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3 things to know before Orioles Summer Camp

3 things to know before Orioles Summer Camp

The Orioles are set to begin workouts this week at Camden Yards, signaling the first on-field workouts in nearly four months for the organization. 

They’ll have a three week summer camp before play resumes in the third week of July. 

After general manager Mike Elias spoke on Monday, here are three things to know before the Orioles return to play. 

1. 44-man roster

The Orioles original 60-man player pool was 16 players short of a full roster — though that will change in the future. 

The organization only needed to submit a list by the Sunday deadline, but didn’t need to fill out the entire roster. Thus, the Orioles found it would be easier to add players throughout the process rather than add all 60 players at once and stick with that group.

“A young prospect, a young Minor Leaguer who we would add more for player development purposes cannot be removed from that list unless you release them and certainly we don’t want to get in a situation where we would even consider something like that,” Elias said. “Or if their presence might otherwise cause us to release or waive someone that we didn’t want to otherwise.”

Additionally, the Orioles wanted to give the players with a real chance at cracking the 30-man Opening Day roster the first chance to earn a roster spot.

From there, the organization can slowly add players to the roster as the season develops.

“But the guys that have no realistic shot to make the opening day team, obviously they’ve got the luxury of more time,” Elias said. “So there’s just no rush to get them up here. We want to get them up here. Everyone wants to get as many players from our organization as we can up here, but we’ve got to be smart about uncertain nature of what this is going to look like for the first week or two and then also the fact that the rules are kind of a one way street.”

Meaning, the prospects are coming.


2. The prospects will have a home — somewhere

The most important part of the Orioles’ organization at the moment is the prospect pool — no matter what happens at the major league level this year. 

And with Elias’ quotes about adding to the roster in the future, it’s reasonable to assume that the prospects will be on the way after a few weeks. 

“I do expect that we will have players appear from the low Minors that realistically otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance to come participate at the high Minor League or Major League level this year, (and) will be there primarily for player development purposes,” Elias said. “Logic would dictate it will be some of our top prospects, but we’ve also got a lot of prospects that perhaps aren’t publicly ranked as highly but they are closer to the Major Leagues and we need to get them ready for eventual or possible Major League debuts this year.”

But if some prospects aren’t added to the team’s major league camp, they’ll have a home somewhere. 

The Orioles are planning to open up a satellite camp at one of their affiliates, at a time and location still to be determined. 

“It will open at some point during the quote-unquote spring training period of time,” Elias said. “We’re very fortunate that we have multiple local professional affiliate options right in the neighborhood here, so we’re going to be in good shape wherever it is. We will be utilizing that.

While Adley Rutschamn, DL Hall, Grayson Rodriguez and a few other notable prospects were left off the original 60-man roster, there’s a handful of prospects deepers in the system that will still need to get reps. That’s where the secondary site will come into play.

“We don’t have Norfolk as our Triple-A this year because of the setup, but we’ll still have the ability to option people down,” Elias said. “They will go to our secondary site and it’s not just going to be practice. We’re going to have simulated games so pitchers can throw innings and hitters can get live at-bats. I’m sure we’ll figure out a way to simulate (the) game environment as best as possible.”

3. Evaluation in a shortened sample size

No matter how the Orioles and their prospects perform — whether it’s far above or below expectations — there will be the question of sample size.

In just 60 games, a hot or cold start can doom a player’s statistics for the season in a similar manner that spring training does. 

“It’s going to be a very small sample for these players,” Elias said. “I think in terms of evaluating our talent based on what happens this year, we’re going to be probably more reliant on objective criteria that are not the statistical samples that could be misleading in this short of a time. We’re going to be looking at guys’ stuff, what type of shape they’re in, how they’re playing defense, how hard they’re hitting the ball, all that. But it is very possible that somebody has a pretty misleading stat line over 60 games that they wouldn’t have had over 162.”

So not only do problems exist in terms of simply playing baseball games again, how to evaluate those games will be more difficult than ever before.

“It’s just one of the many challenges of this season,” Elias continued. “There are so many, it’s hard to think of them all and that’s just one of them. I imagine we’re going to have to make some personnel decisions like we do at the end of every year and we’re only working with a third of the info that we’re accustomed to.”

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ESPN projects Orioles as MLB's most likely 'Cinderella' team, Nationals face unwelcomed reality

ESPN projects Orioles as MLB's most likely 'Cinderella' team, Nationals face unwelcomed reality

At the beginning of the 2020 season, few expected the Orioles to finish anywhere above fifth place in the AL East, let alone compete for a playoff spot. 

