It's one thing to follow along for spring training from afar, and another to arrive at spring training and put all of that into context. When it comes to this year's Orioles, even if the games don't much matter, there's a lot to unpack as to why they haven't been able pick up that elusive spring training win.
Wins and losses are far from the main concern in the Grapefruit League. Instead, it's more about individual performances and how they portend to the regular season. But in an effort to explain just how the Orioles are 0-9-2, outside of the fact that they have given up the most runs, here are five stats that stand out about the Orioles spring training so far.
0 – In Korea, outfielder Hyun Soo Kim had a career on-base percentage of .406, 92 points above his career .312 batting average. He walked nearly every other game. In 10 games this spring (24 at-bats), Kim hasn’t drawn a walk, and only just got on base Thursday with a hit-by-pitch and an infield single. Coincidentally, the top five Orioles in terms of at-bats this spring — Kim, outfielder Joey Rickard (24 at-bats), outfielder Mark Trumbo (21 at-bats), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (20 at-bats), and outfielder Dariel Alvarez (17 at-bats) — have combined to not walk at all since Grapefruit League action began. I’ll write it off as being spring training and the swings being more important than the discerning batting eye, but it’s a bit striking.
4 – Extra-base hits for first baseman Christian Walker, who happens to only have four hits in nine games (16 at-bats) this spring. Walker has a pair doubles, a triple, and a home run. And he had one caught at the wall Thursday that would have been his second home run and fifth extra-base hit. Walker’s almost a post-hype prospect at this point, a full season removed from a 2014 season when he .288/.357/.489 with 26 home runs between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. He had 18 home runs last year, but hit just .258. A hot spring from Walker could build up some of the buzz around him in 2016.
.600 – On a team full of players who haven’t walked much, infielder Ryan Flaherty has reached base six out of every 10 times he’s come to bat in spring training. He’s batting a robust .467 with a team-high five walks, boosting his on-base percentage to rarified air. No qualifier in either the Grapefruit League or the Cactus League has as high of an on-base percentage as Flaherty, who’s certainly taking advantage of his opportunities this spring.
.223 – Only one team in the majors — the Chicago Cubs — has a worse batting average than the Orioles so far this spring. Even if you take out the aforementioned Kim’s 1-for-24, they’re still second to last, though the number jumps 10 points. This comes with all the usual caveats that we’re pretty early on in this thing, and none of it matters, but luckily for the Orioles, the two teams on either side of them in the rankings would likely agree. They’re the World Series favorites from Chicago, and the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
5 – The Orioles have used 33 pitchers over the course of their 11 games, with their innings ranging from Tyler Wilson’s six to Nick Additon’s one-third of a frame. Only five, including Additon, haven’t allowed an earned run yet, a list that also holds Kevin Gausman, and relievers Pedro Beato, Oliver Drake, and Tanner Scott. The latter struck out the side in a scoreless eighth inning as a minor-league call-up player Thursday.