Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Orioles Start from Scratch

Friday, December 28th, 2018

The Orioles had a nice run in the AL east in the even numbered years from 2012 to 2016, winning the AL East once and capturing two wild card appearances. Most experts did not expect an Oriole playoff run in those years but they surprised using defense and power bats to make the playoffs. For the 2018 season the Orioles expected to make the playoffs. They finished with a franchise record number of losses instead.

Their farm systems have not been bad over the years, appearing in the top ten from 2008 to 2010 and also in 2014. Some of the players that graduated to the major leagues were Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta and from 2014 Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gaussman, Eduardo Rodriguez and Jonathan Schoop. Manny Machado made his Top100 appearance in 2011. Last year the Top 100 prospects from the Orioles were Ryan Mountcastle, Chance Sisco and Austin Hays. They later traded for the Dodgers Yusniel Diaz and the Brewers Luis Ortiz.

The outfield appears to be the Orioles strength. It starts with the Cuban Yusniel Diaz, who was one of the players the Orioles acquired for Manny Machado. The Dodgers signed him for $15.5 million in their multiple attempts to sign Cuban prospects for bucket loads of cash to build their farm system. Diaz struggled at Bowie and did not look like the super star that hit .314 at Tulsa. He seemed disinterested in playing out the season, or perhaps that is his style of play. It would be nice if someone could light a fire under him to get him motivated. He has the arm for right field and rumor has it that he has the bat, but myworld did not see much of it in 2019 at Bowie.

Austin Hays was one of the surprise prospects from 2017 who took a stumble last year. The third round 2016 pick slugged 33 homeruns in 2017 and was expected to win the right field job in 2018. A poor spring and injuries limited him to 75 games last year. He seemed to recover his batting stroke toward the end of the season last year and with an outfield absent of talent could make the Orioles roster in 2019. While he can play center he is built more for right, lacking the real burner speed to cover a lot of ground.

D.J. Stewart was a first round pick in 2015. Myworld thought he was a bust but he did get a major league promotion last year. His defense and arm limit him to left field but he has not shown the power or the consistent stroke to justify his poor glove. Last year he hit only .235 with 12 homeruns, slugging only .387. The Orioles must see something in him that escapes my eyes.

Ryan McKenna did an Austin Hays impression last year, coming out of nowhere as a 2015 fourth round pick to hit .377 with a .556 slugging in High A. Next year should prove whether that was a mirage. When promoted to Bowie the bat seemed light as he hit just .239 with a .338 slugging. He showed solid defense in center getting great jumps on balls, but like Hays and Diaz he lacks burner speed. It would be better if he could hit .377 to justify having him play center rather than .250 with just slightly above average centerfield capabilities.

Don’t know where Ryan Mountcastle will play on defense. Last year he played third but his lob throws to first will not hack it in the major leagues. His best position may be DH but a move to first, second or left field are in his future. Fortunately for Ryan he has the bat to stay in a lineup with a potential for 20 plus homeruns a year and hitting in the neighborhood of .300 or plus.

The Orioles have always had trouble keeping pitchers healthy to meet their full potential. Their first round pick in 2013 Hunter Harvey is exhibit A. The son of Bryan has had trouble staying healthy, plagued by arm problems that have limited him to just less than 20 innings from 2015 to 2017. Myworld witnessed his last start of his 2019 season where he got lit up for nine runs in just two innings. At least in 2018 he pitched 32 innings. Hunter still has the stuff with a fastball that can hit the mid-90s with a plus curveball. Whether he can avoid arm injuries is the million dollar question.

D.L. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez are the Orioles next shiny ornaments and the hope is to keep them healthy. Hall was drafted in the first round of the 2017 draft. The lefthander has a nice fastball that touches the mid-90s. Last year he finished with a 2.10 ERA in 20 starts with an opponent average of just .203. That is a big improvement over his 2017 struggles (6.97 ERA). Finding the strike zone will improve his numbers. Rodriguez is a big, burly righthander at 6′5″ with the potential to fill the top of a rotation. His fastball hits consistently in the low to mid-90s and his slider produces a lot of ground balls. In eight starts he finished with a 1.40 ERA, preventing any hitter from carrying a ball over the fence.

Luis Ortiz and Dillon Tate were trade acquisitions that were both first round picks by the Rangers. Tate was the fourth pick in 2015 and acquired from the Yankees for Zach Britton. The Yankees had acquired him from the Rangers for Carlos Beltran. Tate has fallen short of expectations for a fourth pick in the draft. Injuries have shortened a number of his seasons but he still has a hard fastball that hits the mid-90s with a plus slider and good command to fit in a rotation. He just needs to stay healthy for a full season. His seven starts at Bowie were disappointing with a 5.75 ERA and a .302 opposition average.

