The Best Orioles Homegrown Fit: Second Base
This is the second post about the Baltimore Orioles offseason, and today we are discussing the best options at second base in 2023.
In the first article, we talked about the offseason strategies for Baltimore following the Astros’ blueprint when they made their “liftoff”.
Today, we are talking about the position which gave the Baltimore Orioles some headaches last season: second base. In 2022, Rougned Odor started most games on the right side of the infield. Presumably, he won’t return next season. If Baltimore don’t spend on 2B, here are the internal options who could fit next year.
The 2022 AL Gold Glove third baseman, he spent most of his minor league (included Mexican League) career at second base (504 games at all). Since Ramon’s debut in 2020, he has played only 57 of 226 games (25.2%) at 2B.
He had a decent fielding% (.969) and six errors in two-plus seasons. Urias remains a reliable option on offense and if Baltimore doesn’t want to take him out of the everyday lineup, he should be a nice fit.
One of the new arrivals in Charm City, Vavra is known for his plate discipline. The glove is a concern, and he doesn’t play 2B on a regular basis. His versatility helps to preserve a spot on the Baltimore roster since his promotion.
Baltimore Orioles: in-house options for second base in 2023
His defWAR was -0.1 in 2022. For the 2B job, his offense needs to jump to the next level. For now, he’s not the first choice. We’ll see in Spring Training.
Could be a little strange, but Mateo is an option. The GG voters ignored his glove (The Fielding Bible did not, by the way) despite having an excellent season on defense. His 2022 performance was locked in on SS. The advanced metrics all agree Mateo was elite this season.
His case should be a longshot, but if Baltimore want to see Gunnar at shortstop next year and beyond, Mateo could be moved to the other side of the dirt.
Well, he had a few games at second base before his promotion and after his arrival in the Majors. He’s not in his habitat at second, and we saw some struggles when he played there. His defense fits better at the hot corner where he can use his strong arm.
He can play in case of emergency. For the long term, it’s highly unlikely.
In the farm system, he’s the guy who is a middle infielder, on the cusp to play in the Majors and the 2022 Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year. Westburg was a shortstop in college with only one game at 2B. In the minors, he played 40 games there in 2022 (third-most).
His spot in Baltimore has a roadblock (Mateo) and in the depth chart, the best prospect plays in the same position as him (Gunnar). If Baltimore doesn’t trade him in some package for a proven Major Leaguer, Westburg will need to adapt if he wants to play in an Orioles uniform in the near future.
One rising star in this past minor league season, Norby cemented himself with power numbers: the 2022 Orioles’ home run leader in MiLB. Overall, he played 100+ games at 2B in his minor league career. He doesn’t bring versatility like the other candidates, because he played almost 100 percent of the time at that position.
The other point is readiness. Norby has played only nine games in AAA. He started 2022 at Aberdeen and climbed to Norfolk to play the final week of the 2022 season. He’s a longshot and unlikely to start the 2023 season in Baltimore, even if he blasts in Spring Training. He could be a mid-season call up or trade chip for veterans.