The spotlight may shine on the Arizona Fall League more than ever in the prospect circuit's 25th season. Usually packed with phenoms, the league has even more blue-chip prospects than usual. And, as you may have heard, a certain Heisman Trophy winner will take the next step in his baseball development with the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Since the AFL opened play in 1992, roughly 60 percent of its participants have graduated to the big leagues -- more than 2,500 players, including 247 All-Stars, 15 MVPs, six Cy Young Award winners and 26 Rookies of the Year. Alumni include future Hall of Famers such as Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols, as well as five of the six major award winners from 2015 in Jake Arrieta, Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Bryce Harper and Dallas Keuchel.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
O's claim lefty Bradley off waivers from Braves
Baltimore designates infielder Janish for assignment
The Orioles announced on Friday that they have claimed left-hander Jed Bradley off waivers from the Atlanta Braves. To make room on the 40-man roster, infielder Paul Janish has been designated for assignment.
Bradley went 1-1 with a 5.14 ERA over six relief appearances with the Braves in 2016, including earning the win in his Major League debut on Sept. 3 at Philadelphia. He went 9-5 with a 3.09 ERA in 35 Minor League games (13 starts) between Double-A Biloxi, Double-A Mississippi and Triple-A Gwinnett.
Showalter, Duquette hold end-of-season press conference
By Jeff Seidel
Special to MLB.com |
BALTIMORE -- Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter addressed several topics during their end-of-season press conference Thursday, including the possibility that the team will make qualifying offers to top free agents Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters as they look to return to the playoffs in 2017.
"It's under consideration," Duquette said. "They both had good years. I'm not sure that qualifying offer system is going to be in place. That's up for discussion between the Players Association and Major League Baseball. We'll have to see where they come out on that issue."
TORONTO -- It was so fresh still, the sting of Tuesday's 5-2, 11-inning loss to the Blue Jays in the American League Wild Card Game. The Orioles' season ended quickly, on a walk-off homer by Edwin Encarnacion, and they struggled to sum up a year in which they exceeded others' expectations yet fell short of their own.
"I couldn't be more proud of everyone in here," center fielder Adam Jones said.
TORONTO -- Playing in his first postseason game, Mark Trumbo gave the Orioles a temporary lead with a two-run homer in his second at-bat, in the fourth inning of the American League Wild Card Game against the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Although Baltimore went on to end its season with a 5-2, 11-inning loss, the long ball was a fitting way for Trumbo to end a career year.
"Hits were hard to come by today, speaking for the offense," said Trumbo, who led the Majors with 47 homers on the year. "We saw some very good pitching, and we weren't able to get any extended rallies, and that was tough."
TORONTO -- The Orioles fought valiantly on Tuesday night, turning in a memorable American League Wild Card Game despite the 5-2 loss in 11 innings.
"It was a great game. Overall, I think we played a hell of a game. So did they," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said. "Tip your cap to them and how they played. Tip your cap to how their pitchers pitched and how my pitchers pitched. They all went out there and dealt and did really well until the end.
Former skipper Johnson among 10 up for HOF consideration
5 players, 2 managers, 3 executives on Today's Game Era ballot
By Manny Randhawa
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced Monday that 10 individuals have been named to the Today's Game Era ballot, to be voted on during the Winter Meetings in December.
Five former Major League players, three executives and two managers will be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame. The players are Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser and Mark McGwire. The three executives are John Schuerholz, Allan H. "Bud" Selig and George Steinbrenner. The two former managers are Davey Johnson and Lou Piniella.
Manny Randhawa is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MannyRsports This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Buck on not using Britton: 'It didn't work out'
By Brittany Ghiroli
TORONTO -- The Orioles' season ended on Tuesday night, and one of the best pitchers in baseball, closer Zach Britton, could only watch on a puzzling night that resulted in Baltimore's gut-wrenching 5-2, 11-inning defeat to the Blue Jays.
Britton -- a perfect 47-for-47 in saves on the year -- was nowhere to be found in the biggest spots in the winner-take-all American League Wild Card Game. Maybe the lefty sinkerballer, who had allowed one earned run since April, was hurt?
By Gregor Chisholm and Brittany Ghiroli
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are going back to the American League Division Series. Edwin Encarnacion made sure of that.