Ortiz was the star of the United States 18 and under team five years ago. The Orioles snagged him from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade. Conditioning has been his biggest challenge. His fastball is hard, hitting the mid-90s with a solid slider. He will not fill the box scores with strikeouts, giving up hard contact a little too often. Because he pitched at AAA last year he could fit in the Orioles rotation in 2019. Last year he made his major league debut and it was not pretty with a 15.43 ERA and a .500 opposition average in 2.1 innings.

Myworld likes Keegan Akin. The lefthander seemed to consistently hit 95 with his fastball and threw quality outings in most of his 25 starts. There was a lot of soft contact when he pitched (.225 opposition average) and a fair share of swings and misses. He will be a solid middle of the rotation starter.

The Australian Alex Wells was a big surprise. His brother pitches for the Twins. Alex does not have overpowering stuff but as a lefthander he commands his pitches well. He started out the season strong but faltered towards the end of the season, finishing with a 3.47 ERA and a .270 opposition average. His best bet is to be a situational lefty or pitch at the back end of a rotation.

Dean Kremer was another acquisition from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade. Myworld didn’t expect a lot from him being a 14th round pick in 2016, but he shined at Bowie, flashing above the mid-90s to produce a 2.58 ERA and .228 opposition average in eight starts. By mid 2019 he should be in the Orioles starting rotation.

With the worst record in baseball the Orioles used the first pick of the 2015 Rule V draft to select Richie Martin. The reports are that his glove work is not as stellar as it was when he was drafted in the first round by the Athletics in 2015, but at that time he failed to hit. Last year he found his bat hitting .300 with 25 stolen bases. Myworld expects him to compete for the starting shortstop job for the Orioles in 2019.

Myworld is not as high on shortstop Adam Hall, a second round pick in 2017. He did hit .293 last year at Aberdeen but there are questions about his bat. His speed allowed him to steal 22 bases but at best he is a number nine hitter who does not provide the spectacular defense to justify leaving his bat in the lineup. Perhaps with time that will change.

Orioles Still Working with that Confederate Money

Saturday, October 27th, 2018

When Syd Thrift was the general manager of the Orioles back in the early 2000s he had trouble signing free agents. He made the comment that these free agents were treating their offers “like we have Confederate money, it’s no good.” It was probably their futility in winning ball games that scared free agents away from Baltimore.

Cuban free agents are treating the Orioles international dollars as Confederate money now that Baltimore has chosen to compete in the international market. The Mesa brothers did not sign with them. And now Sandy Gaston a pitcher with a good fastball is another player who ignored the dollars the Orioles put in front of him, instead signing with the Rays for an estimated $2 million.

The Orioles now have an estimated $6 million in international cap money but there are no players out there for them to sign. All the top international players have already signed shortly after the July signing period with other major league teams. They had negotiated and agreed to many of those contracts prior to the Orioles even considering entering the international market place. In other words, the Orioles got into the market too late. They were hoping the six million would be enough to sign the Mesa brothers. It was not.

There is still Wang Po-Jung, the Taiwan superstar outfielder who is being posted by his team. The Orioles would be competing with the Japanese teams in addition to the major league teams for his service. And paying more than $2 million for him probably would not be wise. It’s not like the Orioles would be spending money given to them. It is still there money to spend that can be used elsewhere. But it is a market advantage that they will lose if they do not spend it.

The Orioles Lose Out to the Victors

Sunday, October 21st, 2018

There were two teams with the international bonus money competing for two Cuban prospects, Victor Victor Mesa and Victor Mesa Jr. They were the Orioles and the Marlins. The Marlins will have a press conference on Monday and it is expected that this press conference will announce the signings of the two Mesa brothers.

The Two Mesa brothers were considered to be a package duo, not unlike the Gurriel brothers when they defected from Cuba a couple years ago. The Mesa brothers are sons of a superstar in Cuban international baseball, who played for Cuba before there were defections, Victor Mesa, who also played with the father of the Gurriels, another superstar in Cuban baseball Lourdes Gurriel. They were dominant in winning international baseball events, but never really got the opportunity to play against major leaguers. Now their sons will get to show off their talents.

It may be too late for Yuli Gurriel, who shows he belongs in the major leagues but at 33 his time is short. His younger brother Lourdes looks to be a solid player. Now it will soon be the opportunity for the Mesa brothers to show off their skills.

