Baltimore Orioles spring training position preview: First Base

How does the Orioles first base depth chart look entering spring training?
Sep 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan O'Hearn (32) hits a double during a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park
Sep 18, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Ryan O'Hearn (32) hits a double during a game against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park / Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
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Spring Training is getting close, which means the intriguing roster battles will start to pick up as the Orioles get ready for the regular season opener at the end of March. After talking about the catching depth to start, how do the Orioles look at first base?

The top two

The Orioles are much more settled at first base than they were at this time last year, with Ryan O'Hearn, Franchy Cordero, and Lewin Diaz doing battle for the backup role that initially no one won out of camp, with O'Hearn and Diaz starting in Triple A while Cordero went to the Yankees.

This year, it's the duo of Ryan's in O'Hearn and Mountcastle who have first base firmly held down for the Orioles. O'Hearn was a revelation for the Orioles, having a career season while providing the perfect platoon partner for Mountcastle, who was his same old self in 2023 despite a few trips to the IL.

First base was largely unsettled at the start of last season for the Orioles. This year, they're in a much better place and have some options at their disposal, which is nothing but a good thing in the grind of a season that baseball is.

The backups

The options the Orioles have behind Mountcastle and O'Hearn are uninspiring, but they have two solid options at first, so it's not a problem like it was last year. Ramón Urías and Anthony Santander got a bit of action at first last year, plus recently re-acquired Tyler Nevin has played there more recently in the majors. Heck, even James McCann can play there in an emergency.

Non-roster option

One interesting option for the Orioles currently not on the roster is Coby Mayo, a corner infielder who has a big bat and has played both third and first base recently in the minors. His defensive abilities are limited, so perhaps first base is the route that gets his bat in the lineup more often. He's a candidate for a call-up this season, and first base could be a route for playing time.

Wrap-up

The Orioles are very well set at first base entering 2024. In Mountcastle and O'Hearn, they have a perfect platoon situation as well as either having the ability to play everyday should the other get injured. The backup options aren't super inspiring, but they're just backup options and can hold their own should they be forced into action.

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