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Projecting the Baltimore Orioles 25-man roster

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Projecting the Baltimore Orioles 25-man roster

As Opening Day nears for the Orioles, there are a lot of new faces in the clubhouse looking to find their strides.

With a new skipper in tow in Brandon Hyde, the O's are ready to put the 2018 season in the rear-view mirror.

Position Players (13)

Chance Sisco, C

The breakout star so far of spring training, Sisco pummeled four homers in just his first eights at-bats in Sarasota. 

Austin Wynns, C

After spending the first five years in the minors, the O's called up Wynns last season. He'll look to build on his rookie campaign in year number two.

Chris Davis, 1B

Davis had an extremely forgettable 2018 campaign, hitting .168/.243/.296. If his play continues, the O's may decide it will benefit the team to pay him not to play.

Austin Hays, OF

One of the top prospects for the ballclub, Hays will look to cement himself in the O's lineup once he is brought up. Adam Jones' departure could provide Hays a chance.

Jonathan Villar, 2B

Villar will look to build on his adequate partial season in Charm City last year where he slashed .258/.336/.392 and got 21 stolen bases after being traded to the O's in the Jonathan Schoop deal.

Rio Ruiz, 3B

Ruiz was claimed by the Orioles in early December, hopes to make a name for himself in Baltimore after spending the last three seasons in Atlanta.

Richie Martin, SS

After getting contacts last season, Martin's play elevated. Martin was selected by the O's in November's Rule 5 Draft.

Trey Mancini, OF

Now one of the marquee members in the clubhouse, Mancini will assume a larger role after going for 24 HR and 58 RBI in 2018 

Cedric Mullins, OF

Now in his second season in Baltimore after being called up late last season, Mullins will look to improve upon his first go-round with the O's.

Mark Trumbo, DH

Trumbo will hope to stay healthy for the new campaign. The veteran appeared in just 90 games in 2018.

Joey Rickard, OF

Once regarded as an intriguing prospect, Rickard's days could be numbered in Baltimore if major progression isn't reached. 

Renato Nunez, 3B

Nunez will be given the keys to 3B to start out the season with the dearth of options available.

Pitchers (12)

Dylan Bundy, SP

The presumed starter for opening day, Bundy will look to start fresh in 2019. Bundy allowed a major league-leading 41 homers last year, going 8-16 with a 5.45 ERA

Andrew Cashner, SP

Cashner will hope to rebound from his poor 2018 season. He posted a 4-15 record and 5.29 ERA last year.

Alex Cobb, SP

Cobb hopes to retool and reload for 2019 in the second year of his $57 million deal that he signed prior to last season. Prior to the All-Star break last season, Cobb was 2-12 with a 6.41 ERA.

Jimmy Yacabonis, SP

Yacabonis' role is undetermined at the moment, with skipper Brandon Hyde unsure if he will continue as a starter or if he will be more useful in the 'pen.

Dillon Tate, SP

After being acquired in the Zack Britton swap last season, reports say that  Hyde may deploy Tate as a rotation guy although every appearance he's had in the minors has been as a starter.

Richard Bleier, RP

Slated to pitch Saturday for the first time in spring training, Bleier looks to regain his impressive form from 2018 before being lost for the season due to injury. In 31 games before being shut down, Bleier went 3-0 with a 1.93 ERA in 32 IP.

Mychal Givens, RP

The presumed closer for 2019, the 28-year-old right-hander will be looked upon heavily to start out the season.

Mike Wright Jr., RP

Despite going 4-2 in 2018, Wright Jr. struggled with a 5.55 ERA. 

Miguel Castro, RP

At 6'7, Castro is one of the tallest relievers in the majors. He appeared in 63 games last season, sporting a 3.96 ERA

Paul Fry, RP

Fry impressed in his inaugural season last year, recording an impressive 3.35 ERA.

Yefry Ramirez, SP

Deployed primarily as a starting option in 2018, Ramirez could potentially be moved to the bullpen.

Pedro Araujo, RP

After struggling in his first season in the majors with a 7.71 ERA, the former Rule-5 pick will look to find his niche in the 'pen in year two.


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Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

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Mike Elias expects big things from Adley Rutschman in 2020 and beyond

As excited as Orioles fans are for the future of the franchise, and as desperate as they are for any glimpses of that future in the form of their top prospects, it doesn’t guarantee they’ll see Adley Rutschman in the big leagues any time soon.

