Gone are the days when an Orioles fan would have to grit his teeth through an article about the club’s minor-league prospects. Suddenly — well, not so suddenly, but you know what we mean — the organization seems chock-full of budding talent.
In an article at mlb.com about the coming waves of Orioles, AJ Cassavell goes beyond the dynamic arms of Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman (Bundy is expected to be in the O’s rotation at some point this season). He picks left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez as the minor-league Pitcher of the Year.
“It's Rodriguez who could have the breakout year,” Cassavell writes. “He established his fastball in the mid-90s last season, and he puts plenty of movement on his two-seamer, as well. If Rodriguez can improve his other pitches and continue to throw strikes, he could be poised to be the next in a line of solid, young Orioles arms garnering praise.”
As for the Hitter of the Year, it’s second baseman Jonathan Schoop.
“With [Manny] Machado taking his cuts at the big-league level, it's time for Schoop to take over as the one producing the offensive buzz around the farm system. It isn't certain which position he'll play in the long term, but he has the tools and athleticism to succeed wherever the O's decide to put him. … His bat speed and hand-eye coordination would seem to translate to any level of pitching.
“Down the road, he and Machado could form one of the more offensively potent middle infields in baseball — if the club opts to use Schoop at second.”
It’s so much better for an Orioles fan not only to be able to look back on last year’s thrilling run, but also to look ahead to what seems like a bright future.