Victor Victor Mesa is the oldest at 22 and the most talented of the two. It is rumored he will get a $5 million bonus. His younger brother Victor Mesa Jr. is only 17 and is not blessed with the skills of his older brother, but they could develop. He is expected to sign for a $1 million bonus. The father of the two couldn’t be prouder and now richer with their sons bonus money. You are not going to earn that amount of money playing baseball in Cuba.

Now that the Marlins have eaten up most of their international bonus money, the Orioles can focus on signing another Cuban prospect, Cuban righthanded pitcher Sandy Gaston. Gaston is a 6′0′ 17 year old with a fastball that can hit high 90s. The pitches are there but it will take him time to develop.

O’s End Miserable Season with Victory

Sunday, September 30th, 2018

It was a tale of two franchises going in different directions. The Orioles lost a franchise record 115 games. Even the hapless St. Louis Browns could not lose that many games, but they only played a 154 game season. The Astros won 103 games to finish with the most wins in their franchise history. They treated this game like an exhibition game, starting their stars (except Carlos Correa) but taking them out early. The Astros came out swinging, which cut the game time to two hours and 20 minutes. Three different Oriole pitchers limited the Astros to just one hit in their 4-0 win, scoring all four runs in the fourth inning.

Jimmy Yacabonis got the start for the Orioles, facing a bunch of Astro hitters anxious to get back home to prepare for the playoffs. Four of the first six hitters swung at the first pitch thrown by Yacabonis. The Astros got their first and only hit off him in the fourth inning, a line drive single by Jose Altuve into centerfield. Yacabonis hit two batters and walked one hitter in the third and fourth inning and was taken out after four. The Oriole relief corp of Paul Fry (three innings) and Mychal Givens pitched a perfect five innings of relief afterward.

The Astros started Charlie Morton, working him for three innings. He struck out four to pass the 200 mark for the season, the first time he has accomplished that feat in his career. He gave up one hit and walked one, both in the second inning.

The pitcher who gave up all the runs was Brad Peacock, who could retire only one of the six hitters he faced. Jonathan Villar, Tim Beckham and Renato Nunez rocketed doubles off him. Villar got such a big jump from second that he could have walked into third after the ball reached the catcher. Chris Devenski was able to contain the damage to four runs, retiring the last two hitters and stranding D.J. Stewart on third.

Game Notes: As they have been doing all weekend the Oriole fans gave Adam Jones a standing ovation with each at bat. In the top of the ninth Jones went out to play right field but after Mychal Givens threw his warm up pitches Joey Rickard came out to replace him, giving the fans another opportunity to give him a standing ovation. At the start of the game Jones ran out to his spot for the National Anthem and no teammates followed him. The crowd again gave him a standing ovation. All the standing O’s seemed a bit too much, but Jones was a franchise changer, responsible for putting the O’s back in the playoffs when no one thought they had a chance…Jones got to start the game in centerfield but then moved to right field in the second inning. Jones finished the day 0 for 4…Jose Altuve fell short of 200 hits, the last time that happened was in 2013. A long stint on the disabled list prevented him from reaching that goal for a fifth consecutive season…The 200 strikeouts by Morton put him with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole as three Astro starting pitchers with 200 or more strikeouts. The last time that happened was in 1969 when Larry Dierker, Don Wilson and Tom Griffin accomplished that feat.

Minor League All Stars - AL East

Wednesday, September 19th, 2018

Baseball America came out with their minor league All Stars for each class affiliation, i.e. AAA, AA, etc. This is a team by team breakdown of those players from the AL East who were selected as All Stars. It should be noted that some players do not play long enough in a league to be selected an All Star. Those teams that promote aggressively may lack All Star players.

Baltimore Orioles

Cedric Mullins OF (AA) - The Orioles are doing well with outfielders drafted in the later rounds. Last year it was Austin Hays (2016, 3rd round) receiving accolades. This year it is Cedric, drafted in the 13th round in 2015. He has the tools to hit for some pop and the speed to steal bases and cover ground in center. A smallish frame (5′8″) throw some doubts on him, but those same doubts followed Jose Altuve when he was in the minor leagues. Cedric is having some success against major league pitching, but he may never be an elite major league player. His defense and bat will allow him to be a middle of the pack centerfielder.

Ryan McKenna OF (High A) - A superb defensive player drafted in the fourth round in 2015. He tore through Frederick (.377) but struggled in Bowie (.239). His power will not be there to play the corners so centerfield is his best bet. His arm is stronger than Mullins so if anyone will move to left it will be Mullins.

