Baltimore Orioles: A Review of 2013 Hopes and Fears

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At this season just a year ago, while writing on the staff of FanSided’s Orioles Blog called “Birds Watcher,” I wrote two posts in anticipation of the 2013 season. These detailed both my hopes and my fears for the coming year. I will do that again after we flip the calendar into January; but first, let me look back at what was written a year ago and see how it turned out … how many hopes, how many fears came true. There were seven “hopes” and nine “fears.”

Hopes for the 2013 Baltimore Orioles (written on 1/1/13) …

–          That the five-man core of the Orioles is both offensively and defensively sound.  While listing the five as Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis, it is interesting that I did not include Chris Davis on this list. However, there are three gold glove winners and two others that are incredible defenders – all a part of one of the statistically greatest defensive teams ever. In terms of hitting well, they were three for five – with Wieters and Markakis having poorer years than historically true.

–          That Nolan Reimold is going to come back with a beast season.  As a true believer in Nolan Reimold, this statement really was an expression of hope. It did not work out, and it has sadly added to his army of skeptics.

–          That the bullpen will remain a team strength.  I wrote that there was no reason to believe this would significantly change. Many writers said they could not repeat anything close to 2012. They were correct; I was wrong. As much as the bullpen saved the 2012 Orioles, it killed the 2013 Birds.

–          That the Orioles will have better than average starting pitching.  Again, I was talking about “hope” with this piece, though it was not unreasonable at the time. The ERA and other pitching stats for the Orioles’ starters in the final two months of 2012 were among the best in the game. As we know, this did not materialize.

–          That the Orioles retain a winning and healthy clubhouse.  Indeed, the rare clubhouse culture that Buck Showalter had established was continued. This is a strength of the team.

–          That Chris Davis will assert himself with a monster breakout year that establishes him as one of the premier power hitters in the game.  I wrote about how Davis had 33 homers in 139 games – the same as Robison Cano had in 162 games. Indeed, Davis had the ultimate breakout year. That he did so was no surprise to me, though I would have predicted more like 40 homers than 53!

–          That there is organizational depth and good new young players on the horizon.  This was mostly focused on Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. It did not work out for 2013, but the main idea is still a possibility.

So, for the “hopes” section, they were realized/not realized/yet to be realized at a rate of 3-3-1.