Question of the Day
As a reminder, I’ll be taking one to answer per day in Spring Training so if you don’t see yours it doesn’t mean I forgot about it. I’ll try to get to everyone, either on the blog or responding personally if I run out of time. Questions may be edited for spelling/grammar, accuracy and brevity and should be tagged with #QOTD on Twitter or in your email body (send to firstname.lastname@example.org). I’ll include first names only.
I’ve read already about Jonathan Schoop looking good. Is he the favorite to land the second base job at this point? I had hoped Ryan Flaherty would get a chance.–Dan
Flaherty should get a chance. There’s been a lot of early talk about Schoop, who has added some muscle, and the organization’s top prospect is coming off a long season that started with the World Baseball Classic and ended with the Arizona Fall League. But the organization also likes Flaherty and the thought is Schoop, who missed time last season with a back injury, would be best served developing more in Triple-A first.
Flaherty is considered the leading candidate coming in to camp, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette telling reporters this winter that the projections for him over a full season are 20-plus homers. Not bad for a second baseman. Flaherty hasn’t really had consistent playing time since arriving two winters ago as a Rule 5 pick and this is really the chance for the Orioles to see what they have in him. A big “Buck guy”, Flaherty won’t simply be handed the job. The O’s have plenty infielders in camp along with Schoop, including Jemile Weeks, who is on the 40-man roster. Alexi Casilla returns from a year ago and there’s also Chord Phelps, but it’s really Flaherty’s job to lose at this point.
What could change things is if Manny Machado is not ready for Opening Day. Manager Buck Showalter has said that the versatile Flaherty won’t play third base early in camp and the club has other options there for the start of spring games. But that thinking could change if it looks like Machado won’t be ready.