Ryan Flaherty of the Baltimore Orioles has been a bright spot thus far in spring training.
The Baltimore Orioles have had their struggles in the past week or so in Grapefruit League play. However speaking for myself there’s been a bright spot at the plate for the Birds which has gone unnoticed: Ryan Flaherty. In 15 plate appearances thus far, 10 of those have resulted in Flaherty getting on base.
Now we have to take this all with a grain of salt. It’s still only spring training. However looking further into that concept (taking it with a grain of salt, that is), we should also keep in mind that to this point the O’s have played all but two of their games on the road. In other words – Flaherty, while possibly considered a “regular” in a sense, has been on most of those travel rosters. Thus he has more plate appearances than some of his teammates.
However the fact remains that he’s gotten on base when he’s been in games. In yesterday’s game against Boston he came up to bat three times. He walked in all three plate appearances. During the broadcast of yesterday’s game, WJZ’s Joe Angel made a great point in that while Flaherty’s been around for a few years, there’s nothing set in stone.
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In other words, you never take anything for granted. And that’s good life advice folks, not just baseball advice. Flaherty has to know that if he doesn’t play well this spring and some other young gun does, he might well find himself on the chopping block. I don’t personally see a scenario where Flaherty isn’t on this team, but the fact is that we never know.
Flaherty was taken by the O’s in the 2011 Rule 5 draft. In fact, selecting him was one of Dan Duquette’s first acts as GM. After the 2012 season in which the Birds returned to the post season for the first time since 1997, I remember being shocked that they managed to keep him on the roster all year. It’s a difficult balancing act for sure, and there’s nobody that seems to do it better than the O’s.
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As I said, I don’t see much of a scenario whereby Flaherty wouldn’t make the team. At this point he’s “an Oriole.” However the fact that he’s out there competing and playing well is obviously a good sign. At the very least it shows that he doesn’t take anything for granted.
The Orioles will tkae on Minnesota this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium, as they still search for their first spring victory. Tomorrow they’ll get a rare second home date in a row, as Boston comes into Sarasota for a visit.