Tap-In Question: Who will be the Orioles' biggest surprise this season? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Who will be the Orioles’ biggest surprise this season?

We’ve batted this topic around in the press box earlier this year. I also asked the writers at BaltimoreBaseball.com to give me their opinions.

Now, with 12 games of the 2017 season in the books, I’m coming to you.

Who will be the Orioles biggest surprise in 2017?

Now I suppose you could go with someone who is supposed to be a big contributor that won’t be – the biggest bust, if you will.

But this team’s gotten off to a hot start, so I’m willing to go positive for a bit (not really the barkeep’s strength, but we all can learn new things, I guess).

So, let’s frame it this way: Who is the Oriole that you aren’t necessarily counting on that will come up big in 2017?

Either a good player that does better than expected (such as Mark Trumbo in 2016) or a guy you weren’t expecting at all that contributes (Donnie Hart in 2016).

Our staff took a crack at it here. The names bandied about: Craig Gentry, Jesus Liranzo, Trey Mancini and Welington Castillo.

Oh yeah, and I predicted Ubaldo Jimenez to be my surprise Oriole of 2017. I’m sticking with it. I have no choice; it’s been published on the in-tra-net. Must be true.


Incidentally, I also play with fire under a ladder with a black cat while running over sidewalk cracks with scissors only 10 minutes after going swimming.

You can go out on that precarious limb with me, or make a more reasonable call. That’s up to you.

You do have the advantage of two weeks of watching this team, but there’s a whole lotta baseball left to play. There’s still time to make a great call. Or a ludicrous one from half court. Give it a shot.

Tap-In Question: Who will be the Orioles’ biggest surprise in 2017?



  1. Creatively_19

    April 19, 2017 at 7:42 am

    Small sample size taken into account, my pick might be Alec Asher. Another signature Dan Duqutte signature move, I think he has a better chance of staying in the rotation if Ubaldo continues to play as poorly as he has. I’m going with Asher winning at least 10 games for the O’s and being a bigger surprise than anyone would have guessed.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 8:40 am

      That would be something. If Orioles get 10 wins out of Asher they are playoff bound.

  2. LarryBS

    April 19, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Want to say Mancini, the easy pick, I hope Buck gives him the at-bats and he hits 35 Dr. Longballs, but I’ll take a chance and go with Jonathan Schoop having a stellar year. I love the way he plays, so smooth and poised. And he can hit a 480+ foot HR.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      April 19, 2017 at 7:59 am

      I’m not so sure many of us would be surprised if Schoop had a big year.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 8:43 am

      I dunno, Boog. As good as Schoop can be, 35 homers is a whole lot. Would surprise me if he jumps up with 10 more again this year (he went from 15 to 25 previously). I see a good year, but a 35-bomb year from a 2Bman on a winning team puts him in MVP talk.

      • 4Bees

        April 19, 2017 at 6:29 pm

        I think he means that Trey could hit 35. Maybe I’m off the mark, though?

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 19, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I’d love to say a Cedric Mullins mid-season call-up might be forthcoming, but considering how crowded the outfield already is, and barring an injury to a certain center fielder, I can’t see that happening.

    Now that he’s shown at least a nominal ability to play the outfield (despite of what a certain reporter claimed was not feasible just last summer), I’m going to go with Boom Boom Mancini. My reasoning is that besides the awesome and all-too-obvious nickname, he’s shown a calmness at the plate that belies his rookie status. At the expense of the Hitting Machine and Gentry, I see him pushing for more plate appearances as the season wears on. My only question now is, how well can he hit right handers? Considering he was a long shot to even make the team out of spring training, he’s my pick for the O’s biggest surprise player.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 8:45 am

      Low-hanging fruit there, Boog. But yeah he sure has made it look easy so far. Mullins intrigues me. But as you outlined, this may not be the year.

  4. Eldersburg Enigma

    April 19, 2017 at 8:11 am

    Wade Miley. He’ll pitch well enough to get that team option picked up so he can be a giant h

    • Eldersburg Enigma

      April 19, 2017 at 8:12 am

      giant bust next year….

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Sorta Bud Norris, 2014 (2015)?

  5. 4Bees

    April 19, 2017 at 9:45 am

    Already seen a glimpse of it. First rookie of the year for the O’s since Greg Olsen. You know of whom I speak.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Asher? I’m kidding.

