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The emergence of Jordan Westburg in the Orioles arsenal of young bats has become apparent. Now, what about the outfield problems and struggles of Cedric Mullins and the pending return of Austin Hays? Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the good problems of a first-place baseball team running through the raindrops.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

year, player, week, talk, gunnar, good, westbrook, struggled, shortstop, mullins, playing, baseball, star, northern lights, henderson, hayes, prospect, matteo, bat, gunner

SPEAKERS

Nestor J. Aparicio, Luke Jones

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn St. am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we’re gonna be down fake news on Fridays. All season long Luke join me on Friday for crabcake down there also was joined by the owner of medium rare in the rotunda telling a beautiful Mother’s Day story that you’ll hear this week as well as my love of French cooking and steak and potatoes and salad. I’m gonna take Luke down to medium rare get a mistake one day. Our friends from the Maryland lottery give me these PacMan scratch offs. We were we had a lot of winners had conventioneers from San Francisco running amok down at the Lexington market running off with $2 of John Martin’s money for the Maryland lottery. We’ll be doing it all week long here and have some fun to kick off some new games as well. Our friends at Jiffy Lube multi care an annual sponsor now with us I gotta get me a Jiffy Lube shirt. I’m gonna start wearing on the air here. I don’t like to enhance so much because of the you know messes up my face. But also our our other friends here at Liberty pure solutions keeping my water clean. So I look Jones joins us now. Look, I’m loopy. Anybody that sees me on social media knows that I did something really crazy for the craziest thing my wife and I were trying to think like crazy stuff. We’ve done it 22 years of marriage. Running off to see the northern lights. You did not see the Northern Lights in Shrewsbury on Friday night I take it

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Luke Jones  01:24

no to cloudy to cloudy. Yeah,

Nestor J. Aparicio  01:27

I had the same problem. I woke up and several times in the middle of the night it did not happen. So we went to Spokane, Washington, searching the Northern Lights and I’m going to let folks go out to my columnists at Baltimore positive little later on in the week as I put the finishing touches on that, as I was putting the finishing touches on that and flying back and forth and chasing the world’s greatest natural phenomenon that only happens at polar opposite ends of the world unless you’re in Florida or Texas where you saw it this week. We’re watching baseball all weekend Jordan Westberg. winning games being a part of what’s going on here in a way that this time last year we’re like, let’s make room for him. He’s the second baseman is your third base and he’s a major league baseball player. He gets lost in rutschman and Henderson and all the fervor around Jackson holidayed who’s still in Norfolk. We we have a new emerging hero and I’ve compared him to rich dour so far so good.

Luke Jones  02:25

He’s been outstanding. I mean, he has been Gunnar Henderson is our MVP. Right? Gunnar Henderson is an MVP candidate across baseball across the American League. But he has been their second best player. I mean, I don’t know how you could argue otherwise other than just okay. Adley rutschman gives you the the intangibles and face of the franchise kind of argument. And it’s not as though I don’t say that to be disparaging to rutschman or Colton Couser, who had an unbelievable two weeks. And, you know, that’s making adjustments and hasn’t been all bad, but certainly has come back down to earth. But tweeting Westberg has just been so consistent. And you look at where he was last year. To your point at this time last year. He was nearing his major league debut was a little over a month away at this point last year. But he was someone that throughout his minor league career and understanding this is one of the guys that had his minor league career disrupted by COVID. And just how the weirdness of that for a year or two, especially on the minor league level. But he just he hit at every level, he hit for power at every level, he showed versatility at every level, although he primarily played shortstop in the minor league. So it just speaks to the kind of player that they’ve drafted. That they’ve wanted guys up the middle catcher shortstop center fielders, because then you can move them off that position. And typically they can handle it. So he’s just developed. And we saw last year, a solid player, someone who didn’t overwhelm you, but it’s not as though he looked overwhelmed or out of place, or that it was too big for him or anything like that. He just didn’t show a lot of power. Right? Although if you look at that peripheral numbers and you dive deeper, yet 17 doubles. Yeah, that was something that looked like, Okay, so some of those doubles will start turning in homeruns. And, I mean, that’s what we’re seeing, you know, we’re seeing a guy who has hit for power. We’ve seen him hit consistently, you know, he’s drawn walks, not that he’s a major on base percentage guy just in terms of walks, but he’s willing to draw walks and he’s just been rock solid for them. Now to your point, whether it’s playing second base or third days, he looks good at both spots, not perfect, but looks very capable, you know, rock solid to above average at either defensive spot and I mean, he’s been their second best player. I I’m not sure there’s much of an argument against it other than just okay. Adley rutschman just in the way that you think in a big picture sense, but he’s been outstanding and he’s been consistent for them. Walk off victory on Saturday, thanks to him. And we’ve seen him hit for power doubles homeruns he already has more RBIs than he had last year. Yeah, and far fewer plate appearances. I mean, this is a guy who, to this point we’ve seen hitting somewhere in the neighborhood of six or seven. I mean, I don’t know how you’re gonna keep that low in the lineup much longer if he continues to hit this way. I mean, he’s looking like a guy that could be hitting third for you know, certainly could be hitting in the heart of the order for you. So he’s been such, you know, he’s taken such a big step forward. And I think, for me something that really jumped out over the weekend, with the Diamondbacks being in town is Corbin Carroll. I mean, great story last year, big time prospect wins NL Rookie of the Year, spill awful so far this year. In fact, if you look around baseball, you’ll find quite a few guys in their sophomore year and you know, the, the proverbial sophomore Jinx, you know, sophomore slump. There are a lot of guys around baseball that are doing that. But my goodness between Gunnar Henderson, who’s in a second full year in the majors, and Jordan Westberg, in his second year, first full year in the majors, no sophomore slumps there, I mean, those guys have taken it to another level. So you see Corbin Carroll, who I still think is going to be a terrific player. But he’s really I mean, really struggling when you look at his numbers. And it reminds you that even the best, even the really good ones, even guys that you think are going to be great players, it’s really difficult to do this. So for Westberg to do what he’s done in luck, he’s going to struggle at some point in time, you know, we talked about that we talked about that with Craig Kimbrel is, you know, a guy who might be going to the Hall of Fame before it’s all said and done. Everyone’s going to struggle from time to time, but Westbrook has just been so consistent for them. And I think if you if you kind of were going to brainstorm all the different things that you thought would go well, things that you had more of a question about. I didn’t have doubts about him in terms of being an everyday player, but I didn’t necessarily know if he could be this good this quickly. And you know, I my thought for him was he could be like a rock solid just everyday player for for you moving forward. And well that’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  07:14

