30 Clubs in 30 Days: Baltimore Orioles

Yesterday, MLB Network’s tour of all 30 major league team spring training sites stopped in Sarasota where they previewed the upcoming season for the O’s. The hour long special was hosted by Paul Serevino, with Lisa Kerney reporting, and Dan Plesac & John Hart as the analysts.

One overwhelming theme was the influence of Buck Showalter. On Showalter, Hart said “There used to be a time when the Oriole Way really meant something. I see that coming back with Showalter.” To anyone who has followed the history of the Orioles, that means something. A team with a tradition rich history has not left fans with much worth remembering for the past decade, but when Showalter took over for Juan Samuel last July things turned around and wins followed. After his arrival the O’s went 34-23, which was the best record among A.L. East clubs over that span.

Both Hart and Plesac were quite complimentary of the key components of the lineup in Roberts, Jones, Markakis, and Wieters. Roberts was labeled as “the key to the lineup”. Hart sees Jones as a 20 homer guy with .300 potential. Hart also spoke of Markakis as the face of the franchise, who should be a consistent .300 hitter.

I was fortunate enough to be at Camden Yards on May 29, 2009 when Matt Wieters made his much anticipated debut. The television stations and radio stations were almost drooling. From the moment it was announced earlier that day, the game (which previously wasn’t announced as being a sellout) sold out. The feel around the stadium was electric. As he walked to the plate for the first time the theme to the movie “The Natural” played over the loud speakers. No pressure at all though, not in the least. When speaking about Wieters Hart cautioned us all to temper our expectations just a bit, atleast for now. He mentioned that his vast offensive potential will be reached, but for now his defense and handling a young pitching staff were his main priorities.

On the pitching staff he had extra praise for Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton. On Arrieta he said, “This is a big, strong, physical kid with pluses all across the board.” When it came to Britton his praise was just as high, “All the things you want to see young pitchers do, this kid does it. At worst, he’s going to be a middle-of-rotation starter and could go as high as number two in a rotation.”

The consensus at the end of the show was that they saw the Orioles as a .500 team this year, which would be a 15 win improvement over last year’s 66-96 record. I would tend to agree as the offense should be much improved and should score enough runs to give the young starters a bit more leeway on the days they don’t have their best stuff. It should be a fun season as the optimism around town is higher than it’s been in a while. I’d be happy with a 15 win increase and I think, inside, most O’s fans would be as well.

For those of you who missed the show, here are links to a few segments via MLB Network.

Nick Markakis discusses the impact of Buck Showalter

Jeremy Guthrie talks about how to make 2011 better than 2010

Matt Wieters’ expectations for this year’s pitching staff

Derrek Lee on his new team

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One gets hurt, Another nears return

It’s the circle of life, I suppose.

Melvin Mora pulled_up_lame_running_out_a_grounder_last_night. Offical word is that he’s merely day to day with a strained left hamstring, but these things can prove to be slightly nagging. Cheers to Mora though for giving 100% on that grounder though. Too often we’ve seen others (especially in years past… assume away) dog it out.

With Mora dinged up, Adam_jones_is close to returning. He’s getting to working out and looks to play a simulated game or do some more bp. But apparently he’s close to returning. Good.

With that good news, there’s some more bad news, if that’s how you want to take it.

Chris Ray had a minor setback (info in Adam Jones link) and will not be playing at all this season.

Sez Trembley

“You can cross Chris Ray’s name off the list. He will not be a September callup,” said Trembley. “Andy, Chris Ray and myself, we all mutually agree. There’s no purpose of him being active in September. He’s done a great job. He’s going to complete his program with [Class A] Aberdeen. He’s going to have a normal winter of rest, come to Spring Training and then go from there. There’s no purpose of him rejoining us in September. There’s nothing to be gained from that.”

George Sherrill had a minor setback in rehab, but should return soon as well.

Circle of Life, one goes down, another will take their place.

Injury News Roundup

Roch has an_injury_news_roundup.

  • George Sherrill is hurting and had an MRI today. Thanks Terry Francota
  • Chris Ray is pitching in the minors and its possible he makes a cameo in Baltimore this season.
  • Matt Albers is trying to avoid the surgery Troy Patton had. He’s throwing pitching off the mound and will do a little batting practice later in the week.
  • I didn’t know Greg Acquino was hurt, but he is. He’s back in the minors rehabbing. I’m hoping that’s where he’ll stay.
  • Hamball Pitcher Danys Baez is looking to be a full go for next season’s spring training. hurrah hooray!
  • Most Importantly, Adam Jones is rehabbing and will do some batting practice at week’s end. There’ll be no more CT scans, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

Jones to the DL

Adam Jones goes_to_the_15_day_DL. with a fractured foot. The O’s purchased the contract of Lou Montanez to fill Jones’ spot and to make room for him, Adam Loewen gets transferred to the 60 day DL.