D.L. Hall LHSP (Low A) - The Orioles first round 2017 pick took a lot of losses but pitch counts prevented him from going five innings to pick up a lot of wins. His fastball sits in the low 90s but can hit the mid 90s. As he matures that fastball should carry more zip, which is good for a lefty. The opposition only hit .203 against him and he whiffed more than innings pitched, which is something you want to see in the low minors.

Boston Red Sox

Bobby Dalbec 3B (High A) - There are questions whether the 2016 fourth round pick will stay at third. He does not run well but he has the quickness that may allow him to stick at third. What he has that many teams covet is raw power, the kind of power that consistently give you 30 plus homeruns per year. Like most sluggers that raw power comes with a lot of swings and misses.

Denyi Reyes RHSP (Low A) - At the lower levels pitchers with good breaking pitchers can dominate. His fastball is a little pedestrian, but at 6′4″ the Sox hope it will pick up in velocity as he matures. The numbers were good (1.97 ERA and .210 opposition average), but time will tell if he can continue that success as he pitches at the higher levels.

Jarren Duran 2B (SS) - The seventh round 2018 pick is lighting it up in short season ball with a .348 average. Even a promotion to Low A did not slow him down where he hit .367. What was amazing about his short season performance was his 10 triples in 37 games. His college numbers at Long Beach state sat below .300 so we will see if he can replicate those kind of numbers next year.

New York Yankees

Juan De Paula RHSP (SS) - The Dominican was one of the players traded to the Giants for Andrew McCutchen. De Paula originally signed with the Mariners and was part of the trade to the Yankees for Ben Gamel. Not a lot of stuff but was able to limit the opposition to a .207 average in the New York Penn league with a 1.71 ERA. His fastball sits in the low 90s.

Antonio Cabello OF (Rookie) - The Yankees used $1.35 million of their bonus to sign the Venezuelan. He rewarded them with a decent power year, slugging .522 at the rookie levels. Despite the power, speed is his best tool, which will allow him to play center. If center does not work his arm is not good enough for right so this will force a move to left. Bat speed and power could make him a special player.

Luis Gil SP (Rookie) - The Yankees are developing a number of hard throwers who hit triple digits with their fastball. This Dominican is just another one of those players, though he was signed by the Twins and acquired by the Yankees in the Jake Cave trade. As with many hard throwers who stand 6′3″ finding the plate is a challenge. Opponents hit only .190 against him but walks brought his WHIP up to 1.37.

Angel Rojas 2B (Dominican) - The Dominican hit nine triples with a .285 average. He did commit 26 errors, 11 at second base and 15 at short in just 50 games so his defense needs a lot of work.

Tampa Bay Rays

Brandon Lowe 2B (AAA) - The third round 2015 pick swung a decent power bat in AA and AAA slugging 22 homeruns in the minor leagues and adding an additional five in the major leagues. Lacks speed to show range at short and arm is just above average. His offense will keep him on the big league roster.

Colin Poche LHRP (AAA) - A 14th round pick of the Diamondbacks in 2016, the lefthanded reliever limited offenses to a .151 average against and a 0.82 ERA despite minimal stuff. He was part of the package for Stephen Souza. He also had 110 whiffs in 66 innings. With a low 90s fastball and slider he must do something right to fool hitters.

Nate Lowe 1B (AA) - A 13th round pick in the 2016 draft has shown some pop rising three levels with 27 homeruns. He has also hit for average with a .330 average at three levels. A lack of foot speed will prevent a move to the outfield. Nate makes good contact for a power hitter.

Ronaldo Hernandez C (Low A) - The Colombian has a solid arm to shut down base stealers. This year he broke out with the bat for a .284 average and 24 homeruns. The Rays converted him from infielder to catcher after he signed a contract with them.

Vidal Brujan 2B (Low A) - The speedy Dominican signed with the Rays in 2017 for a bargain basement price of $15,000. There is very little power from his bat.

Moises Gomez OF (Low A) - His first year in a full season league was a success with 19 homeruns. He also peppered the gaps with 34 doubles and 9 triples. Last year his defense was limited to left field.

Simon Rosenblum RHRP (SS) - A 19th round pick in the 2018 draft out of Harvard strung together 8 saves in 9 opportunities. He limited the opposition to a .150 average with 62 whiffs in 38.2 innings.

Wander Franco SS (Rookie) - Myworld debated including him in our top shortstop list a couple months ago. The rookie leagues had not started yet so he was not considered. Shame on us. He is raking in rookie ball. Franco has all the tools to be a superstar, with the ability to hit for power and average with a strong arm for right field if center field does not pan out.

