Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 2 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 2

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It’s time for Part 2 of our monthly mailbag. Questions may be edited for style, clarity and length.

Question: Adley Rutschman is having a great year. The one thing I notice is his throws to second on steals seem to be more to the shortstop side of the bag. What are his stats and success rate?  Of course, many successful steals are on the pitcher. From: Lyle Diamond via email

Answer: Lyle, Rutschman has thrown out nine of 43 runners attempting to steal this season, a 21 percent success rate. The league average for a catcher is 22 percent.

Question: Has the Warehouse ever been hit on the fly during batting practice? From: Vic Matusak via email

Answer: Vic, I’ve never heard of a ball actually hitting the Warehouse on a fly during batting practice. After Gunnar Henderson hit his long home run earlier this month, I asked him if he ever had and he reminded me how difficult it would be because batting practice pitches are much slower than they are during a game.

Question: The popular opinion is the Orioles will make a trade at the deadline to add a top-of-the rotation starter. Which starting pitchers could be available that are a significant upgrade over the O’s current starters? From: Greg Fuchs via email

Answer: Greg, that’s a popular question that was also asked by Richard Poffel and Bill B., who also specifically asked about the chances of acquiring Dylan Cease and Eduardo Rodriguez

I’m sure I’ll be answering this question in next month’s mailbag, too, and I think I’ll have a better idea of what the market may look like. With six weeks until the trade deadline, there are only a handful of clubs — Colorado, Kansas City, Oakland and Washington — that are so far out of the race that you could confidently say they’ll be sellers.

The Mets and Padres have large payrolls and disappointing records, and if they’re far out of the race six weeks from now, they’ll probably start dumping players, too. There are several teams in the AL Central and NL Central that have poor records but aren’t far out of playoff contention. They include the White Sox, Tigers and Cardinals. The White Sox have Cease, the Tigers have Rodriguez and the Cardinals have Jack Flaherty.

Cease would have the highest price tag, because he has 2 ½ seasons before free agency. Rodriguez is signed through 2026 and has more than $50 million remaining on his contract, and he has an opt-out after this season, complicating things. St. Louis is in last place, and if they’re still there in a few weeks, Flaherty, who’s a free agent after the season, could be a target of several contending clubs.

I think Mike Elias’ preference is to target players who are under club control after this season but a rental might be more feasible.

Question: How is Cedric Mullins coming along? From: Dave Gruber via email

Answer: Dave, I may have a better answer later in the day. Mullins, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right groin, has been working out in Sarasota and it’s possible we could see him at Tropicana Field on Tuesday and get a chance to ask him.

No timeline was given when he was injured on Memorial Day, but the four-to-six week time frame was tossed around. Three weeks have passed, and we’ve been told he’s been running and hitting and improving.

Question: Has anyone ever thrown three pitches and gotten three outs? From: Russell Vriezen via email

Answer: Russell, according to Baseball Almanac, there have 85 instances of an American League pitcher and 113 of a National League pitcher getting three outs on three pitches. Tommy Hunter was the most recent Oriole to do it on June 29th, 2014.

Question: Why does Brandon Hyde refuse to bunt when there is someone on second with no outs. It is maddening to see how many times this happens, and that player fails to score. The very few times I’ve seen a player bunt it is a failure. Do the analytics really suggest bunting the player to third is a poor call? From: Troy Kaster via email

Answer: Troy, analytics do suggest that bunting is a poor call. The Orioles have 10 successful sacrifices this season, which is the seventh-highest in baseball. The team with the most sacrifices is Oakland with 16, and they have the worst record in baseball. Atlanta hasn’t had a sacrifice all season, and they have the best record in the National League.

Question: How does free agency come into play with current Orioles at the trade deadline? Which Orioles are close to free agency? From: Carl Sallese via email

Answer: Carl, the players who are scheduled to be free agents after this season are second baseman Adam Frazier and starting pitcher Kyle Gibson. Relief pitcher Mychal Givens has a $2 million buyout. For the moment, I don’t think the Orioles are interested in dealing Frazier or Gibson, but I think they could acquire players from non-contending teams at the deadline who are eligible for free agency at the end of the season.

Question: What’s the status of Grayson Rodriguez? How’s he doing at Norfolk? From: William King via email

Answer: William, Rodriguez is 3-0 with a 2.86 earned-run average in four starts at Norfolk. I doubt that he’ll spend much more time there.

Question: What’s the story on left-handed pitcher Drew Rom? Is he going to come up and get a real chance? From: Brian via email

Answer: Brian, I think the Orioles view Rom as a prospect, but Rodriguez is ahead of him. Rom is 5-4 with a 4.64 ERA at Norfolk. Fortunately, the Orioles haven’t needed to make many moves with their starters, If multiple starters are injured, then I think Rom could get a chance. He also could get a call if they need a left-handed long reliever. He was called up for a few days earlier this season but didn’t get into a game.

Question: Do you think the Orioles will add a veteran starter and hitter who isn’t real expensive at the trade deadline? From: Mark Cooper via email

Answer: Mark, I think the Orioles will add a veteran starter, and I think they’ll add another reliever or two and may add another bat, though the recent success of Aaron Hicks and Ryan O’Hearn may make that unnecessary.

Question: Being an out of towner, could you provide some insight on the potential development between Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium? I heard there was some talk that it could potentially be modeled after The Battery in Atlanta, which would certainly add to the game-day atmosphere at both stadiums. I’m assuming that a parking structure would need to be a component? From: Clint Lingenfelder, Charleston, South Carolina
Answer: Clint, I’m not sure about a parking structure, but the Ravens are adding a parking garage as part of their improvements.

The main difference between The Battery development and Camden Yards is that the Battery and Truist Park were built concurrently. Whatever development is done between the stadiums has to fit around them, and I’m sure it will be smaller.

St. Louis has a Ballpark Village that was added after Busch Stadium was opened, and it’s smaller than The Battery. There are many possibilities for the land between the ballpark, and though I’ve heard lots of speculation about what might be built there, I’m eager to hear the details.

Question: I notice how the O’s pitchers are using more breaking and off -speed pitches effectively the last two years. Is this maturity or by design? And are the pitching coaches at the minor and major leagues coordinating their development plans? From: Dorsey Stell via email

Answer: Dorsey, the Orioles have coordinated development of both their minor league pitching and hitting instruction, and I think it’s paid off at both the major league and minor league levels.

Dick Hall dies: Longtime Orioles reliever Dick Hall died on Sunday at 92, the club announced.

Hall, who spent nine of his 16 seasons with the Orioles (1961-1967, 1969-1971), was 65-40 with a 2.89 ERA with 60 saves in 342 games. He struck out nearly four times as many batters as he walked (499/126) and allowed only 1.5 home runs per nine inning.

Hall pitched in five postseason games without allowing a run. He was elected to the team’s Hall of Fame in 1989.

After his playing career, he was a certified public accountant and lived in Timonium.

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