Opening Day is less than two weeks away for most teams, and managers are starting to come to a conclusion as to who will round out their roster to start the regular season.
While the Baltimore Orioles have had a very positive spring training so far—having had a lot of fringe players play well above what was expected from them—a small fraction of players haven't lived up to expectations so far.
There have only been a few disappointments that were the effect of underperformance or unfortunate injuries, but manager Buck Showalter has certainly taken notice.
Following are the most disappointing players for the Orioles this spring.
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Claimed off waivers from the Minnesota Twins prior to the 2013 season and re-signed prior to this season, Alexi Casilla was brought in to be a reliable utility infielder for the Orioles. He entered this spring with the goal of recapturing that same role with the ballclub.
With an injury-plagued spring so far that has recently included a hyperextended left knee, Casilla has been very frustrated with his inability to prove to the coaching staff that he belongs as an end-of-the-roster add-on.
Per Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com, Casilla voiced his frustration after being forced off of the team bus as a late scratch before the team was set to depart to Dunedin, Fla., to play the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday:
When they pushed me -- the head trainer [Richie Bancells] pushed me off the bus -- I went to [manager Buck Showalter's] office and I told him, 'Hey I'm ready, I feel good to play.' But the head trainer, I know he's trying to protect himself. I understand his job. But he's not in my body to feel what I feel. If I say, 'I'm ready to play,' I'm ready to play.
Playing in just three spring training games and garnering only five at-bats so far, Casilla hasn't reached base safely yet. His chances of making the squad are extremely bleak now, as a below-average performance is certainly better than none at all when it comes to winning a job.
Delmon Young, OF/DH
Prior to the signing of fellow outfielder/designated hitter Nelson Cruz, Delmon Young (pictured) was believed to have been brought in to serve as the club's primary designated hitter against left-handed starters.
After dealing with weight issues in the past—which was the cause of the Philadelphia Phillies offering a weight-loss incentive in the contract he signed with the team last season—Young showed up to Orioles minicamp in January weighing in at 223 pounds and showed manager Buck Showalter his dedication to a career revival.
Now, Young is fighting for a bench spot. And even if he is successful, he would seemingly only find playing time at DH whenever Nelson Cruz slides out to left field in order to give whoever wins that job a break.
Prior to Saturday's game against the New York Yankees, Young had failed to reach base in his previous 11 plate appearances. Overall this spring, Young is hitting just .222 with a .222 on-base percentage. He is also slugging just .296, which is abysmal considering his power potential.
If Young can build momentum off of his multihit game against the Yankees on Saturday, he could still win a bench role as a backup outfielder and designated hitter.
Alfredo Aceves, RP
Signed in the offseason to a minor league contract that included a spring training invite, veteran pitcher Alfredo Aceves was brought in as a supplement to either the rotation or the bullpen, as he was used in both roles during his time with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.
The signing of Aceves was a smart move by the Orioles. Having spent the entirety of his six-year career in the AL East, Aceves will have plenty of mental notes on the hitters in the division. But he'll have to break camp with the major league club in order to put those notes to use.
Throughout four spring training appearances and eight innings pitched so far, Aceves has allowed five runs on 11 hits, three of which left the park.
Aceves is proving to be extremely hittable as well, as opponents are batting a staggering .333 against him.
Spring training stats don't tell the whole story, but when you're getting lit up by opposing lineups that generally consist of minor league players, you're not convincing anyone to hand over the reins to you in a pressure situation at the big league level.
All spring training statistics courtesy of MLB.com.
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