The Orioles have finalized their Opening Day roster, which will include non-roster invitees Chris Owings and Anthony Bemboom, manager Brandon Hyde announced to reporters this morning (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com). Both will need to be selected to the team’s 40-man roster, but the O’s have a pair of open spots, so no corresponding moves will be necessary (barring additional activity on the waiver wire, trade market, free agency, etc.).
Owings, 30, went 6-for-26 with a homer and three doubles in 26 plate appearances during Spring Training, though he also posted an unsightly 10-to-1 K/BB ratio. A lack of walks isn’t a new issue for Owings, who has drawn a free pass in just 5.4% of his 2396 career plate appearances at the MLB level. Owings briefly appeared with the Rockies in each of the past two seasons, hitting a combined .298/.372/.536 in a tiny sample of 94 trips to the plate.
Owings’ broader track record is that of an OBP-challenged utilityman with a bit of pop and above-average speed, evidenced by a lifetime .243/.288/.372 batting line, 37 homers and 78 steals. He smacked a career-high 12 home runs with the D-backs in 2017 and averaged 15 steals per year as a primarily part-time player in Arizona from 2015-18. Owings has experience playing each of shortstop, second base, third base and all three outfield slots. He grades out as a well-below-average defender at short but has average or better defensive marks at every other position, per Defensive Runs Saved. DRS pegs him as a plus defender at second base, though other metrics like Ultimate Zone Rating and Outs Above Average have him closer to a scratch defender there. Owings will likely hold down a utility spot with the O’s to begin the year.
As for Bemboom, he’ll serve as Baltimore’s backup behind veteran starter Robinson Chirinos. All eyes in Baltimore will be on top overall prospect Adley Rutschman, the 2019 No. 1 overall pick and the clear catcher of the future, but he was stalled in Spring Training by a triceps injury. He’s still ramping up toward game action and will likely require some minor league work before the O’s even consider bringing him up to the big league roster.
In the meantime, Bemboom will get some big league time for a fourth consecutive season. He made his big league debut with the Rays in 2019 before being traded to the Angels, where he’s spent a fair bit of time on the big league roster. In 54 total Major League games and 144 plate appearances, the 32-year-old Bemboom is a .178/.241/.287 hitter. He went 4-for-13 with a double during Spring Training and carries a career .252/.347/.398 batting line in parts of five Triple-A seasons.