But after a 10-7 start in a shortened 60-game schedule that will include an expanded playoff format, the Orioles are in a position to pull off a classic "Cinderella" story. According to ESPN, they're the most likely "bottom-tier" team from the beginning of the year to make the playoffs. 

Writer Bradford Doolittle categorized his "bottom-tier" list of teams as clubs who had a 0% chance of winning the World Series under a normal 162-game season. Among a group consisting of the Pirates, Giants, Mariners, Royals, Tigers and Marlins, the Orioles have the best current chances of making it to the 16-team postseason at 39%.

"The Orioles have mashed their way to a 119 team OPS+ and have outscored opponents by eight runs through one-fifth of their schedule," Doolittle wrote. "Their 10-7 record doesn't include a 5-2 lead they hold in a suspended game against Washington from Aug. 9 that has already reached the sixth inning. 


"If you book that suspended game in favor of Baltimore, they'd need to go 19-23 the rest of the way to get there," he said. "Unfortunately, the O's have eight games left against the Yankees, three with the Nationals beyond the suspension, seven with Tampa Bay and three against Atlanta."

Baltimore certainly has a tough road ahead, though it's encouraging they probably won't have to go .500 the rest of the way to give themselves a shot at a playoff berth. As we've already seen with a 60-game season, anything can happen, and it'd be hard for O's fans to complain about meaningful games in September should the club stay hot.

Meanwhile, the defending champion Nationals' 6-9 start to the year has put them at risk of becoming one of Doolittle's "elite" teams to miss out on the playoffs. 


An "elite" team is one that at least a 5% chance at winning the World Series under a normal format, and the Nationals lead a group including the Astros, Braves, Twins, Dodgers and Yankees with a 43% chance of missing the playoffs. Houston holds the next highest chance at 18%. 

The good news for the Nats here is that their pitching staff is one of the best in baseball and Stephen Strasburg has yet to make a start in 2020. They were also without Juan Soto for the first seven games of the year and the man has absolutely mashed (five home runs, 1.486 OPS) since he rejoined the Washington lineup. 

As they get healthier and more games under their belt, the Nats should put some more wins together. They just don't have a ton of time to figure things out like last season. 

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.



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Orioles continue to prove critics wrong, sweep Phillies in fifth win in a row

Orioles continue to prove critics wrong, sweep Phillies in fifth win in a row

By the time the home runs stopped on a humid night in Philadelphia, the Orioles had not just beaten the Phillies for the third-straight game, they’d done so in convincing fashion. 

In an 11-4 win over the Phillies, the Orioles homered twice, had 15 hits and scored in four of the final five innings as they put a bow on their fifth win in a row in a series sweep.

The offense, which has carried the Orioles through the first few weeks of the season, remained red hot as the Orioles kept winning — and kept surprising the league as a result.

“The team is taking good at-bats together, playing good fundamental baseball, playing defense, turning double plays, our pitching is doing a great job for us,” shortstop Jose Iglesias said. “Everything is just going our way. We’ve just got to take it one day at a time.”

The Phillies had a two-run lead for all of one half inning, before four Orioles runs in the top of the fifth inning gave them a lead they wouldn’t give up. 

They added two runs in the seventh, three in the eighth and two more in the ninth. The Orioles have now scored 10 or more runs for the third time in the last six games — with four more innings to play of a completed game Friday afternoon, a game they've scored five runs in already.


“It’s fun to win, I think this team is doing a great job battling every day,” Iglesias said. “We’re playing a good baseball game right now.”

But it hasn’t just been the bats that have carried the Orioles. Manager Brandon Hyde credited the pitching staff, which has kept batters off the base paths throughout the season. 

Starting pitcher Thomas Eshelman threw five innings, allowed four hits and just two earned runs. More importantly, he and the three Orioles relievers didn’t allow a single walk. 

“We’re just playing good baseball right now,” Hyde said. “Looking at the box score here, no walks tonight. That’s just something we didn’t do well last year. Quite a few games now where we haven’t walked many people. That is super key against good offensive clubs.”

The Orioles entered Thursday night’s game, which was delayed by rain, with one of the best offenses in the American League, with two of its hottest hitters in Hanser Alberto and Iglesias. Both went 2-for-4, and Iglesias added two RBIs. 

Approaching the 20th game of the season — a third of the 60-game shortened season, the Orioles are starting to make the league take notice of what’s going on in Baltimore.

At least through the first few weeks of the season, the Orioles have become the biggest surprise in the sport.

“Regardless of whether we're winning or losing, I see potential,” Iglesias said. “I see hungry players with a lot of talent that want to get better. I see chemistry. I’ve been around and I see a good group that wants to compete and gets along. That, to me, has a lot of value.”

Stay connected to the Orioles with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.