Baltimore Orioles: The Biggest Takeaways From Opening Day
The defense for the Baltimore Orioles just might be ok. We need to see more.
Playing on the road on Opening Day isn’t ideal for a roster of young players making their first Opening Day starts, throw in the fact that it is at Yankee Stadium against a divisional foe and the pressure mounts even more. However, the younger Orioles did impress, at times, on the defensive side of things.
It was noted all spring that Rio Ruiz was clearly the better defender at third base, between him and Renato Nunez. Mark Trumbo‘s injury now allows Brandon Hyde to put the bat of Nunez in the lineup, while keeping the better defender on the field. Ruiz made a few good plays and held his own at the plate.
Then there was Joey Rickard.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say a healthy Mark Trumbo doesn’t make that play. Fellow corner outfielder Dwight Smith Jr.battled the sun all afternoon and made numerous warning track catches. Smith ended spring on a very strong note and will be given plenty of playing time this season. I’m intrigued enough to see what he can do when he is challenged on defense.
It wasn’t all beautiful defense. Richie Martin and Jonathan Villar had a miscue on a play up the middle, but communication errors are expected early on, especially with a rookie at shortstop who hasn’t played above Double-A ball. The duo combined for a few key double plays, so let’s give Martin some time to settle in.
We can’t move on without mentioning the Jesus Sucre dropped popup that resulted in a double play. He also did not have a productive day behind the plate, but Andrew Cashner wasn’t exactly crisp. Again, it’s all about a very long process here and I liked what I saw on defense, overall. Please feel free to disagree accordingly.