HHP: Answerman back from Sarasota

Craig Landefeld Photo

By poster Answerman

Just returned from Sarasota. A few random thoughts in no particular order.

– Love our stadium. Also went to the Rays’ home in Port Charlotte. Have been to other stadiums in previous years. I do believe we have the best Spring home.

– I’m really impressed with our catcher options. Everyone is talking about Joseph and Sisco, but Wynns is the real deal on defense and seems to have a pretty good clue at the plate. And don’t sleep on Susac…dude can play. I do believe I would start Sisco in Norfolk, at least until June 1 for service clock purposes. I would opt for Joseph/Wynns to start the year. Not worried about Wynns’ clock since he is already 27.

– Our young outfielders are quite promising. Mullins does something exciting every game. He needs another year in the high minors, but he is close. Will be our best defensive outfielder and second place won’t be close. Santander looks really, really good. He deserves to make the big team not as just a Rule 5 guys, but as one of our five best. He is that good now. I’m intrigued by Stewart. Cool story. Looks different than all the other players. Hard to describe. I predict he will be our minor league player of the year. Hays is absolutely gonna be a stud. I think he is ready now, but these little injuries are a nuisance. Probably for the best. I’d rather bring him up after June 1.

– Speaking of OF, Adam is dialed in. Spraying lasers all over the field. Must be a contract year! And Mancini may have the quickest bat on the team. He is a professional hitter. Saw him going after first pitches and driving them with authority to opposite field. Not sure if that was a coincidence or if he was working on something. I expect him to prove last year was not an anomaly.

– I’m a Joey fan, but not sure what to do with him, Gentry and Presley. They are kind of the same player. I like that Gentry can bunt really well. That’s something we need to strengthen as a team.

– Like the rest of the Hangout, I’m concerned about Trumbo. The acquisitions of Valencia and Alvarez raise an eyebrow. But those guys can both hit opposite pitchers. I am quickly warming up to the idea of them as a DH platoon. I think we could have a .900+ OPS from them, but would require two roster spots. Can’t see that happening if Trumbo is on the roster. I hate it because I think Trumbo is a cool dude and has been a good Oriole.

– Was in favor of trading Manny, but seeing him play in person reminds me of how much better he is than everybody else on the field. With all those young cheap hitters coming up, we can afford to give him and Schoop the big contracts. Offer him 10/300 with incentives. Go as high as 10/330 if needed. Don’t let him get out of town.

– I’m rooting hard for Mountcastle, but 3B is not working. Even the warm up throws were going over the first baseman’s head. Every play is an adventure. I know we have been spoiled by Manny, but it’s time to try 1B or LF. But, to his credit, this kid can absolutely rake.

– Beckham will be fine at 3B.

– I love watching Manny throw. Arguably best infield arm (combo of strength, quickness, accuracy) in MLB, but I think he is playing a step too deep. Saw a runner beat his throw even though he snagged it clean, charged and made a great throw. One step closer to the batter and he gets him.

– Our pitching staff is a tire fire. I don’t see any of our Rule 5-ers sticking this year. They’re just not close enough.

– Many of the guys I saw seemed to have lower velocity than expected. Wright was hanging out around 89-91. Brach and Givens were in the low 90’s. I thought maybe the gun was off, but Blake Snell was sitting 95-97.

– Moved behind home plate at the end the games. Really enjoyed watching Tanner Scott pitch. Brings it! Had a good inning. Some type of off speed pitch (slider I think…89-ish) was just effective enough to make us wonder if it was coming. Fastball was coming in at 97. He could be a nice replacement for Britton in a year.

– Yacabonis and Teague (no clue where he came from) looked good in very limited action. Donnie Hart throws slow, but was effective. Good placement and kept batters off balance. Not much else impressed. Every no-name on the other teams seemed more impressive than our guys.

– Not sure what to make of the utility competition. Sardinas, Vielma and Tejada seem to be getting equal time…meh.

– Didn’t get to see Tilly, but I have real doubts about him locking down a starter role. I really think we can compete if, and only if, we get both Lynn (3/33?) and Cobb (3/39?). Would like to see our rotation turn from a weakness to a strength for $24M…within the boundary of last year’s payroll. Lots of money coming off next year and no concern about blocking prospects for at least two years. I have zero hope this will actually happen.

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Michael Williams
Michael Williams has been an Orioles fan since the sixties when his family moved from Reading Pa to York Pa. Also, the Phillies and 1964. His Grandfather got the Chef Boyardee box seats and Mike was hooked. Brooks Robinson calls him not a fan, but a friend. He has been a member of the Orioles Hangout since early in the New Millennium and Managing Editor since 2011. Or so it seems. He lives in Harrisburg PA, down by the river. Not currently in a van.