The worst seems to be over for the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

The worst seems to be over for the Orioles

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon

Even after Wednesday’s 5-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Orioles are still four games ahead of last year’s pace. At 32-69, the Orioles are heading for more than 100 losses again. It would take a 31-30 record over the season’s final 61 games to avoid the franchise’s first consecutive 100-loss season.

But, all isn’t negative. The Orioles, who are 10-11 since June 28, are heading in the right direction. That might not be apparent for the rest of this season, which has a brutal few weeks coming. It may not be obvious next year, which could be nearly as challenging.

However, it looks as if the worst is behind the Orioles. Even if the Orioles trade reliever Mychal Givens and infielder Jonathan Villar, the team is beginning to head north.

This year’s record probably will be a bit better than last season’s horrific 47-115. The Orioles would have to go at least 16-45, which is attainable.

Winning five more games than last year won’t look like much, and it shouldn’t. At that pace, it would take six more years to be a .500 team, and that’s not acceptable.

At some point, the team is going to have to take a big jump. The 2020 season might feature many of the players you’re watching this season, but by 2021, things should be looking up.

The Orioles’ farm system now features more interesting players at every level than at any time in recent memory.

At Triple-A Norfolk, there’s first baseman Ryan Mountcastle, left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin and outfielders Austin Hays and DJ Stewart.

Double-A Bowie, which has been playing well, has promising starting pitching: left-handers Zac Lowther, Alex Wells and Bruce Zimmermann along with right-handers Michael Baumann, Dean Kremer and Cody Sedlock.

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The Baysox also have outfielders Yusniel Diaz and Ryan McKenna and infielder Mason McCoy.

Frederick left-hander DL Hall, Delmarva right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and recent draftees catcher Adley Rutschman, shortstop Gunnar Henderson and outfielders Johnny Rizer, Kyle Stowers and Zach Watson have shown promise.

Rutschman is likely to debut at Aberdeen this weekend, and Rizer and Watson have been promoted to Delmarva.

Not all these prospects will make the Orioles let alone make an impact, but it’s clear that the players general manager Mike Elias drafted as well as some he inherited from the previous regime make for some intriguing candidates over the next few years.

Things look much brighter than they did a month ago when the Orioles were in the midst of their roughest stretch of this decade. They lost 10 straight and 13 of 14 before perking up.

They have four games at the Los Angeles Angels, beginning tonight, followed by two more at San Diego before returning home for four games with Toronto.

Then, a potentially bruising stretch awaits with 13 consecutive games with the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros.

If they can withstand this stretch without huge damage, they’ll still have some difficult opponents in the season’s final six weeks: seven games against Tampa Bay, two with the Nationals and three against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with baseball’s best record.

But they’ll have games with teams that aren’t in playoff contention: Toronto, Seattle, Kansas City and Detroit.

The recent stretch has given the Orioles a winning percentage of .317 ahead of the Tigers, who are at .309. The teams play four games at Comerica Park in mid-September and the top draft pick for 2020 probably will be at stake.

September could bring Hays and Stewart as well as Cedric Mullins, who could earn a return trip if he has a hot few weeks at Bowie.

One of the reasons the Orioles have played well in recent weeks is the offense provided by outfielder Anthony Santander and catcher Chance Sisco, who were June additions.

Santander is hitting .299 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs in 40 games while Sisco has a .261 average with six homers and 17 RBIs. Both are getting on base. Santander’s OBP is .345, and Sisco’s is .364.

Sisco’s defense could use work. He’s allowed 21 of 24 baserunners to steal.

Because of where the Orioles are, manager Brandon Hyde has been able to give extensive playing time to Santander and Sisco, and it’s paid off.

These are relatively small sample sizes, and not every prospect called up will play as well, but these few weeks have shown Oriole fans that there is something to look forward to in the coming years.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Fareastern89

    July 25, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Rich, I agree with you wholeheartedly. This year was always going to be the toughest one, since there were no prospects at Norfolk who were close to major-league-ready, and the front office needed to spend time and energy to bring other aspects of the organization up to speed. But I think fans will suffer through several more difficult seasons with less angst once the club starts blending some of the kids into the lineup — at least we can watch with the hope that they’ll get better over time.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 25, 2019 at 8:28 am

    I agree Rich .. things are indeed looking better, and it’s showing in the recent W-L record as you state.

    The problem I have with the direction management took from the jump this year, is that this years losing record seemed to be by design. I’m trying not to use the “T” word here. Obviously I haven’t been happy about this tactic. At least last year’s disaster was simply a product of the confluence age, lack of pitching, injury, and what I believe to have been bad chemistry in the dugout due to a few recent departure of team leaders (Wieters, JJ,Nellie). Stuff happens .. teams fall apart. But it was never by design. I can live with that.