  6. karks

    April 19, 2017 at 10:34 am

    I find myself thinking it’s going to be Wade Miley as well. It just seems like he’s found something that works and he’s had success in the past. Of course, I thought Gallardo was set for a big comeback year, so…

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 10:57 am

      He has had success in the past. The stuff is there. It just has been so spotty.

  7. DPG0124

    April 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

    I’m going to say Mike Wright – I think eventually the O’s are going to realize he’s better off in the bullpen where his stuff will play way better and he’ll become a usefull bullpen piece for the big club

    • Dan Connolly

      April 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

      I like it, DP. Drink chip. I understand why you’d exhaust all avenues as a starter first. But he has not been able to harness the obvious talent he has as a starter. I’ve been pushing for the pen for two years. And not as a long man, either. One, two innings max.

  8. Bancells Moustache

    April 19, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    Seeing as I made the prediction Gausman would be a Cy Young finalist, Ill be pretty surprised if he turns into a train wreck like last night.

    Sort’ve wandering off topic, but as a man who grew up watching the 80’s era game when guys like Rickey Henderson, Vince Coleman and Tim Raines caused untold havoc on the basepaths, did we not get a reminder just what was lost when MLB became too scared to steal? Kevin Gausman turned into a spastic mess when Billy Hamilton was on base and collapsed before our eyes. Damn I miss that style of game, before everyone decided they were too smart to “waste outs” and produced the boring bludgeon-ball we see today.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      April 19, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      Off topic perhaps, but you’re spot on regarding the effects small ball can play on a pitchers concentration.

  9. claudecat

    April 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Late to the saloon here, so it’s difficult to come up with something original. My first instinct, naturally, was Mancini, the obvious choice. Then I was gonna go Mullins, as I’ve been closely monitoring his progress – via the box scores anyway. Boog’s point about the crowded outfield is valid however, and it may simply be too soon for a guy that was in low A last year. Miley? Maybe. My favorite one was Wright. Talk about your dark horse candidate! Not feelin’ that one though…

    I’m gonna go off the board here and say Jayson Aquino. It’s not for nothing that he’s become a Buck guy, and his recall today makes me feel lots more comfy about long relief than the tandem of doom that has been Wilson/Nuno. Does Aquino stay in this role, does he get some starts, some high leverage innings? It’s up to him to prove he’s got what it takes. Based on what little I’ve seen and absorbed via stats, I think he just might.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      Could be a great call. Aquino starts Saturday. Maybe that’s when the Aquino Era begins.

  10. Ben1

    April 19, 2017 at 6:09 pm

    Gentry wont be here that long so I pick Castillo

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Sounds good. But that means Castillo will have to be excellent all around. We already expected him to be solid.

  11. huntsey11

    April 19, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Tjink it’s gonna be Bundy. Think he gonna live up to all the earlier hype and be in Cy Young talk with low ERA

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:44 pm

      If he’s in Cy Young conversation in September, you win and so do the Orioles.

  12. Camden Bird

    April 19, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    I’m split between Welington Castillo and Seth Smith.

    Castillo has done a very nice job at the plate (I’m looking forward to his first HR as an Oriole), and he’s done better than expected behind the plate as well.

    Smith, while the numbers don’t really show it, has been a pleasant surprise as well. He’s made some nice catches in RF and has done a good job getting on base. Plus, he’s knocked a couple homers as well.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      I think they both have held their own so far. My concern with Smith is the obvious one: hamstring injuries linger. Especially in your mid-30s. But he has looked pretty solid otherwise.

  13. geevee3

    April 19, 2017 at 10:45 pm

    Mancini is real, he will have a ROY type season. Bundy is real, he will be in the Cy Young talk. Asher will get to pitch more than the master plan intended, for one reason and another, and will impress.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Wow. A triumvirate. I like the optimism.

  14. JohnnyV1971

    April 20, 2017 at 2:20 am

    I say Asher. If he gets a shot and pitches the way he did in his first start that can only mean that the Orioles will be soaring to an AL East title and more. With a premium placed on starting pitching that kind of surprise ca have a ripple effect on the team and the whole organization.

    • Dan Connolly

      April 20, 2017 at 7:50 pm

      Agreed. We shall see. But why not, right?

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