The Orioles completed the first half of the first full season of their rebuild a major league-worst 27-62, holding a three-game “lead” for the worst record in baseball.
But as Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said repeatedly throughout his first 89 games as a full-time manager, this Orioles team is being judged on more than wins and losses. Here’s a look at the numbers that define the Orioles’ first half of 2019 — some good, some bad, some historic.
The final tally here might be what the 2019 Orioles are most remembered for. They have allowed 170 home runs, 15 more than other team in baseball despite playing fewer games than all but seven.
On pace to allow 309 home runs this season, they’re well on their way to shattering the 2016 Cincinnati Reds’ record of 258. For what it’s worth, the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels are also on pace to break that record. But even in a season full of home runs, no team is better at giving them up than Baltimore.
It’s especially been a problem at Camden Yards. Having allowed 95 home runs in 42 home games, the Orioles’ 183-homer pace would be the most a team has given up at home, surpassing the Colorado Rockies’ 159 in pre-humidor 1999.
Trey Mancini’s OPS through this year’s first half (.868) is 213 points higher than where he sat after last season’s first half (.655).
Mancini has been the Orioles’ best player without a doubt. Despite twice suffering injuries that stemmed from getting struck by pitches, Mancini leads the Orioles in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and extra-base hits.
Among all qualified American Leaguers, Mancini ranks in the top 30 of each of those categories and in the top 20 of all but on-base percentage. Mancini had a .792 OPS in the second half last season, so although it’s hard to imagine a similar uptick after this season’s break, any improvement could help establish him among baseball’s best.
That’s the number of games won by an Orioles starting pitcher other than Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy and All-Star John Means. Including those three, the Orioles have used 14 starting pitchers, one behind the Angels for the most in baseball.
The other 11 (Alex Cobb, Dan Straily, David Hess, Gabriel Ynoa, Yefry Ramirez, Nate Karns, Jimmy Yacabonis, Tom Eshelman, Asher Wojciechowski, Sean Gilmartin and Luis Ortiz) have combined to post a 7.50 ERA as starters.
Given the possibility that Cashner, Bundy and even Means get dangled in trade conversations over the next month, what would be left without them definitely is concerning.
Much has been made of the number of inexperienced players getting opportunities with the Orioles. Among the 46 players the team used in the first half — only 10 fewer than the club-record 56 it used in all of 2018 — there were seven position players and seven pitchers that had more plate appearances or more innings pitched in the majors than they had in their entire careers entering this season.
The pitchers in that category outside of Means have spent more of their season in the minors than in Baltimore, but most of the position players have been getting regular playing time.
Hanser Alberto is sixth in the AL in batting average. Renato Núñez leads the Orioles in home runs and RBIs, and Dwight Smith Jr. isn’t too far behind in the latter. Richie Martin, Rio Ruiz and Stevie Wilkerson have started more games at shortstop, third base and center field, respectively, than any other Orioles. All but Núñez and Wilkerson weren’t with the organization at the end of last season.
The Orioles had the No. 1 overall draft pick for the first time in 30 years, and not only did they sign their choice with that selection in Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman, but they also signed the next 33 picks behind him.
In signing all 34 of their draftees from the first 33 rounds, the Orioles, led by first-year executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, signed every player they drafted in the first 20 rounds for the first time in franchise history.
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In all, they’ve signed 35 of their 41 picks, with the six unsigned players being high schoolers taken in the 34th round or later who were always unlikely to sign by Friday’s 5 p.m. deadline. Although the fruits of the 2019 draft won’t make an impact on the 2019 season, Rutschman and those who followed him could define many seasons to come.