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what I said retched hours. So I just want to give for all the old people out there, watched our kids 336 in AAA, I had to go look this up. And I didn’t know this about rich down because I mean, he was eight, nine years old when he came up and I was the fan at that point. Four hits and 39 at bats. The first year they brought him up the second year, he had one hit and 41 at bats. He was a three three he won the International League batting title the year before, and couldn’t figure out major league pitching the first 100 at bats went on to have a 10 year career never really hit with power. He had been more power in the minor leagues than he ever did in the major leagues. But I saw him and he was also a guy that could have been a third baseman could have been a second baseman could have been a shortstop. And I remember when he came up with a phenom, he was because he was a first round draft pick was 24th Overall I didn’t I have to go back and I didn’t know this stuff off the top of my head. This team makes me research dies from before because John Harbaugh is not here anymore. And I don’t have a press base and I could get better thanks but I want whenever I want to compare I make comparisons because that’s how we figure the world out. But nonetheless, I I see in him this sort of quiet, steady guy that’s never going to be the biggest star on this team. For all the mentioned reasons we mentioned it’s like Scottie Pippen right like there’s not going to be a lot of oxygen for him as MVP or star but he’s settling in to be an all star kind of player in the middle of these other guys with maybe higher ceilings I think you would say than Jordan Westbrook but to your point if you took him in any other organization we’re all these phenom is aren’t and we’re all these one ones and one twos aren’t. He’d be a really good prospect and any other organization

Luke Jones  08:57

Yeah, and he was still a good prospect for the Orioles. It’s not as though he wasn’t in our top 10 list for example, before he made his major league debut. But yeah, he wasn’t necessarily getting a lot of love around baseball you know, some publications had him as a top 100 fringe kind of guy like that. It’s not as though he was off the radar entirely but then he’s just been so good. And to the point that you just made I almost I’m starting to question whether we’ve sold him short in terms of his ceiling even so yeah, I there have been times where I’ve thought about him through the lens of being a JJ Hardy kind of player, a Jonathan scope kind of player were okay those weren’t guys that necessarily were perennial all stars in the way that you thought of Adam Jones or Manny Machado, but they made some All Star teams and they were guys that were above average players. Now, you’re hoping Westbrook has more longevity than someone like Jonathan scope, for example, who kind of got his career flamed out way more quickly than I thought it would. But he’s just been really good. And again, when you’re seeing around baseball and This is a point where you and I have probably missed on more than we should have, then really, you know, taking some accountability here. Offense is down around baseball. I mean, let’s think about that offense around baseball is down. Yet you see how this teammates the bond? Yeah, we can talk about Cedric Mullins who’s really struggling, or we can talk about Austin Hays, you got off to a bad start. But by and large, this lineup, top to bottom has been really good. And Westberg is a big reason why, I mean, he’s, like I said, he’s been one of their very best players and the jump that he’s taken from rookie year to year two, I mean, he just looks so much more comfortable at the plate, drives the ball, he’s got a good approach. He’s willing to go the other way. You know, he’s a right handed hitter and Camden Yards, which used to be a great thing. Now, it’s not so great because of the big wall and left, but that hasn’t prevented him from hitting for power. I

