Baltimore Orioles: Early Spring Outfield Discussions

An early look at a few spring training notes on the Baltimore Orioles outfield.

It won’t be long before things in the outfield get a bit more interesting for the Baltimore Orioles. With a few former top prospects already in the mix for starting jobs and a few more set to arrive in the near future, let’s take stock of some early spring notes from around the outfield in Sarasota.

First, a look at the projected starting outfield, come Opening Day. Unless there is a major shakeup, the early favorites to start in the outfield on Opening Day are Trey Mancini in right field, Austin Hays in center, and Anthony Santander in left. It may not be an elite outfield, but it’s much improved over what we saw most nights at Camden Yards.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has stated that Hays is in consideration for the leadoff spot in the lineup once the regular season gets underway. While Hays may not be an ideal leadoff guy, this lineup doesn’t feature any typical leadoff hitter types. Hays doesn’t draw a high amount of walks, but he does have the contact skills and speed to make things interesting. The occasional leadoff home run won’t hurt to add a bit of excitement before things ultimately crumble later in games.

Santander has yet to make an appearance in the outfield this spring, but it’s just a precautionary move. There doesn’t appear to be any cause for concern yet, despite what some have hinted at recently.

With DJ Stewart still recovering from ankle surgery and Cedric Mullins needing to prove himself again before being given a starting job, Santander isn’t facing much competition for the starting left field job. Dwight Smith in the mix, but his defense continues to be atrocious. He graded out as one of the top five worst defensive outfielders in all of baseball last season and his spring performance has been much of the same, despite a decent bat.

Speaking of Mullins, the switch-hitting outfielder already has three stolen bases this spring. Until his bat comes around, Mullins can still provide value if he’s on the active roster. As a late-game defensive replacement or pinch-runner in close situations, Mullins can make things interesting with his speed and defensive abilities.

Elsewhere, Yusniel Diaz is hoping to see some game action for the first time this weekend. The Orioles prospect has yet to appear in a spring game due to shoulder soreness. Like many of the prospects currently in camp, Diaz isn’t going to make the Opening Day roster, so there’s no reason to rush him. Diaz needs to have a healthy season in 2020. We have seen what he can do at full strength, the problem is he hasn’t been healthy for many long stretches since joining the Orioles.