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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles Promote Connor Norby

Updated: Jun 6

No. 6 prospect is traveling with the team to Toronto

*Cover Photo Credit The Baltimore Banner

It's Connor Norby time!

Connor Norby is headed to the show. Photo: Kate Kirsch

After nearly two and a half years of waiting at Triple-A Norfolk, the utility player is expected to have his contract selected by the Orioles ahead of this week's road series at the Toronto Blue Jays according to ESPN's Jeff Passan. He and lefty Nick Vespi are flying with the team to Toronto today, according to MLB Trade Rumors.

The transaction has not yet been made official, but it is expected that Norby will be called up while infielder Jorge Mateo goes to the IL on concussion protocol.

Norby, who turns 24 this Saturday, was selected by the Orioles in the second round of the 2021 draft out of East Carolina University. Developed initially as a middle infielder, he dominated three levels (A+, AA, AAA) of Minor League ball in his first full pro season in 2022. That year, he hit .279 while slugging 29 homers, collecting 73 RBI, and stealing 16 bases.

He remained in Triple-A Norfolk last season, helping the team to a historic season that saw them win the Triple-A championship. In 138 games, he was a .290 hitter with 21 HR, 92 RBI, and an.842 OPS. This season 51 games for Norfolk, he had been having yet another productive season at the Triple-A level with a .286 AVG, 9 HR, and 7 steals.

There is no doubt that after all of this time, Norby was Major League ready. It was unfortunate to see him stuck at Triple-A for the lengthy time that he was there. Many called for either an immediate promotion or him being included in a blockbuster trade this summer. However, as explained in a previous blog post, the Orioles need to trust what they are receiving in return and you cannot just trade Norby just to trade him.

We have to remember that Norby has grown in no ordinary Minor League system. He, an infield prospect who has also recently learned some outfield, has developed in the top ranked farm system in baseball, and he has developed alongside a slew of the game's most prestigious prospects in recent years. In the infield, he has had to compete with phenoms like Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Jordan Westburg, and Gunnar Henderson. As he has learned outfield, he has had to compete with Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, and Kyle Stowers.

As he packs his bags for the show for the very first time, the question still remains regarding how the Orioles can find Norby consistent playing time.

That may still be difficult at first. The outfield is very crowded right now with Cowser, Stowers, Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, and Anthony Santander out there right now. The infield is no better with Henderson and Westburg working the left side and Ryan Mountcastle and Ryan O'Hearn platooning at first base.

Fans should be excited for the arrival of No. 6 prospect Connor Norby.

Perhaps he takes over the everyday second base position until Mateo returns. Even then, you would not want to see Norby ride the bench upon Mateo's return but there is no harm right now in giving Norby that opportunity. 2022 gold glover Ramon Urias is the only other viable option to play everyday there right now but with a .229 batting average and a .623 OPS this season, he is not the most reliable option. Perhaps Norby platoons in against lefties. He hit .327 against lefties at Triple-A this year while guys like Mullins (.133), Cowser (.240), and O'Hearn (hitless) have all scuffled against southpaws this season at the highest stage.

It will be interesting, potentially stressful, to see how the Orioles handle Norby's playing time at the big league level. Nonetheless, this is a promotion that is well overdue and well deserved for this young gun. There is a lot that he has to offer, and Orioles fans should be excited that he has finally arrived to the team. His promotion is another testament to this elite farm system and all of the pieces coming together from GM Mike Elias' genius draft scheme.

***Update (2:36 pm): Norby's contract has been selected, and Vespi has been recalled. Mateo is on the 7-day concussion IL, while reliever Thyago Vieira has been designated for assignment.

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