Nestor J. Aparicio  10:51

mean, he hasn’t been here. Right, like I ran into a guy last week. Right? And, and BJ was a one one so he’s kind of a different cap. And, and by the way, Pathfinders for autism, the good work he’s doing if you see Vince fiducia, out around town, tell him I said hello, and congratulations on that. But, and this is a good chance for me to plug because BJ participates in the crab Derby and the crab derby is this Wednesday. So we’re gonna be down in Lexington market this week. I want to get the times out for everybody because we’re going to run that piece this week. And I had a leash on last Friday, Dan, fa these and we’re going to be fade these on Fridays. Well, it is Preakness week around here. Crab derby is Thursday, excuse me, one to four on Thursday. Make sure you get that right. Not Wednesday, I knew I was gonna screw that up. Because it’s a Wednesday, last week, Thursday this week. I know I’m gonna get it on my calendar. Come on down to Spain. PJ was the winner last year. He’s a great crab racer. I’m going to be the emcee this year. The reason I think BJ sir, off up is I don’t know any of these players. And again, my media passes under review for whatever that’s worth. And I have inquired. So I don’t know any of these guys. And we know him through television and what they say and what Ben McDonough would say about a player Jeff Arnold might say about a player Melanie Newman or whatever. And the word on him is he’s a gamer intense. doesn’t do a lot of talk like to your point like you’re around it. I would compare that to BJ surhoff As far as pretty intense dude from the minute at the ballpark. Like I didn’t know BJ well. I still don’t know BJ well, because he wasn’t like a friendly dude at the locker hanging out at four o’clock. He was a guy like putting a bone on a bat. And was like, focused on like, just wasn’t that guy because he was a gamer. And I saw JJ Hardy is sort of that guy as well. When you. You mentioned their personalities. I only hear that through television these days. It seems to me he’s a pretty focused fella, this Jordan Westberg guy. He’s really focused.

Luke Jones  12:47

He’s a nice kid. Like, it’s not as though like, if you say hello to him, he’s gonna ignore you or anything like that. But he’s on the quieter side. He’s definitely his teammates. We’ll get on him because he hardly ever smiles. But but it’s just he’s really focused and dialed in on what he does. He really cares about his craft. He’s, like I said, I think he’s a good person that I mean, look, as media types. None of us get to know these guys.

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Nestor J. Aparicio  13:10

I didn’t talk to him during his character. Sure. I never. He just was one of the more real serious cats around there. Yeah. And he wasn’t as playful as other guys were in a person and I hear that about Westbrook and I think you’ll see much about him here but he’s not going to be beaten on his chest saying I’m better than this guy or like any of that right? Especially on this team. Where to your point sort of eased in there what there wasn’t a sold out ballpark, and he’s coming and all this Jackson holiday hype and all the hype on Adley rutschman. Henderson didn’t have that kind of hype but is far super far superseded whatever the hype of the other guys are Matt Wieters before that, or any of these guys, there really is an oxygen point for bringing 2022 23 year old kids up, who I just mentioned, reached our five for 100 is you know, first plate appearances over two seasons. It’s really hard to do as Jackson Holliday is finding out right now as Colton Couser would tell you as any of these guys would, that when you settle in and you have Luke Jones on a Monday morning in May, talking about him being the second best player on a team with a lot of really good players. That that is something that I don’t know that you would have you and I run around Sarasota six weeks ago, you said I think Jordan Westberg is gonna have had breakout and he’s gonna be the, that would have been crazy based on everything you’ve just said about him that in any other organization. He would be the bright shining guy here. He’s like, number four or five if you count holiday.

Luke Jones  14:35

Yeah, I mean, it really, I mean, it speaks to how much talent they have. But I think what’s interesting about him now, obviously, he was drafted out of college, you know, he’s 25 You know, he turned 25 I think back in February. So, you know, you don’t look at him in the same way that you look at gunners not quite 23 years old yet. Jackson Holliday of course is 20. You know, so when you talk about these guys that are drafted out of high school, you always think about the word ceiling right. You think about the guys that have the higher ceiling Killing when they’re younger and understandably so. But I think what’s interesting about Westberg that kind of gets lost in the wash. As I mentioned, he hit at every level, we hit for power at every level. He was primarily a shortstop, but obviously showed an aptitude to be able to play third, to be able to play second, as he’s doing for them now. But you go back to the early 2021, because 20 was the pandemic year, they were at the alternate site and buoy. You know, they had some of their best prospects there. But the minor league season had been shelved that year because of COVID. But you go back to early 2021. So Nestor, we’re only talking three years ago. It’s not like that’s that long ago. At that point in time, you had Gunnar Henderson, who by that point was on the radar in terms of hey, this, this kid they drafted out of high school in 19, he’s got a chance to be really good. But at that point, Jordan Westberg was viewed through a lens of he was the guy who had the higher floor, he was probably the safer bet at that point than gunner Henderson and they were both shortstop, third base type left field and left side of the infield kind of guys. But as gunner ascended and his star started to really become elevated in terms of baseball, America, and MLB pipeline, and all the all the minor league, minor league baseball publications and all the minor league pundits, there was this sense still with Westberg that, okay, he’s not going to have that kind of ceiling, but skies just been rock solid at every level. And it was interesting if you look at when those guys were promoted until gunner made it to the majors and September of 22. Those two had kind of a neck and neck if you look at when they were promoted, it was within a couple of weeks of each other even though Westbrook is older and was a college hitter. But you kind of think about three years ago, if someone had asked you then who was the safer prospect Jordan Westbrook or Gunnar Henderson, they would have said Jordan Westberg and gunner has surpassed him. Understandably so rightly so. Guterres the better player now, he’s better than he’s the best player on this team. He might be the best player in the American League, other than maybe Juan Soto, you know, if you want to start splitting hairs, but Sox

