How much playing time for the Baltimore Orioles’ starting 9?


Pitchers, catchers, and injured players report to Sarasota next Thursday. the rest of the team reports the following week. So as we transition from the off season into spring training, there are a lot of questions that surround the Baltimore Orioles. However one that’s not really been addressed in various Orioles’ media outlets (including Birds Watcher) is how many reps will the “regulars” get in Grapefruit League play?

Courtesy of Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

One can look at this as similar to the NFL, when all everyone wants to know is how long will the starting quarterback and offense be in a preseason game? However notice that I put regulars in quotations above; there are some positions which I feel will end up being platooned for most of the season by Buck Showalter. You can pencil right field, left field, and DH into this category.

So I would submit that it might behoove the organization to give the presumed opening day lineup a few more reps than normal once Grapefruit League play begins. Part of any team is chemistry – especially the O’s. If different variations of the lineup haven’t played together very often, that could pose a problem once the regular season begins. Furthermore this is an Orioles team that will have to get used to Nick Markakis not being in the lineup – and the more time they have to do that in spring training, the better off they’ll be at the end of the day.

For the most part, I’m sure that the O’s will do the typical routine of allowing many presumed starters to stay back in Sarasota for “road trips,” although the rule of thumb is that teams are supposed to bring a minimum of three presumed starters on the road. However I think it would behoove the O’s to possibly consider bringing more true starters on these trips, just to get them extra reps. Keep in mind that for the first couple weeks of games, the hitters are always behind the pitchers given the fact that the pitchers have been there longer.

The Orioles’ first spring training game is on March 3rd at Detroit’s spring training complex. The next day will be the home opener at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, again against Detroit. The only off day for the team during spring training will be March 23rd, however in theory they can also look at April 5th as another off day – or perhaps a transition day. The O’s will finish up Grapefruit League play on April 4th in Orlando against Atlanta, and then travel to Tampa where they’ll open the regular season on April 6th. In the past, the team’s been able to hold a workout on that off day at Tropicana Field, although nothing has been scheduled as of yet.