In a week, Orioles will start to get to know Hyde - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

In a week, Orioles will start to get to know Hyde

Brandon Hyde
Photo Courtesy of Baltimore Orioles

Spring training begins in a week, and while it’s a time for the younger and mostly inexperienced Orioles to show their skills, their new manager is going to be on display, too.

Few of the Orioles know much about Brandon Hyde, who wasn’t hired until Dec. 14 and hasn’t met all of his players.

Hyde met with some at a minicamp last month in Sarasota, Fla. He met more at FanFest. Hyde has spoken with others on the phone.

He’s a first-time manager and little is known about how he will go about his job.

In his comments at the introductory press conference and FanFest, Hyde didn’t talk specifics.

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A week from now, that will change.

Hyde will start getting very specific about the skill sets of his players, who he has seen only on videotape.

Fifty-nine players are scheduled to be in camp. Although pitchers and catchers report in a week, the infielders and outfielders are likely to arrive ahead of their Feb. 17 report date.

Hyde has many decisions to make with the help of a new coaching staff. He’s familiar with two of the eight coaches — catching instructor Tim Cossins and third base coach Jose Flores. Pitching coach Doug Brocail and hitting coach Don Long are among those who are new to him.

They’re also new to the organization, as is first base coach Arnie Beyeler. Three others — bullpen coach John Wasdin, assistant hitting coach Howie Clark and major league coach Jose Hernandez –are from the organization and will be able to assist Hyde with names and faces.

The minor league staffs should be revealed this week, and some of the coaches from Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie are likely to help Hyde and his staff.

Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb are assured sports in the starting rotation, and there will be competition for the other two spots.

We don’t know if Hyde would consider using the “opener” strategy popularized last season by Tampa Bay and Oakland, where a reliever begins the game, followed by a multi-inning pitcher.

Six catchers, including Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns, who finished last season with the team, will be trying to make an impression, as will four who aren’t on the 40-man roster.

A host of infielders that Elias acquired in the past two months will be there for Flores and Hernandez to drill. After the trades of Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles’ defense went south, and there will be an emphasis to shore that up.

Chris Davis at first, Jonathan Villar at second, Rule 5 draft pick Richie Martin at shortstop and Renato Nunez at third would be an educated guess for the staring infield. Still, it’s anyone’s guess who will emerge from Sarasota for the March 28 opener at Yankee Stadium. Many unfamiliar names will audition in the infield this spring.

There’s a big hole in right field, too. You could put Trey Mancini in left and Cedric Mullins in center for now, but Hyde will want to see a lot of Austin Hays, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander and DJ Stewart there.

He’ll also want to take long looks at Yusniel Diaz, the centerpiece of the Machado trade, and Ryan McKenna, both of whom finished last season at Bowie.

We don’t know if he’s written out mock lineups with Mullins and Villar at the top of the order, but there’s not likely to be a repeat of the Davis leadoff experiment from the beginning of last season.

What kind of a bullpen will Hyde want? Is he set on Mychal Givens as the closer? Does he want seven relievers or eight?

Will his team be aggressive and favor the steal? Will he direct his players to bunt often, or will he play for the big inning?

Former manager Buck Showalter seemed to be everywhere on the back fields in Sarasota, scooting from drill to drill, personally instructing infielders. Will Hyde be hands-on or allow his coaches to do much of the instruction?

Because he was hired so late, Hyde didn’t sit for the half-hour long session at the Winter Meetings when specifics are raised.

That will have to wait, but seven days from now, Hyde will begin to truly introduce himself to the Oriole players. Only then will we start to learn how he’ll try to lead this team back to relevancy.

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. bmorebirds

    February 5, 2019 at 9:04 am

    This spring training is more pressure-packed than most. You’ve got a new GM trying to make a name for himself, a first-time manager trying to impress his players and his GM and a bunch of unproven players with an opportunity to hop onto an MLB roster early in their careers. Should be fun! I have a hunch Hyde may put a premium on stolen bases.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

      I’m looking forward to seeing it, bmorebirds.

  2. Camden Brooks

    February 5, 2019 at 10:40 am

    Good article…it’s been a long time since the O’s entered spring training with so many questions/unproven players. Should be interesting to say the least.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 11:10 am

      It will be fascinating, Camden.