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:07

won, so I just gotta say that. I thought on that when he I

Luke Jones  17:11

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know in Baltimore, we think that but he is still a really good player, whether people like him or not, but But I mean, Westberg like I said, I thought he would take a step forward. So I’m not gonna sit here and say that I thought he was going to have a 715 Oh, PS like you had last year he had to 16 He was fine. Last year. He wasn’t bad. But it was more just run of the mill solid as it wow, it was. Yeah, he’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:34

amazing. That’s why I said Richt. Our rich town was never Wow. Right. So I thought he would hit for more power.

Luke Jones  17:41

But what we’re seeing, I mean, with the doubles, you know, just the consistency, I mean, he’s hitting 300, I think if you look at his splits, but, you know, if you broke down his season by week, seven to 10 day increments, I think they would all look very similar. You wouldn’t have too many times where he was, you know, I don’t think he’s had a three for 30 This year, for example. Whereas you could say that about a lot, even some of their best players, you know, because that’s how it works. And by the way, Westberg will probably have that at some point in time. But he has just been so consistent, so productive, hitting for extra base hit, you know, hitting for power, coming up in the clutch, you know how to walk off the handle on Saturday, he’s just been so good for them. And it’s good when you have guys like that, to see who’s surprised. I mean, he’s on pace to hit 2425 home runs at this point. Also a 35. doubles. I mean, you’re talking about a guy who’s at 60 Plus extra base hits. I mean, that’s a really valuable player, especially if that guy plays good defense. So, I mean, he’s, like I said, Do I think he’s gonna make the all star team? Probably not because we know how that kind of works if you’re not a starter, but he has all star credentials in terms of how he’s playing the game right now. I mean, with the power with the defense, I mean, the fact that he can play two different spots where you feel good about the defense. I mean, he’s just, I can’t say enough about how impressed I’ve been by him. And that’s with a team that has an all star catcher, and an MVP candidate at shortstop, and a rookie of the year candidate and Colton Couser, even though he’s cooled off a little bit, still, the numbers overall been great. And you go down the list of former All Stars on this roster, a former Cy Young Award winner at leading the rotation. I mean, they’ve got a lot of high profile players for being a young team. But Westberg is he’s earning his flowers. He’s earning some real attention around baseball, and I think teams come in, and I’ve even seen a couple. You know, I typically don’t go to the opposing managers press conference. But I’ve seen some comments here and there over the course of a series where they’ll say, Man, that Westberg guy’s good. I mean, everyone talks about gunner and Hadley and understandably so, but a lot of these teams are seeing Jordan Westberg burn them. So, I mean, he’s just been so good for them. And as I’ve said, you know, we see him most night Hitting six, seven. At some point in time you might have to, might be forcing his way to hitting third or fourth or fifth. I mean, he’s just been that good. And it’s such a testament to the work he’s put in. When you see, other second year players around the league scuffling, like Corbin Carroll, for example, have a tremendous talent to see what Westbrook has done in year two, not just taking a step forward, but a giant leap forward. It’s been really impressive. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  20:26

that speech can be 25 years old and not 20 years old. Dare I say, if Gunnar Henderson went play college ball, or if Jackson Holliday played college ball, I mean, you’re laughing, but like, that was an option for those guys. And certainly, when you’re going to be a one one as a high school prospect you go, but the Think about how good they are. And to see a guy like Westbrook or other guys that went the traditional route of going to college and you played a couple of years of college ball at the very least, to look at the difference between their trajectory to the big leagues and how we feel about them. As a 25 year old, very good ballplayers star superstar, you know, whatever you would want to call them. Why the gunner Henderson’s of the world knows they slipped through the cracks, but anybody could have had him at, you know, at that point, and didn’t see him as this guy. They saw him as well, he’d be really good college player and imagine what a prospect he’d be if he went to Oklahoma State and played two years or whatever. A lot of these guys don’t have to do that. And some guys do. And we always weigh a little differently when you went to college, you know? Yeah. And more is expected of you quicker to Yeah, you expect a quicker development, but generally speaking, the floor isn’t regarded as being quite as high. But I mean, you said with Gunnar Henderson. I

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Luke Jones  21:43

mean, there was there were very real questions of whether the Orioles were going to sign him. I mean, he was gonna go play college baseball, and the SEC and all that and they signed him. And he’s really, you know, he’s been the guy in LA with no disrespect to rutschman or any of these other guys that were drafted in the top five overall. Those are the kinds of guys that should make it right. If they don’t make it, then your, your top five

Nestor J. Aparicio  22:09

overall as a college regardless thing as a college player.

