Brocail thinks Orioles can contend next year; Hyde compares Orioles and Rays -

Rich Dubroff

Brocail thinks Orioles can contend next year; Hyde compares Orioles and Rays

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

BALTIMORE—In less than three weeks, the Orioles’ starting staff has been remade. Gone are Wade LeBlanc, Tommy Milone and Asher Wojciechowski. In their place are Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Jorge López and Bruce Zimmermann.

The Orioles have been energized by the arrivals of Akin, Kremer and Zimmermann from their farm system and, most recently, the alternate site at Bowie.

“You want them to get the work they need to get in,” pitching coach Doug Brocail said in a video conference call on Friday. “As much as I would like [bullpen coach Darren Holmes] and I to have them up here, you need those guys to grow, and I think down there, suffering through what they’ve had to go through, it’s not baseball, it’s work, work, work, work, work.

“I love having the new blood up here, man. These kids have stepped in. If you look at the first two guys that stepped in, Kremer and Aik, they go about their work, they talk pitching like they’ve been here and done it. Nothing bothers either of them. I don’t have to go out to the mound, and say, ‘Hey, listen, your frustrations are leading to anxiety. Listen.’

“I go out there. They know exactly what they want to do, they know how they want to attack. They tell me instead … These guys have been great coming up here.”

It has made Brocail’s job more enjoyable.

“This group of the three that has come up has really brought new blood in. It’s great to see, and it’s awesome working with them. These guys know what they’re good at, and they’re not afraid of taking that to the hitter.”

Brocail is optimistic that the staff can turn the team into a contender in 2021.

“I don’t see why they can’t,” Brocail said. “The sky’s the limit, especially for the young guys.”


With the attention on Akin, Kremer and Zimmermann, López has been overlooked. On Monday night, he became the first Orioles starter to throw seven innings this season in the team’s 14-1 win over Atlanta. He’ll start against Tampa Bay on Saturday night.

López was a waiver claim on August 9th from Kansas City.

“This is a guy, when we looked at it, we knew immediately what we wanted to do. We wanted to get the noise out of his delivery, and see what was going to happen. See if he could throw more strikes with the fastball, thrown more strikes with the sinker and see if his offspeed played because of the direction, and he’s proved it.”

Brocail and Holmes also have helped John Means regain the effectiveness he had last season when he made the All-Star team by making mechanical adjustments that have restored command of his fastball.

“These five or six guys, if we can hold their [walks] down, we’ll have a chance to contend, yes. We’ve also proved that your Dean [Kremers], your Akins can throw against the Yankees. John Means, we know can throw against the Yankees.

“This is a tough team that we’re playing here tonight,” Brocail said, referring to the Rays. “You look out there and see how well they move and the plays that they make, the speed that they have and what they can do with the sticks, we’re where they were a couple of years ago. I think if we can get these guys to buy in and believe what they’re good at, and do it a bunch, we’re going to be right there.”

Hyde on Rays: In his two years as Orioles manager, manager Brandon Hyde has had to answer questions about his team’s inability to beat the New York Yankees.

But this weekend’s opponent, the Tampa Bay Rays, might be a more realistic measuring stick for the Orioles. Entering Friday’s game, the Rays lead the Yankees by 3 ½ games in the American League East.

“I think organizations go in cycles, and we’re in Year 2 of this,” Hyde said. “This is a tough division, and this is a tough division to do what we’re doing with playing a lot of young players, acquiring players, getting guys off waivers that are playing.

“I feel really good about what we’ve done here in the past couple of years. I feel excited about the young players that have come, and that’s what’s been exciting, especially these last few weeks even though our record hasn’t been very good.

“We’re seeing a youth movement on our team, and you can look to the future and see what we could look like in a couple of years. I just think we’re taking our lumps right now, but we’re playing excellent baseball teams.”

Hyde pointed out that in the last week the Orioles have faced New York’s Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka, Atlanta’s Cole Hamels and Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow.

