Baltimore Orioles: 2014 Predictions that were WRONG

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Jun 23, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles pinch hitter Chris Davis (19) gets a pie in the face after hitting the game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The Orioles defeated the White Sox 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Position Player Predictions

Not alone on Chris Davis Prognosticating – Chris Davis will have a season that, in total, will be nearly as strong as 2013. He will have fewer homers and RBIs, but also fewer strikeouts, with also an improved batting average.

What a silly projection as things turned out! Nobody expected 53 home runs again. But 35 would not seem so “out there.” And why would his cumulative MLB experience not translate into fewer strikeouts and a better average? The over-shifts absolutely killed Davis. But you can’t blame them for the strikeouts. All the baseball geeks who analyze detailed numbers about pitch location and defensive schemes in varied counts and situations … well, they really earned their pay on Chris Davis.

Wieters with Tommy John? That’s not Fair! – Matt Wieters will continue his outstanding catching skills, having his best season ever with an improved Orioles pitching staff. His power numbers will be about the same, with his average a bit higher though not at the level hoped for a few years ago.

None of this turned out to be true. The defensive portion of it might well have happened without the elbow problem that landed him on the DL and into surgery. Adding to the sadness of all of this is that Wieters was hitting like he was long anticipated to contribute.

My KC Friends and Bosses Sold Me on Lough … So this is their Fault!David Lough will be an effective left fielder, especially defensively, and will produce offensively beyond expectations. He will become a fan favorite early in the season because of his hustle and aggressive play.

The founders and some of the leadership at FanSided Network have Kansas City roots, and they told me what a hustler Lough would be and a certain fan favorite … that he might well turn on a lot of inside pitches and put them on the flag court in right field. It did not work out that way. Glimpses of this type of player were seen, especially in the second half of the season. A late preseason injury got him off to a slow start, and with the rest of the outfielders hitting well, he ended up buried on the bench. Maybe 2015 will be different?

The Scoop on Scope is a Mixed BagJonathan Schoop will have an effective first year and be more productive than anything else seen at second base in several years, though it will not be enough for something like Rookie of the Year. But he will establish himself as the second baseman for the upcoming number of years.

The production from the second base position for the Baltimore Orioles has been quite weak for several years, suffering along with Brian Roberts. Replacements brought sketchy results. A powerful spring training from Schoop gave hope that he was the real dope. But nope! Well, not for average especially. It was actually lower this year for the position than in previous seasons. But the power numbers were up and proved very valuable along with his good defense; and Schoop does indeed look to be the starting second baseman for years to come.

Utility Players – Who Understands Them?Ryan Flaherty and Steve Lombardozzi will prove to be good utility players and occasional starters.

I guess I have to say that Ryan Flaherty is a good utility player. That is what is he and where his value lies … so, that much of the prediction was true. Lombardozzi made some baseball god angry somewhere, as he simply got put into storage at AAA and never recalled again.

Backup Catchers were a Huge Story – Steve Clevenger will be the best backup catcher the Orioles have had in years, and this will allow more time off for Wieters – helping Matt have a better year offensively.

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Well, this did not prove to be true, since Clevenger’s defense did not rise to the need. However, if Clevenger was all the O’s had for a backup catcher, particularly regarding offensive production, he would indeed have been better than any backup from the Wieters years. But that is not really saying much! Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley performed well, even if their offensive numbers were barely marginal. They handled the staff well, and that is a huge item that contributed to the 96-win season.

A Pick so Bad that it was not Made! – If I made a prediction on Steve Pearce, it would not have been a positive one. But he was not even on the radar at the time I was making picks. I never saw Pearce’s great year coming, and would not have believed it possible. I have probably been more wrong about Steve Pearce than any player ever in my years of watching, commenting, and writing upon baseball. But I am pleased to be wrong.