Luke Jones  22:12

No, I mean, just as an overall, as a top five overall pick, you know, I mean, those those guys should make it if they don’t make it, then that’s a failure in some way, you know, unless that guy just ends up being a total jerk, you know, something about him that fell through the cracks, which there have been examples of that in baseball history of top five picks that character issues and things of that nature. But in the case of gunner, I mean, he’s really, you know, and Michael Eisner a couple years ago, even referred to him as kind of the flagship example of their player development. You know, certainly he had roll tool, certainly he had ability, no one is suggesting that if another team had drafted Gunnar Anderson, that he wouldn’t make it to the major leagues. But with him developing as quickly as he did, and then tweaking a swing and different things about you know, that goes into their player development, you know, especially for a young player for him to have the success that he had in the midst of losing his first full minor league season because of COVID and him being relegated to being at the alternate site at buoy and instructionally camp in Sarasota that fall 2020 For him to become what he’s become as quickly as he as he has. It is such a great testament to what they do player development and why isn’t and blocked there plenty of those stories now right I mean, all kinds of guys and and not even just prospects but relievers that they fixed and tweak like your condo, for example. Felix Batista you know not not to Batista hadn’t gotten on the radar by the time that the new regime was was already cleaned Kramer

Nestor J. Aparicio  23:47

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who’s become it was rounded into being a nice starter and three

Luke Jones  23:50

years ago didn’t Kramer was had a seven era and was starting to look like oh man Manny Machado trade is gonna be a total bust. But you know, Kramer has been it’s been solid, you know, even on Sunday, his final line was his defense let them down you know, would have been better than what it was on set. So

Nestor J. Aparicio  24:06

we gotten that deal. Where’s he?

Luke Jones  24:07

Oh, use nailed Yes. He is actually back with the Dodgers. But I last I saw he’s still in double A. So yeah, I mean, that you know, that’s a long time ago.

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Nestor J. Aparicio  24:21

But you talk about other teams prospects versus ours and like every Manny Alexander, I go back to or Jim fuller. I go back to there’s always a hit and miss somewhere along the line and not lately. Not when Michael is not here. And that’s that’s that is your point is that we’re talking about a sort of a be less prospect with sort of an ageless reputation becoming maybe an all star right before our eyes and Whitesburg Yeah,

Luke Jones  24:46

well and I’m gonna go back to a term that you and I talked about a lot when Mike Elias and sigma Dell arrived. Growth Mindset. Yes, these guys need to have a baseline of talent, right? They can’t take you or me and make us individually ballplayers. I mean them matter how great our growth mindset might be, but guys that have a baseline amount of talent, and also you scout the individual, you scout the human being you scout the character traits, and you have guys that want to be great. And these Jordan Westbrook fits into that group. I mean, it’s the guy who works. He’s a gamer. He’s intense. He’s a nice kid, believe me, I, you know, seems like a really nice kid, his teammates really like him. You know, they get a lot on that he doesn’t smile enough, just because he, you know, he takes himself seriously as far as what he does, but, and he’s making himself into a heck of a ballplayer but like I said, you saw this at every level. That’s why last year when he didn’t hit for a lot of power, you know, I didn’t know this for sure. You never know it, for sure. Because the Major Leagues triple A to the majors is the biggest jump in pro sports. Yeah, maybe even more so now than it ever used to be on Jackson holidays. A great example of this, you know, where sometimes it takes some time Colton Couser took some time gone or at this point. Last year, we forget Gunnar was hitting about 175, a calendar year ago. And since then, has become a rookie of the year and now an MVP candidate. So it does take some time. And it is challenging, and there is no guarantee Corbin Carroll’s a great example. That was Rookie of the year last year and this year, he’s been woeful so far. And you know, he’ll probably figure it out. But he hasn’t to this point in 2024. So for Westbrook to do what he’s done, you know, for it to be a guy that was not a top five overall pick, like Gunnar Anderson who wasn’t you know, also wasn’t a top five overall pick. When you’re finding guys like that either in you know, sandwich pick in the case of Westberg, you know, that that, you know that in between first and second round pick, or in the case of Gunnar Anderson, who was a second round pick, and you’re developing those guys into either MVP candidate and gunners case or an all star caliber player in Westberg. How, at least how he’s looking so far this year, then it just it speaks so highly to the individuals that you draft and the work that you’re doing with them. And that’s where it’s so exciting to see what the Orioles are doing. And it’s where when you see someone like Kobe mayo, putting up the numbers, he’s putting up a triple way, you’re excited to see him at some point here in the not too distant future as well. And, you know, other guys that are, you know, progressing through the minor leagues. So I mean, it’s just it i, we talk about this all the time, and we sound like broken records and but it just speaks so highly to their player development that they have done. That the hit rate that they’ve had with their draft picks, not just with the first round, guys, but you know, even with later round, guys, I mean, it’s just it’s so impressive. It’s not the way it typically works, you know, even some of the most, you know, the biggest success stories of rebuilding teams over the last 15 to 20 years. You look at their hit rate draft wise compared to the Orioles and look it’s still an open some of these