Jordan Qsar OF (Rookie) - Drafted in the 25th round of the 2018 draft Qsar showed his pop with 14 homeruns in 62 games. His 1.142 OPS in rookie ball earned him a promotion to the New York Penn League.

Matthew Liberatore LHSP (Rookie) - The first round 2018 pick stands 6′5″. He has all the requisite pitches to stay in the starting rotation, with a fastball that can hit a tick above 95. Matthew has good command for a pitcher his height. In nine starts he finished with a 1.38 ERA with a .189 opposition average.

Toronto Blue Jays

Danny Jansen C (AAA) - The 16th round pick in 2013 is more an offensive catcher with good defensive tools. Last year he hit .275 with 12 homeruns at AAA before being promoted to the major leagues. He seems to be holding his own there and could be the Blue Jays starting catcher next year as they look to rebuild.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr 3B (AA) - The minor league player of the year hit .381 with 20 homeruns in 95 games. Large in frame at 6′1″ and 200 pounds, some felt he would not move quick enough to stay at third. This year he handled the position well defensively so the only issue preventing him from playing for the Blue Jays next year is service time.

Travis Bergen LHRP (AA) - Not a big time prospect but he lit it up in AA with a 0.50 ERA in 27 appearances. Lefthanders get long looks in the minor leagues.

Patrick Murphy RHSP (High A) - At 6′4″ the third round 2013 pick had a solid season leading the Florida State League with 135 whiffs. A 2.65 ERA shows he could be ready for the Blue Jays rotation sometime by mid-season in 2019.

Eric Pardinho RHSP (Rookie) - The Brazilian is small in stature for a right handed pitcher at 5′10 but he does reach the mid-90s with his fastball. His curveball may be his best pitch, which will get a lot of swings and misses at the lower levels. Next year should see his debut at full season. Eventually he may have to move to the bullpen.

Mullins Leads O’s Over White Sox

Sunday, September 16th, 2018

Not a game a lot of people care about. The right field bleachers were virtually empty for this game. Myworld was there. O’s fans got a treat with prospect Cedric Mullins peppering his first four hit game of his major league career to lead the Orioles over the White Sox 8-4. He also showed off his defense with a diving catch in centerfield in the seventh inning. Myworld thinks Adam Jones was more excited about the catch than Cedric.

Ex-National Lucas Giolito got the start for the White Sox. The pale hose defense did not do him any favors. In the first inning they gave the Orioles six outs to score five runs. Cedric Mullins started the inning with a double. Joey Rickard laid down a bunt not that far from home plate. Wellington Castillo picked it up, saw Cedric was far off second, pumped and then threw to second but Mullins found the base ahead of the throw. Singles by Jonathan Villar and Adam Jones scored two. Jones stole second after Castillo had trouble handling the ball. D.J. Stewart grounded a ball weakly to Yoan Moncada at second and he chose to go home. The speedy Villar slid into home ahead of the throw for the third run. Renato Nunez hit a slow grounder to Matt Davidson, who booted the ball to score a fourth run. Breyvic Valeria made it five with a fly ball to right that scored Stewart. An ugly inning for Giolito and the White Sox.

The White Sox did whittle their way back off David Hess. Daniel Palka led off the second hitting one onto Eutaw street. In the fifth inning Yolmer Sanchez barely cleared the fence in center for a two run shot and one batter later Palka did it again with a solo shot to left field. That ended the day for Hess before he could go five to get the win.

Giolito did give up a titanic blast to Jonathan Villar that one hopped the brick wall on Eutaw street. His fastball seemed to drop after the first inning from 94 to 91-92, not the kind of velocity myworld remembers seeing from him when he was with the Nationals. The defense did play better for him after a missed popup by Jose Rondon in the second. In the second through fourth they turned three double plays. Giolito retired the last 7 O’s he faced to work six innings.

The Orioles got a solo shot from Adam Jones in the seventh. In the eighth Cedric Mullins delivered his fourth hit of the game to score the Orioles eighth run. They loaded the bases with one out in the eighth but Villar struck out and Jones flied to center.

David Hess did a good job of getting out of a first and third no out situation in the fourth. He struck out the side to end the threat. Perhaps he got a bit cocky after that, giving up the two homeruns in the fifth.