    So, yes I’m happy that Chance and Tony are now playing for the big club. But why did we have to wait? It was more than apparent than they were both ready as witnessed in spring training. I don’t buy that 2 extra months in Norfolk was the differenct.

    I’m pleased that Mr. Elias has thrown us these bones, but I want more. I don’t think we need to wait until September. It’s time for Mountcastle and Hays to both be promoted. I realize that Jumbo is about to return and he clogs the pipeline with yet another 1st basemen, but there IS a solution. Where there’s a will there’s a way. There’s no reason to keep both Smith Jr. and Wilkerson on the team, unless you want Stevie as an infielder. And to address the Elephant in the room …IT’S TIME FOR CRUSH TO GO!!

    Please Mr. Elias, dont’ keep us waiting. Though I doubt these boys will make that big of a difference, can’t we live with the 2nd or 3rd pick in next years draft instead of number 1?

  3. cb

    July 25, 2019 at 8:35 am

    Please get rid of Davis. After his latest pathetic performance against Arizona, I don’t think I can watch any more of his ab’s. I think I’ll just leave the room.

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2019 at 8:45 am

      I was a big CD fan, bottom line, he shows NO enthusiasm when playing, literally just picking up a check, players today haven’t got a lot of integrity, when they are playing (don’t care the sport) poorly, you don’t hear them complaining about their pay, when they’re playing well, I’m not getting paid enough, I remember when players had to have other jobs w/their baseball “job” just to make ends meet, our priorities have totally changed, they should be totally blessed to make $100,000, they are making ridiculously more money than educators, who have a MUCH bigger impact on students than athletes…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 25, 2019 at 8:55 am

        I think it may be kind of hard to show enthusiasm when you’re stinking the joint up. I think Chris is simply a big dumb jock that can’t figure it out anymore, for whatever reason. And frankly, I can’t blame him for sticking around to pick up his check.

        • Lookouts400

          July 25, 2019 at 12:31 pm

          I agree, it’s time for him to go. His being around serves no useful purpose. Time for him to off into the good night. BTW, what’s the plan with Trumbo? Not really seeing the value of keeping him around, either.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 25, 2019 at 8:37 am

    I agree Rich .. things are indeed looking better, and it’s showing in the recent W-L record as you state.

    The problem I have with the direction management took from the jump this year, is that this years losing record seemed to be by design. I’m trying not to use the “T” word here. At least last year’s disaster was simply a product of a confluence age, lack of pitching, injury and what I believe to have been bad chemistry in the dugout due to the loss of a few team leaders. Stuff happens .. teams fall apart. But it was never by design. I can live with that.

    So, yes I’m happy that Chance and Tony are now playing for the big club. But why did we have to wait? It was more than apparent than they were both ready as witnessed in spring training. I don’t buy that 2 extra months in Norfolk made any difference.

    I’m pleased that Mr. Elias has thrown us these bones, but I want more. Now is the time for Mountcastle and Hays to both be promoted. I realize that Jumbo is about to return and he clogs the pipeline with yet another 1st basemen, but where there’s a will, there’s a way. And we ALL know what I’m talking about.

    Please Mr. Elias, don’t keep us waiting. Though I doubt these boys will make a big difference, can’t we live with the 2nd or 3rd pick in next years draft instead of number 1?

    • Camden Brooks

      July 25, 2019 at 9:16 am

      We had to wait on Sisco because he hit .181 with Orioles last year (.242 in Norfolk) and that outweighs spring training where he often hit against minor league pitching. If you recall, he didn’t hit very well in AAA this year for the first month or so. And, he still isn’t a very good defensive player.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 25, 2019 at 9:50 am

        Had to wait … why? What other options did you have? Jesus Sucre? Please.

        No, I’m not buying what you’re saying. First off, with VERY few exceptions, all players struggle in the majors for their 1st year or so. Sisco had demonstrated exceptional abilities with the bat every year, and at every level he had played for the Orioles. There really wasn’t much of a doubt that the kid can hit. So why wait? Why not let him learn on the job. Seems to me that the days of ‘grooming’ and being worried about ruining a player’s confidence are gone. The league is getting younger and younger every day. Why not find out if he has it or not. Now I’ll give you that his defense isn’t good enought, but, I’m not sure he’s going to end up being a catcher his whole career anyway. But the boy can hit, and if you can hit, I’ll find you a position.

    • Camden Brooks

      July 25, 2019 at 10:46 am

      In 2017 he hit .267 with 7 HR’s at Norfolk. In 2018 he didn’t hit anywhere. So let’s not pretend he was tearing it up before his multiple call-ups to Baltimore. Due to his improvement in Norfolk this year, I agree he belongs in Baltimore, but barring some major defensive improvement, he needs a new position.