  3. Bhoffman1

    February 5, 2019 at 11:17 am

    Can Richie Martin hit? Anthem Santlandee cannot

    • Bhoffman1

      February 5, 2019 at 11:18 am

      Anthony Santander

      • Rich Dubroff

        February 5, 2019 at 12:20 pm

        We’re going to find out, Bhoffman.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 5, 2019 at 2:31 pm

        Santander can hit. Wait & see.

  4. mcgooding

    February 5, 2019 at 12:25 pm

    Hey Rich, I’m off topic, but I’m interested in your opinion. After reading Kieth Laws minor league report listing the Orioles dead last, what’s your opinion? He only listed D.L. Hall as a top 100 prospect, but in my opinion, and in a few other articles that I’ve read, I don’t see that. How did Diaz, Mountcastle, and others fall from grace? Mike Elias seems to think that the O’s have some minor league talent. Is he just towing the company line? I think that we also have some quality pitching prospects as well. I realize that grading talent can be subjective, but is there anything to Kieth Law’s prognosis? I’m getting depressed and wonder what your opinion is on this matter.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      McGooding, the Orioles have few position players in the minors that are major league ready. Remember they brought up Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart already, so they’re not counted.

      Mountcastle has no position, yet. Diaz did not hit well in his month at Bowie.

      These lists are subjective as you point out, and others rate them somewhat higher.

      Mike Elias’ goal is to get the farm system rated higher quickly.

  5. ClyOs

    February 5, 2019 at 1:09 pm

    Hyde, and his coaching staff, definitely have their work cut out. The players I see as being locks to make the opening day roster are Bundy, Cashner, Cobb, Givens, Wright, Blierer, Castro, Davis, Trumbo, Mancini, Villar, Martin, Nunez, Mullins, and Richard. Steward, Jackson, and Hess are strong maybe’s depending on they springs, which leaves 7 of 25 spots to fill. This is going to be an interesting spring for everyone.

    • Camden Brooks

      February 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm

      I think Ricky Vaughn and Jake Taylor have a good shot to be at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day…they’ve experienced it before!

      • ClyOs

        February 5, 2019 at 2:30 pm

        You forgot Willie Mays Hayes!

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          February 5, 2019 at 2:34 pm

          Pedro & Jobu.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 3:01 pm

      ClyOs, I think there will be a few surprises from spring training on the Opening Day roster.

    • Bhoffman1

      February 5, 2019 at 5:53 pm

      Why is Richard a sure shot ?

  6. deqalt

    February 5, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    Any chance we can fast forward to Spring 2021? Not good news to hear after Orioles trade away all these players and it has translated to 30th ranking by Keith Law! I realize time will tell but we are at the bottom

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 3:03 pm

      Deqalt, these rankings are subjective and others have the Orioles rated somewhat higher.

      I agree. I wouldn’t expect to see real progress until 2021.

  7. PA Bird Lover

    February 5, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Rich, I enjoy your column very much. Also, the guys who post here are entertaining, at least some are. I just hope everyone relaxes and enjoys the youth movement. Wins and losses are irrelevant. Development is the key for two or three seasons.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 3:56 pm

      PA, I appreciate your encouragement, and the Orioles appreciate your patience.

  8. cedar

    February 5, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    I hope Hyde puts an emphasis on defense and smart at bats and base running. If the O’s can improve on those then you’ve helped your pitchers on the field and your making the opposing pitchers face more batters. The O’s got themselves out too many times last year.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      We’ll find out together, cedar.

  9. boss61

    February 5, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    Hi RIch. I have been away. In Cuba, in fact. Baseball is alive and well there, and hugely popular. So nice yo see. I could fill a “Calling the Pen” on what I saw about the ongoig popularity of baseball in Cuba.

    • Jack Gibbons

      February 5, 2019 at 9:54 pm

      Mark, Your observations about baseball in Cuba sound ideal for Calling the Pen. Looking forward to your essay.

  10. CalsPals

    February 5, 2019 at 6:21 pm

    Rich, love reading your articles, really looking forward to seeing the progress the O’s make in the next few years, really hope fans don’t bail on these guys….

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 5, 2019 at 11:15 pm

      CalsPals, patience will be mandatory.

  11. Hallbe62

    February 5, 2019 at 11:56 pm

    Can’t wait. Play Ball !

  12. CalsPals

    February 6, 2019 at 2:23 pm

    Just don’t want a Dr. Jekyl & Manager Hyde situation, pun intended….

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