What’s happening? – Orioles manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t have a set plan for monitoring the innings of young starters Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer. Akin made six starts last season, and Kremer made four.
“Right now, we’re not giving them any sort of limit, we’re not talking about limiting them in any way,” Hyde said on Friday. “I think we’re going to see how the season progresses and we’ll have conversations, but that’s down the road. Right now I just want them to get ready for the season, focus on breaking camp healthy, focusing on improving every single day.
“They’ve only been in the big leagues for a month. It was a great experience for both of them, and now it’s about making this club and being a part of the rotation and just trying to continue to improve. As the innings and those type of things come along during the summer, those are issues that we’ll talk about and discuss, but nothing that we’ve communicated with the player or really talked about from a strict innings limit, etc.”
Hyde shared first impressions of the Orioles’ two Rule 5 picks, right-handers Tyler Wells (6 feet 8) and Mac Sceroler (6-3).
“I like their arms,” Hyde said. “They’re big, physical guys. Wells … he’s a big boy. It’s downhill … and big body with a great arm. We’re going to take a long look at him.”
Sceroler is the nephew of Orioles broadcaster and former pitcher Ben McDonald.
“He’s bigger in person to me than I saw on film in a good way,” Hyde said. “I really liked his arm, also, his pitch mix. He’s going to be a strike-thrower. It’s two really interesting arms that we’re really going to get a long look at this spring.”
What’s happened?—Pitcher Matt Harvey was on the field on Friday, wearing No. 32.
Hyde said another position player had reported, third baseman Rio Ruiz.
One player he hasn’t seen much is catcher Adley Rutschman, the overall No. 1 pick in 2019.
Rutschman is one of eight players currently at the Twin Lakes minor league complex. Because of social distancing requirements, not all of the 73 players invited to spring training can be at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida.
The other players at Twin Lakes are catcher Maverick Handley and right-handed pitchers Cody Carroll, Jay Flaa, Mickey Jannis, Dusten Knight, Konner Wade and Spenser Watkins.
What’s up with? Dean Kremer says that the short season didn’t change what he did after the season ended.
“It didn’t really affect anything that I did during the offseason,” Kremer said.
“It was a similar buildup. I went through my various phases throughout the whole offseason. That’s one of the last things I’m going to think about. If they’re going to have strict limits, I think they’re also going to ask guys how they’re feeling and how they’re performing. I think there’s going to be a longer leash than maybe they seem to say, but I don’t know. I’m not the coach.”
What’s what? Hyde is weeks away from deciding on his Opening Day roster, but he knows that if he decides on 13 or 14 pitchers on his 26-man roster, he’ll have just three or four bench players, one of whom must be a backup catcher.
“The more pitchers you have, the more versatility we’re going to need from our position players,” Hyde said. “We’re entering a season unlike any other that we’ve entered. The season was so short last year [60 games].
“There were so many question marks regarding pitchers’ pitch usage, how much pitchers are going to react to a six-month season after an interrupted season last year … Guys are going to be able to cover innings as well as versatility on the field, guys being able to play multiple positions because you might be pitcher-heavy on your roster [at] times during the season. Guys that can play multiple positions are always at a premium …”
What’s the word? “I’ve kind of had long hair with most of my post-high school life. It hasn’t been this long on a consistent basis. I’m from California. I’ve kind of got to look the part, flip flops and long hair and a necklace.”–Kremer on not getting his usual pre-spring training hair cut.
What’s the number? 178. Kremer led the minor leagues with 178 strikeouts in 2018. He had 114 for the Los Angeles Dodgers High-A Rancho Cucamonga, 11 for Double-A Tulsa and 53 for Bowie after he joined the Orioles’ organization in the Manny Machado trade in July 2018.