With less than two weeks until Opening day, The Orioles still have some question marks in their lineup. Who’s going to start at second? Will superhuman Manny Machado be ready? Will we ever see Dylan Bundy? Lets find out.
Manny Still Sidelined
Machado, who is still working his way back from off season knee surgery, likely won’t be ready for the Opening Day due to a setback he suffered when scar tissue was found in his surgically repaired knee. I’m not a doctor, but since Manny hasn’t been able to run in almost a week and hasn’t played in a spring training game this season, I’m going to go out on a limb and say we won’t see him take the field on March 31st. I’m okay with that, and the rest of Baltimore should be too. Make sure he’s 100 percent healed when he comes back. No use in forcing him back too son just to have him miss more games because he was rushed. A stint on the 15-day DL may be necessary. That’s okay. Take your time Manny. We can wait.
Schoop Making Push for Starting Spot
Jonathan Schoop was expected to start out the season down at AAA Norfolk, get some at-bats, and then probably make his debut at second base sometime this summer. Scratch that. With Manny likely headed to the DL and utility guy Ryan Flaherty likely to man third, the Orioles are left with Alexi Casilla, Jemile Weeks, or Schoop to play second. Schoop has no doubt earned the right to start the season with the big boys. The 22 year-old has showcased his hitting ability this Spring Training and has a slash line of .400/.424/.633. If he gives the Birds the best chance to win I want him here.
Once Manny is 100 percent, the infield could read Machado, Hardy, Schoop, and Davis. Think about that foursome for a minute and tell me how that group isn’t the best offensive and defensive infield in the league. I’ll wait.
And in case you forgot, Schoop came up at the end of last season and showed what he could do at the Major League level as he hit a mammoth shot in his first career game, this home run also lead to Gary Throne’s best call of the year.
Dylan Bundy Update
Dylan Bundy, considered to be the top prospect in the organization by Baseball America, will start his year with AA Bowie. He is still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he had back in June. He was expected to compete for a starting spot last season, but instead ended up missing the entire season.
Bundy is almost like the forgotten man, with everyone focusing on the potential of Kevin Gausman. The combination of these two young studs should be the front end of the Orioles rotation for years to come. Keeping these two in the organization should be on the priority level of keeping Chris Davis and Manny. Both pitchers showed promise early in their career. Bundy’s fastball hovers around 94-96, and he has even reached 100 on the radar gun. Get this kid healthy and let him loose. Can’t wait to see a healthy Bundy and Gausman shred the A.L. East for years to come.
As I said earlier, less than two weeks till Opening Day and I need to be at Pickles with a Natty Boh in my hands more than I’ve ever needed anything else. Let’s get rid of this snow so I can get out to the Yard and watch the Bird Gang. Stay tuned for my Regular Season Preview.