Nestor J. Aparicio  27:47

Jordan Westbrook who like to cut out a lot of fun a decade ago, they only won once. Right? Yeah. Like some of these teams have sort of hit the lottery on oh my god, they got Rizzo and Deborah Ben sherbert. You know, like you go through the players and you say, okay, and it last a minute. To our point, Bo Ruben. Ruben splashes squirt and everybody we’re having a good time, but four years from now, team will look like this. I mean, if you this is as good as it gets comprised and so good that guys don’t have room and I guess, looked at to, to move it to a different place. Cedric Mullins and how far we go. Because we talked a lot about pitching and a lot about how much rope you give a veteran guy and all star, a team guy and imported guy for $13 million. You’re based on a salary, Cedric Mullins and Hayes I’ll lump them together and I would throw mountcastle and Santander in into that group as well. They were here before any of this mess started. They were part of the 100 loss teams that were part of the madness, they had to figure their lumps out without 35,000 People in new ownership and expectations of winning. Ryan Ripken famously tells the Cedric Mullins story about going down and him being there at the time. And you know, Ryan Rifkin is interviewing people and Cedric Mullins is going to all star games now and and moments could have failed several times. This isn’t new to him the struggle, but certainly a different situation when footsteps are everywhere in the outfield, including Amy from Austin A’s.

Luke Jones  29:16

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Yeah, I think with Mullins, I mean, for me, I wouldn’t be nearly as concerned if it weren’t for the fact that he really struggled the second half of last year. And look, I know from even talking to him moments after they were swept in Texas Back in October, and he held court with the media. I chatted with him a few moments after the Scrum and I asked him how he was feeling and often, you know, this was off camera, but he didn’t shy away from Mason, um, banged up, you know, he played through a lot last year and he really struggled. And the second half with the bat, you know, I think there was a lot of hope that he was going to come out, you know, in spring training and be healthy and look more like the guy but maybe not be 3030 again, you know, 2021 That was a career year for him, you know, a lot I mean, no one else had done that in Orioles history at that point in time although Gunnar Henderson looks like he’s got a chance to be that kind of guy if he wants to steal that many bases, but you know, he got off to the four for 28 start you know, he’s kind of had three seasons already you know he started for for 28. Then he had that he had like a nine game stretch against the Red Sox, Milwaukee and Minnesota. Remember he hit the walk off home run against the twins. He was 11 for 30 with like five extra base hits over that nine game stretch and you thought okay, he’s he’s getting his legs, he’s looking good, you know, oh, PS was up to like 850 At that point, since that walk off home run against the twins, eight for 60 to two extra base hits only for walks. He’s batting 129 Certainly slugging 194 His defense has been terrific. His defense continues to make him someone that even when he’s struggling with the bat, he still has value going out there. And that’s where I think you saw over the weekend where hide gave him a couple of days off. They had has been cursed out in left field on Saturday, you know, that’s expensive left field at Camden Yards that you need kind of basically need a center field or playing left field also. Yeah, that’s not ideal. They had O’Hearn playing left field on Sunday. But you know, because they move cows or to Senator each of those games. And I’m okay with cows are in centerfield. But those left field options aren’t great right now. So that’s where I think things become a little more interesting. If if Mullins is going to continue to struggle. Hayes is going to come back, you know, he’s wrapping up, you know, I assume he’s wrapping up, you know, his standard double A buoy with some rehab at bats, you know, hit a homerun. Looks like he swung the bat pretty well, there. Looks like he’s healthy with the calf. I do wonder. And I do kind of, I’m interested to see what the outfield picture looks like here, you know, moving? Well, you

Nestor J. Aparicio  31:46

wanted a rotation. And you didn’t want three guys to begin with. I

Luke Jones  31:51

think in the case of the three incumbent veteran incumbents, and Colton Couser, you have four guys that at this point in Couser, might become this guy, right? I mean, he had a stretch where he was the best player on the team for two weeks. I mean, he was unbelievable, one player of the week, all of that. So until Yeah, you still hear all the moves, right? But you know, until he becomes a little more consistent, and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, just the natural evolution and development of a young ballplayer. I see four guys there that I don’t see any reason for any of them. And Couser would be the first one if I was going to pick one. But I don’t see a reason for any of those guys to have to play 155 games a year. I think if you rest them and rotate and everyone sits once a week, and you have some guys DH, you know different things like you bat off the bench, like, yeah, there’s that. I think you keep all of them, you increase the odds of keeping them fresh and healthy for 162. Right. So there’s a way to do it where you know, and again, for me right now Couser was still gonna be my everyday left fielder Santander still gonna be my everyday right fielder up DHS on occasion. You know what I mean by that. But I’m curious right now, though, with Mullen struggling the way he is. And with Hayes coming back, and you want to try to get Hayes going? I don’t think he’s going to be activated and just irrelevant. relegated to the bench. You know, it’s kind of the Craig Kimbrel thing all over again, you don’t want to just bury, you said

Nestor J. Aparicio  33:23

to me, your cows are playing every day, right? So if you want cows are playing every day, then you want is not playing

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Luke Jones  33:27

a lot. Well, right now. Well, this is going to depend I, it might be that for the time being. And again, this is always all of these plans are temporary until they become permanent, right. I mean, I’m not kowsar,

Nestor J. Aparicio  33:41

and there’s permanent change every minute of every day, right, like, but I just I

