Baltimore Orioles’ Young Stars Facing Unexpected Obstacle?

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 02: Chance Sisco /


The Baltimore Orioles’ farm system is finally developing top prospects, but could they face an unexpected hurdle on their way to the major leagues?

Some of the Baltimore Orioles’ top prospects are performing quite well this spring. Those top prospects include Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, DJ Stewart, Chance Sisco, Hunter Harvey and Cedric Mullins.

Now, not all of these players have had fantastic springs, or have struggled in one facet of the game or another. Sisco is hitting .400, with a home run and six RBIs. Stewart was only hitting .211 before being reassigned to minor league camp earlier on Monday.

Mullins is only hitting .154, but his speed is apparent with plays made on doubles, triples and in the outfield that other players on the team, and in the league cannot make. Mountcastle was hitting .292 before he was reassigned on Monday. with two home runs and five RBIs.

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Hays has struggled a bit, while battling a lat injury that has forced him to DH and has kept him from playing the outfield. Harvey has allowed three earned runs in seven innings, with two home runs against and seven strikeouts.

If you listened to the quotes from Buck Showalter, they would not inspire the same confidence in some of these players. While reassigning Mountcastle to Twin Lakes, the Orioles’ minor league camp, Showalter shared this message, as reported by Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.

"“I said, ‘I noticed last year the whole season you walked 17 times. What was that all about?’” Showalter said. “He starts laughing and I said, ‘Understand, it’s not funny. This won’t work.’ It’s one of the challenges (Austin) Hays is going to have, because if they don’t get a feel for the strike zone, the guys at this level will eat them up.“When he said, ‘I’m a free swinger,’ I said, ‘You need to correct that.’ I said, ‘You notice I never put you in foul ground at third base because I don’t care for you to defend a ground ball that’s foul. We can’t teach you to defend a ball that’s two feet out of the strike zone.’ I said, ‘If I look down there and you’ve walked 17 times this year, you’re going to go back to that level. You’ve got to figure it out. It’s just like learning how to play third base. You’re walking 17 times and you’re in the big leagues, it don’t work.’ But he’s got a chance to be really good."

Well, alright then.

Look, I have no issue with some tough love, and coaching the players on what they need to improve upon, but, when it comes to the Baltimore Orioles, harping on a player’s lack of walks seems a bit hypocritical, doesn’t it?

Welington Castillo walked 22 times in 2017, in 96 games. Jonathan Schoop walked 35 times in 160 games. Trey Mancini walked 33 times in 147 games. Adam Jones walked 27 times in 147 games. Mark Trumbo walked 42 times in 146 games.  Chris Davis walked 61 times in 128 games, but he also struck out 195 times.

Mountcastle has already shown he has the potential to be one of the best hitters on the Orioles for years to come. Sure, there may be areas where he can improve offensively. But, it would seem like a bigger concern would be his defense.

Just a few days ago, Showalter made the following comment about Sisco to Kubatko.

"“Each one brings a little different skill set right now. One may have something to offer that the other one doesn’t. Sometimes in spring training, they don’t show it. Maybe Chance has got a pretty good track record of hitting, but he might not be doing it right now. Austin’s got a good track record of defending and blocking and throwing and what have you, and he’s shown that.”"

Is Showalter saying that Sisco hasn’t been hitting this spring?

Well, his .400/.478/.700 slash line with three doubles, six RBIs and five runs scored would state otherwise. That’s better than Wynns, who is hitting .250/.438/.500 against lesser competition.

Sure, Showalter doesn’t mention Sisco’s defense, which is where his known weaknesses are, or Wynns’ offense, but the point remains. What is Buck trying to do to the team’s best prospects?

These guys are the future of the Baltimore Orioles. Especially with Manny Machado likely on his way out, Adam Jones on the last year of his contract, etc. This is also Showalter’s last year of his contract.

Showalter has been revered by some parts of the Orioles’ fan base. They have lauded him as the second Earl Weaver. He has drawn the loudest cheers on Opening Day. The same Showalter who was forced out of other locations, such as New York, Arizona and Texas because he rubbed people the wrong way.

Showalter previously told Orioles’ media that maybe he had mellowed with age. If these recent comments are any indication, maybe not.

Next: Breaking Down Dan Duquette's Lackluster Offseason

We all knew this was going to be a fascinating season, but the number of storylines continues to increase as Opening Day 2018 approaches; 2012 was the Buckle Up Birds, coined by Showalter. In 2018, Oriole fans may be buckling up, and partly because of Showalter.