Baltimore Orioles: Young Players in the Spotlight


Mar 28, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher

Tyler Wilson

(63) throws a pitch during the first inning of a spring training baseball game against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Several of the young Baltimore Orioles players are getting a chance to be featured in the spotlight, and not just on the baseball field.

On a Saturday that pitcher Tyler Wilson was given a start against the giants of the baseball world against the New York Yankees, pitcher Pat Connaughton was doing literal battle against the literal giants of collegiate basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats. 

More from The Baltimore Wire

At the end of the day, the score is David – 1, Goliath – 1.

Tyler Wilson

As we previewed yesterday with details of Wilson’s background, the O’s minor league pitcher of the year from 2014 was given the start against the Yankees in their ballpark in Tampa. He sat down 12 of the 13 hitters he faced, giving up only a second inning single to Carlos Beltran while striking out two. He threw 43 total pitches – 33 for strikes; that is efficiency. Gotta love that stuff!

The Orioles would win the game 10-2. The biggest blow of the day was a three-run shot by Alejandro De Aza, which is great news. The Birds need him to get it going.

And Wilson’s reward for his strong effort? He got optioned to minor league camp. Showalter wisecracked that Wilson should not have given up that single!  But seriously, if he stays in big-league camp, he will only pitch an inning or two at a time over the next eight to nine days. The young righty needs to continue to build his innings for pitching at AAA Norfolk.

But there is no doubt that Wilson made a great impression on the O’s management and fans alike, and there is every reason to hope for a bright future. We’ll keep an eye on his progress and report on it here on The Baltimore Wire as the season unfolds.

More from Baltimore Orioles

Pat Connaughton

Having seen the Notre Dame Fighting Irish basketball team give undefeated Kentucky 99.9% of all they could handle, one can see why Pat Connaughton had such a high desire to finish off his basketball career at the University. He is a terrific player on an outstanding team. The Irish led the Wildcats most of the game, but Kentucky’s contingent of big men was just two points too much for Notre Dame.

Connaughton came into the elite eight game with a 42.6% three-point efficiency, having made a total of 92 over the course of the season. But more impressive was his ability to rebound. At “only” 6-5, he is not a big, big guy by Division 1 basketball standards, but he has a unique ability to sky quickly and snatch balls out of the air even around much taller players. Connaughton was the leading rebounder for Notre Dame this year.

It was also evident in watching the game that the Orioles’ pitching prospect was the general on the court – clearly the leader on the team. All of this put together presents a picture of a young man with the right stuff to succeed once he gives his full attention to baseball, which will be NOW.

Showalter is one person who is especially pleased that the Irish are out of the tournament and Connaughton has escaped physically unharmed. Seeing him a couple of times diving into the middle of a loose ball scrum on the court illustrated the risks involved. We’ll follow Connaughton as well this season, and if he pitches for the Shorebirds, I’ll especially look forward to seeing him play both in Salisbury and closer to my home in Hagerstown.

Zach Davies

Zach Davies will start against the Rays in Port Charlotte on Monday. The 22-year-old right hander has pitched just one inning in major league camp this spring – a perfect inning.

Davies is from the same 2011 draft as Bundy (round 1), Mike Wright (round 3) and Wilson (round 10), though Zach was in round 26 out of high school in Arizona.

Davies was 10-7 with a 3.35 ERA in Bowie last year.

As always, we tend to forget just how young Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop really are. Here is a comparison of their current ages related to the three players we’ve talked about in this article:

Wilson: 25 years, 6 months

Schoop: 23 years, 5 months

Machado: 22 years, 9 months

Connaughton: 22 years, 3 months

Davies: 22 years, 2 months