Baltimore Orioles: 6 unsung players playing vital roles in 2017

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 30: Trey Mancini
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 30: Trey Mancini /
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Baltimore Orioles: Craig Gentry
Baltimore Orioles: Craig Gentry /

2. Craig Gentry, OF

The addition of Craig Gentry to the spring training roster provided some intrigue for Baltimore Orioles fans.

Gentry was a major leaguer, but the Orioles added Michael Bourn as well and had Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo Kim, etc.

Gentry was out of options, so he had to stick in the major leagues, or risk being put on waivers. Well, Craig Gentry made the team and has played in 73 games for the Orioles this year.

Over 116 plate appearances, Gentry has 100 at-bats, 26 hits, five doubles, two home runs (ties his career-most), 11 RBIs, 17 runs, five stolen bases, 11 walks and 23 strikeouts.

However, over the second half of the season, where he has seen more playing time since Anthony Santander was promoted, Gentry is hitting .372/.426/.558 with three doubles, a triple, one home run, six RBIs, and 16 hits in 43 at-bats. Gentry has been a solid bat at the bottom of the lineup, with speed.

And that is key because the speed allows him to do things on the base paths that many other Baltimore Orioles can’t do. Hitting ahead of Tim Beckham is a good fit, and allows for the complete turnover from a nine hitter to leadoff.

In addition, his blazing speed turns what is a usual double into a triple.

Besides, Gentry has been a pinch runner or late defensive replacement on many occasions. It is how he has played in 73 games with only 116 plate appearances. Gentry has scored runs other players wouldn’t have scored and caught balls other players wouldn’t have caught.

As rosters expand, I think Gentry deserves to start over Joey Rickard. Gentry is a veteran who brings a patient approach to the plate and can impact the game with his speed.

Of course, I would also consider benching Mark Trumbo permanently, but that’s just me.

Back to Gentry, if the Orioles make the playoffs, he will almost certainly be on the team for his ability to run. Just look at what Jerrod Dyson did to the Orioles for the Royals in 2014.