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At Least Fans Got To See The Orioles' Opening Day Roster

Pain.

That's what I felt when I read MASN's Roch Kubatko's tweet about the postponement of the Orioles' Opening Day tilt with the Red Sox this morning. Imagine waking up on Christmas morning and your Dad saying, "Nah, we're opening presents tomorrow."

Gee, thanks.

But at least Kubatko shared the Orioles Opening Day roster on his Twitter shortly thereafter, so we've got some fat to chew on until Friday. Here are three things that stood out to me.

Youth Abounds In The Outfield

I'm 26 years old and I'll be 27 in July. One of the problems about my age is that I'm still getting used to players I root for and follow be younger than me. It's weird.

What isn't weird is that every single active Orioles outfielder is younger than I am. Both Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander were born three months after I was. Austin Hays is a year and a few days younger than I am. And baby-faced Ryan Mountcastle is 24 years old.

Not only is this group young, they're incredibly gifted. Mullins and Santander turned in the best stretches of their careers last season. Hays projects as a corner outfielder who can slide to center field and hit for power and average. Mountcastle is a pure slugger who came into his own in his major league debut last season.

I'm not naïve enough to believe all of these guys are going to develop into studs, but the Orioles' outfield has the makings of a deep and talented unit that has plenty of room to grow.

An Unbalanced Bullpen

Manager Brandon Hyde is rolling with just two lefties in his bullpen for now: Paul Fry and Tanner Scott.

Whether or not you believe in the validity of Spring Training stats will likely determine how comfortable you are with this. Fry, who sported a 2.45 ERA over 22 games last season, allowed a whopping 11 earned runs in 9.1 innings this spring. Fry was stellar in 2020's shortened season, but he's off to a rough start for 2021.

On the flip side, Scott allowed just two earned runs in 6.1 innings.  Like Fry, Scott cruised in 2020 to a 1.31 ERA over 25 games. Scott was Baltimore's best reliever last season and should serve as the Orioles' premier high-leverage pitcher this season.

Davis, Stewart's Return Will Complicate Things

Quick, name a player who batted below the Mendoza Line in 2020 while finishing with an above-average OPS.

Answer? DJ Stewart, who hit .193 and compiled an OPS of .809.

The 27-year-old former first-rounder returned from the alternate site to mash in September, swatting seven home runs and driving in 15 runners. His OPS for September alone was .907.

Stewart is currently on the 15-day injured list but will likely have a roster spot waiting for him when he's healthy. Who gets bumped, though, is a big question.

The O's won't carry six outfielders, especially when none of them have a lot of positional flexibility. But who out of the outfield gets sent down to the minors? Hays and Mullins both had excellent springs and Mountcastle is a Rookie of the Year candidate. Santander was voted as the team's most valuable player in 2020.

I'm not sure how Hyde is going to handle Stewart's return, but it'll be worth watching.

Chris Davis, on the other hand, is only in the organization because of the money he is still owed. He's contracted through next season and has what seems like billions in deferred money coming his way through 2037.

Since Davis is on the 60-day injured list, the Orioles will need to find room for him on the 40-man roster, whenever he's ready to return.

Or, they could release him. But that's another topic for another day.

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Friday, 30 September 2022

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