Good morning OH readers. Today I’m up and ready to watch some minors and majors and the plan is to check in on the minor league practice fields in the 930-12 portion of he morning and then hit the O’s game and see what I can see there in the afternoon. Yes, it feels like I won some kind of orange and black game show! We’ll see if I can hold up and stand to be away from my dog all day. Scouting report says iffy…. I’ll check back after getting to Twin Lakes in an hour or so.
9:00am Update-At the minor league complex guys are finishing morning exercises and they’re doing some fast and purposefully not fast sideways hurdles outside the gym. They’ll come out soon, stretch and get going so I’ll let you know what I see. There are a few guys checking in for the first time, meeting staff and trainers-and the mood is eager despite it being empty so early in the day. Grounds crew staff are finalizing some equipment out on the fields so it should be soon.
10:30am Update-the players have been out on the fields and outside the gym for a bit. It’s already very warm out and they’re sweating and hydrating in between stations.
12:15pm Update-About to head over to Ed Smith Stadium for Means vs Morton. But here’s some of what I saw this am at the minor league camp. More outfield drills with a large group present. Zach Watson and Mason Janvrin so plenty of speed tracking down balls and they can’t throw it far enough where he can’t run under them. This guy is toolsy.
Also got to see Dan Hammer, Houston Roth, Jensen Elliott, Clayton McGinnis, Jake Lyons and Kyle Brnovich up on a mound vs hitters. I’ll have some more on all of them plus good clips but I have to go to the O’s now.
3:00pm Update-Here at the O’s game hoping some of the guys I saw at camp this am get in the game. I watched with Weams and Denise for a bit and we saw Tanner Scott get to an 0-2 count and have it mean not much because then he went to 3-2, and then a walk. I did see Chris Davis hit a homer to left field so something is in the air…Means was not Means-ish, the defense was inefficient and slow with some grounders and it’s hard to not notice the contrast between the minor league morning as crisp and this game as less so. Frustrating, but it is in a exhibition and this is spring.
6:45pmUpdate-I stayed around at the O’s game and it was pretty cool to see Daschbach and Janvrin in the outfield a few hours after I saw them on the practice field across town. I know it’s just to have a longer bench, plus a split squad day but I still liked it. More on that soon.
The most exciting thing about the game to me was Rylan Bannon’s home run. The stadium was far from full, the pitching was off after Means’ first inning and it was a blowout victory. Tampa made plays and didn’t miss opportunities. It felt good that it was an exhibition and it felt good that Cody Carroll had another clean outing.
At the minors camp in the morning I saw some drills and mound work against batters. I’m learning the schedule and patterns out there and it’s great to watch the guys go through the day. It’s been a few days and the only measurable I can count that’s improving by the day is chemistry. I have a feeling I’ll see even more development the more I go.
The pitchers do exercises, warm up throwing on a side mound and then simulated inning. The inning is shorter usually by a few pitches than the bullpen session which is 30. I watched a couple guys go through the whole routine today.
Infield/outfield does footwork, agility then position drills and then cage before finishing with a BP. Catchers do their individual drills, catch each and every pitcher and then cage, then BP. Their day is tough on a different level, but it’s a serious education any fan would be happy to see in person.
A guy I saw for the first time today was Ryan Conroy. He has really unstiff pitching mechanics and the slider wrist action is strong and assured out of his hand. I like his delivery and the non-stop nature; there’s no pause and no force.
I saw a few other guys and as far as battles of significance, Joey Ortiz got Kyle Brnovich to a full count by spitting on offspeed and was well set up for heat which he redirected above the 2nd base hole opposite field.
Random Notes: Maybe you’ll see some trends developing..
-Welk at 3rd already seems more confident in hops and backhand. He’s quick to pivot off the catch and pop up.
-Grenier simply can’t let grounders get past him. He’s built low, strong core and powerful calves so he can stand easily out of fielding position. Man I wish defense mattered more… .
-Adam Hall can really generate speed and burst on the base paths but Janvrin’s top speed is just to much.
-Matson has some juice on his heat and also a quick windup from start to finish….I just randomly looked up his numbers after seeing his pitch package-not young but not bad at all. Location in the zone was not an issue for him today
-Righty Clayton McGinnis working to lefty Gunnar got him twisted with solid movement and Gunman k’d
-Connor Gillespie warms up fast, pitches eager and had excellent depth on a change up- he got Zach Watson looking with 2 in a row. Speed change was working. He seems a skilled pitcher and with a nice control of where it’s going. I’m going to like watching him, I can tell.
-I also got to see one of my faves from the GCL Jensen Elliot go through the routine. I saw he had a 3/4 slot to mix in a bit with good whip and he turned it into a nice breaking ball with an early crest. I loved him in the GCL because he was ready to get the ball and control the pace quickly. In a purposeful, practice setting he was a bit different without that rhythm. I’m liking the OK St Cowboys Lyons and Elliott in this early group.
Finally, at the Orioles game I moved closer to the field when it became a blowout hoping to see a minors player get in-a formality to me in the past but now a reason to focus. I heard a group of O’s fans complaining about prices, Davis, the state of the team and I had to step in. In a friendly manner I asked if any of them knew the left fielder who had just entered the game and one of them remarked that if there’s no name on their jersey that there’s no reason to know them.
I told them that their complaints are legitimate but if they want to support the team, not knowing the fastest guy in the system is inexcusable. If they were fans, like they claimed than they need to educate themselves. They decided to stay for the bottom of the inning where Janvrin would bat 4th. During that time they told me they live near Ocean City and I told them that him being a Shorebird is a legit possibility. They started googling….they know his college, they know his draft round. I showed them video of him THIS MORNING doing footwork and drills to improve as a player. They now know that Mase on base is a problem. They have a new reason to look at a different guy with a whole new perspective. That felt like me doing my job. They stayed and he swung at a pitchers pitch and popped up. I was hoping he’d hit one in the hole and turn on his insane jets. Either way, I told him about a player they’d never know and as I walked out I was reminded of the GCL yet again as I saw their plaque/sign above a ramp.