“We’re facing Numbers 1’s across the board a lot,” he said. “We’re competing. This Rays team, this is a great pitching staff, an extremely balanced lineup that has a little bit of power, they’re athletic, they have moveable pieces that can play all over the place. It’s a well put together roster that is challenging … because it’s hard to score runs.

“We play a lot of close games against them. I feel good about that. I’d love to start winning some of them … Hopefully, we turn that around and we’re on the other side of those games in the next couple of years.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. cedar

    September 18, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    With the teams only playing their AL and NL divisional opponents we knew this was going to be a tough schedule for the O’s. There has been real progress this year and most of it coming from the young players who we hope are building the future. I think it’s already been a successful year and agree that this team can at least make noise next year and no longer be the doormat of the AL East.

    • OriolesNumber1Fan

      September 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm

      I agree it’s been a successful year because of all the growth of the young players and pitchers!!! And it’s not because of wins and losses! The wins will come soon enough, hopefully next year. Rumor has it, the Commish is pushing for the same playoff format going forward. So, with all the other young players Mike Elias got in trades as well, there’s no reason why they couldn’t continue to develop and compete for playoff spot next year. I just hope Mike makes it priority 1 for next year to go and get a true proven closer over the winter! There’s nothing more demoralizing for a young staff that’s pitching well and in line to get a win than having it blown up in the ninth inning.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 18, 2020 at 9:15 pm

        Yeah don’t pay attention to the wins and losses. Everybody gets a trophy right? And now everybody gets into the playoffs.

        Horsepucky. Let’s make baseball great again.

    • cedar

      September 19, 2020 at 6:58 am

      I’m not a fan of the new playoff format. I’d rather see teams earn their way in as opposed to only the bottom tier not making the playoffs. Maybe I’ll change my mind once the games start.

      I’m more curious what the O’s record might have been if they were playing in the AL Central or West or evening if the 60 game season included those divisions.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 18, 2020 at 7:24 pm

    I don’t see why we can’t dream of the playoffs next year. IF the young pitchers can hold up. Of course it would be nice to find an answer for 3rd.

    • spwagner44

      September 19, 2020 at 7:13 am

      It’s 162 next year, not 55-60 games! We are in no position to confidently or seriously think about playoffs or championship ! We are not set in pitching, not set at 3B, 1B, SS, or catchers are not “ great “, or closers for 8& 9th are not established? “ NO “.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 19, 2020 at 8:39 am

        I kind of disagree that we’re not set at SS and 1B. I think we’re solid at both spots, especially if Mancini comes back and plays like he has in the past. If not, I have no problem putting Ryan Mountcastle there.

    • CalsPals

      September 19, 2020 at 7:32 am

      Unfortunately they had an answer at third in this yrs draft (maybe) & mucked it all up by picking another outfielder, hopefully he doesn’t come back to haunt us w/the Bluejays…go O’s…

    • cedar

      September 19, 2020 at 12:08 pm

      I agree with Boog – 1st (Mountcastle or Mancini) and SS (if they don’t trade Iglesias) are set, the bullpen is good, the starting pitching has potential, as well as a good bench depending on which OFers are sitting out a particular game.

  3. Orial

    September 19, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Brocail’s optimism for next year is admirable but with maybe extended playoffs(which I abhor) ya never know. Young impressive starters and young impressive relievers. Solid core of young OFers in place. That leaves the two “sour notes””–the IF and mental mistakes. Alberto and Severino disappearing offensively raises red flags for going forward. So yes I love Brocail’s optimism but pump the breaks a little.

  4. Tileman

    September 19, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Well I guess it’s official….. coaches talking about the “youth movement” may be code for CD not coming back.

  5. 33d St

    September 19, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Brocail seems to be having a good effect on these pitchers. Last year he complained they weren’t aggressive enough about pitching inside. This year it seems a good number have increased their velocity and/or improved noticeably with certain pitches.

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