Baltimore Orioles: Overly-Aggressive Hitting not a Good Thing


Baltimore Orioles’ first baseman

Chris Davis

is arguably one of the most aggressive hitters on the team. However, the aggressive nature is not limited to just him. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have struggled to score runs recently, averaging only 2.9 runs per game through 15 games in May.

The very thing that helps the Orioles be the offensive threat that are is also their biggest weakness at the plate. These Birds are too aggressive.

The Orioles hold an average above .300 on the first pitch of an at-bat, as reported on a MASN broadcast. And that is good.

Evidenced particularly in their recent games against the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles were very aggressive at the plate. However, their aggressive approach did not ultimately help.

The O’s combined for 22 strikeouts during the series with the Angels. LA was able to do this because they took advantage of the Orioles’ strength by turning it into their weakness.

Los Angeles mixed up their pitches with fast balls and off-speed pitches, keeping the Orioles guessing most of the series. This approach from the Angels, combined with the Orioles aggressive style at the plate, contributed greatly to the series loss for Baltimore.

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Over the three games, the Orioles drew only three walks.

Even when the Orioles’ aggressive hitting brings good results (top five in the American League for home runs), they often ignore a crucial part of baseball: small ball.

When the Birds beat the Toronto Blue Jays 6-1 on May 13, the team combined for two strikeouts. During a five-run second inning, the Orioles led the inning off with two walks. Baltimore has drawn 83 walks on the season, which is second-to-last in the AL.

David Lough proceeded to put down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners up. Last season, the Orioles had 35 sacrifice bunts. So far this season, the Orioles have been slow to incorporate any part of small ball into the offense with only four sacrifice bunts.

The lack of appearance of small ball led to the series loss against the Angels.

For an aggressive team, the Orioles need to include small ball into the offense to pick up the slack when the power hitters are not connecting.

At the completion of the games on May 17, MLB stats put the Orioles as seeing the second-fewest pitches as a team in the AL and are one of four teams (between both leagues) to not surpass 5,000 pitches seen at the plate this season .

Baltimore’s overly-aggressive posture at the plate will continue to cause the Orioles will continue to cause struggles. Good teams incorporate power hitting, which the O’s do not lack, but also are not afraid to draw a walk or steal a base. The Orioles have been reluctant to add this to their arsenal.

Unless the Orioles can gain productive consistency with their aggressive hitting, fans can expect more stretches of poor offense later in the season.