Game Notes: Good to see Boog Powell signing autographs at Boogs Barbecue Pit on Eutaw street. Myworld has not seen him for awhile, but perhaps Sunday games are not his thing…Peanuts at Camden sell for $4.75. At Nationals park they are $6, or maybe even $8. They are so high I don’t even consider buying them. Beer is also much cheaper at Camden…The Jonathan Villar homeruns was one of the longest at Camden Yards. There are not too many markers behind it on Eutaw street. Daniel Palka will also get a marker for his shot on Eutaw in the second inning…The shift with a runner on second does catch the third baseman napping. Yolmer Sanchez jogged into third with Renato Nunez playing the shortstop position and seeing Sanchez steal third too late to get to the bag…Chance Sisco had to leave the game after a foul ball hit off his mask. Daniel Palka also had to leave the game after he attempted to make a diving catch but his cleats got caught in the grass…Yoan Moncada struck out three times bringing his season total to a major league leading 201 whiffs. Unless he can tame his swings and misses he could end up being a disappointment for a number one prospect. He is still young. In total White Sox hitters struck out 14 times…D.J. Stewart appears to be over matched with major league pitching. He has yet to get a hit in 14 at bats. Today he struck out once and couldn’t get the ball out of the infield in his other three at bats.

A Big 0 for the O’s in 2018

Saturday, September 15th, 2018

The Orioles have played above themselves the last few years, not finishing below .500 since 2012. Most baseball experts picked them for last or next to last in the AL East in those years and they would surprise everyone by making the playoffs or hanging on until September. Except for this year. It is almost as if the baseball gods got even with them for all their surprise winning seasons and piled all the losses they should have had in previous years onto the 2018 season. At their current pace this will be a record season for the Orioles from a loss perspective (at 106 with their record at 107 in 1988).

So what went wrong with the Orioles in 2018? They signed two free agent starting pitchers to give them a solid five in the rotation. They had all their sluggers coming back. They had their closer returning. Or thought so. And of course Manny Machado was still on the team. What went wrong?

1) Defense. This was a franchise that always prided itself on defense. Not this year. The 2018 season saw one of the worst defensive teams take the field. Moving Manny Machado to short hurt the defense at two positions, short and third. Adam Jones lost a couple steps to turn into a below average centerfielder and having corners Mark Trumbo and Trey Mancini was a disaster in shagging down line drive hits. Singles turned to doubles and outs turned to singles. Baseball Reference ranked the Orioles defensive efficiency as last in the major leagues. Even when they got to the ball they made errors above league average. This lack of range did not help the pitching staff, which also found itself last in the league in ERA. The starting pitching and relief staff also gave up the most runs per nine innings than any of the other 29 major league teams.

2) The big bombers disappeared. Last year when the pitching was weak the Orioles bombed balls out of the park, their 232 homers fifth in the major leagues. This year, with the Chris Davis and Jonathan Scoop brown outs the homerun balls were less frequent. Even big bopper Mark Trumbo slowed down, though he was injured for much of the start of the year. The only consistent bopper was Manny Machado, but they traded him mid-season.

3) The Orioles signed two free agent pitchers in Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb to fill into their rotation with Dylan Bundy, Kevin Guasman and Chris Tillman. Chris Tillman had an awful 2017 but the O’s were hoping for a return to his 2016 performance. It did not happen. In baseball you need more than five starters because of injuries. When Tillman did not work out (10.46 ERA in 7 starts) there was no pitcher to fill in behind him. Cobb also pitched poorly at the start of the season having no spring training. The two number one picks Bundy and Guasman have faltered to mid rotation starters, with Dylan Bundy giving the O’s one bad outing for every good outing. The pitchers they tried to fit in the fifth spot in the rotation after Tillman was released all had ERAs above 5. It was an ugly year for starting pitching.

4) Zack Britton missed the start of the season. That put a lot of pressure on the bullpen. When your starting pitchers are giving up runs in bunches there are not a lot of save opportunities, but Brad Brach and Mychal Givens struggled in the role when given the shot, each with an ERA north of 4. No relief staff has given up more runs per nine innings than the Orioles. It was also an ugly year for relief pitching.

5) The Orioles were hoping Austin Hays would take over the right field spot, putting Trumbo at the DH spot. Both Hays and Trumbo got injured and the Orioles started the season with no real DH or right fielder. Pedro Alvarez failed as a DH and a convention of players were tried in right field with little success. Hays never got past AA and Trumbo with his iron glove had to eventually see a lot of time in right field.