Luke Jones  33:46

think you look at where Mullins is right now with the way he struggled. And he’s really, really struggled against left handed pitching. I do wonder if when Hayes’s activated, whether it’s for this series, or you know, whenever it’s I assume in the near future, might be might have already been activated by the time someone’s listening to his talk right now. But I do wonder if maybe you see Hasan Mullins form a little little bit of a platoon for the time being maybe that’s what we see. And maybe that’s a way to try to get both of them going, you know, Hayes, Hayes facing some left handed pitching and Mullins, maybe not facing lefties and you’re hoping maybe get them off their feet a little bit. You know, both guys have had either injuries or times where they’ve worn down the last couple years. Maybe we see some of that. I don’t know. I mean, look, I’m not I’m not gonna sit here and say that I know better than Brandon Hyde or Mike Elias, but I see guys that you know, in the case of Hayes, we saw it before he got hurt. And in the case of Mullins, it’s you know, been I mean, that walk off against Minnesota was almost a month ago, you know, this has been a month where he’s really really struggled. So, you know, I do wonder if maybe those two guys you kind of mix and match them a little bit. You know, I don’t know if that means he’s placed center or or cows or goes to the center on those days and he stays and left you know, and you know, You can do it. You know, it doesn’t have to be a straight platoon in Senator field. But I’ll be interested to see how that works out because Molins is really struggling and for Brandon Hyde to say what he said over the weekend, which his quote was, he’s pressing a lot. You know, he said that he’s really pressing a lot. And we’ve seen it. You know, we’ve seen the examples of him striking out or popping up and he slams the bat down. He’s, he’s frustrated. I mean, he’s really frustrated the

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:24

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footsteps of taking my bats away taking my job away. You know, he and Hayes and Santander and Mel crew went on this roster footsteps, right.

Luke Jones  35:32

I mean, at this point, everyone on this roster, I guess, other than you know, I mean, James McCann’s. No threat to add,

Nestor J. Aparicio  35:37

what’s your point, Matteo and your race are always on borrowed time? Right. Yeah.

Luke Jones  35:41

I mean, you know, I think all these guys, they see what’s at Norfolk, they see what’s at the system, they see what might be on the bench waiting to take their place. I mean,

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Nestor J. Aparicio  35:49

and this legacy might win the World Series without them, whoever they while and

Luke Jones  35:53

since you brought it up, and this was the last point, I didn’t want to belabor this point. But you know, Jorge Mateo, look at how he’s responded to his role changing since this time last year, this time last year, I remember he had a phenomenal man. April, was was great. One of the best players in baseball in April. Go back and look at his numbers. They were fantastic. And he really, really struggled to the point where they stopped playing them every day and gunner moved the shortstop, and obviously, gunner was Rookie of the Year and great player deserved to play every day, played so well at shortstop where he said, You know what, we want to play this kid at shortstop and not third base, because he’s so good there. So Mateo, guys like me, were questioning why he was even still on the roster. They stuck with them. He he understood. He read the room, he knew he wasn’t going to be the starting shortstop anymore. So what did he do? He worked at second base and he learned to become more versatile and play more second base. And, you know, it hasn’t been perfect there. But he’s made some nice plays. There. He’s shown an aptitude that he can be a second baseman, not not in the big picture sense that he’s going to start because Jackson Holliday is going to be back.

Nestor J. Aparicio  36:54

Starting second baseman of the Brewers two years. He may be 8 million a year. He

Luke Jones  36:57

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might be but but in the meantime, they have a need right now because Holliday needed to go back to the minors and make an adjustment. I think Brandon Hyde very much thought this was going to be Mateo playing at second base against left handed starters. And a Reus playing at third with Westbrook moving the second against against right handed starters. But Matteo is the one who’s answered the bell and has done a nice job and has swung the bat pretty well. And Aris has not I mean, Maria says he hasn’t been playable. I mean, he’s been that bad offensively that it’s been a tough time playing him. And then even on Sunday, when he gets a start, he throws wide to the plate and cost them a run actually cost him a couple runs in that inning, you know, didn’t help out Dean Kramer. So yeah, we’re seeing more and more that Matteo is playing, becoming more of an everyday player at second base for the time being, you know, once Jackson holiday, they deem him ready, it’s going to be holiday. But for the mean, in the meantime, Matteo to me has very clearly in the pecking order moved himself ahead of areas where once that day comes, Ramona Reese might not have a job anymore, you know, that that might be his roster spot, you know, that gets that gets taken at that point in time. Long way to go between now and whenever that happens, and you can always turn it around. But the point is, with all these different incumbents, all these guys that were part of the turnaround, you know, there’s an affinity for them, you know, whether you’re talking about Mullins, Hayes mountcastle. Go down the list of guys that were on that 110 loss, terrible team from three years ago. But they also understand that there are young guys coming and gunning for their job, and they know that they’re not all going to be here forever. So there is pressure, you know that Absolutely. There’s pressure, good pressure, you hope, but it’s pressure nonetheless. So it’s interesting to see someone like Matteo, he’s answered the call. I give him credit. I mean, he’s a guy that last August, I was asking why he was on this roster, you’re really going to carry this guy just just to have a pinch runner in the playoffs on your postseason roster. But he’s rebounded and he’s done a nice job and he’s played, you know, pretty solid second base. And, you know, the speed has always been there. So he always has that going on,

Nestor J. Aparicio  39:06

like what’s happened to multiple positions as well. That the amount of at bats when Gunnar Henderson takes your job, it’s for 162. Right? Like, you know, your last year? Yeah. Oh, yeah. It was over for Mateo as a shortstop. The minute Gunnar Henderson came and stuck, and it was over there is no more job there anymore. To your point, the outfield situation a little more fluid than to move guys around and have a position for even O’Hearn to take the glove for a day even though you don’t want him to do that.

