Everyone knows it’s always better to grow your own players. The Orioles will head into 2016 with players they’ve originally signed at three positions: Catcher (Matt Wieters), second base (Jonathan Schoop) and third base (Manny Machado).
For nine seasons ending in 2014, the Orioles had a home grown right fielder, Nick Markakis.
While Chris Davis and Adam Jones are likely to hold onto first base and center field for a number of years, neither was an Orioles product. The team was fortunate to trade for both of them early in their careers, so it’s not likely they’ll have to worry about those positions for a while.
How long has it been since the Orioles have developed their own players at first base and center field? How about at shortstop and left field?
Nolan Reimold played 88 games in left field for the Orioles in 2009 and Luis Matos, who was the regular centerfielder in 2005, were the last home grown players in their position.
The team hasn’t developed many outfielders over the last 20 years.
Besides Markakis, Matos and Reimold, only Larry Bigbie and Jeffrey Hammonds have played 100 or more games in the outfield since then.
J.J. Hardy has held down shortstop since 2011, and while the team has had some excellent shortstops in the past two decades, Cal Ripken, Jr., who last played there in 1996, was the last Oriole to be developed as a shortstop.
Machado, who was signed as a shortstop and played there in the minors before he was converted to third base, could move over to short after Hardy retires.
Since 1993, the Orioles haven’t had a regular first baseman come through their system. Davis, Will Clark, Rafael Palmeiro, big names all, have played there, but not since David Segui have the Orioles had a first baseman to call their own.