The number one overall pick in the 2019 MLB Draft, Rutschman is one of the most highly-touted prospects to enter the draft in years, and as an experienced college catcher, is the prototype of a fast-moving player through the farm system.

According to the man tasked with ultimately making those types of timeline-based decisions, Rutschman will play the biggest role in determining how quickly he advances.

“Well it’s his first full season in pro ball, so it’s hard to put too much expectation on that,” General Manager Mike Elias cautioned to NBC Sports Washington when asked about the hype surrounding his first-ever draft pick. “It’s about starting in A-ball, or High-A, or wherever we decide to start him, and having success. And once he has success, we’ll get him moving.”

Elias told reporters at the Winter Meetings that Rustchman would have a chance to play with the big league club at Spring Training next season, but that will be more about the learning experience and less about a true opportunity to break camp with the team.

It’s hard to imagine a player like Rutschman not having success. He showed flashes of his talent across three lower levels of the Orioles’ minor league system after signing last summer, ultimately landing with the Delmarva Shorebirds.

The skills necessary for success, both on and off the field, were readily apparent to Elias and the Orioles front office throughout the draft process.

They say timing is everything, and Elias considers the Orioles very lucky to have earned the top pick in a year with a player like Rutschman.

“I think we were very fortunate that we had the number one pick in a year when Adley Rutschman was in the draft,” he said while praising the future face of the franchise. “He fits the type of player that we’re looking for perfectly, being an impact hitter but also a really good defensive catcher and team leader type. So it’s a perfect guy to sort of kick off this whole era of our rebuild, and I think it’s going to be fun seeing what he does in our minor league affiliates this year.”

Of course, Rutschman isn’t the only young player fans will be keying in on this season. Austin Hays is one of the more exciting young players in the organization, and he will enter Spring Training as the favorite for the everyday job in centerfield. If the gifted outfielder can stay healthy, he will be given every opportunity to solidify himself as the centerfielder of the future.

“He’s what we call in the scouting parlance ‘tooled out’,” Elias described when asked about Hays’ highlight-reel plays late in the 2019 season. “I mean he can run, he can really throw, he’s got power, all the physical capabilities. And he’s shown that when he’s healthy he can hit at the Major League level too.”

Of course, injuries have been the one thing that can stop Hays early in his promising career. 

“Health has been the issue for him,” Elias continued. “He’s had two injury-plagued seasons in a row, but when he came up at the end of last season he was playing with energy, he was healthy. So that’s all we want to see for him, but I think he’s an impact centerfielder and a huge part of our next good team.”

The next good Orioles team is still a few years away, but the pieces are starting to come into place. Not every top prospect will pan out -- there’s no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to minor league players -- but the Orioles are stocking the organization with talented, hard-working players.

Looking ahead to another long season in 2020, Orioles fans will have to look beyond the win-loss column to find signs of hope. If things go according to Mike Elias’ plan, Rustchman and Hays should provide plenty of moments worth getting excited.

Rutschman’s time is coming. For Hays, the future is now. For both, the eyes of Baltimore are upon them as the franchise enters the next era of Orioles baseball.


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Orioles and Scott Boras have met to discuss how Chris Davis can improve

Orioles and Scott Boras have met to discuss how Chris Davis can improve

When the Orioles signed Chris Davis to a team-record $161 million deal ahead of the 2016 season, they were expecting the left-handed slugger to be a perennial candidate for the league lead in home runs while being a versatile defender at multiple positions.

Instead, Davis has been a black hole in the lineup. No one in the majors has more strikeouts than Davis since the start of that contract, his home run totals have fallen every year and he’s played almost exclusively first base and designated hitter.

“We’re trying everything we can,” Orioles GM Mike Elias told NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas. “He’s been struggling now for years and there are a lot of reasons for that and we continue to look into it. But the reality is, as you said, he is under contract and it’s something not to take lightly and because of that we’re going to be focused on getting the most out of him that we can. But it’s a very frustrating situation for him and for us.”

At his annual Winter Meetings impromptu press conference, Davis’ agent Scott Boras told reporters that he’s spoken with Orioles officials about how they can help the first baseman improve his production next season.

Davis, who spends his offseasons in Dallas, is reportedly not interested in attending a hitting school. Both Boras and the Orioles are hoping to come up with a different approach that will help him contribute to the lineup next season.

Baltimore still has Davis under contract for three more seasons, but the deferred money in his contract has the team paying him until 2037.