Farewell (for now) and Thank You

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2020 by oriolesprovingground

One month into the 2012 minor league baseball season, I was offered a position with the Baltimore Orioles as a minor league video intern in Bowie for the Baysox. Although the opportunity wasn’t handed to me (I did have to interview), I would be lying if I didn’t say that being in the “right place, at the right time” had a lot to do with me getting that opportunity. I spent the rest of the summer attending Baysox home games, video-taping hitters and pitchers. If you happened to attend a Baysox game in 2012, you probably saw me running around to different spots in the stadium with a camera on a tripod. It was truly an amazing experience that provided me the opportunity to get a glimpse at the inner workings of a professional baseball organization.

Despite being the most fun job I’ve probably ever had, the schedule could get grueling. I kept my regular job, so there was not much sleep to be had while Bowie was in the middle of a home stand. So when given the opportunity to come back in the same capacity the following season, I politely declined. In an effort to stay connected to baseball, I decided to start my own blog writing about baseball, and that blog became Orioles Proving Ground. After some initial blog posts and incredibly sparse readership, I reached out to Camden Depot to see if they would add my site to the list of links featuring prominent Orioles blogs. Instead, I was given the opportunity to write a couple of guest-posts, which ultimately resulted in Jon Shepherd allowing me to join the site as a regular contributor.

I cannot begin to express how much of a big deal this was (and still is) to me. I had never really thought of myself as a writer, and to be given the chance to write in the same space as some of the baseball writers I looked up to the most was something I never even considered. In addition to the (obvious) boost in readership, writing for Camden Depot allowed me the opportunity to produce podcasts, discuss baseball and interact with some of the best baseball writers and readers on the internet (not to mention interview Doug Glanville for an article).

Overall, I ended up writing 91 articles for Camden Depot. Some were good, some could have been better, and at least one of them made the majority of readers pretty angry. Here are a couple of my personal favorites:

As the years of baseball writing on the internet went on, other life events and responsibilities (all good, thankfully) started to take higher priority and resulted in my writing less and less. Not only did I not write as much, but I began to feel as if my writing wasn’t contributing as much to the overall Orioles conversation, especially with so many other great Baltimore Orioles writers on the internet. When Camden Depot decided to shut down, I was given an opportunity to contribute to Baltimore Sports and Life. While initially hesitant to join BSL due to the same reasons above that prevented me from writing more, I accepted in the hopes that I could somehow find the time to provide meaningful insight to the Orioles minor league system. While I am proud of the work I contributed to BSL, finding the time continued to be elusive.

In addition to the 5 years writing for Camden Depot and the 1 year with BSL, I’ve hosted Orioles Proving Ground and wrote about baseball for almost 7 years, and it’s now time for my tiny Baltimore Orioles related space on the internet to close its doors, at least for the foreseeable future. I am very proud of the work I published over these years and am extremely humbled and honored to have been given the opportunity to work with the talented writers at Camden Depot (many of whom have turned great analysis into a baseball career) and Baltimore Sports and Life. My only regret is that I reached a point where I could no longer keep up with all of the great baseball analysis (in Baltimore and beyond) in both quality and quantity.

In the end, this “farewell” post is a bit self-serving. I do not believe that my Orioles writing has been missed, and no one has been clamoring for me to write more. There have not been swarms of Orioles fans checking this site daily for updates. If anyone HAS noticed that I have not been writing as much, they would have likely assumed that I just quietly stepped away, which wouldn’t necessarily have been wrong. However, it wouldn’t feel right to let this site end without taking the time for one final post and express my gratitude to some of the individuals who not only allowed me a high profile place to write about baseball, but also helped me become a better writer along the way.

So thank you to Jon Shepherd, Matt Kremnitzer, Chris Stoner, and all of the other writers I crossed path with at Camden Depot (including my podcast partner Pat Holden) and Baltimore Sports and Life, as well as the readers and commenters (most of whom were great) who helped make it that much more fun. See you at the ballpark.