Encarnacion hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning on Tuesday night to send Toronto to a 5-2 victory over the Orioles in the AL Wild Card Game. In a battle of AL East rivals, between two teams that have been evenly matched all season and finished with identical 89-73 regular-season records, it was the Blue Jays who survived, and their reward is a matchup vs. the AL West champion Texas Rangers.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Statcast of the Day: Bourn has mixed results
By Rhett Bollinger
TORONTO -- With the Blue Jays trailing the Orioles by a run in the bottom of the fifth inning of the American League Wild Card Game on Tuesday, Toronto came up with two unlikely hits to spur a game-tying rally in its eventual 5-2 win in 11 innings.
Michael Saunders sparked the rally with a lazy fly ball down the left-field line off O's right-hander Chris Tillman, as it had an exit velocity of just 83.6 mph with a launch angle of 33 degrees and going a projected 282 feet before bouncing into the stands.
TORONTO -- A fan threw a canned beverage onto the field in the seventh inning of Baltimore's 5-2 loss to Toronto in 11 innings on Tuesday night in the American League Wild Card Game, prompting immediate objections by the Orioles.
O's left fielder Hyun Soo Kim caught the final out of the inning, a fly ball off the bat of Melvin Upton Jr., just after the can landed near him. Kim said the can caught him by surprise and was happy that center fielder Adam Jones immediately came to his defense.
TORONTO -- The Orioles dropped Tuesday night's American League Wild Card Game to the Blue Jays in 11 innings, 5-2, but before the game ended, the Baltimore bullpen and defense came up with some key escapes.
Q. Buck, was everything OK with Zach Britton? If so, why was he not used?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He was fine. He was fine.
Q. Did you consider using him at any point?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yeah, I considered a lot of things during the course of the game, but our guys did a good job getting us to that point. We just couldn't finish it off. Yeah, he was available.
With an instructional league roster comprised of 18 Top 30 prospects, the Orioles have no shortage of talent in camp this fall in Sarasota, Fla.
The group includes three of the team's top picks from the 2016 Draft in first-rounder Cody Sedlock and second-rounders Keegan Akin and Matthias Dietz, all of whom spent their successful pro debuts pitching together at Class A Short Season Aberdeen.
Over the course of a 162-game Major League season, a lot of moments are deemed big. But while some are quickly forgotten, others leave a lasting impact, changing the conjecture of a series, a road trip or, arguably, an entire season.
These can be argued and debated, but they all had their place in Orioles history in 2016.
HR champ hails from Baltimore for 4th straight season
By Matt Kelly
When the Orioles acquired Mark Trumbo from the Mariners last December, some eyebrows were raised at the decision to trade for a player whose power numbers had fallen off over the previous two seasons.
As Baltimore celebrates a Wild Card berth 10 months later, that trade -- which sent catcher Steve Clevenger to Seattle for Trumbo and left-hander C.J. Riefenhauser -- may be reviewed as one of the best moves of the 2015-16 offseason. As yet another power threat to an Orioles lineup that went homer-crazy this season, Trumbo bounced back in a major way, capturing the Major League home run title with 47 roundtrippers.
NEW YORK -- All along, the Orioles knew this was going to be a huge road trip, two series looming in cities where they have struggled to win, particularly this season.
So far, Baltimore hasn't just answered the critics, they've defied them. The O's, fresh off a series win in Toronto, rode three homers in a six-run fifth inning to Friday's 8-1 series-opening win at Yankee Stadium. The victory, the Orioles' third straight on the road, has the offense rolling and the team closing in on an American League Wild Card spot.
Ubaldo Jimenez, who had struggled enough to be demoted to the bullpen, continued his sensational second-half turnaround on Thursday night to move the Orioles into a tie with the Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot. Jimenez -- who has been the O's most consistent pitcher over the past month -- again came up big, tossing 6 2/3 scoreless innings in Baltimore's 4-0 critical road series win.
O's can't hold lead vs. Yanks, but clinch tiebreaker
By Danny Knobler and Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- The Orioles took this run for the postseason down to the final week. Now it will go down to the final day.
Austin Romine's two-run single off Brad Brach broke an eighth-inning tie and sent the Yankees to a 7-3 win Saturday at Yankee Stadium, ending any chance the Orioles had to clinch an American League Wild Card spot with a day to spare.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
O's hit 3 blasts vs. Bombers, cut magic number to 2
By Brittany Ghiroli and Bryan Hoch
NEW YORK -- The Orioles are doing everything in their power to secure a postseason spot.
Led by Jonathan Schoop, who homered and matched a career high with five RBIs, the Orioles bashed their way to an 8-1 win over the Yankees on Friday night, whittling their magic number to two in the process and taking a one-game lead over Toronto for the top American League Wild Card spot after the Blue Jays lost. Baltimore remained 1 1/2 games up on Detroit and two up on Seattle, as both the Tigers and Mariners won Friday night.