No. 21 prospect Trimble has shoulder surgery

Orioles sign Nottingham to Minor League contract

December 8th, 2021

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles drafted college outfielders in bulk in the early rounds of the 2021 MLB Draft, selecting four with their first five picks. Now, it’s unclear how much one will play in 2022.

The current concern centers on second-round pick Reed Trimble, who underwent surgery to repair a labrum tear in his left shoulder in early December, according to the team. The injury, which is to Trimble’s non-throwing arm, is expected to sideline him for six to nine months.

The 65th overall selection in the 2021 Draft, Trimble, 21, is a switch-hitting center fielder who was considered one of the better power-speed combinations in the Draft coming out of Southern Mississippi. He was the O’s third selection, after first-round outfielder Colton Cowser and second-round second baseman Connor Norby, signing for an underslot $800,000 bonus to forgo his sophomore season at Southern Miss. Trimble then appeared in 22 games between the Florida Complex League and Class A Delmarva, hitting .200 with three stolen bases and 25 strikeouts down the stretch.

He is one of three ’21 draftees ranked among the club’s Top 30 Prospects per MLB Pipeline, slotting in at No. 21 behind Cowser (No. 5) and ahead of John Roades (No. 30). All three reached Delmarva last September, with Cowser (.347 average, 26 RBIs, .904 OPS in 25 games with the Shorebirds) and Rhodes (.343 OBP, 18 RBIs with the Low-A affiliate) impressing in their limited time there.

Minor League signing
The Orioles added to their catching depth Wednesday, signing backstop Jacob Nottingham to a Minor League contract. Nottingham, 26, appeared in 53 big league games for the Brewers and Mariners from 2018-21, including 10 for Seattle last summer. Once a highly rated prospect, Nottingham was included in trades for Scott Kazmir in ’15 and Khris Davis in ’16 before landing in Milwaukee, but never established himself as a big league regular.

At the moment, the Orioles do not have any catchers on their 40-man roster. The team cut ties with Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns over the past six months in anticipation of top prospect Adley Rutschman’s impending arrival, and were expected to make at least one depth signing for cover at the position. Nottingham gives them that, as well as an option to backup Rutschman come early 2022.

From the trainer’s room
The Orioles announced Minor League right-hander Conner Loeprich underwent left knee surgery with debridement of the meniscus Tuesday. Loeprich, 24, is expected to be ready for the start of the 2022 season. He reached High-A Aberdeen in ’21, his first season in the Orioles’ system.

Rule 5 files
Despite the Major League portion of this year's Rule 5 Draft being postponed in the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Orioles remained active in the Minor League phase, selecting two players Wednesday: right-handers Nolan Hoffman (from the Mariners) and Cole Uvila (from the Rangers).

Hoffman, 24, reached High-A in 2021, striking out 24 in 22 innings across 13 appearances, mostly in relief. Uvila, 27, made 16 appearances at Triple-A last season, pitching to an 8.74 ERA. The Orioles did not lose any prospects in the draft.

Kurkjian honored
This week, the Baltimore chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America is celebrating one of its own. Former Orioles beat writer and longtime ESPN analyst Tim Kurkjian is this year’s recipient of the BBWAA Career Excellence Award (formerly the J.G. Taylor Spink Award), securing a place in Cooperstown for one of the game’s most affable and respected scribes.

The award, the highest honor bestowed by the BBWAA, is given annually “for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.” Kurkjian, 65, covered the Orioles for the Baltimore Sun from 1986-89 before continuing his career at Sports Illustrated and then ESPN, where he has worked since the late ‘90s. He is a University of Maryland graduate who still lives in the state, and he worked for the Washington Star and Baltimore News-American as a young journalist. He is also the Baltimore chapter’s first recipient to receive the industry’s highest honor since Sam Lacy in 1997.