Battery Q&A: Edition 7

Welcome to the newest edition of ‘Battery Q&A! In this series, we answer any and all of your Orioles-related questions!

Without any further ado, let’s answer your fan-submitted questions!

Do the Birds plan on bringing up Grayson this year early? I see no further need in keeping him down, unless, like usual, they want to be thrifty, so they have him for an extra year before arbitration, which I don’t think is fair to him or the fans. – Jeff Lebo via Facebook

Jeff, this is something I believe any fan would love to see. However, it doesn’t seem likely.

Grayson is the team’s No. 2 overall prospect and the top pitching prospect in all of baseball. At just 22 years old, he will certainly get chances to show off his impeccable talent this spring.

GM Mike Elias said a couple months back that Grayson and baseball’s No. 1 overall prospect Adley Rutschman both have the chance to make the Major League club out of spring, and he even stated that pitchers don’t necessarily need to get reps in Triple-A before making their debut in the bigs.

However, the most logical move for the continued development of Grayson is to have him begin the 2020 campaign at Triple-A Norfolk. There’s no point in having him on the Opening Day roster since the team isn’t ready to compete that early.

As for the the arbitration argument, with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement set to take place, there might be new rules and regulations for keeping players in the minors when it comes to service time and salary.

To have a little bit of hope shining on this team, Rodriguez will likely pitch for the big league club by season’s end. I would expect it to be sometime after the All-Star break.

Will the Orioles pull out all stops and give their top minor league picks a full ticket to the majors next year? I believe this is what could be a step in the right direction. – Gene Stone Jr. via Facebook

The ticket has been purchased, but it’s for a flight in the future.

The Orioles will have most of their top prospects starting the 2022 season in the minors. However, most of them will showcase their stuff during spring training.

The O’s top two pitching prospects, Grayson Rodriguez and D.L. Hall, will get reps in spring, but both will likely begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk. Names like Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Mike Baumann all have a good chance to break camp with the big league club.

The No. 1 overall prospect in baseball, catcher Adley Rutschman, will have the best chance to make the Opening Day roster, after Pedro Severino, Austin Wynns and Nick Ciuffo all elected free agency.

Another sneaky bat that could find a roster spot is outfielder Robert Neustrom, who had a career-year last season between Double and Triple-A. The O’s will have to add him to the 40-man roster if they want to protect Neustrom from the Rule 5 Draft.

The O’s aren’t going to rush guys like last year’s first round pick, Colton Cowser, and 2020 first rounder, Heston Kjerstad, who just recently returned to baseball activities after battling myocarditis.

So to answer your question, rushing prospects won’t be happening next season. However, expect a lot of Major League debuts throughout the year!

How did “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” start getting played during the Seventh Inning Stretch? – Rebecca Bryan via Facebook

Oriole Park at Camden Yards is unique in many ways, but there’s one thing that makes it different from every other ballpark in Major League Baseball.

The popular John Denver song made it’s debut in baseball during the Memorial Stadium days in Baltimore. But why and how did this tradition begin?

Rumor has it, longtime Orioles shortstop Mark Belanger was the first to suggest the tune to former GM Frank Cashen, who, by the summer of 1975, was looking to infuse more contemporary music into the fan experience at Memorial Stadium. 

The song was more popular than any other the team played during the stretch, and by 1976, fans expected it to be played loudly through the speakers every night.

Former Orioles Doug DeCinces, Tim Nordbrook and Tony Muser, used to put on a show every game, as they pretended to be a band, using bats as air guitars.

One night, the Birds were down in a one-run game, and the trio was not going to do their usual routine with the song. Manager Earl Weaver was superstitious about the antics and barked at the three, ““‘What the hell are you doing? Get your s*** ready!’”

The song was taken out of circulation from ’88-93 by owner Eli Jacobs. It returned after Peter Angelos bought the team and remains to this day 40 years later!

How far away are we from a .500 season? – Donald Sebastian via Facebook

This is a question that can only be answered with a guess or an opinion, so we will answer it with just that.

It won’t be next season; at least that’s what most insiders and fans believe. The team will be better next year, but I truly don’t see them reaching the .500 mark.

However, the 2023 season on the other hand is where we should see some contention.

That has been the year that most people see the O’s being able to compete for a playoff push again. Will they make the postseason that year? Only time will tell.

So, to answer your question, Donald, shoot for two years from now. And please, be patient and understand we’re getting better every year moving forward.

Well, that’s going to do it for this edition of ‘Battery Q&A’! If you would like your question featured on a future edition, keep an eye out for our posts on our social media pages! All you have to do is comment or DM us your question!

Let us know in the comments what you thought of our answers, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter and our podcast “The Walk-Off” on YouTube and Spotify! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!

Like Jared’s content? Follow him on Twitter, @RealJaredWatson!

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