6) The farm system is still weak. While it brought the Orioles Tanner Scott and a number of other ineffective starters and relievers it did not provide any position players. The holes were filled by other teams minor league free agents or waived players. Cedric Mullins has shown some promise in centerfield, but long term success is not a certainty. The major leagues is filled with the names of September superstars who were never heard from the next year, i.e. Austin Hays. While the farm system is better it is still at the bottom of the league and lacks depth. Having the worst record in baseball will give the Orioles the first pick in the draft next year, but they may have to do a search next year for a new GM to lead the strategy for that draft. Both Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter have expiring contracts and will likely not be part of the Orioles in 2019.

So the news is not good for Orioles fans. Last in defense, starting pitching, relief pitching and the American League. At one time they used to say that about the Senators. Now the bumbling play has moved north.

Yankees Sweep Orioles

Tuesday, August 28th, 2018

Not a big crowd at the Yankee game. Moving the game from 1:00 PM to 8:PM may have prevented Yankee fans coming from New York by train to come to the game when they have to go to work the next day. Despite the small crowd of 17,000 the Yankee jerseys still seemed to outnumber the Oriole jerseys. It has been a long season for Oriole fans.

Another so so outing from Dylan Bundy. The former number one pick looks at best to be a number three starter. His fastball did hit 93 but he still got tagged for some early runs. Luke Voight launched Bundy for a two run homerun in the third. For Voight it was his third homerun of the year, all of them against the Orioles. The next inning Miguel Andujar ripped a line drive down the right field line for a two run double.

Luis Severino struggled with his command early in the game but still prevented the Orioles from scoring in the first four innings. The Orioles did load the bases with one out in the third on three singles, but Trey Mancini struck out and Adam Jones lifted a routine fly ball to right to end the threat. The next inning Severino struck out the side, his fastball hitting 97-98 on the radar.

In the fifth Severino walked Jace Peterson. Jace stole second when no middle infielder covered the bag and advanced to third on a ground out. Jonathon Villar hit a shallow fly ball to center. Peterson tagged and was fortunate Bret Gardner made a weak throw home that was off line and bounced four or five times before it reached home plate.

The Yankees scored again in the top of the sixth. Oriole killer Luke Voight hit a one out single off Cody Carroll. A walk moved him to second and on a flyout to right Luke tagged and reached third. This proved fortunate when Carroll bounced a pitch in the dirt that scooted past Caleb Joseph for a wild pitch that easily scored Luke. Without that tag up he may not have scored.

The Orioles tried to make a game of it in the sixth. Trey Mancini led off the inning with a homerun, depositing a pitch to the deepest part of the park in center field. After Severino retired the next two hitters Tim Beckham hit a slow grounder to Gleyber Torres, whose throw pulled Voight off the base. Chad Green replaced Severino. He gave up back to back singles to Renato Nunez and Jace Peterson to score one and cut the lead to 5-3. Green was able to strike out Caleb Joseph to keep the lead.

The Orioles threatened off Green in the seventh. Craig Gentry hit a one out single, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. With one out the Yankees called on ex-Oriole Zach Britton to protect the lead. Zach Britton struck out Mancini, the second time he struck out with a runner on third and less than two out. Adam Jones grounded out to second to end the inning.

Britton retired the side in order in the eighth, turning the ball over to David Robertson, filling the closer role in the absence of Aroldis Chapman. Robertson walked one but picked up his fourth save.

Game Notes: Normally the Yankees do not have the names of their players on the back of their jerseys This was nickname “Player” weekend so the players wore jerseys with their nickname on the back of their jersey…There was a tribute to honor the life of John McCain, who passed away Saturday. There was a large applause from the crowd in celebration of his life…Myworld has to admit the music at Camden Yards is much cooler than what they play at Nationals Park…This was the fifth time the Orioles have been swept in four game series this year…Dylan Bundy gave up his 34th homerun of the year to Luke Voight. That is one shy of the most homeruns given up by an Oriole pitcher in franchise history.

Red Sox Have K Sale for O’s

Sunday, August 12th, 2018

The Orioles had trouble making contact against Chris Sale. In his last inning of work, the fifth inning, he struck out the side to up his whiff total to 12. The Orioles were whiffing what he was serving. Sale struck out two or more hitters in each inning he pitched, hitting the radar gun at 99 miles per hour. The Red Sox went on to complete the four game sweep of the Orioles with a 4-1 win.

The Red Sox got on the scoreboard first against Alex Cobb in the opening frame. Ex-Oriole Steve Pearce deposited a pitch into the left field bleachers to give the Red Sox an early 1-0 lead.

