The MLB season begins today, as six teams begin their quest for a world championship trophy in October. The remaining 24 teams begin their journey tomorrow. For the Orioles, they are still needing to make their Opening Day roster official. The 25-man roster will need to be set by noon today, and without anything being officially announced by the Orioles, it’s quite clear what to expect. Let’s take a closer look at what the roster will look like on Monday.
The Orioles are going to utilize a three man rotation, with 14 position players, and 11 pitchers. The utilization of this will last until the weekend, as Wade Miley is eligible to come off the Disabled List, and should be activated on Sunday to make his first start of the season against the Yankees.
Outfielders: Hyun Soo Kim, Adam Jones, Seth Smith, Trey Mancini, Craig Gentry, and Joey Rickard.
Infielders: Manny Machado, JJ Hardy, Jonathan Schoop, Chris Davis, Ryan Flaherty
Catchers: Welington Castillo, Caleb Joseph
Designated Hitters: Mark Trumbo
Starting Pitchers: Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Ubaldo Jimenez
Relief Pitchers: Tyler Wilson, Vidal Nuño, Oliver Drake, Donnie Hart, Brad Brach, Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day, Zach Britton
Here’s how some of the players performed in Grapefruit League action.
Hyun Soo Kim doubled his hits (16) from Spring Training last year (8), and also picked up a few hits against LHP (3-for-8). Chances are, Kim still won’t face LHP much in 2017 as there are better options, however, it’s nice to know he’s progressing against LHP in the majors.
JJ Hardy battled back soreness for the first few weeks of camp, and made his debut on March 13. It was clear that he was just in to get AB’s, and really nothing more as he finished his spring going 5-for-29, with a home run, and five walks. Remember, Hardy is in an option year, and needs to reach 600 PA’s for the O’s to consider his option. I wrote about this back in January. You can read that article here.
Seth Smith also missed time this spring due to a hamstring problem, but he too shall be ready for Monday. Smith missed almost three weeks of game action in the middle of the month, and wound up only getting 20 AB’s (5-for-20). Smith will more than likely be the Orioles everyday right-fielder when facing RHP.
Trey Mancini absolutely mashed this spring. Mancini began play as an outfielder, for the first time in his career. Mancini finished the spring 20-for-60, with three HR’s, and 14 RBI’s. Mancini was said to be extremely comfortable in the outfield, and is ready to take on the different perspective at Camden Yards. You know, three decks, instead of the two at Ed Smith. If anybody earned their way onto a team, it’s Trey Mancini.
Craig Gentry also played his heart out, and should have a spot made for him on the roster. Finishing 17-for-53, Gentry made himself known as a versatile backup in the corner outfield spots, and also showing that he is going to be valuable throughout the summer. He’ll more than likely be used in a corner OF spot vs. LHP, seeing as how he hit .360 (9-for-25) against LHP this spring.
Joey Rickard has made the club for the second year in-a-row. Rickard is another corner OF’er who will probably be used in platoon situations vs. LHP. Rickard hit just .188 (6-for-32) this spring vs. LHP, however, last season he did hit .313 (26-for-83) against LHP.
Caleb Joseph picked up an RBI for the first time since last Spring Training. As a matter of fact, he picked up two, both via solo home runs. He will be the backup catcher, beating out Francisco Pena.
Tyler Wilson, who I did not think would make the team, proved I have no idea what I’m talking about. Apparently. Wilson will be used as a long-man from the bullpen, for at least the first few games of the season. He finished the exhibition season with a 5.30 ERA in 18.2 IP through seven appearances (three starts).
Vidal Nuño pitched 11.2 innings in seven appearances (one start) and allowed just four earned runs, with nine strikeouts and two walks. He should be called upon to retire RHB, as he did that quite frequently in the spring, pitching to a 0.93 ERA, and allowing just a .182 average.
Oliver Drake is in interesting situation itself. He didn’t pitch all that well this spring (8.78 ERA in 13.1 IP), but he is out of options. So instead of trying to pass him through waivers, the Orioles see his potential and are giving him an opportunity in the bullpen.
Donnie Hart was another one who had a phenomenal Spring Training en route to making the big league club. Hart notched 11 IP, with nine strikeouts and just three walks. He finished the spring with an ERA of 1.64.
The Orioles begin their quest for glory tomorrow after at 3:05. I’ll be in attendance, as I’m sure the majority of you will as well, watching just how well these roster decisions pan out.
Here’s to hoping for a good season!