SARASOTA, Fla. -- The biggest difference this spring, both manager Brandon Hyde and general manager Mike Elias said, is the familiarity. At this point a year ago, Hyde and Elias descended upon Florida as green in their positions as the Ed Smith Stadium grass. They were starting at the ground
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The biggest difference this spring, both manager Brandon Hyde and general manager Mike Elias said, is the familiarity. At this point a year ago, Hyde and Elias descended upon Florida as green in their positions as the Ed Smith Stadium grass. They were starting at the ground floor of a rebuilding process they knew would be lengthy.
Things are a bit different this year in the second season of the Orioles’ rebuild. But the message in camp is more or less the same: compete.
“There is great opportunity here, still,” Hyde said. “I think we have another year of a lot of opportunity. There are a lot of jobs to be won. Talking to the players the last couple of days, they’re realistic and understanding of that.”
No one understands that better than the 35 pitchers who reported to Orioles camp on Tuesday. There are multiple jobs to be won, both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. A pecking order needs to be established in the depth ranks. There are impressions to be made for the bevy of prospects in the fold, many of whom will find themselves in Baltimore by season's end.
While the Orioles remain focused on development and are realistic about their chances in the American League East this season, the club is optimistic when it comes to improving its shifting organizational landscape.
“It’s getting better,” Elias said. “Going over the 40-man roster and looking at the players who are here, we have hopes for all of them, they are all talented and they have things to like about them. We definitely feel like it is coming together. This is a part of a longer process but it’s been moving in the right direction.”
It all makes for a competitive environment that stretches to nearly every corner of the roster, from holdovers like Asher Wojciechowski and David Hess to Rule 5 Draft picks Brandon Bailey and Michael Rucker, to prospects Ryan Mountcastle and Keegan Akin. Blue-chippers Austin Hays and Hunter Harvey enter the year with the inside track on center field and back-end bullpen jobs following their impressive late-season debuts in 2019. Yusniel Díaz, Dean Kremer, Zac Lowther and a hoard of others will get chances to open eyes with the hopes of making similar marks in 2020.
“I think we have players here who have never played in the big leagues who have a chance to break camp,” Elias said. “We’re going to be keeping an eye on those guys. The competition absolutely extends to the rookies.”
With pitchers, catchers and a handful of early-arriving position players filling up the Ed Smith Stadium clubhouse, let’s take a closer look at some of the basic elements of Orioles Spring Training.
Pitchers and catchers report date
First pitchers and catchers workout
Full squad report date
First full-squad workout
New faces to know
RHP Brandon Bailey
RHP Travis Lakins
RHP Michael Rucker
RHP Kohl Stewart
LHP Wade LeBlanc
RHP Cole Sulser
SS José Iglesias
INF Richard Ureña
INF Ramón Urías
INF Dilson Herrera
MLB coach Fredi González, bullpen coach Darren Holmes and first base/outfield coach Anthony Sanders
Top prospects to know
C Adley Rutschman (No. 4 on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list)
1B/OF Ryan Mountcastle (No. 94)
OF Yusniel Díaz
OF Austin Hays
RHP Dean Kremer
LHP Keegan Akin
RHP Hunter Harvey
LHP Zac Lowther
LHP Alex Wells
INF Rylan Bannon
RHP Brandon Bailey
SS Mason McCoy
RHP Dillon Tate
LHP Bruce Zimmermann
Where is the facility?
Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
Can fans attend workouts?
Fans are invited to watch workouts on the back fields at the Orioles' Ed Smith Stadium complex from Feb. 12 until Feb. 23, when home games begin.
Feb. 22 against the Braves at CoolToday Park in North Port, Fla., at 1:05 p.m. ET.
One other notable game
Home opener: Feb. 23 vs. Red Sox, 1:05 p.m. ET.
Last game in Florida
March 23 vs. Mets, 1:05 p.m. ET.
Spring TV schedule
The following games will be aired on MASN: Feb. 23 vs. Red Sox, Feb. 26 vs. Braves, March 2 vs. Rays, March 8 vs. Yankees, March 13 vs. Blue Jays, March 20 vs. Red Sox, March 22 vs. Phillies
Any additional exhibitions before the regular season?
March 26 vs. Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, 3:05 p.m. ET.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.