2019 Orioles Minor League Recap: Frederick, Bowie, and Norfolk

Posted in Minor Leagues on March 5, 2020 by oriolesprovingground

This article was originally intended to be published on Baltimore Sports and Life around October 27, 2019. It was never published due to the fact that it was originally supposed to be published a month earlier as a companion piece to Zach Spedden’s article summarizing the 2019 season for the lower levels of the Baltimore Orioles minor league system, and too much time had passed. I am publishing it here to include with the rest of my baseball writing.

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With the minor-league season in the books, Baltimore Sports and Life is recapping the teams in the Baltimore Orioles farm system.

In part one, BSL’s Zach Spedden covered the seasons of the Gulf Coast League (GCL) Orioles, Aberdeen IronBirds, and Delmarva Shorebirds. In Part 2, I will be recapping the 2019 season for the Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox, and Norfolk Tides.

The recaps will focus mainly on the top prospects in the system, though as we get into the high minors, most of the prospects are leftover from the Duquette regime, so this article will focus on them. Overall, those players mostly had good seasons, or at worst, held their own. Continue reading

Can Recent Draft Picks Provide a Roadmap for Getting Adley Rutschman to the Majors?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 5, 2020 by oriolesprovingground

This article was originally scheduled to run around August 23, 2019 on Baltimore Sports and Life. It never did due to a similar article being published a couple of months earlier. I am posting it here so it can be included in my collection of writings.

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Recently, Zach Spedden and I discussed some post-draft, second half questions dealing with the Orioles minor league system. One of those questions involved estimating when Adley Rutschman may find himself in the big leagues. Admittedly, I hypothesized that Rutschman may find himself in the big leagues by the end of the 2021 season, assuming the Orioles don’t participate in any service time shenanigans (Zach guessed a possible 2020 late season call up). Based on what I think their window to contend is going to be (hint: it’s not anytime soon in my opinion), they’d probably benefit from some service time manipulation, though I believe they should bring him up when he’s ready.

With that in mind, I wanted to look and see how other recent top college draft picks have progressed through the minor leagues after being drafted. I looked at college position players drafted somewhere between picks 1 and 5 over the previous 5 drafts, hoping that they may provide some insight on Rutschman’s journey through the minors. Obviously, how well Rutschman performs will ultimately determine his timeline, though the Orioles don’t really have any reason to rush. Just as a note, I am not including Brendan McKay, since it appears that the Rays are having him focus on primarily on pitching in the majors, at least in the short term. Continue reading

Some Additional (BSL Related) Housecleaning Items

Posted in Minor Leagues on February 29, 2020 by oriolesprovingground

After Camden Depot ended its long and successful run, I received a offer to start contributing to Baltimore Sports and Life. While I again was not able to write as much as I had wanted to for BSL, I was able to publish some posts and spend some time on the message boards interacting with passionate Orioles fans. Though it was short, i very much enjoyed my time at BSL contributing with other talented writers covering a wide swath of Baltimore related sports and activities. Here is the collection of articles I wrote for BSL.

Do the Orioles Really Have the Worst Farm System in the League? (3/11/2019)

Baltimore Orioles 2019 Season 40 Man Roster Primer (3/28/2019)

Orioles Affiliates (Mostly) Struggling Early in 2019 (4/19/2019)

Orioles Minor League Discussion with Zach Spedden and Nate Delong (5/4/2019)

It May Be Time to Give DJ Stewart an Extended Look in the Big Leagues (5/23/2019)

Orioles Minor League Discussion with Zach Spedden and Nate Delong: July 2019 (7/26/2019)

I also had two additional posts that never ran (for reasons mostly of my own doing), which I will be running here shortly so that I can continue to have my entire collection housed at this site.

