The “Baltimore Orioles” and “Ripken” are back together making headlines, but they’re not prefaced with the name “Cal.” The Orioles took the Baltimore legend’s son Ryan Ripken in the 20th round of Wednesday’s Major League Draft. Former Oriole Larry Sheets joined 105.7 THE FAN’s Norris and Davis Show to analyze the pick that had talent as big as the name attached to it.
“Well I think in my opinion, he’s the best first baseman I’ve ever seen at this age. His knowledge of the game and where to be, he’s just head and shoulders above the other kids,” Sheets said.
Sheets says Ripken put on 35 lbs in the offseason and still has the frame to gain even more. Potential weight gain, combined with his hard work ethic, means that for Ripken, the sky is the limit. Listen here:
“I just think he’s grown into his body. I mean, being at 6’5’’ or 6’6’’ and lengthy and trying to figure out size 15 feet, and I just think he’s really starting to come into his own. Like I said, whoever gets him is going to end up with a great product,” Sheets said.
Ripken has a scholarship offer to play at the University of South Carolina and committed to the Gamecocks in November. Sheets says college isn’t always best for drafted players, but is confident that Ripken’s best option is attending USC.
“I think just having the opportunity to go to college and being around that great system they have working at South Carolina, where you’re there working 10 months out the year, I just think that would be a big upside.”
While he had Sheets on the phone, Steve Davis asked Sheets to compare this year’s Orioles team to the 1989 team that went 87-75 following an abysmal 1988 season. Sheets says right now, Camden Yards is brimming with an undeniable sense of positivity that comes with consistently stringing together wins. That positivity starts with manager Buck Showalter and his unwavering expectation to win.
“He expects these guys to play, expects them to perform, and I think he brings a positive feeling. It seems to me that these guys really want to play for him, and to me that’s huge. When you’re walking in that clubhouse and you feel good about putting your uniform on, good things happen.”
Written by: Intern Dave Andrews