SpringNotes 2021: Edition 2

Welcome back to another edition of SpringNotes! In this series, we provide Birdland with some information about what is happening at O’s spring training camp! So, let’s get right into it!

1. Thomas Eshelman to start first exhibition game

It feels so good to announce this! Brandon Hyde announced Thursday afternoon that Thomas Eshelman will start the first spring training exhibition game Sunday against the Pirates.

Hyde wanted to get through a handful of full-squad workouts before making his decision. He also pointed out that he expects to see Félix Hernández and Matt Harvey start sometime next week.

Eshelman rejoined the Orioles on a minor league deal last month. He made 12 appearances in 2020, including four starts, with three wins. He also registered a 3.89 ERA and 1.240 WHIP in 34.2 innings.

Eshelman is looking to compete for a spot on the 26-man roster, whether it be in the starting rotation or in a long relief role, the latter being the most likely.

2. Rule 5 guys look good

Brandon Hyde commented on the team’s Rule 5 picks, right-handed pitchers Mac Sceroler and Tyler Wells, saying the men “threw the ball really well today.”

Not knowing what the roster will look like a little over a month from now, Hyde has a lot of decisions to make when it comes to his pitching staff.

Do you keep both Rule 5 guys and put them on the Opening Day roster, while having to keep them in the big leagues the entire year? It’s going to be a tough decision says Hyde.

“There are going to be some tough decisions down the stretch, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

O’s manager Brandon Hyde

As we look ahead, there are four locks in the bullpen to north with the club: Tanner Scott, Paul Fry, Hunter Harvey, and Shawn Armstrong. The rest is up in the air.

Brandon Hyde says he still believes in the abilities of Cole Sulser, who struggled tremendously last season. Dillon Tate is looking to make the next step in the bigs, while Travis Lakins Sr. and Cesar Valdez look to build off the success they had out of the pen last season.

3. Outfielders will be looked at a lot this spring, as lots of questions loom

The Orioles have a lot of depth at the outfield positions. That’s the understatement of the year.

It’s safe to say that Anthony Santander has all but locked right field up after a near Gold Glove 2020 season, and it’s also safe to assume that Ryan Mountcastle will take most of the reps in left, with the return of Trey Mancini to first base.

Center field is the biggest question mark. Who will get the starting job, Austin Hays or Cedric Mullins?

What will DJ Stewart’s role be? Will he see more time at DH? When can we expect the debut of Yusniel Díaz? This could be a make or break year for both.

Will someone like Ryan McKenna debut at some point this year? Will Chris Shaw make the team as a bench bat?

These are all questions Hyder has to answer sooner than later, but only time will tell. A lot of men will get looked at over the next month.

What do you think of each of the topics we went over? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!

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