Baltimore Orioles 3-Year Analysis: Position by Position

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Mar 31, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; General view of Opening Day logo on the field before an opening day game between the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports


Looking back“+1” – Marginally Better.

When all of the numbers are crunched from the 2014 season as compared to 2013, the team was overall just marginally better. The big improvements came in left field and designated hitter. Setbacks were experienced due to the horrific season of Chris Davis and the injuries to two critical players, though all of that could have been much worse than it turned out to be.

Looking Ahead – “+1” – Marginally Better.

Perhaps this is optimism speaking to believe that things can be even a bit better, even with the losses of Markakis and Cruz. Yes, the power numbers will drop, but I believe there is better hope for improvements in average and OBP. The Orioles need improvement from Schoop, and they need Wieters and Machado to bounce back. The biggest piece, and the biggest wild card, is Chris Davis.

Summary – Clearly the Orioles are an above-average offensive outfit in the American League. This is true over the course of the past three years and will very likely prove to be true again in 2015.

However, scoring the fourth-most runs in 2012 and hitting 214 home runs did not take the Orioles deep into the playoffs.

Hitting the most home runs along with having the arguably greatest defensive season in the history of the sport of baseball in 2013 did not even get the Orioles into the playoffs.

But even with a season in 2014 that was not actually offensively better than the previous two years, the Orioles were able to win a second-best total of 96 games. Why? Because the pitching was so significantly improved.

There is a reason why the top starting pitchers in the game of baseball get obscene contracts. Among the phrases I most abhor and despise that surround the game of baseball are “Pitching is everything,” and, “A team can only go so far as the pitching takes them.”  That is so over-simplistic when talking about such a wonderfully complex game like baseball. But it is true that a team cannot get far with lousy pitching, even if it has a powerful offense.

So, while we have looked at the offense in this analysis, the Baltimore Orioles are going to need a repeat performance in 2015 from both the starting pitching and the relief if they are to repeat as AL East Champions. And that pitching probably needs to be even improved if they are to truly compete in short series and win it all at the end of the season. This is a simple reality.