Baltimore Orioles: Early Season Numbers and Trends


Apr 15, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles shortstop Everth Cabrera (left) celebrates with third baseman Manny Machado after scoring during the first inning against the New York Yankees at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Though we remind ourselves daily that the numbers in spring training don’t mean anything, the first nine games of the season honestly mean only a little bit more. But at least these do count officially in the statistics. So how are the Baltimore Orioles comparing to others in the league, and what trends may be visible already?

For example, the Orioles are #1 in the American League at hitting into double plays (12 so far, with 112 for the whole season last year). It might be said that such an example is meaningless with the small sample size of only nine games completed. But would you also say there is nothing to be valued as indicative of any trend in that the O’s are also #1 in home runs with 15?

Regarding double plays, it is frustrating to see them doing this. They did it in three straight innings recently. It was not a trend particularly in 2014, as the Orioles were 11th in the American League in this category. They were also 11th in on base percentage at .311.  This year, so far, the O’s are 4th in OBP at .340 (and 4th in batting average at .270); you have to have runners on base before you can have the bad experience of a GDP … so there’s that!

The Orioles are scoring some runs. They are 6th in the AL with 47 scored for a 5.22 average per game. After nine games last year they had 41 with a record of 4-5, rather than 5-4 as now. The Orioles are, however, giving up too many runs – 5.11 per game which is 5th-most in the league, while the ERA is predictably 11th at 4.61.  I would bet anything that the O’s will end the season much higher in the rankings than this. The Tigers have a team ERA right now of 1.91 – impressive.

So for the Orioles, when you factor together these and other statistics, the Birds are about average in stats rankings, or slightly better; therefore a record of 5-4 is what could be expected. These numbers are all going to change. We saw how significantly the pitching staff settled down over the final two-thirds of 2014, and such a trend is likely to develop again this year. If the offense can continue to hold onto a top-third overall performance in the AL, the Orioles should be in good shape.

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Former Players and Players of Interest

After the contentious offseason of the recent past, I had said that something I wanted to do was track some former players whose loss from the Orioles was grieved by many. Along with that to occasionally look at some coveted or anticipated players who did not work out for one reason or another.

Nelson Cruz – After a mediocre spring, Cruz is off to a great start for the Mariners, who have to be feeling very good about their acquisition. He is leading the league with six home runs already and in total bases (28). However he is second in the league to Adam Jones in several other categories, as the Orioles center fielder in #1 in Slugging (.844), OPS (1.303) and RBIs with 11.

Nick Markakis – It is not surprising that Nick would have a very consistent look to his numbers as has been always true of him. He is batting .267 with a .353 OBP.  The question for both Markakis and Cruz will be how long they will sustain performance versus the length and costs of contracts.

Andrew Miller – He has only been in three games for 3.2 innings with six strikeouts and two walks … no hits … very Miller-like.

Colby Rasmus – It looked certain for a time that Rasmus would be with the Orioles, so it might be interesting to check in on how he does for the Astros. Right now he is at .238 with a homer and two RBIs in seven games. And right now, Travis Snider looks a lot better.

Jim Johnson – The former O’s closer has caught on with the Braves and is looking very good in early returns. He is 1-0 with a save, having thrown 5.1 innings in five games, giving up only three hits and a walk. I have no ill feeling toward him and would be pleased to see him excel, though I do not (and did not when it happened) fault the Orioles for trading him.

Jake Arrieta – The former Orioles opening day pitcher has put it together in Chicago, pitching to a 2.76 ERA now with 222 innings in the Cubs uniform. That is not a small sample size. He is 1-1 in his two starts with a 1.98 ERA.  I too am happy for his success there.

Nick Hundley – In another nice story, Hundley is 9-for-28 in seven games with the Rockies. He wanted to be an everyday player, and so far it seems to be working out for him.

Next: Veterans step up for the Orioles

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