Aiming to be left in mix
Competition gets tight for spots for left-handed hitters
SARASOTA, Fla. — Kyle Stowers is happy with how feels mentally and physically. The young Orioles outfielder is as “confident as I think I’ve ever felt.” But in some of his games, he’s been left with one at-bat he’s unhappy with.
“If I feel like I’m swinging at pitches with the intent I want to have on those pitches, and if I get out doing that or strike out, then so be it,” Stowers said. “But if I go through an-bat and kind of seem to be on the pitcher’s terms a little more, that’s the thing that can be a little more frustrating.”
Each at-bat will be vital for Stowers as the Orioles sort out the final spots on the offensive side of their roster. He doesn’t set numerical benchmarks for himself and, amid spring training, he’s not even necessarily concerned with getting hits. But he wants to do everything he can to show he deserves one of Baltimore’s 26 roster spots come Thursday’s opening day.
His competition is doing the same. Of the 20 infielders and outfielders still on the Orioles’ camp roster, seven are part of a roster battle for what appears to be two spots earmarked for left-handed hitters. Nearly all of them are performing well this spring.
After getting sporadic playing time as rookies, Stowers and Terrin Vavra are both impressing, with Vavra showing the potential to be a super utility player. Nonroster invitees Franchy Cordero, Ryan O’Hearn, Lewin Díaz and Josh Lester have all performed offensively, though O’Hearn and Díaz have recently been sidelined with injuries. Only Nomar Mazara has struggled.
“I love the competition that’s going on with those guys,” manager Brandon Hyde said.
Here’s a player-by-player look at how each has performed this spring.