Several of the Orioles' young arms threw their first spring training bullpen session Saturday, and the display drew quite the crowd.
As prospects Hunter Harvey, Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright and Tim Berry — as well as Rule 5 picks Jason Garcia and Logan Verrett — threw for the first time Saturday, several established Orioles pitchers delayed their departures from the Ed Smith Stadium complex to watch, a rarity in spring training.
"I don't know if it's curiousity at this point," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of a group that included Chris Tillman, Miguel Gonzalez, Tommy Hunter, Darren O'Day, Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman. "They're looking for allies. They're looking for guys who can help us. I think everybody knows that's where we're going if there's a need.
"They're engaged in the group. These guys don't separate themselves. They're looking for an ally. They're looking for help. They want to be good."
The group of pitchers that threw Saturday also included Wesley Wright, Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson, Chaz Roe, Dane De La Rosa, Chris Jones and Eddie Gamboa
"You see Hunter Harvey, a 20-year-old guy, he was pretty calm today," Showalter said of the club's consensus No. 2 prospect, behind Dylan Bundy. "I thought that was good to see. He didn't try to overdo it. He didn't try to overthrow. It was pretty good."
The Orioles took a dip in rankings of baseball's minor league systems this offseason, falling into the bottom third of Major League Baseball teams. They were ranked No. 22 overall by ESPN and No. 28 by Baseball America.
Some of that slide is because top prospects such as Gausman and second baseman Jonathan Schoop have made the jump to the majors, but Showalter likes a lot of what he has seen from the organization's minor league arms.
"When you see some of the evaluations of systems or whatever, why do you pay any attention [to it] if you believe what you're going to believe?" Showalter said. "Who is critiquing the critiquers? I'll put what our guys have done over the last three or four or five years against anybody."