Answers to your Orioles questions - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Answers to your Orioles questions

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Question: The Orioles have about 10-15 starting prospects (for this question please include Akin and Means) who seem like future starting rotation possibilities. Of their pitching prospects who do you foresee filling out their 5-man rotation?-From Bradan Smith via Facebook

Answer: Bradan, let’s include Keegan Akin and John Means for the moment. I have four candidates: Michael Baumann, DL Hall, Dean Kremer and Grayson Rodriguez.

Hall, their 2017 first-round draft pick, and Rodriguez, their top pick a year later, may not be with the Orioles until the end of 2021 or 2022, but they have the most potential.

I really like Baumann, who impressed me in the two starts I saw in Delmarva and Bowie in 2018 and 2019. Kremer, who hadn’t been called up when you submitted the question, had a terrific debut on Sunday.

Q: If the Arizona Fall league happens, who are the candidates to go out West? Given his production, will they pick up Iglesias’ option for ’21?-From Brian Sturm via Facebook.

A: Brian, I haven’t heard any talk about an Arizona Fall League for this year, but let’s say they did, and I could pick six prospects — three pitchers, a catcher, an infielder and an outfielder.

I would pick three pitchers from my future rotation: Baumann, Hall and Rodriguez, all of whom worked at the Bowie alternate site.

The catcher is easy, Adley Rutschman. The infielder would be Terrin Nevin, the first baseman they just picked up from Colorado for Mychal Givens. Yusniel Diaz, who’s also at the alternate site, would be my outfielder.

I think the Orioles should and will pick up the option on José Iglesias for 2021. Iglesias has a $3.5 million team option that can be bought out for $500,000.

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The Orioles don’t have an obvious successor as an everyday shortstop and, even if they want to trade him this winter, at least they can get something for him if they bring him back for 2021.

I’ll guess they pick up the option and look to move him next July. 

Q: Rich, I was really impressed with Richie Martin down the stretch last season. I thought he was the most improved player on the team from the beginning of the season to the end. I haven’t heard a word about his recovery and am wondering what you think his chances are of being with the big club next season. From David Gruber via email

A: David, Richie Martin is no longer part of the 60-player pool. When it was decided he needed season-ending surgery, he was put on the 60-day injured list, which removes a player from the pool, and that’s why you haven’t heard anything about the recovery from his fractured wrist.

I think Martin has a solid chance of being with the team next season. They were planning to send him to Triple-A Norfolk this season but, because of the expanded rosters, I think they would have kept him, and he could have helped the team, especially with Iglesias’ sore quad limiting him.

With Iglesias missing time, I think Martin would have been an adequate fill-in, and with no shortstop candidates in the high minors, perhaps he’ll get a shot to play more next year at short and second.

Q: If the Orioles finish at or near .500 this year, is it a sign of good things to come, or more of an anomaly made possible by the unique season and not indicative that the rebuild is in the next steps? Thanks! From Justin Lewis via Facebook

A: Justin, I think that the Orioles’ record could be helped by a short season. I think the rebuild is proceeding methodically, and that if the team gets hot in the final 20 games, as it did in the first 20, and finishes at or near .500, it’s not a sign that contention is near.

They’ve been helped by the expanded roster. Their weakness in the starting rotation has been helped by having a few extra arms in the bullpen, and that’s not likely to be the case next year, but if Akin and Kremer continue their early success, the timetable may speed up.

The team is getting better, but it’s a little too early to declare the rebuild over as Mike Elias indicated last week.

Q: Considering the possible future logjam in the outfield and first base/designated hitter with Santander, Hays, Mountcastle, Mancini, Diaz, Mullins, Núñez and others, how do you envision those positions to look when/if Mancini is healthy and Diaz is finally ready?

Also, other than G-Rod and DL who do you believe is our best pitching prospect and are you most excited for (Akin, Kremer, Baumann, Zimmermann, Lowther, newly acquired Smith, etc) From Justin Crites via email.

A: Justin, I think that an outfield of Ryan Mountcastle in left, Austin Hays in center and Anthony Santander in right would be interesting to see. I’m sorry that we didn’t see that this season because of injuries.

When Trey Mancini is healthy, I think he’s the team’s first baseman. I’m eager to see what Yusniel Diaz can do. I assume it will be 2021 before we find out. As for Cedric Mullins, he can help at all positions, and he’s a plus-defender, runner and bunter. You didn’t mention DJ Stewart, who had three homers this weekend. For now, I guess Núñez projects as the DH.

