3 Baltimore Orioles spring training battles to watch

Jul 27, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tyler Wells (68) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays
Jul 27, 2022; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Tyler Wells (68) throws a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training is here. As baseball players across the league head to their spring sites in Florida and Arizona, we finally can bask in the joy of baseball season returning. With spring training starting, there's a new batch of roster battles emerging. Let's take a look at the ones to watch.

Orioles spring training roster battles: first base

One of the main themes of the offseason, especially in my posts, has been the Orioles hunt for a first baseman behind Ryan Mountcastle on the depth chart. James McCann and Anthony Santander are possible options on the roster, but the Orioles have a host of non-roster invites that are actually experienced first basemen.

Ryan O'Hearn seems like the best bet to make the team in my mind, as he's capable both with the bat and with the glove and is a lefty, which the Orioles have been searching for behind Mountcastle. He faces competition in the persons of Lewin Díaz and Franchy Cordero. Díaz is a glove first candidate who struggles with the bat, while Cordero showcased his flaws under the spotlight of Boston in 2022. While I see O'Hearn as the favorite, I think the Orioles will go with whoever has the best spring.

Orioles spring training roster battles: Rotation

One certainty this spring is that the Orioles will have plenty to figure out concerning the rotation. There are plenty of players able to pitch in the rotation, and some will probably get a longer look with John Means out until midseason and Dean Kremer pitching in the WBC. Kremer, Kyle Gibson, and Cole Irvin feel like locks. The back end will be interesting. Grayson Rodriguez seems all but ready to take a spot, but a bad showing in the spring could send him to Norfolk. After that, Tyler Wells, Kyle Bradish, and Austin Voth are all in the mix, with DL Hall also being a possibility. How the rotation shakes out will be an interesting plot to follow this spring.

Orioles spring training roster battles: bullpen

The bullpen is one of the Orioles' strong spots, but there is still some competition to be found here. We can safely say that Félix Bautista, Cionel Pérez, Mychal Givens, Dillon Tate, and probably Bryan Baker will have spots in the bullpen come opening day, barring injury. Things get a little cloudier after that.

Andrew Politi was chosen from the Boston Red Sox in the rule five draft, meaning he must stay on the active roster all season or be offered back to the Red Sox. Austin Voth and/or Wells could see a role as a long relief option, but Keegan Akin is more likely to be in that spot to give Brandon Hyde another lefty option. The aforementioned DL Hall is also a candidate to get a bullpen spot after he ended 2022 in the pen, while non-roster invites Darwinzon Hernandez and Eduard Bazardo will also get a chance to compete