Baltimore Orioles: Could Terrin Vavra Claim a Spot in Orioles Lineup?

CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Terrin Vavra #77 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - JULY 30: Terrin Vavra #77 of the Baltimore Orioles bats against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on July 30, 2022 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Since being called up to the big league roster on July 26, utility man Terrin Vavra has managed to provide good at bats and fit in almost seamlessly with the currently-streaky Orioles team. The Birds, who recently traded 1B/DH Trey Mancini to the Astros, have featured their young IF/OF prospect in the lineup as they continue to push for a wild-card spot. Some suspect that Vavra is only here temporarily but it seems as though it could be beneficial for the Orioles to keep him around. While it’s still a bit early to know how much of an impact Vavra may have in Birdland, let’s take a look at what could come of this move by Baltimore.

When Jonathan Arauz went on the 10-day IL with a finger sprain, many fans speculated that the No. 2 ranked prospect in the organization, SS/3B Gunnar Henderson, would finally be promoted. There were even O’s fans making a case for Jordan Westburg, the shortstop ranked fifth best in the farm system. However much to our surprise it was neither of them. Instead the Orioles opted for a more conservative move by recalling utility man Terrin Vavra from Norfolk, who was hitting .324 through 24 games with two HR and 18 RBIs.

Through nine games with Baltimore he’s gone 7-for-20 with two runs batted in, seeing playing time at both second base (2) and left field (1) but primarily being used as the DH (5). While Vavra isn’t known for being a power hitter, he does have a knack for getting on base. Of those 20 at-bats, five resulted in walks. Not only has he been able to reach base by way of hitting but he’s also displayed his exceptional plate discipline. In his minor league career which consisted of 244 games, he hit 21 HR with a .301 average. We might not be seeing him hit many balls over the Great Wall of Baltimore, but his plate appearances might prove to be impactful as he gives the rest of the guys in the lineup a chance of doing some damage.

How does Terrin Vavra fit amongst Orioles infielders?

Looking at the current infield, O’s fans have been nothing short of impressed with the athleticism shown by shortstop Jorge Mateo this season. While his bat has not been as consistent as some would like, it’s hard to argue with his speed which has helped him steal 26 bags and leg a lot of knocks into extra-base hits. Although he’s only hitting .221, he’s driven in 34 runs and has 11 HR.  There is depth at shortstop in the organization but Mateo has made adjustments entering the second half and his natural talent should be enough to see him stay with the organization as he approaches his first year of arbitration.

Alongside Mateo we usually see Ramon Urias or Rougned Odor at second base, the latter hitting a measly .193 across 300 plate appearances. Urias, who’s under team control for the 2023 season, has a .245 batting average on the season adding 12 HR and 40 RBIs to his name. While Urias has proven he can be a reliable option wherever his name appears on the lineup card, Odor is mostly a dangerous bat off the bench and nothing more. He’s gone 6-for-45 in his last 15 games and could be a liability going forward for a team swinging a hot bat right now. Unfortunately, his defense doesn’t seem to be enough to overlook his offensive woes. Seeing Rouggie tee one up or turn a double play is a sight for sore eyes but the fact of the matter is that he’s a career .231 hitter with occasional pop and a high risk, low reward player. Odor, who is playing on a one-year contract, may not return next season as Matt Elias and the front office figure out which direction is best for the Orioles and their path to building a consistent contender.

Terrin Vavra: The answer at 3B?

With third base being a position of need for the Birds, it would be ideal for manager Brandon Hyde to consider sliding Vavra in at third base and Urias taking over 2B duties. After being acquired from Colorado in the Mychal Givens trade (the same trade that brought Vavra to Baltimore), Tyler Nevin hasn’t really been able to find his groove with a slash line of .207/.310/.276 in 171 plate appearances this season. In years prior it might have been normal to shrug off Nevin’s disappointing numbers but there is something in the air right now at Camden Yards that exudes fight, grit and a determination to be a playoff team now. Nevin is under team control until 2024 but as the Orioles’ rebuild quickly approaches its ETA, roster spots will be scarce for a team that sports the best farm system in the league.

I’m not sure if the ship has completely sailed for Nevin, but if he finds himself failing to produce in Baltimore, Vavra could split time between 3B and 2B while also playing some outfield if need be as he’s already shown. Although only playing in nine games the Wisconsin native has shown promise in his approach. With a wave of prospects on the horizon, hopefully Terrin Vavra can take advantage of the opportunity and be a dependable contributor for manager Brandon Hyde and the Orioles.

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