it. Some holes in the story. Some credence. Have talked to Raffy at length about it. His story hasn’t wavered.

    • Strovel

      December 8, 2017 at 12:53 pm

      At least Minnie Minoso was fun. And got a hit at 56, IIRC

  9. bv22

    December 7, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Spot on analysis. I hope DD is reading this….

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      I’m sure he isn’t looking to my site for analysis about his team. He’s been doing this gig for a long time.

      • Dpsmith22

        December 7, 2017 at 1:32 pm

        Well he had a 10 year hiatus. Now we know why. he would be fine for KC or Tampa, where collecting AAAA’s and neverwere’s is necessary.

  10. Orial

    December 7, 2017 at 11:07 am

    Sounds like he’s describing a team going thru the motions. Very worrisome.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:01 pm

      Well he is describing a last-place team. Easier said than done to maintain intensity when the season goal vanishes. That’s just human nature.

  11. All_The_Way_Up

    December 7, 2017 at 11:08 am

    Can’t say enough how much I am enjoying the site – Nice work, thanks

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:02 pm

      Can’t say enough how much we appreciate you reading us and engaging with us.

  12. giggs32

    December 7, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    These observations are what I have thought as well. It is interesting how he put it, but the reality of what Bundy is and what he was coming out of HS are striking. The fastball velo is waaaay down and is also inconsistent. Though I have been impressed with his repertoire that continues to get better. I feel for Adam Jones, he was a good leader on some good teams that came up short. 2014 was their year and they didn’t get it done in the ALCS. That was the year the Orioles had to win it all. I’m sure it is very disappointing for him and that core to look back on.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      I know it is. Although they understand only one team wins it all every year. But disappointing? Heck yeah.

  13. PA Bird Lover

    December 7, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    The scout is right on, in my opinion. I would like to hear his take on scouting in the O’s organization, assuming he isn’t one of them. Occasionally I have a feeling our scouts might be inferior. Take the Rays for instances. They have an abundance of good young players. They are always, it seems, plugging in young kids with value. Granted, they were a last place team many years, which positioned them draft wise. I guess my thought is do the O’s draft well or poor?

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 1:18 pm

      Lots of chicken and egg stuff. I will say I don’t think the Orioles have enough scouts. That’s a problem in my opinion. Not sure quality-wise they are worse than others. Hard for me to determine. And let’s not forget with the Rays that several of their best pitchers have been drafted by others and then acquired in dump trades. And they were the ones that drafted Tim Beckham first overall and traded him years later for a Single-A pitcher. I’m a broken record, but a big part of the problem is the Orioles’ lack of involvement in the international amateur market.

  14. OsFanStuckInNY

    December 7, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    These comments by the scouts sound spot on to me. And best of all, they confirm my opinion of my own opinions 🙂
    Thanks for posting these!

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Thanks for reading them.


    December 7, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    The scouts’ opinion on Chris Davis is spot on. I watch him at the plate and he seems clueless. Two years ago, I thought he had gotten a lot better at taking pitches. But he was horrible last season. And I agree that he should make some adjustments and that he should be embarrassed at the way he hit last season. I have never seen a guy get called out on strikes so often. We need him to return to the way he hit from 2013 to 2015.
    The take on Manny Machado may have been a bit harsh. However, if you remove August from his season and he was not a great player. His numbers for the rest of the year aren’t going to earn him $300 million. I hate the fact that we may be heading into 2018 with his situation up in the air.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 6:49 pm

      I’d be surprised if Machado’s situation is resolved anytime soon. I’d imagine it drags into July at least.

  16. DPG0124

    December 7, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    Pretty spot-on assessment for the most part but hopefully Bundy has a higher ceiling than a #3 pitcher. Re: pitching and Duquette my question always is how much of the personnel decisions are totally on Duquette’s shoulders and how much is it organizational philosophy. Duquette did give the largest free agent pitcher contract to Pedro Martinez at one point. To think he wouldn’t splash the cash on a pitcher if given the chance is naive I think

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 6:51 pm

      I assume a lot is organizational philosophy. He was the one that pushed for four years for Jimenez — the longest and richest for a free-agent pitcher in Os history — and previous to that the organizational philosophy was no more than 3 years.

  17. Birdman

    December 7, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Really can’t disagree with anything this scout said … the fact that some folks seem to be pinning their hopes on Tillman to boost the starting rotation tells you just what bad shape the team is in – Tillman didn’t just have an “off” season in 2017, he was even worse than Ubaldo and Miley, and they were terrible – if the Orioles can sign Tillman to a cheap, incentive laden contract, okay, give it a try, but don’t count on him … the only raves in the scout’s analysis were for Schoop, and unless the Orioles get their act together and sign him to an extension before the start of the season, he is an almost sure bet to fly the coop after 2019

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Again, Tillman has never been that bad — and he was flat-out awful. The trick is deciding if that was a blip due to the shoulder injury or it is a trend. At 30, it’s a tough call. Not young. Not old. But you aren’t getting him for low-base.

      • Birdman

        December 7, 2017 at 8:42 pm

        I understand that the market for pitching might enable Tillman to get a contract somewhere with a higher base salary than the $ 3 – 4 million that I think he’s worth, and if he can get it, more power to him …but for the Orioles, who I see having another sub – .500 season, I think it would be a waste of resources.

  18. Ezrine Tire Award

    December 7, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    Look Dan D knows his limitations financial and otherwise. If “the window is closing” then roll the dice, do something dramatic other spending money on half-assed overpriced free agent pitching and Seth Smith-like hole plugging. Bring up the Eddie Murray, the Storm Davis, the Mike Mussina, the Daniel Cabrera (oops) and throw them out there. An educated fan base will appreciate the strategy and if it doesn’t fly so be it. One positive thing the organization has demonstrated is that Buck and D2 can spot promising talent and deploy them. Maybe be more aggressive on deploying.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 7:00 pm

      I just don’t think they have any impact players even close to being ready pitching wise. That’s the problem.

  19. sjm5131

    December 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    Just wanted to say thanks for writing this piece. May not have painted a rosy picture of the Orioles, but I love to read these insider opinions and appreciate you sharing this insight.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 7, 2017 at 9:00 pm

      Thanks for reading it.

  20. Strovel

    December 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    There were 51 comments to read through. I expected 51 ‘me toos’ on Crush. It’s so obvious from both the metrics and the eyeballs.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      I’m just impressed you got through all 51

  21. Raymo

    December 8, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    I’m a bit late responding, but I thoroughly enjoyed this piece and most of the 51 comments. This site us awesome.

    • Raymo

      December 8, 2017 at 10:04 pm

      I especially appreciated his assessment of Mancini.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 8, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks Raymo

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