Battery Q&A 2023: Edition II

One of our biggest joys here at The Baltimore Battery is our inclusion and interaction with Birdland fans and our supporters.

As we roll into the regular season, we have a few questions from you, the fans, that have been presented, and we are going to answer them.

So let’s jump right into Battery Q&A: Edition II:

1. Do you think if some of the rookies come up, you could see a guy like Adam Frazier moved out? Also, I’m a huge Kyle Stowers fan. Do you think he will get regular playing time, or is he more of a bench player this year? Walter Maselli (@WalterMaselli1) via Twitter

Adam Frazier was a low risk, high reward signing for the Orioles. He is an upgrade over last season’s second baseman, Rougned Odor, and has the ability to play the outfield, as well as middle infield.  

A career .273 hitter, Frazier will provide stability at the second base position as he platoons with Terrin Vavra and Ramón Urías.   

Seeing how Jordan Westburg or Joey Ortiz produce in Triple-A Norfolk will go a long way towards deciding if Frazier is a short-term placeholder or a season-long member. I think he becomes a trade asset and allows Jordan Westburg to make his much-anticipated big league debut this season. 

As for Kyle Stowers, I project him to play about 120 games this season, mostly in right field, and to produce moderate results as he grows into the big leagues. 

2. What are your realistic expectations for this season? Wild Card? Dark horse run at the AL East? – JP (@Bmore2SC) via Twitter

Looking at this season, many pundits are predicting a step back from last season’s success. Based on past history, that is not too far-fetched.  

Honestly, I don’t see it and predict a small improvement to 88-74 with a Wild Card birth. Between a full season from Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Stowers, a year’s growth from Jorge Mateo and Kyle Bradish, plus the addition of Grayson Rodriguez down the road, the O’s have the potential to make more noise than last season.

I think the Birds are a year or two away from both a strong AL East run and a serious World Series contender status. 

3. Given the talent and youth of their starting pitchers, should the O’s go with a six-man rotation (i.e. Gibson, Irvin, Kremer, Bradish, Wells, Rodriguez)? – Paul Catchit via Facebook

While this idea has been used recently by the Los Angeles Angels, I do not see this as a viable option for the Orioles. 

My reasoning is that in doing this, you remove an arm from the bullpen, and you start removing depth as a strength.

The Orioles are fortunate that they actually have a plethora of arms capable of throwing five or more innings if needed. If Gibson performs half as well as anticipated, he makes for an easy trade piece and will lead to the promotion of guys from Triple-A Norfolk.

The other thing to keep in mind is that near the All-Star Break, the team should be getting John Means back, which is like picking up a pitcher at the trade deadline.

I don’t want to sacrifice depth at the starting rotation or bullpen and think, for developmental purposes, extra time in Triple-A will only improve Rodriguez and Hall in the long-term.

Will Austin Hays be traded before the All-Star Break? – Mike Purcell via Facebook

Austin Hays is an enigma of a player. When healthy, he has the tools and talent to be a crucial part of any lineup while playing strong defense at any outfield spot.  

Hays’ best season was two years ago when he hit a career-high 22 home runs with career bests in RBIs (71), runs scored (78) and total bases (225).    

It seemed he took a step backward last season, but his stats aren’t all too different from the year before outside of home runs and RBIs. 

If Hays can replicate his 2021 season, he becomes a strong piece for the Orioles and possibly a trade chip. He is entering his third season with the club as a full-time starter, but with younger and arguably more talented players like Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad and Jud Fabian on the rise, trading Hays seems like the best move.

I think Hays will be moved before the deadline in a package that brings a significant pitcher to Baltimore while opening the door for Cowser to make his major league debut. 

Any thoughts on if Jackson Holliday will start the year in Delmarva? – (@aintthebrercold5) via TikTok

Jackson Holliday was the most recent No. 1 overall pick by the Orioles. Picked to be the future shortstop of the club, projections currently have Holliday making his debut in 2025. 

I, on the other hand, project that to come in 2024 at some point. In response to this question, I do believe Holliday starts the season with the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds, but he won’t be there long. 

Holliday debuted last season and across 20 games, two levels, he displayed the tools that will make him accelerate through the O’s farm system. 

He slashed .297/.489/.333, walking more than two times the number of times he struck out (25 walks to 12 strikeouts). He hit a home run, five doubles, nine RBIs and 14 runs scored in his short sample size. Look for him to start off a Shorebird, but he will be flying off to Aberdeen sooner than many think. 

I want to thank our fans for giving us the opportunity to answer some of your questions, and we thank you for following and interacting with us.

We look forward to bringing more content to you, and be on the lookout for when Battery Q&A: Edition III comes around.  

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What do you think of our responses? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!

Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman

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