2019 Autopsy Report: Baltimore Orioles
We keep rolling on with our third entry of the day, having just recapped the Kansas City Royals season.
The 9th team eliminated, and 4th in the American League, is the Baltimore Orioles. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say, that if Opening Day 2019 I told you the Orioles, fresh off of a 102-win season and returning most of their team, would be the 4th team eliminated in the AL your jaw would’ve hit the floor. April hit the O’s hard this year. After a 3-0 sweep in March the Orioles went just 7-20 in April and before we knew it the season was lost and there was a new GM at the helm.
Time of Death: Tuesday September 10th at 10:21 PM when A’s Taylor Sparks struck out as the tying run in the Astros 6-2 win over Oakland.
Cause of Death (Primary): Ran out of Rabbits in the hat. I think many would agree the Orioles overperformed a bit the last 2 seasons, thanks to solid work by their previous GM. This year, there were no more tricks to deploy and the core of the 2017 & 2018 playoff runs (Aiken, Jankowski, Luna, Flores) were dealt in July to mostly contending squads.
Secondary Issues: The starting pitching is likely the biggest culprit for the 2019 Orioles. It was a strength in previous seasons, especially with a dynamite pen – but with Stroman going down, only Steve White has been a reliable option to start games for them. The once strong pen has a number of holes and the offense just isn’t productive enough to keep pace.
Left to Play For: Not much – they play the Jays 6 times. In Spring Training I think both teams had those games circled as huge on the calendar, with the Jays already clinching a playoff berth – not so much anymore. They do host Seattle next weekend while the Mariners cling to life support in their Wild Card pursuit. At best the Orioles still probably fall short of 70 wins (would need to go 9-7)
2020 Outlook: Another interesting case for 2020 – there is still a number of talented players on the team and top prospect Dave Tatum has lit the league afire since his call-up (19 HR in 185 PA). Ashe Russell has lost a lot of shine after a devastating injury, but should still be a rotation member for future good O’s teams. In AAA they have a number of their prospects close, notably 3B Nick Senzel – who is there with the glove but his bat may need more time to be ready to face big-league MLB Pro pitching