Baltimore Orioles Spring Training: Any Worries Yet?


Mar 6, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA;Toronto Blue Jays infielder Ramon Santiago (9) gets back to first base as Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Parmelee (41) catches a pick off throw in the second inning at Florida Auto Exchange Park. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have already played five spring training baseball games (record of 2-3) which is more than any other MLB team. Many have only completed two.

But even with five games, the numbers are still such a small sample – both for individual players and cumulatively for the team.

But in all that has been seen so far in the games and in the entire experience of reports coming out of the camp, is there anything to be worried about at this juncture?

How about the lousy team batting average?

For five games, the Baltimore Orioles are batting a combined .236 with an on-base percentage of .303.  Those are not good numbers and won’t get the job done. They have scored 18 runs, and the batting average ranks them currently 21st of the 32 teams. 

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If you are a baseball fan, you know the adage that is coming next: At the beginning of spring, the pitching is always ahead of the hitting. This is true.

However, the Orioles have hit five home runs. That is not exactly crushing the ball by recent Baltimore Orioles standards, but even in the recent power splurge years the O’s have often gone multiple games into spring training with only a home run or two being hit.

It is early.

How about the high team earned run average?

The ERA is pretty gaudy at the moment – 5.23.  That is not good at all when, again, the pitching is supposed to be better than the hitting.

But here is an additional perspective: 18 Orioles pitchers have thrown 23 innings without giving up an earned run. Most of the team is looking pretty good.

In fact, 17 of the 25 earned runs that Baltimore has yielded in these first five games have been given up by just four pitchers: Ubaldo Jimenez, Eddie Gamboa, Chaz Roe, and Oliver Drake.

It is early.

What about Ubaldo Jimenez and his initial performance?

There was nothing encouraging about it, and trying to put a pretty face on it recalls an old illustration of putting lipstick on a pig … or something like that.

I have written several times recently that I believe there is legitimate concern that Jimenez is not going to truly ever put it all together again for any sustained period of time. A few more outings like this one and I fear the frustration and disappointment will take over and give it a quantum boost in the wrong direction.

Let’s hope it is early.

Things don’t seem to be going well for Steve Johnson

Yes, Johnson is looking a bit like the pitching version of Nolan Reimold. He is trying to come back from injuries and medical procedures, but even the small events of life seem to go against him.

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He was the loser on Friday to the Jays, in his one inning giving up a hit and walk and an unearned run on his own throwing error.

Last week he injured and jammed the middle finger of his pitching hand while performing a defensive drill. It could have been worse, but it was a setback at the wrong time.

Honestly, it is great news that there have not been more reports of injuries. Usually players are falling like flies in spring training. The only other real injury issue has been a problem with the non-throwing shoulder of Brian Matusz.

It will not stay this way. Injuries will happen. It is early.

How is Dan Duquette handling all this exposure to the Toronto Blue Jays?

It is going well. He was reported to be wearing an Orioles hoodie in the Blue Jays ballpark on Friday. This is good.

It is early.

Next: Orioles and Chris Davis are Back