Orioles: General Thoughts
The Orioles are 4-5 overall, and have lost 4 in a row as the Oakland Athletics arrive in Baltimore to begin a 4 game series.
Coming off a 115 loss season, the bar is pretty low. There are no expectations for this group. You can look around the diamond, and reasonably question if any of these guys will be part of the next quality O’s team.
What I’m looking to see at this point are who takes advantage of the opportunities they do get? The O’s are fielding a team where pretty much every night they take the field, they’ll have less talent than the opposition. If you aren’t as talented, you just have to grin and bear it when more talented teams beat you. What you want to avoid is beating yourself.
On Sunday the O’s got their brains beat in. While it wasn’t fun to watch, it happens, and you move on.
On Saturday, and last Thursday; the Orioles lost winnable games when their bullpen faltered late. Psychologically, I think that’s more difficult to take (for fans and players alike) than yesterday where you are out of the game quickly.
The fans aren’t dumb, they know it would be highly surprising if this team didn’t lose over 90 games.
The players aren’t dumb, they know most of team right now is made up of place-holders, until younger talent comes up and takes their jobs.
Still, the O’s have 153 games remaining on their schedule including tonight. Will be easier for the players and their fans, if they can close out the games they are positioned to win.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
Some Brief Thoughts For The Week:
1) Davis and his family should be financially secure for generations, but you can still have empathy for the guy. Just watching this is brutal. For him, it must be absolute torture. There’s no way he wouldn’t rather be earning his money. Instead he’s be embarrassed on a stage.
2) The O’s have Oakland in Baltimore for four games, and then trip to Boston for four more. They come into tonight with the four game losing streak. End the losing streak, and get back to .500. Split the four games with the A’s. Find a way to win one of the first two games in Fenway, or it could become a very long weekend.
3) Means has joined the rotation, and will start tomorrow night. He has an impressive change. Spot-start is fine; but I think his future is in relief.
4) Hess was great in Toronto, and roughed-up a bit at home yesterday vs. NY. Both are reasonable representations of who he is. He’s got decent stuff for a back-end starter. Better velocity than you think, fastball a bit flat though. Nice slider. He got a lot of swings and misses with a fastball up in the zone against the Jays. The Yankees made him pay. Fine for him to start right now, but also think his future is in relief.
5) Fantastic start to the year for Mancini. Clearly he’s not ‘this’ good, but have we under-estimated his ceiling? Meaning could he be better than a reliable, productive regular?
6) D. Smith has hit in 8 of 9 games, and is playing a solid LF. He’s had some good ab’s, and shown a willingness to use all fields. Scuffling a bit now (3 for his last 18), and just 1 walk on the year. League is making some adjustments, does he adjust back?
7) Martin is playing an excellent SS, and struggling mightily at the plate (2 for 23, 11 k’s). Swing looks a bit long to me, and he’s swinging through a lot of pitches. Haven’t seen him look to take pitches into right. The defense has been very strong. If the offensive issues continue, can he avoid taking that into the field?
8) 43.8% of the balls Nunez has hit so far, have been charted as hit with hard speed. MASN showed a graphic yesterday illustrating that, with his high exit velocity. Facing his former organization the next few days.
9) I don’t know if he can field, but Alberto can hit. EDIT: He looked strong at 3rd Monday night.
10) Ruiz can field. The question is can he hit enough? While he’s just 6 for 28 at the plate (11 k’s), I do think he’s having good ab’s. The approach looks strong. Was impressed with his sac fly Saturday.
11) Rough week for Castro and Wright. They’ve let a combined 6 homers in 9.2 innings of work. They both have arm talent. Castro is just 24 though, while Wright is 29. Both should be used in lower leverage opportunities until their performance warrants more usage in more challenging situations. If the O’s have to decide on booting one off the Island, Castro being significantly younger should factor.
12) Fry has looked good in relief.
13) Bleier and Givens have been used just 3 times each in the initial 9 games. Just 2 games for Yacabonis.
14) Villar has 5 multi-hit games already. He’s definitely a legitimate Major Leaguer. If the O’s want to move him July, I’m sure they’ll find a suitor. He turns 28 May 2nd. He’s arbitration eligible next year, and a Free Agent before ’21. I look at him like Mancini. You could move him, and bring back a piece or two under longer-term team control. Or you could keep him, and he could be a solid piece of the puzzle. If he’d consider tacking on a year or two to his contract, I’d consider that.
15) As much as I want to see Sisco getting extended Major League ab’s this year (and prove if he can handle the position); I have to admit I’m really watching Sucre and Servinio behind the plate. Their active, they have a plan, have strong arms, set good targets. They are quality defensive catchers.
16) If Bundy went back to how he was utilized in ’16 (began the year in the pen, 36 appearances, 14 starts… 109.2 total innings)… would he find some of his missing velocity? Still just 26, not that many innings on his arm. ’16 was after his previous arm troubles. What he’s doing right now is not working. (Do like his change-up.)
17) Cobb looked good in the Home Opener vs. NY. I think he’ll be very solid. He’s made a number of comments about appreciating the improved analytics (including positioning) the new staff has brought. Pretty telling.
18) Mullins has played in 8 of the first 9 games, but has just 22 ab’s. (2 for 22.) He’s 1 for 5 vs. LHP. The O’s are really trying to limit the ab’s he gets from the right side. If they don’t think he can switch, maybe they should end that? He didn’t hit well as RHB last year, but it was only 45 total ab’s.
19) Rickard has 3XBH’s in his 21 ab’s. 4 walks as well. He should be working to become a threat on the base paths, as it would add another facet to his game.
20) I liked the addition of Karns, and I like the addition of Straily. Pretty decent chance both are usable options this year. They’ll look like ML arms.
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Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.
You can reach him via email at [email protected].