It’s still very early into the Orioles’ spring training, but here a few observations that could impact the club as they move towards April.
Although the World Baseball Classic will disrupt the spring routine, it will also have its bonuses. Players on the “fringe” will receive ample opportunity to prove their worth. Injured players will have time to recuperate, and eventually play, and evaluation of certain players will be more thorough.
However, there is a downside to six Orioles playing in the Classic. Both Adam Jones and Mychal Givens are in it for team USA. Jonathan Schoop is on the team for the Netherlands. Vidal Nuno is playing for Mexico, and both Manny Machado and Welington Castillo will play for the Dominican Republic.
These key components to the ball club could potentially, depending on their team’s success, miss up to three weeks of the Grapefruit League season.
The most important of this group is Castillo, who led the National League in passed balls a year ago. Gaining chemistry with the pitching staff is vital to his success in Baltimore and there’s a chance that he may not get to work in a game situation with starters like Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy or Zach Britton more than twice prior to departing on March 5. All four of those pitchers are important pieces to the Orioles success. All feature different deliveries and pitches.
I’m not saying it will be impossible to form that needed chemistry, but it just may take a while depending on how long the new backstop is out of town.
It’s definitely something to keep an eye on during the early portion of the season.