With just under two weeks remaining until the Opening Day festivities commence in Baltimore, Buck Showalter and company are still looking at 46 players in camp, with 12 non-roster invitees. On Sunday, the Orioles optioned RHP Jesus Liranzo to AA Bowie, while assigning OF Logan Schafer, INF/OF David Washington, and C Austin Wynns to minor league camp. More cuts were expected yesterday, however, Monday came and went without anyone else being assigned elsewhere in the organization.
With ten games remaining on the exhibition schedule, there are still plenty of names trying to catch a flight north to Baltimore in time for the home opener on April 3 against the Blue Jays. Such names include Trey Mancini, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, Oliver Drake, Chris Lee, Vidal Nuno, Logan Verrett, Gabriel Ynoa, Pedro Alvarez, Paul Janish, Craig Gentry, and Joey Rickard. Also, you could include rule-5 pickups Anthony Santander, and Aneury Tavarez.
Incase you lost count, that’s 14 players, seven pitchers, six outfielders, and one infielder.
Today though, let’s just take a look at position players.
We know Hyun Soo Kim and Seth Smith (once that hamstring has recovered) will be on the Opening Day roster, so we’re left to sort out five players to platoon. Three of these players have a better chance to make the team (Rickard, Gentry, Tavarez), and they have each played in 20 or more games, and each of those players are just shy of 40 AB’s. Rickard is 14-for-37 (.378) with one double, three homers, seven RBI’s, and 12 walks. Gentry is 11-for-38 (289) with two doubles, two home runs, seven RBI’s, and four walks. He’s also third on the team in strikeouts with 10. Tavarez is 11-for-39 (.282) with one double, one homer, five RBI’s, and three walks. Tavarez also leads the team in stolen bases this spring with six.
Kim has only had three chances against lefties this spring, and has two strikeouts, and Seth Smith is a career .202 hitter vs. LHP. We may not see either of those guys vs. LHP, therefore that opens the door for either Rickard, Tavarez, or Gentry to travel north to platoon vs. LHP. Rickard this spring is 5-for-18 vs. LHP, with a double, a homer, and three walks. Gentry is 5-for-15 vs. LHP, with two doubles and a walk. Tavarez is a left-handed bat that is just 1-for-7 vs. LHP this spring.
The best case scenario could be to bring Joey Rickard, and Craig Gentry to Baltimore as bench outfielders, and to platoon them vs. LHP with Kim, and Smith.
Trey Mancini is having a stellar spring so far. In 21 games, Mancini has gone 14-for-46 (.304), with five doubles, two home runs, eight driven in, and three walks. However, he is tied with Chris Johnson for team lead in strikeouts, with 14. Regardless, Mancini is picking up right where he left off last September (5-for-14, 3 HR’s), and stating his case as to why he should be brought north as well.
With ten games to go, plenty of things could happen. There will be more cuts, and there will be a few guys that continue to turn heads. But, here’s what the position player portion of the 25-man roster could look on April 3:
Hyun Soo Kim
**Looks like I forgot Mark Trumbo. Don’t worry, tomorrow I’ll proofread.
This leaves room for 11 pitchers, that I’ll cover a little more in-depth tomorrow morning.