Cobb pitched well. He went seven innings allowing just two runs, but only one earned run. The Red Sox scored another run in the fourth after a Brock Holt single and a bloop double into right field by J.D. Martinez. Holt appeared to stop at third but Adam Jones bobbled the pick up in right field and Holt broke for home just beating the throw. The run was ruled unearned after Mitch Moreland grounded to the pitcher and Eduardo Nunez grounded to short.

The Orioles could not figure out Chris Sale, but Matt Barnes was generous with his offerings in the eighth. Cedric Mullins beat out a high chopper to first base. Jonathan Villar singled to right and a walk to Adam Jones loaded the bases with just one out. Trey Mancini drove a ball deep enough to center to end the shutout. Tim Beckham struck out to end the threat, one of just 18 whiffs by Oriole hitters.

The Red Sox added a couple insurance runs in the ninth off Mychal Givens, who was working his second inning. Eduardo Nunuz lined a single down the left field line. Jackie Bradley hit a two out single to set the stage for a Mookie Betts liner into right center that Adam Jones could not catch up to as the ball rolled to the wall. Two runs scored on the hit.

Kimbrel came on to pitch the ninth. He struggled with his command, giving up a walk and a bloop single to right. He was able to strike out the side, including the last two hitters to give the Red Sox the victory.

Game Notes: Chris Davis is back into his slump. He struck out all four times he hit, dropping his average below .160. The Orioles have alternatives for first base in Mark Trumbo or Trey Mancini, but they would like to see Chris Davis find his bat since they owe him $20 million plus for the next four years…Tyler Thornburg walked two and gave up a hit in the sixth, retiring only two hitters. Alex Cora called on Ryan Brasier to strikeout Trey Mancini to end the threat…Sandy Leon won again behind the plate. He has won 27 of the last 29 games he has started behind the plate…Cedric Mullins looks strong in centerfield while Jones looks uncomfortable in right…In his last seven starts Sale has an ERA of 0.20.

Bay Sox Blast Fisher Cats

Friday, August 10th, 2018

The Bay Sox blasted the Fisher Cats 13-6 on Tuesday night. You wouldn’t have thought by the score that two of the top ten pitchers in ERA in the Eastern League would be starting the game.

The Canadian Jordan Romano was lit up early. He gave up seven runs in the first two innings, but finished his outing with two shutout frames. Anderson Felix tagged him for a three run homer in the first inning. Felix would finish the night with six RBIs. The recently acquired Brett Cumberland led off the second inning with a solo blast into right field. He was acquired from the Braves in the Kevin Guasman deal. It was his first Bay Sox homerun.

Third baseman Jon Berti struggled in the field for the Fisher Cats. His two out error in the first allowed Felix to inflict his damage in the opening frame. Myworld put him down for two more errors, one in the three run fifth and another in the eighth that would have accounted for more unearned runs, but the scorer generously gave the Bay Sox players a hit.

Anderson Felix drove in two runs in the fifth on a single and one run in the eighth on a single. Both innings were started by a Berti boot that were ruled as hits. Aderlin Rodriguez blasted a solo shot in the sixth.

Keegan Akin started out well for the Bay Sox facing the first six hitters. His fastball was hitting 94-96, but it seemed to drop after the second inning to 92. With two outs in the second he ran into trouble walking Gunnar Heidt and then giving up three straight hits to cut the lead to 4-2.

Ryan Mountcastle continues to look uneasy at third. His throws are not strong and his error in the third inning led to a run. Cavan Biggio and Forrest Wall singled to score Harold Ramirez with the unearned run. Biggio hit a solo shot in the fifth to account for all the Akin runs given up.

Harold Ramirez appears to have found his bat this year. He also appears a bit slimmer. He came into the game hitting .313 and doubled in the first and powered a solo shot homer in the seventh, his ninth of the year.

There were a couple baserunning errors by touted prospects. Bo Bichette hit two singles. After his second single he had strayed too far off first on what appeared to be a routine fly to Austin Hays. Hays rifled a throw to first to double off Bichette. Hays made a baserunning blunder of his own in the second. After singling to drive in the third run of the second inning he tried to advance to second on the throw home but the ball was cut off and Hays was caught between first and second. Mountcastle broke for home and the throw went there to get Mountcastle. Myworld was told this isn’t the first time Hays has been caught trying to advance the extra base on aggressive baserunning.

Yusniel Diaz did not get the start in the game. He was only hitting .192. There may be some buyer’s remorse from the Orioles as there is the appearance Diaz has a motivation problem. Some are concerned with his lack of hustle, although that was just one scouts opinion. Myworld has not seen enough of him to make that assessment.