A Little Bit of Housecleaning

Posted in Uncategorized on December 10, 2018 by oriolesprovingground

If anyone has been to this page recently, you’ve probably noticed that there haven’t been many posts. The truth is that I have posted since the essentially Dylan Bundy painting post, but all of them have been posted on Camden Depot, without my usual companion “summary” here on Orioles Proving Ground. As you can see, it’s still not much of a catalog, as my writing has been sparse the last year or two, and that is probably being generous. Anyway, here is a rundown of the posts I’ve authored at Camden Depot since April of 2016:

Blueprint for the 2017 Orioles (Option 3): Let’s Get Versatile (10/27/2016)

For what it is worth, the title of this post was supposed to be sung to the tune of Olivia Newton-John’s “Let Get Physical”

The Orioles Should Start Planning Their 2018 Starting Rotation (12/07/2016)

MLB Winter Meetings: The Best (Worst) Place to Get a Job in Baseball (12/21/2016)

Has Ubaldo Jimenez Always Struggled in the First Inning? (01/04/2017)

The 2017 Orioles: Creativity Required (04/03/2017)

Aggressive Minor League Assignment for DJ Stewart Makes Sense (04/12/2017)

The Orioles Have Positional Depth; Lack Positional DEPTH (04/17/2017)

J.J. Hardy Needs to Make an Adjustment (05/15/2017)

Everyone’s Available: Going for It in 2017 (05/29/2017)

Darren O’Day’s Small Change in Slider Use (06/05/2017)

Does Dylan Bundy Struggle Against Left-Handed Batters? (06/19/2017)

The Orioles Offense is Not Good (07/03/2017)

Does a Trade Market for Manny Machado Even Exist at the 2017 Trade Deadline? (07/17/2017)

The One Move the Orioles Should Really Make Today (07/31/2017)

Orioles Don’t Actually Consider Themselves a Playoff Contender (08/21/2017)

Coming to the Defense of Jeremy Hellickson (Sort Of) (09/18/2017)

Wade Miley Couldn’t Finish Off Hitters in 2017 (10/03/2017)

Blueprint for the 2018 Orioles (Option 1): So Yu Think Yu Can Pitch (10/16/2017)

Orioles 2018 Blueprint Follow-Up: Why I Decided to Non-Tender Zach Britton (11/09/2017)

Is There a Potential Bad Contract Swap With the Giants? (11/21/2017)

Non-Tendered Candidates for the Orioles to Consider (12/04/2017)

Player Opt-Out Clauses Could (Have) Really Help(ed) the Orioles This Offseason (02/19/2018)

That’s it. Looks like a long list now that I am looking at it (and it’s more than I remember doing), however over the course of two and half years, that isn’t much. As anyone reading this is probably aware, Camden Depot shut down at the end of the 2018 season after 11+ years. I really enjoyed and appreciated the time I spent writing there and will hopefully be posting additional thoughts about that in the near future.

Dylan Bundy: Painting the Corner

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on April 8, 2016 by oriolesprovingground

A couple of days ago, the writers at ESPN Sweetspot Orioles blog Camden Depot dedicated an entire day to the return of a healthy Dylan Bundy. It was labeled as #BundyBash, with a plethora of articles dedicated to Bundy were posted throughout the day. I contributed to this effort as well. Did you know that Dylan Bundy took up painting in the offseason? He did, and my post focused on critiquing his artwork. Obviously I’m not an art critic and the post is meant to be fun. So head on over to Camden Depot to check out my critique of his paintings, as well as all the other Dylan Bundy related posts associated with #BundyBash.

Direct Link to Article –> Dylan Bundy: Painting the Corner

2016 Orioles Opening Day: Live Blog!

Posted in Defense, Live!, Offense, Pitching with tags on April 4, 2016 by oriolesprovingground

Welcome to Orioles Opening Day 2016! For the third year in a row I will attempt to live blog the Orioles first game of the season. If it’s anything like the other years, I’m sure that I’ll start out strong and fade quickly in both jokes and content. Enjoy the game!

(3:01) – Oh, hello baseball Continue reading