The Baltimore Orioles won a championship this past Saturday. Really, I’m not kidding or making this up!
You might say, “Wow, that’s a surprise!” And yes, it is … you are correct, though properly you should capitalize Surprise.
The Arizona Fall League’s championship title game was played Saturday with the Surprise Saguaros playing the Mesa Solar Sox. And the cactus dudes won the game 2-0.
Every major league baseball franchise sends top player prospects for additional seasoning in this league – which has now been around for 22 seasons.
The Saguaro team particularly was comprised of a number of Orioles prospects, while also being coached by Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall.
Four of the Orioles players particularly contributed to the success of the Saguaros in the championship game. 20-year-old Eduardo Rodriguez was the starting pitcher and went three scoreless innings, while allowing two hits. And though Tim Berry allowed a hit and a walk during the sixth inning that he pitched, he was able to get out of a bases-loaded rally.
The big bat in the low-scoring game that only featured five hits per team was left fielder Henry Urrutia. He drilled a pair of doubles (video here) while scoring a run and driving in another. Jonathan Schoop was one for three with a run scored, while defensively handling the shortstop position.
Schoop had a bit of trouble getting it going at the plate in his games in Arizona. But Urrutia had no such troubles. The Cuban hit for an average of .377 with three doubles and three home runs over 69 at bats.
Of course, the Orioles have a great need in left field. Will they re-sign Nate McLouth and platoon him with Danny Valencia? Will Nolan Reimold come roaring back? Will they sign a free agent? I’ll have some future articles on this, but let me say that I see no reason why the Birds should not give Urrutia a long look in spring training. It is said he needs more seasoning defensively and with base running. Well, the Orioles need more help with on base percentage also.
Urrutia seems to be a quick learner, so let him do it in Baltimore!