    • chico salmon

      July 25, 2019 at 11:14 am

      Camden, I hear what you’re saying about Sisco’s weak defensive play. He compares to BJ Surhoff. Left handed hitting catcher when drafted out of college by Milwaukee, quickly moved (at the big league level) to third base. He played third for the O’s in 1996, later left field and first base (for Atlanta). But – he could hit, and was willing and able to learn new positions. I wonder if that scenario is a consideration for Chance Sisco.

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Sisco was drafted as a SS, been saying this since last yr, play him at 2/3B, he’s an athlete, go O’s…

      • Colemthrash

        July 25, 2019 at 12:35 pm

        To my knowledge, Sisco has always been a catcher. He might have played some short in high school but he was drafted as a catcher. You might be thinking of Mountcastle. Regardless, with Rutschman inevitably joining the big league roster in a couple years it’d be wise to get him to learn a new position.

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2019 at 1:09 pm

      Wasn’t a catcher until after he was drafted, might have been drafted to play catcher, but never did until after HS…go O’s…

      • Bancells Moustache

        July 25, 2019 at 1:54 pm

        Sisco was behind the dish his senior year of HS, though he also played SS. Common with HS propsects, as they are always the best player on the team.

    • Bmoreravens3

      July 25, 2019 at 2:45 pm

      Pretty sure Hyde does the call-ups, not Elias

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 25, 2019 at 10:43 pm

        Pretty sure that’s not correct.

    • ClayDal

      July 25, 2019 at 2:52 pm

      The GM always makes the call ups- hopefully with the managers imput

  5. willmiranda

    July 25, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Cedric Mullins again? Really? Seriously, I agree that the team seems to be gelling and playing more acceptable ball. That’s why I expect management to be active before the trade deadline and ruin the chemistry. It’s what they do. By the way, Rich, could you provide a Trash Chris Davis thread ;for all those posts that clog up threads on decent topics?

    • Ekim

      July 25, 2019 at 8:53 pm

      Mullins is a lost cause… barely over .200 at Bowie since his last demotion. It was a mistake bringing him up from Bowie when they did. There are more deserving players to move up than him. If they bring him up all they’re doing is perpetuating the error. Just saying…

  6. Raymo

    July 25, 2019 at 1:32 pm

    That could be an interesting series against the Tigers in September, with both teams trying their best not to win.

    • Bmoreravens3

      July 25, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Tigers owned us on the last series

  7. Biff Pocoroba

    July 25, 2019 at 1:55 pm

    The worst is over?? This team will continue to peel away talent – Givens, Bundy, whomever it can move – without adding payroll. It isn’t seeking major league ready players or even prospects in the high minors. It isn’t going to get better anytime soon, Rich, beyond improvements internationally and with pitching prospects moving up the system. Do you really think Elias’ plan is to already start getting better after a half-season? Come on, Rich. Have a feel here!

    • ClayDal

      July 25, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      I see reasons to be optimistic. They had a very good draft, including the top overall prospect. They finally started investing in Latin America and that will pay dividends down the road. As Rich said, 2020 looks challenging as well but, things look better in 2021. Their appears to be great depth in pitching at A and AA and that’s something to look forward to. It’s going to be a lengthy process, but the ultimate goal is that when the Orioles start to win they can sustain the run for a lengthy period of time. The years from 2012-16 were great , but in hindsight, they made a lot of moves for the short term that ended up hurting them in the long term. Which is why they are where they are today

    • Camden Brooks

      July 25, 2019 at 3:05 pm

      Well said ClayDal.

  8. SailinO

    July 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm

    I do hope the worst is over, but even if it is winning baseball is still on the far horizon. I just don’t think many current players will be on the team in a few years. I see Ruiz went down and Peterson got called up. I hope to see Núñez get more playing time at third. We are told he has been working tirelessly on his defense so let’s see how he does there. With hard work most players can at least become adequate in the field. No so true with hitting as Ruiz and his batting numbers have demonstrated

  9. ButchBird59

    July 25, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    After a slow start, I’m glad to see McKenna heating up again. He gives you speed, a good glove, and a better contact hitter than Mullins. At a minimum, he should be that versatile outfielder Hyde seems to love and could be in the leadoff hitter picture if/when Villar gets moved.

  10. jimcarter

    July 25, 2019 at 3:54 pm

    The Orioles are bad, but the Tigers are worse. Hilarious! This rebuild thing will never sink in. Wins don’t matter. Acquiring young talent in any way, shape or form counts. If that means trading Bundy, Mancini, Givens and more, then so be it. The Astros lost 100 or more in 3 straight seasons. If it happens here, life will continue. If a World Series win is the prize down the road, it’s worth it. It would be better than the “going for it” Duquette/Showalter seasons.

