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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Orioles reset: As Baltimore connects into future through draft, strong first half comes with elite young talent on the way

In one of Matt Holiday’s 2017 seasons with the New York Yankees, his eldest son, Jackson, came to Baltimore with his father and the team, rocking fly balls in the outfield during batting practice at Camden Yards.

Jackson Holiday shared that story Sunday night when the Orioles made him the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. The experience makes him one of a select few, Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias to have taken the field at Oriole Park.

Holiday’s selection came hours after the Orioles finished the first half of their season with an astonishing .500 record. That mark came with Adly Ratschman, who had been first drafted three years earlier, was Elias’ only draft to play in front of Baltimore home fans.

“Living in that kind of environment, and it’s something I still remember, and I’m very excited to be back at that point,” Holiday said. “They’re a great organization, and they’re headed in the right direction and I’m excited to be a part of it, so I couldn’t be more excited to be in the organization.”

Many of the players who contributed to Baltimore’s turnaround are homegrown, with Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Trey Mancini at the core of their lineup, who was an Orioles draftee before the Elias took over baseball operations in November 2018. But since he arrived, Elias’ work has transformed Baltimore’s farming system into one of the best in the game, with the Orioles’ major league successes this year largely not involving players selected during his tenure. .

He was a logical first to come, with Rutschmann the first player taken in Elias’ first draft. Only Kyle Stowers, selected with a competitive balance pick later that year, has also reached the Major, playing in Toronto as a replacement without being added to the team’s 40-man roster. He is joined by Gunnar Henderson – chosen between Ratschmann and Stowers – and Jordan Westberg as potential Elias draftees who could join the Orioles and Rattlesman in the second half as the club tries to build on that record as well. Which Elias called “a very important mile”. Marker for us. ,

“I think it’s a step forward, and now we’re adding what would be a huge new wave at the bottom of an excellent agricultural system,” Elias said shortly after drafting Holiday. “I think this Orioles organization is in the healthiest place it’s been in for a very long time, and it just got a lot healthier 20 minutes ago.”

Elias said that Holiday has a “good chance of moving efficiently through the minors and joining this group that we look at,” with nine of Baltimore’s top 10 prospects in Double-A or higher. Reutsman’s arrival has already signaled the potential impact of this wave, with the Orioles leading 30-22 since making their debut on May 21.

It’s unclear how the Orioles will reach the trade deadline, but their biggest addition of the second half could prove to be this front office’s other drafty—not to mention holdover pitcher D.L. Hall, who is in Triple-A— Add to this their big league roster.

They will certainly be welcome, with Baltimore’s superior major league record still not enough to push them out of the bottom half of the American League East. The other four teams in the division – the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Boston Red Sox – enter the second half ready for a playoff push.

But the Orioles have shown that even without the products of the draft classes they consider contributing successes to large companies, they are headed in the right direction.

“Obviously, we’re not going to get complacent,” Brad Siolek, the Orioles’ director of draft operations, said ahead of the draft. “We realize we’re in the American League East, it’s going to be a dogfight every night, whether it’s Tampa, Toronto and obviously Boston and the Yankees, but thus far, and you don’t want to go high High, low level, but quite happy with how things have turned out.”

What’s to come?

This is the All-Star break, with the final 18 rounds of the draft taking place on Monday and Tuesday. Closer George Lopez will represent Baltimore at the Midsummer Classic at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday.

Play resumed on Friday, with the Orioles continuing a divisional stretch with three games against the New York Yankees at Camden Yards.

what was good

The return of third baseman Ramon Ureas to the Orioles lineup has deepened it, and he himself has gone deep enough.

Ureas hit .421 in the week, with five of his eight hits going for extra bases, including three pull-side home runs. He attributes the improvement in his launch angle to his power bounce, as he has been hitting the ball hard throughout the year. According to Baseball Savant, the Ureas trails only Mountcastle among the Orioles in average exhaust velocity, with his 90.8 mph mark tied with former Orioles third baseman Manny Machado on Sunday and ranking among the top 20% qualified hitters. Is.

What was not?

The Orioles’ continued struggle at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field is cause for concern, although they have only one trip left there. Friday’s loss ended Baltimore’s 10-game winning streak, while Sunday represented their 14th straight series loss in June 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

The series loss left the Orioles less than .500 five games against division opponents, compared to five game overs against teams outside it.

on the farm

Hall continued his incredibly impressive July run for Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, scoring five scoreless innings over 10. In four starts this month, he dismissed half of the batsmen he faced and five times as many batsmen as he faced. He has allowed one earned run in 20 2/3 innings, a 0.44 ERA.

Yankees @ Orioles

Friday, 7:05 pm

TV: Masan

radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

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World Nation News Desk
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