It’ll be interesting to watch Montanez and see if any of the power that he’s displayed in Bowie translates to the minors. With Loewen being transferred to the 60, his season is done and it looks like his transition to the outfield begins in the offseason. I hope Jones is only on the DL for 15 days, its a fractured foot so it might take a few more days than just 15.

Waters and Montanez

Roch has_two_rather_significant_items_of_note.

First, I heard this just a second ago during the game as well. Mark Viviano, the Amber sub, reported that he heard from a stadium worker (I would have said ‘inside source’ it sounds better. It sounds like he heard it from one of the beer vendors) that Chris Waters is in Anahiem and at the team hotel. This meaning that he will get the start tomorrow.

Secondly, there’s no news about Adam Jones CT scan yet but apparently a stint on the DL is resulting from it. It stinks that Jones has to go on the DL, but there’s no point in making him play center on a bum ankle. Lou Montanez has been pulled from Bowie’s game tonight and apparently heading to Anahiem.

It’s an interesting call up. A case could be made for Nolan Reimold, but you can’t argue with Montanez’s numbers. Reimold is a pure prospect and some more time in the minors won’t kill him. With Montanez, he’s a guy who’s been in the minors for his entire career. A call up might help MacPhail and company see if this season is merely lightning in a bottle for him or if he’s found his game a little later in his career. It’ll be interesting to see. I like the call up. Reimold will get his day soon enough.

Roch says that the move will involve Brandon Fahey being sent down. No need for Fahey, Castro, and Cintron. As much of a scowl that I gave the Castro pickup, he’s done decent. He is what he is at this point.

Jones to have CT scan on ankle

This is not_good_news. I know that the ankle has been sore, but I didn’t know it was this bad. Hopefully, its nothing a few days off can cure. It’d be a shame for Jones to have to go on disabled list with the way he’s been playing lately.

Luke Scott’s ankle is balky too. He was struggling getting to balls in left today. With Jones out, there really wasn’t anyone on the bench to relieve Scott…with the possible exception of Brandon Fahey. With two outfielders with bad ankles at the moment, I’m sure at least one with have to go on the DL. Maybe the red hot Luis Montanez will get a call up.

The O’s have been rather lucky this season injurywise. With the exception of the Matt Albers and Adam Loewen, there haven’t been many O’s hitting the DL. Hopefully I didn’t speak too soon.

Season to Date Grades- Ramon Hernandez and Adam Jones

I wanted to do a season thus recap as the O’s stand close to the 2/3rd mark of the season. The simplest way to do it is the old position, grade, and remarks. I’ve done that before and its just going through the motions. Do I really need to give players letter grades like my 2nd grade teacher? For this post I will. I’m going to break it down and review a few players a pop.

Today let’s look at Ramon Hernandez and Adam Jones in the old Second Grade style.

“Ramon Hernandez, you have not been playing up to your potential this season. I know you are capable of doing better work. Your batting average is a meak .253. The 12 HR and 43 are actually an improvement over last season. Where my concern is, and I’ve called your parents to set up a parent teacher conference over this matter, your defense. Baserunners are running all over you. They’re actually bullying you. Of 70 attempts, you’ve only caught 19. Your errors currently sit at 8 and your fielding percentage is at .985. I’m worried, you’re on the verge of failing this season and I’m writing that on your body for work for this season with this red felt tip pen.”

“Adam Jones, you’ve been improving as the season progresses. The start of the season was especially rough but you’ve gotten better both offensively and defensively. Your fielding percentage is at .993 and you have only 2 errors. Some of the plays that you’ve made in the outfield  have been spectacular. Your offense has been a work in progress. 7 homers and 48 RBI is good work for your first full year in the majors. I am concerned somewhat about the 19 BB to 89 K ratio. Maybe you should spend a little time with Terry Crowley before the game (and if you already are, then stop). I’m very impressed with your work so far, I feel its worth a B. I’m giving you a gold star and a couple for a free personal pizza at your local pizzeria. Keep up the good work.”