Hello, Camden Chatters.
Believe it or not, we have some real baseball news to discuss here in Birdland. No, the lockdown is not over and there is no sign that it will be anytime soon. But the 2022 international fan signing period – which is unaffected by the lockdown of MLB players – will begin next week, and the Orioles are set to cause a stir, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz:
When the international signing period opens next weekend, the Orioles are expected to offer a top-20 bonus ($ 1.5 million to $ 2 million) to Braylin Tavera, a right-handed fielder from the Dominican Republic who will be 17 next month. https://t.co/o1ukSaytkh
– Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) January 6, 2022
Wow! Assuming Tavera’s bonus was indeed at least $ 1.5 million, this would be the biggest contract in Orioles history for an international amateur, exceeding the $ 1.3 million awarded to the wide receiver. Dominican Samuel Basallo last January. As you can imagine, there isn’t a ton of publicly available information about Tavera, who is all 16, but he ranks 22nd on MLB Pipeline’s Top International Prospects list. He is described as “one of the most complete players in the class of this year”, in particular his “good approach and solid fundamentals with improved pitch recognition”. Ring the alley of the Orioles. (Tavera does not appear in FanGraphs’ Top 50 list.)
General manager Mike Elias, when he was hired in November 2018, promised to overhaul and dramatically improve the Orioles’ then pathetic international presence, and boy, has he ever done that. Between multiple seven-figure contracts concluded over the past two years and the inauguration of a new training academy in the Dominican Republic last October, the O’s are doing their best to make up for lost time after previous regimes were almost entirely banned from any activity in the international market.
Will Tavera, or Basallo, or any of the other international fans the Orioles have signed or will sign, make it to the majors and succeed? It will be years before we know it. But at least the O’s are finally trying, and that’s a hell of a start.
Before accessing the links, be sure to take today’s Camden Chat Sporcle Quiz! Your Assignment Today: Given a list of 16 former O players, can you pick which ones were inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame? To make things more difficult, I haven’t included any of the more obvious ones like Cal, Brooks, Eddie, etc. Instead, these are guys who have had perfectly solid careers with O, but not all of them deserve to be in the Orioles’ HOF. Good luck!
Another look at some of the solid farm offense – Steve Melewski
Quick, who had the best OPS (min. 300 PA) of any Orioles minor league last season? Hint: It wasn’t Adley Rutschman. Or Kyle Stowers. Check out Melewski’s article for the surprising answer.
New Orioles batting coaches can’t talk to their players. So how are they preparing for 2022? – Maximize playoff odds
Somehow, it never occurred to me that major league coaches can’t talk to their players during the lockout, but yes that does appear to be a problem. Matt Borgschulte and Ryan Fuller, however, have a plan B.
Raising the bar of resolutions – École de Roch
Roch Kubatko is having fun with extremely small samples, including John Means being 2 for 6 as a hitter. Listen to me carefully: is he the next Shohei Ohtani?
It’s inevitable that Rutschman will be compared to Wieters – BaltimoreBaseball.com
The comparison won’t really be complete until someone launches an “Adley Rutschman Facts” website. Go ahead, internet!
Birthdays and History of the Orioles
Is it your birthday today? Happy Birthday! And happy 26th birthday to O’s current right-hander, Dean Kremer. Kremer will go into spring training – whenever he starts – as a candidate for a rotational position, although he will have to do better than last year’s 0-7 performance, 7.55 in 13. departures.
Three former Orioles were born that day: 2011 outfielder Kyle Hudson (35); 16-year-old but short-term MLB veteran Oriole Francisco Rodriguez (40); and right-hander Ross Grimsley (72), who played for the Birds twice from 1974-77 and 1982.
That day two years ago, the O’s skillfully signed veteran shortstop Jose Iglesias to a one-year contract with an option. Although Iglesias struggled with injuries for most of the truncated 2020 season with the Birds, he recorded the best offensive numbers of his career, scoring 0.373 with an OPS of 0.956 in 39 games. The O’s then traded him with the Angels for prospects Jean Pinto and Garrett Stallings. Not a bad series of transactions.