Jorge Mateo being the everyday shortstop
When the Orioles took the field at Fenway Park on opening day, Jorge Mateo was the team's starting shortstop and had the chance to build off a solid 2022 season. Through the first month of the season, Mateo was one of the Orioles best players and didn't show any signs of slowing down.
Saying Mateo slowed down wouldn't be correct. The best way to say it is that he ran full speed into a brick wall. His production cratered once the calendar turned to May and he became a bench player by the second half, used mostly as a late-game defensive replacement or in pinch-running situations.
While having a big series in the ALDS against the Texas Rangers likely secured him a spot on the roster to start the year, he'll likely continue to serve in a backup infielder role with Gunnar Henderson firmly entrenched as the shortstop with Jordan Westburg looking to contribute in a big way and Jackson Holliday's debut on the horizon.
Kyle Stowers' major league playing time
The one word I would use to describe Kyle Stowers' 2023 season is yikes. Once a highly regarded outfield prospect, Stowers made the opening day roster and appeared primed for his first full season in the majors. Well, that didn't exactly happen.
Stowers started only six of the 14 games he played in and recorded just two hits and three walks in 33 plate appearances. He was optioned to Triple A in May and never saw the majors again. Along the way, he was seemingly passed over on the depth chart by Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser.
His season with Norfolk went well as he was a mainstay in the lineup that helped lead the Tides to the Triple A championship. He proved that he doesn't need any more time in Triple A, but that's where he'll continue to be as long as he's in the organization because he's been jumped and there's no clear path to the majors. Maybe a fresh start is what he needs to carve out a major league role.