It’s been a long time since the Orioles have had a true surplus at any position, and it will be fascinating if they do in the outfield.

Akin and Kremer are already here, and I’d like to see Baumann, but that’s more likely to be a 2021 possibility. I’m also eager to see all those you’ve mentioned.

Zac Lowther and Bruce Zimmermann, who are at the Bowie alternate site, are probably 2021 contenders, too. Hall and Rodriguez are obviously intriguing, as well.

Q: For the players to be named later coming to the O’s, does Elias and the executives on the other clubs know who they are? I understand they can’t announce them, but I wonder if they are agreed upon. From @ChicoSalmonFan

A: Elias was asked this question after the Givens trade, and he said the names would be revealed when he was able to.

Generally, the players are either agreed upon beforehand, or a group of names are discussed, and chosen after the season.

Q: Good morning Rich, I was very surprised when Elias didn’t draft any starting pitchers in this June’s amateur draft until the end of the drafting process.  He even passed on Asa Lacy, who I thought would have been a very solid and logical pick. It doesn’t seem to me that he has enough front-of-the-rotation pitchers in the system yet. Is it because he feels he already has enough pitching or does he have a longer view on things? From Michael Thompson via email

A: Michael, I was surprised the Orioles didn’t draft a pitcher until the final pick this year. When Elias was drafting for the Houston Astros, he had two No. 1 draft choices, Brady Aiken and Matt Appel, who didn’t work out, and I think he’s wary of drafting pitchers high up unless he’s certain of their futures.

He had much better success drafting position players such as Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman with high picks.

You never have enough top-of-the rotation pitchers and, in the three years before he arrived, the Orioles had success in drafting pitchers — Akin, Baumann, Hall, Lowther and Rodriguez.

When Elias came in, the system didn’t have a lot of high-ceiling infielders and outfielders, and now that they’ve drafted a number of them, perhaps in 2021, they’ll focus more on pitchers.

Q: Here’s a silly question for you Rich, I’ve noticed that the stadium video board is being run during the games as if there were fans in the stands. Players pictures and stats are being shown as if there were someone to read them. Obviously, this takes up one of those precious personnel spots by the video board operator.

Can you tell me exactly why it’s necessary to run the board?  Is it simply for a ‘look’ on television or an attempt at normalcy in this very strange year?

A very silly question I know … probably not worth answering, but I’ve wondered about it all year now. From Boog Robinson Robinson via email.

A: Ken, it’s not such a silly question. Teams are encouraged to limit employees in the stadium, and the Orioles are using only about a third of their normal production personnel for each home game.

The stats are there for both the players and the media. Playing walkup songs and videos do help create more of a sense of normalcy at the ballpark, but there’s no between-innings entertainment on the scoreboard as in the past.

One thing that’s missing is the out-of-town scoreboard. For the year, it’s been replaced by static ads for the Social Security Administration and another for a credit union.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    September 7, 2020 at 8:10 am

    Nice job with questions Rich, personally, I’d like to see cardboard fans in the stands, maybe a vendor or three, I definitely would have paid to be one…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 8:13 am

      Ray, I think the Orioles should be applauded for not succumbing to the idea of cardboard fans. I think it looks cheesy. I hate the NBA’s virtual fans in Orlando. It’s OK to admit there aren’t fans there,

      • Birdman

        September 7, 2020 at 8:49 am

        Rich, on the subject of cardboard fans, my two cents … agree with you that the NBA’s virtual fans, with animated cheering and arm waving, are distracting and look cheesy … however, I do find the simple (unanimated) cardboard fans in MLB parks to be a fun touch, especially Ben Franklin behind home plate in Philadelphia.

      • VICTORTEE

        September 7, 2020 at 9:10 am

        You are a GRINCH. Let people have fun with the cardboard fans and virtual fans. I think it is funny when a home run knocks down a cardboard fan. One earlier this year (on a Braves game I think) knocked down a cardboard dog and the announcers were talking about it.

        • VegasOriole

          September 7, 2020 at 9:19 am

          Rich, any chance we see Rylan Bannon this year?.

    • CalsPals

      September 7, 2020 at 8:30 am

      I like cheese, haven’t watch an NBA game, care nothing about the NBA though, I’ve seen plenty of MLB parks with them though…go O’s…

      • VICTORTEE

        September 7, 2020 at 9:13 am

        I am a baseball fan and an NBA fan and I care nothing about you and your pal Cal (baseball’s biggest self promoter.)

