Orioles FanFest News And Notes: Chris Davis Said 2018 Was A Fluke (LOL), Delmon "Dixie Normus" Young, And Is There Optimism For These O's Moving Forward?
Orioles FanFest was this weekend and we got a couple of newsworthy topics out of it. Tons of questions were tossed at new GM, Mike Elias, and new Manager, Brandon Hyde. Along with them were some Orioles legends like Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, and Eddie Murray, always a pleasure to see the legends. Guys from the 2019 team were also there to answer any questions people could throw at them, and coupling their answers with what the Front Office members said, I think there is a sense of optimism surrounding this team for the future. Not this year, not next year, but in the future. I wasn't sure what to expect when I was walking towards the convention center, but when I saw the line run allllll the way down the street and around the corner, it gave me hope that it would be a decent turnout, and that was the case. Here are my takeaways from Orioles Fanfest 2019.
- Analytics are the new hot thing in Baltimore, and it's about time. Mike Elias spoke several times at length about how it is insanely important for the Orioles and their farm systems to catch up with the rest of MLB when it comes to analytics. Elias came from the Astros organization where they get their nut off on spin rate, that is great news for the future of the analytics department with the Orioles. Elias mentioned that it is a top priority to get the analytics department up and running, this had the fans in attendance very excited. It seemed like every other question they were asked about it. You heard about spin rate, and special tools to track pitches and spin rate, all that stuff sounds awesome and I can't wait to see how it's implemented. We even heard manager, Brandon Hyde, explain what analytics are. 10 years ago you would have never heard a manager spit out the words he did.
Elias' #1 guy, Sig Mejdal was also onstage fielding questions about analytics and what it means for the Orioles and their player development going forward. Mejdal, the former NASA worker turned MLB Front Office Member, spoke for about 35 minutes about the topic and how it would be translated to the group of players they have now. Again, it was all music to my ears and I'm very excited to see how this all works out. I may name my next dog "Analytics" because I'm all about it now.
- One of the biggest topics of the day was Chris Davis and his 2018 season. Could it happen again, another season where you put up the worst numbers this league has ever seen? Well Chris Davis told reporters that 2018 was a fluke, and that's a god damn joke. I mean it can't really get any worse for him, but this guy can't get out of his own way. I talked earlier this offseason about how he said he was going to make adjustments and improve in 2019, he does a lot of talking and doesn't seem to do enough of putting his money where his mouth is. Shut up about what you're going to do and do it. You can talk to reporters all day about how miserable the last few years have been, but then when you come out and say you haven't made any adjustments in the past few years, when last year you said you had made adjustments, you come off as a lazy liar. The Orioles have a new hitting coach, Don Long, who gets a clean slate with Davis, here's to hoping that some miracle is performed where Davis finds his 2015 stroke again. He also spoke about how the shift killed him in recent years, well adjust to that, Chris. Because teams aren't going to stop shifting on you. Bunt for me one time, learn to go the other way, other players have done it, you can too.
I mean just look at this quote he gave to MLB's Joe Tezzra, "To come down this path the last couple years, and make no adjustments, make no strides in a different direction, I don't want to do it anymore." Are you fucking kidding me with that? Not a chance. He also spoke about how good he feels, how he can compete with anyone, and how he knows 2019 will be different. Blah blah blah blah blahhhhhhh. Prove it Chris, stop talking about it.
- The Orioles offer a tour of Camden Yards, the field, the locker room, weight room, and video room at FanFest, I've done it a few times before and it's always awesome to walk those halls. You see the insane weight room where Cal sculpted that Iron Man frame, the training room where Albert Belle nursed that hip injury, the manager's office where Buck probably told Ubaldo he stunk a million times, and the locker room. They leave some of the lockers set up with the players equipment and belongings. In Chris Davis' locker there was a HUGE fantasy football trophy. As I got down there to read the names of the past winners, Ryan Flaherty, Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, one stood out to me. Former Oriole, Delmon Young, won in 2017 , and his team name was "Dixie Normus". I mean come the fuck on, what a name! It was more probable than not that Delmon had a hog and a half down there, but the name of the fantasy team just confirms it.
Here are some other noteworthy things from FanFest
- Elias says they likely won't go over 1 year for FA, and I'm okay with that. Elias told MASN in his press conference that the team would likely not go more than a year because of the place they are in right now. He knows they aren't in any position to compete for the next few years, so there is no reason to break the bank and go multi-year on anyone. Hard to argue with that logic. Keep the payroll down and get everything you can out of the young guys you have now.
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- Dean Kremer - great hair, better strikeout stuff. Kremer came over in the Machado trade from the Dodgers and all he did was lead all of minor league baseball with strikeouts per 9 (12.20 per 9 innings pitched). Kremer struck out 178 in 131 1/3 innings pitched last season. I can't wait to see what the front office and analytics do with Kremer and his stuff. He did get a non-roster invite to Spring Training, and wouldn't shock me if the found his way onto the 25 man roster at some point this season. Love me some Kremer.
- It only took 5 questions in until someone asked Mike Elias about bringing back Adam Jones. I love Adam more than I love members of my own family, but he won't be back. He shouldn't be back. He should go to a contending team (Indians) who need an outfielder. I get people want him for his leadership here in Baltimore, but why would he waste his last few years here? Elias already said earlier that he wouldn't think they are giving out any multi-year deals, and I doubt Adam would want to take a 1-year deal. Let Adam play for a team with a legit chance to win something in 2019 and we can watch from afar.
-People seemed legit excited about the future. With ownership having a legit plan going forward, people are jazzed up. Elias and Hyde had answers for everything people asked, and it wasn't them pulling stuff out of their ass. They seemed to have a legit plan and spoke about how to execute it. They talked about options with the first overall pick, they compared the Astros farm system from a few years back to the Orioles farm system now. Elias spoke about how he thinks there are a few stud arms in the minors and thats what the Orioles have obviously been lacking. People were as excited coming off of a 115 loss season as I've ever seen. They basically guaranteed a parade near the inner harbor in 4 years.
Had a few questions come in via Twitter too…
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No word on promotions yet, but I've got my eyes peeled. I love nothing more than a good bobblehead giveaway, so I'll be ranking the giveaways once they release them. I agree that is one of the only ways the team will get people into the Yard, but ya got to do what ya got to do. And when it comes to new food vendors, I've heard rumblings of stuff, but nothing in concrete yet. Hopefully some new local places can get set up inside Camden.
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I think Hyde will be the manager of that Photo Hut until he moves out of the Foreman's basement.
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Banks and I were chatting about this a few weeks back, and I think it has to be Alex Cobb. Cobb had a really good second half (3-3 2.56 ERA, 1.156 WHIP) after his disaster of a first half (2-12 6.41 ERA, 1.576 WHIP). The only other option in my eye is Dylan Bundy, but midas whale take some pressure off of him after his disgusting second half and just hope he can regain his old form.
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You can stop caring after were chugging Bohs in the parade in 4 years.
Less than 60 days until Opening Day and like 3 weeks until Spring Training. Plenty of roster spots up for grabs with the Orioles so this ST will be exciting for sure.