  11. 33d St

    July 25, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    “The Orioles would have to go at least 16-45, which is attainable.”

    What is “Something Earl Weaver Never Said”?

  12. NormOs

    July 25, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    “The worst seems to be over for the Orioles”, why, isn’t Davis, Martin, Ynoa, Yacabonis, Armstrong, Castro, Eshelman, Cobb, etc. etc. etc. still on the 25 man? Rich, these guys will still lose 100+ games. Does it really seem that the worst is over? Do the O’s expect people to lay out major league money to see minor league players? By the way, this is not the complete list because you can count the MLB players on this team on one hand.

    • ClayDal

      July 25, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      If you read Rich’s article, you would have noticed he mentioned about 20 names currently in the minors who could be here in a couple of years. Not all are going to make it of course, but a solid nucleus is being formed for the future. In the meantime, there are plenty of players on the current active roster who are placeholders until the top prospects are ready. The result is what you see on the field. And Alex Cobb isn’t on the 25 man roster-or the 40. He is on the 60 day injured list

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 25, 2019 at 10:48 pm

      Norm, there is more talent in the organization than there was at the beginning of spring training. The players in the minor leagues are more accomplished, so yes, the worst is behind. As I wrote, I expect the rest of the season to be challenging and next year to be difficult, too, but I do believe the worst is over. It won’t be easy from here, though.

  13. Bhoffman1

    July 25, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Good article forget about Mullins please. He can’t even hit at Bowie and he has a weak arm just like Smith. Troy T retired today why can’t Davis do the honorable thing and call it quits . He’s got more money then he needs already and how does he face his teammates everyday year after year and game after game.

    • CalsPals

      July 25, 2019 at 7:19 pm

      His teammates change every two weeks, I was told people understand him just picking up his paycheck, I don’t see how anyone could justify that crap, it’s all about integrity, few have it anymore, they’ll enforce their contract when they’re overpaid & bitch & sit out when I’m not getting paid enough…go O’s…INTEGRITY….

    • Bhoffman1

      July 25, 2019 at 8:10 pm

      Sad but I guess it’s true. I really think Davis is a dumb old boy. Maybe nice but dumb and very rich. As for Mullins he’s hitting 200 at Bowie. Please dont mention him anymore. We have Hays and Diaz waiting .

  14. Bhoffman1

    July 25, 2019 at 8:13 pm

    Mountcastle hit two home runs today and we have to see Davis ugly butt at 1st base. What about this Williams guy. He’s hitting 305. Why doesn’t he get a chance.

  15. NCSteve

    July 25, 2019 at 8:30 pm

    And we no longer talk about C Davis. A good guy but worthlessnon the field. And can’t be great for the dugout or the clubhouse. Selfishly backing up to the pay window taking a spot from others when he could take an assignment or restructure his contract. Or even retire. But. He has too much pride. Damn shame.

  16. 5brooks5

    July 25, 2019 at 9:06 pm

    Does anyone but me think that Davis ‘s complete collapse could be steroid related. I mean as of now he doesn’t even have a slider speed bat! Just asking??

    • Bhoffman1

      July 25, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      I do plus I believe he was possibly on different prescription meds then

  17. Big bird 64

    July 26, 2019 at 6:56 am

    It would truly be refreshing to see Chris Davis offer to return some of his salary because, well, he just doesn’t deserve $17 million! Whether it’s the effects of steroids, bad meds, can’t see straight or alien mind probe, Davis is not earning his money! The late great Hank Greenberg, after a subpar season by his standards in 1945, went to the Tigers and offered to return money that he felt he wasn’t entitled to. That’s when pride really mattered. The Birds are paying Davis to be awful; cut him and pay him off and get someone with a pulse at 1st base.

    • CalsPals

      July 26, 2019 at 7:30 am

      Greenberg showed INTEGRITY…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      July 26, 2019 at 7:50 am

      Hank Greenberg didn’t have Scott Boras for an agent either

    • CalsPals

      July 26, 2019 at 8:12 am

      I believe it is against rules to use Boras name & the word integrity in the same sentence…lmao…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      July 26, 2019 at 8:13 am

      Go CD, & take Cobb with you…go O’s…

  18. PA Bird Lover

    July 26, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Rich, you’re right things are looking brighter. Patience is a virtue. I’m extremely excited over the play of Santander. I think he is an every day player (so far). He’s doing it all.

  19. cb

    July 26, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    CD was suspended in 2014 for using aderall.

    • CalsPals

      July 26, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Attention deficit med, not sure it was prescribed, there in the issue…go O’s…

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