Spring training has finally arrived, and the baseball world let out a sigh of relief when we were treated with news that we would have a full 162-game schedule.
That means a compressed spring training but also a quicker wind down to the final 40-man roster.
As spring training begins, the Orioles have brought forth their non-roster invitees. Some names are surprises and others well known.
Let’s take a quick look and see where the roster inflation for spring begins:
Marcos Diplán (RHP)
Rico Garcia (RHP)
Ryan Hartman (LHP)
Blaine Knight (RHP)
Travis Lankins Sr. (RHP)
Ofelky Peralta (RHP)
Deni Reyes (RHP)
Grayson Rodriguez (RHP)
Cody Sedlock (RHP)
Nick Vespi (LHP)
Spenser Watkins (RHP)
This list is intriguing in so many ways. With a bullpen that is in major flux and a starting rotation far from set, we could see a few of these players make the Opening Day roster.
Cody Sedlock, Blaine Knight and, of course, Grayson Rodriguez show a lot of promise as starters and are part of the near future plans.
Nick Vespi, Spenser Watkins, Travis Lakins Sr. and Ofelky Peralta are arms that can be used as long relief and may even be back-end rotation guys in a pinch.
One thing is for sure: as we are starting to see the system that has been built so well, there will be enthusiasm, excitement and plenty of grit as these players try to make a statement and cement their status for 2022.
Anthony Bemboom (L)
Brett Cumberland (S)
Maverick Handley (R)
Jacob Nottingham (R)
Cody Roberts (R)
Adley Rutschman (S)
Everyone will be watching the catching position, as Adley Rutschman will be front and center for a competition that everyone is dubbing already won.
Everyone is predicting Rutschman as the Opening Day starting catcher, as he’s tore through the minors. But the likes of Brett Cumberland, who backed up Adley, will be looking to make a stamp and try to force his way into playing time.
Jacob Nottingham and Anthony Bemboom will be looking to make the club as the veteran backup to Rutschman. But they’ll have to compete with the recently signed Robinson Chirinos.
Maverick Handley, carrying the coolest name by far, and Cody Roberts will be looking to turn some heads as well, most likely starting in Norfolk and Bowie, respectively.
Either way, the catcher position will be one of intrigue, as the Orioles have built up a steady surplus of talent to compliment the centerpiece, Rutschman.
Pat Dorrian (L)
Shed Long Jr. (L)
Richie Martin (R)
This is a small list where there seems to be some glaring holes for the big league club. With first base seeming to be the only set position, the Orioles either are planning on a big free-agent signing (no expectations here) or have their roster planned out already.
Richie Martin might be on his last leg with the club. For all the promise he shows, he can’t seem to stay healthy and is running out of time.
Shed Long Jr. will be someone to watch, as he has skills and range that fit in well for a second base job. He will need to go above and beyond, but don’t count him out as a potential dark horse here.
Patrick Dorrian is a corner infielder with some power that has developed over the last few years. Looking to make some noise and find a way to earn daily playing time in the minors, he will be looking to turn some heads and show his skills continue to improve.
Robert Neustrom (L)
Kyle Stowers (L)
With the Orioles outfield pretty much set, their isn’t much to do to change that here. But Stowers and Neustrom have the ability to scare someone like DJ Stewart or Anthony Santander out of a roster spot.
Both players have skills that have turned heads and have the ability to force the Orioles into a tough decision when it comes to the influx of youth in the system.
With Stewart, like Martin, running out of time to prove himself and Santander trying to remain healthy, Stowers and Neustrom can push them right off the team. Keep your eye on both as they fight to make some noise and show why they are so highly thought of.
The Orioles are finally in a position to see where their drafts and prospects have settled in, in relation to expectations. With some roster turnover expected, we can see the youth movement finally get their chance to punch their ticket to the bigs.
This season will be an exciting one, and we’ll at least have some fun new faces to cheer for.
Which non-roster invitee intrigues you the most this spring? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
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