Luke Jones  39:38

Yeah, and keep in mind the outfield. There’s also there’s the contractual financial part of this where Santander is in a contract year, Mullins and Hayes will be in a contract here next year. Yeah, they have guys that are waiting a trip away that has been cursed that who’s in the majors and still can’t get in the lineup on any consistent basis. So inevitably, there’s going to be some change there. I think we I think we’re all seeing at this point. that have their three veteran outfielders that have been the the incumbents, you know, the guys that have been established outfielders for the last three or four years at the major league level, they’re not all going to be getting extensions. I don’t know if any of them are getting extensions, right. I mean, if I had to bet, all three or none of them, I certainly am saying none if I had to bet one or none of them, I might be betting none at this point. But you know, that there’s, there’s part of that but in the case of Matteo at the very least, you have someone who is carving out a role for himself, at least as a nice bench piece, who can play some second base, you know, he can play shortstop, if gunner tweaks his ankle or needs a day off or is sick and you know, he is going to be able to run for you so that’s a valuable bench player right there. So he’s done a nice job adjusting to the circumstances changing at the major league level and just wanted to give him his do because I think he’s been he’s been a nice I don’t want to say a shock but think he’s been a nice little pleasant surprise for them especially on the heels of things not working out with holiday in his first run in the majors.

Nestor J. Aparicio  41:06

All right, look, Jones will be there all week long Oreos taken on the Blue Jays for a couple Thursday off alibi breakfast. We’re gonna be racing crabs that election to market on Thursday. With BJ surhoff and a whole bunch of other folks come on down. Stay low on Friday. We’re gonna be doing the show to under five and we’re running ponies on Saturday here Bob Africa’s gonna be stopping by this week. Also, Donna brothers gonna be here talking about the race and mystic Dan. I’m bringing it Frank WSP. A whole bunch of racing people. I’m gonna be at the post position draw on Monday. So we’ll have all of that ahead. But baseball all week long mariners in town this weekend as well. Loose monitoring football. Football schedule.

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Luke Jones  41:44

Yes. Schedule coming up. Yes. Coming out Wednesday, you want to be the tech service and we’ll break it down and see when the ravens are playing in primetime. You figure plenty of primetime games will screen this

Nestor J. Aparicio  41:56

one exam schedule yet what are they doing? Now? Right?

Luke Jones  42:00

Push it back further and further right gotta you wonder

Nestor J. Aparicio  42:04

why I use all my points to go to Spokane instead of saving them up to see the chargers in Inglewood. You know what I mean? Like so I was chasing the Northern Lights. And when I get up, I slept on the flight home on Sunday because I’m just dog ass and it’s Preakness week and it’s crazy around here and heart and cheap trick the charisma of Rick Nielson, the magnitude of magnetism excuse me, you have Robin Zander, will be together this week. But I’ve written 80% of my Northern Lights piece. Most of it’s just humorous to be honest with you, but there will be a column this special non sports columnist about the world’s greatest natural phenomenon that was available to Broadway. Here’s one for you, Lucas, you met one of my favorite science teachers, Mr. George sholden, who was the baseball coach in high school. And you and George hit it off like, it’s famously as I thought you would be given your baseball background and George told us stories about cutting school and going into the 66 World Series. It was phenomenal. I am in Spokane, and I’m in I’m at the Canadian border at the highest. You know, Spokane is further north and Portland, Maine. It’s 200 miles further north of Minneapolis. It’s north because I was on the phone with a guy and I was headed to Minneapolis on Saturday. He told me it was cloudy. So at least in Minneapolis, I could have gone to Prince’s house or something. But we had a ton in Spokane. All 12 hours we were there. But like George Schulman apparently and I need to get him back on the show. Went to Cumberland on Saturday night saw the Northern Lights. And he’s a science teacher so he knows what the hell’s going on up there. All I know is Oh, hi. Wow. Ah, he’s like, Well, that’s the polar vortex of the magnetism of the geo. So I gotta get George on. Any of you saw the Northern Lights. Don’t rub it. Well, Robin sent me pictures. I want to see the pictures. It is my ultimate bucket list. It’s even moved ahead of like Wimbledon and meeting Reggie Jackson again and things like that. But I’ll be writing about it this week. And it’ll be humorous because I seen the Northern Lights, but only in pictures. I am Nestor. We are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. Looking I got you covered on sports text NFL schedule and Preakness because we’re Baltimore positive

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