Orioles lose their 95th game, get closer to securing No. 1 pick - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Orioles lose their 95th game, get closer to securing No. 1 pick

Photo credit: USA Today Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo.—For cynical fans, this weekend’s three-game series between the Orioles and Kansas City Royals could be termed the battle for Bobby Witt Jr.

Witt, a high school shortstop, who won the High School Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game, is the clubhouse leader for top pick in next June’s draft. After Friday’s 9-2 loss to the Royals, the Orioles are closer to securing that pick.

The Orioles’ three-game winning streak ended, and their 40-95 record is 3 ½ games worse than Kansas City’s.

For manager Buck Showalter, there isn’t any wavering about his mission, even if the top pick is guaranteed to the team with the worst record.

“We try to win every game we play the rest of the time,” Showalter said. “That’s our job description. Certainly the fans deserve that. When we get through every nine innings, I want to feel like…the Orioles have gotten better in some capacity of trying to get back to where we want to go.

“I ask myself with just about every move I make: Is this going to better us as we go forward?”

The futures of Showalter and Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations, are cloudy. Neither might be around next June when the Orioles get a high selection.

There have been some excellent top picks in recent years—Washington’s Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in 2009 and 2010, and Houston’s Carlos Correa in 2012. Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham was the overall top pick by Tampa Bay  in 2008.

Houston followed Correa’s pick with Brady Aiken a year later and Mark Appel in 2014. Neither Aiken nor Appel has pitched in the big leagues. Aiken never signed with the Astros and Appel was traded to Philadelphia before stepping away from the game earlier this year.

“If you look back through drafts the last 10 years and look at the first five picks and see if the No. 1 guy or the No. 2 guy was always the best one in those drafts, I think you’ll get an answer to that question,” Showalter said about fans believing it sometimes pays to lose.

“Somebody you perceive as this right now, by next June might be completely different. Be careful about getting too far ahead of yourself.”

Cashner takes the loss

Andrew Cashner saw his record drop to 4-13 after allowing four runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

“That was probably some of the worst stuff I’ve carried in a game,” Cashner said. “My sinker was not there tonight. Off-speed pitches were not there. Didn’t really carry anything for a strike. Didn’t get ahead of guys.”

Showalter said that Cashner was “having trouble gripping the breaking ball. He never really had a feel for it. It’s hard to go through that many hitters, especially left-handers, without the feel for a breaking ball.”

Yefry Ramirez allowed two runs and Ryan Meisinger three more. The Orioles were baffled by Brad Keller, a Rule 5 pick who was traded from Cincinnati to Kansas City. He gave up two runs on four hits in eight innings.

“We got four hits tonight…That’s probably for me the story,” Showalter said.

Mullins was Orioles’ offense and defense

Cedric Mullins, with a leadoff homer and double, scored both Orioles runs. Mullins, who didn’t start three of the past four games because of hip soreness, is hitting .317 in his first 18 games. All three of his home runs have come on the road.

“It’s just a matter of the team and the grind. It’s been a long season,” Mullins said. “To come in and have the immediate success I’m having it’s just big, but I always play for the win.”

Showalter noted the ball carried unusually well in cavernous Kauffman Stadium. The Royals hit three home runs, and Mullins caught three deep flies to center.

“You can tell his legs were feeling good,” Showalter said. “Let’s see how they feel tomorrow. As much as he ran around tonight. That game would have been out of hand if he hadn’t have made some of the plays he made tonight. He was a real bright spot.”

Orioles lose their 95th   

For the 10th time in franchise history, the Orioles have lost at least 95 games. It’s the first time since 2010, the year Showalter took over for the final two months of the season, that they’ve lost that many. That year, they lost 96.

The Orioles are headed for their third 100-loss season. In 1954, their first year in Baltimore, they went 54-100, and in 1988, they finished 54-107.

Trumbo surgery details

Mark Trumbo will have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on either Sept. 6 or 7. The surgery will be performed by Orioles orthopedist Dr. Leigh Ann Curl.

“If everything goes well, [he] should make the start of the season next year,” Showalter said. “It’s about a six-month rehab.”

Roster shuffling

The Orioles recalled outfielder Joey Rickard from Norfolk and designated Craig Gentry for assignment. Rickard had last been optioned to the Tides on Aug. 19. Pitcher Jhan Marinez was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list and outrighted to Norfolk.

Removing Gentry and Marinez from the 40-man roster opens two spots for additions of non-roster minor leaguers. Showalter expects the Orioles to add one or two players on Saturday when rosters expand.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Ekim

    September 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Rich… Thanks for addressing my query about the success (or lack of) for the #1 picks over the past 10 years. On the non successful ones it was a lot of $$$ down the drain. It’s a crapshoot any way you look at it. ‘Drooling’ about what might be, to me, is a waste of time. When looking at guys who have had a modicum of success in the minors and were chosen in the double digit range makes me smile and admire them for there perseverance. A first pick (or first round pick) doesn’t guarantee anything!

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 1, 2018 at 5:07 pm

      Ekim, it’s harder in baseball than in the NFL or NBA because you’re drafting high school vs. college, and because of weather, players in some parts of the country have played in more games, skewing the picks further.

  2. Gregblick

    September 1, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Hey Rich,
    Although I see the point that the number 1 pick hasn’t always fared well, it’s important to note that in actuality it did for the astros. Although Aiken never signed the Astros turned next years comp pick into Bregman. He is now one of the cornerstones for their future. Furthermore they turned Appel amongst a couple other prospects into Ken Giles who was their closer, and netted them their present closer.
    It is true that this is a crap shot, but in today’s game a number 1 pick is usually slotted right into the prospect top 100 list, usually around number 50 or so. Again this does no guarantee success but it is a huge assest that can be used as future trade bait if your own assesment of that particular player is altered in the year or two following his draft.
    I believe the Astros knew more about Appel simply by being around him every day, thus deeming his worth as a centerpiece to gain a major league assest. The Orioles like a handful of other teams sometimes hold onto their prospects to long. They need to really have an honest synaposis on their guys during this rebuild, as most of these prospects true value will peak in the minor leagues, and the opportunity to find gold, maybe in parlaying those assets in the right trade.
    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      Greg, you make an excellent point about Bregman. He turned out better than a No. 1 pick. And, your thoughts on the philosophy of draft picks are well-taken.

  3. garyintheloo

    September 1, 2018 at 4:46 pm

    First rounders are a scrap shoot as the Orioles haven’t had the best of luck with them. I feel bad about Valenca and Gentry as they both gave the Os what they expected or our current record would be even worse. It is interesting that neither got picked up by another team. Gentry loses a $70K payday for September. Still can’t figure out why we gave up $750K for Zoellner who can’t get out of A ball. Seems like DD or someone else is back to his old non tricks. Should be an interesting Winter of Our Discontent.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm

      Gary, I can’t wait to see what comes nezt.

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