BALTIMORE -- Fourteen of the 35 players currently on the Orioles' roster are products of their farm system. Six of the 14 originally joined the Orioles without stopping at Triple-A Norfolk.
On Sept. 17, left-handed pitcher Tanner Scott had his contract purchased from Double-A Bowie, joining outfielder Austin Hays, who zoomed through the system. Hays came to the Orioles from Bowie Sept. 5.
In 2016, left-hander Donnie Hart came to the team from the Baysox, though he was sent to Norfolk this season, and a year before, right-hander Mychal Givens bypassed the Tides and went directly to the big leagues.
In August 2012, Manny Machado not only went directly from Double-A, but changed positions from shortstop to third base. The next month, right-hander Dylan Bundy followed Machado.
The Orioles are using Norfolk and Bowie, it seems, for different purposes.
"The way Triple-A clubs are looked at nowadays compared to the way they used to, they're taxi squads," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "There are some Triple-A teams that are older than major league teams. … It used to be prospects got finished off there, but if you look at Double-A baseball nowadays, that's where most of the up and coming, the projection prospects, are. That's where most of the trades are happening from."
Of course, some of the most important Orioles spent significant time at Triple-A. Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, right-hander Kevin Gausman, left-hander Zach Britton and catcher Caleb Joseph all had significant Triple-A experience.
Catcher Chance Sisco and left fielder Trey Mancini have experience at each level of the Orioles' farm system.
"I don't think there's any blueprint exactly," Showalter said. "That's the way it used to be done. It doesn't mean it was right. I think the landscape of our game has obviously changed. People coming through the system. You've heard me talk about how remarkable it was for Mancini, how unusual it is for him to make a stop at each level, and that worked out pretty good. Did Manny need to play another year and play at Triple-A? Did Jon? It doesn't look like it? You don't want to say, everybody's got to do this. Each case you take a little differently. Let's face it, look at Hays' experience level in the minor leagues. That's a pretty big jump."
Mancini, who has had a standout rookie season after playing at Norfolk in 2016, found the experience there to be beneficial.
"The pitchers there have a lot of major league experience," Mancini said. "They have a good idea of what they're doing."
"When I got to Triple-A, it gave me a really good sense of learning how to prepare for pitchers."
This year's Tides used 34 pitchers, three of whom were position players. Of the 31 pure pitchers, 22 had prior major league experience.
"They do a good job of learning to know hitters quickly, having a plan of attack for them," Mancini said. "I learned a lot about that in Triple-A, getting used to pitchers and getting used to their tendencies.
"A lot of times, up until Triple-A, every time that I had about a 3-1 count, I'd get a fastball and be ready to hit it, but last year, a lot of breaking stuff and changeups in those count -- same here. They're smart. They know what they're doing. I'd say Triple-A for me was really good in that sense, just kind of getting the lay of the land in seeing some experienced pitchers."