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 9:22 am

      Vic, if you follow me on Twitter, you’d know that I had fun with the cardboard fans in Philadelphia last month. I had a picture of them sitting in left field and wrote that Phillies fans had a bad reputation, but they sat without complaint through a long rain delay and didn’t boo when the Orioles swept the Phillies.

      Happy Labor Day,

      Your friendly Grinch

    • CalsPals

      September 7, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Losertee, likewise…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        September 7, 2020 at 2:15 pm

        Pal – It’s nice to see you making friends everywhere you go! And please keep your only friends made of cardboard with you at home and don’t bring them to Camden yards. No one wants to see that. And just because you need a breadcrumb trail, this was a satirical comment and a bit of sarcasm for your benefit.

    • CalsPals

      September 8, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      Onesy, why do you poke the bear, go back to momma, surely you need help…go O’s…

  2. Baltimore Castaway

    September 7, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Have to say that this was an encouraging weekend against the Yankees. Their fans have become accustomed to “automatic wins” against Baltimore…and sure that Boone and Cashman are hearing from their disgruntled fans..

    From reading all the Q and A’s in your post, it does seem like the core of the rebuild is coming along well. Still think they should have taken Asa Lacy, but I’m not the GM. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Heston Kjerstad turns out to be the real deal as a strong all-around corner OF’er for years to come.

    Please keep up the great writing and analysis Rich!

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 8:23 am

      Thank you, castaway.

  3. PrayinForReign

    September 7, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I remember when a band used to play between innings at Memorial Stadium. Once saw Gus Triandos hit a home run into a tuba in right-center. Now that was entertainment for a young Orioles fan…

  4. DevoTion

    September 7, 2020 at 9:46 am

    Where is Chris Davis? I haven’t heard anything about him lately, I am glad he’s not playing and others are getting experience, I just want to know where he is!

    • CalsPals

      September 7, 2020 at 9:54 am

      I believe he is eligible to come off the IR, hopefully he stays right where he is…go O’s…

    • AZ ORIOLES Fan

      September 7, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      I think he is eligible but when he went on the IL Brandon’s statement of he could be out longer was indicative of the future. While Chris seems like a good guy can’t help but feel he may need to move into coaching. He appeared to be late consistently on average fastballs

  5. Bhoffman1

    September 7, 2020 at 9:56 am

    Thanks for your insightful answers Rich. The Orioles scheduled is brutal the rest of the year possibly toughest in baseball. Let’s see how they handle it.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 10:08 am

      Thank you, Bruce.

  6. Orial

    September 7, 2020 at 10:19 am

    On this Labor Day morning I want to thank you Rich for all the “labor” you’ve put into this column(yeah I still like calling them columns). The questions covered it all for me. It actuality feels good to be an O’s fan once again. The long departed Dan Duquette deserves a lot of credit for what we’re seeing now. The problem with Dan is that he didn’t have the means to build a strong farm system until he gutted the big club. Now Elias’ goal should be the Tampa model—good big league team coinciding with an A1 minor league system. Now THAT is the real challenge.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 10:23 am

      Columns is fine with me. Thank you, Orial.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 7, 2020 at 1:42 pm

      As most around here know, I agree about Duquette.

  7. CGarcia

    September 7, 2020 at 10:45 am

    Rich, where do you see the current college draftees going next year? Delmarva or Frederick. As you know, prior year draftees are not playing this year and the front office needs to stagger them. I hate the idea that Henderson and Hernaiz heading to Aberdeen as a result.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 7, 2020 at 11:25 am

      CG, the minor leagues could be totally restructured for next year and a team is likely to be eliminated, so it’s far too early to speculate on that one.

  8. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 7, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Rich … thanks so much for answering my silly question. It never occurred to me that the press would use the video board.

  9. dlgruber1

    September 7, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    With 20 games to go in the season did any of us think the O’s would be 2 games out of wild card spot? I sure didn’t.

    • BirdsCaps

      September 7, 2020 at 9:56 pm

      Only good thing about this bleeped up yr!

  10. Jbigle1

    September 8, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Lowther is being slept on. He doesn’t have the dominant stuff but he has a funky release point and keeps hitters off balance. I love Baumann but I think he’s more likely to be a reliever than a guy like Lowther. Baumann has the ability to be a wipe out reliever if starting doesn’t work out though.

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