Orioles' improvement in 2020 reflects Hyde's managerial skills - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles’ improvement in 2020 reflects Hyde’s managerial skills

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK — Even though the Orioles are on a four-game losing streak, the first 45 games of this 60-game season has earned manager Brandon Hyde praise.

If the Orioles get hot in the final two weeks of the 2020 season and sneak into the postseason, Hyde will get consideration for the Manager of the Year.

In this most different and difficult of seasons, there are several managers who’ll be considered. Oakland’s Bob Melvin, who has the longest tenure of any manager (10 seasons), and Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash (six seasons) appear to be the favorites.

Oakland and Tampa Bay, with outmoded stadiums and low payrolls, are challenging situations, but they are leading the American League West and East.

Rick Renteria of the Chicago White Sox, for whom Hyde coached when he managed the Chicago Cubs in 2014, also will get votes.

At the beginning of the season, it would have been farfetched to suggest that Hyde would be mentioned, but he’s done a solid job.

Last year, when Hyde came to the Orioles, he often told stories about Joe Maddon, who succeeded Renteria with the Cubs. Maddon is known for his people skills, and Hyde admires him.

Hyde worked for Maddon from 2015-2018, and that work helped earn Hyde the Orioles’ job. Maddon and the Cubs parted ways after the 2019 season, and he moved to the Los Angeles Angels.

This season, the Orioles’ record under Hyde is better than Maddon’s with the high-budget Angels, another surprise.

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Hyde has become comfortable with the spotlight, and he’s been critical of the team when necessary, especially when it has played poorly.

Managers know that talent is necessary for success, but there’s more to it, such as an ability to communicate and skills as a strategist.

Fans like to second-guess managerial decisions, but they’re not privy to what goes on in the clubhouse.

Earlier this season, Hyde talked about the different roles he has to play. One minute, he’s putting out fires, the next minute he’s counseling.

In this particular season, he’s managed to navigate the unknown and kept his team together.

After relievers Miguel Castro and Mychal Givens were traded two weeks ago, Hyde adjusted his bullpen pieces and explained his thought process.

“I really do believe in communication,” Hyde said. “I think players, especially today’s player, needs to be coached and needs to have honest communications.

“Guys are getting to the big leagues so fast now, so young, their development isn’t finished when they get to the big leagues, so I think that there’s just a lot of coaching that goes on here.”

The Orioles have an inexperienced club, though Hyde isn’t the first major league manager most have played for.

“It’s well understated how much coaching goes on in the big leagues now,” Hyde said. “I think a positive outlook, solid communication, players knowing that you have their backs, trust, all those things that we are trying to build with our players, along with competing at the same time, trying to win every game by making good decisions.”

Hyde had a formidable task in 2019. He wasn’t hired until the week before Christmas and had little time to assemble a coaching staff for a team in transition. The Orioles lost 108 games after having lost 115 the season before.

With their next win, the Orioles will secure an improved winning percentage over last year. After the losses of their most experienced players, starting pitcher Dylan Bundy and infielder Jonathan Villar in trades and rightfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini to colon cancer surgery, many predicted the Orioles would have another awful season.

Covid-19 forced a shortened season and a different joke: “Well, at least they can’t lose 100.” But the Orioles have gotten past the punchline stage.

Hyde has gotten credit for the improved play of outfielder Cedric Mullins, who had a horrid April in 2019, and was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk and finally Double-A Bowie.

Mullins has taken advantage of his skills, leading the major leagues with eight bunt hits while playing an outstanding outfield. He’s impressed with Hyde.

“I think communication helps make those moves a lot easier,” Mullins said. “Him knowing where we are mentally, physically, is able to help him.”

Hyde was critical of his team for taking so many swings at pitches out of the strike zone in its 2-1 loss to the Yankees on Saturday. There’s a difference between being aggressive and being overaggressive. Still, he believes in his players and lets them know it.

“As your players play better … you get rewarded for your decisions,” he said. “As your players get better, things fall into place a little bit easier.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Orioles20

    September 13, 2020 at 9:00 am

    I like Hyde but the managing of in game situations needs to be better. Like using sulser as closer or giving guys cleaning. He leaves relievers on too long like the other day with Fry in the Mets game.

  2. VICTORTEE

    September 13, 2020 at 9:27 am

    We don’t know what Hyde says in the clubhouse. But he has NEVER been critical publicly about the O’s baserunning mistakes or their sloppy defense.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 13, 2020 at 5:08 pm

      Victor, he was critical of their not making a critical play at first base in the eighth inning.

  3. CalsPals

    September 13, 2020 at 9:29 am

    Has done better this year, still too many in game things that ultimately fall on him, really don’t think he’ll be around once the team is legit…go O’s…

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 13, 2020 at 10:31 am

    OK, so he’s the next coming of Cornelius McGillicuddy. Here’s my major beef with the guy … Why does he put Chris Davis in the lineup? I suspect I already know the answer to that, but I’ll refrain.

    • CalsPals

      September 13, 2020 at 10:34 am

      Unfortunately because he does what he’s told, can’t believe he would play him on his own, park him on the bench, let him chart pitches, get the buffet ready in the clubhouse…go O’s…

  5. Orial

    September 13, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Oh yes I can definitely be one of those critical of in game maneuvers but blow it off when I realize that Hyde isn’t dealing with top of the shelf talent. Second guessing isn’t fair but we do it anyway. This over aggressiveness at the plate isn’t something Hyde can teach,it has to be personally weeded out(bye,bye Alberto/Nunez/Ruiz,etc. in a year or two). Surprisingly it’s Mountcastle and Stewart who have showed the most plate discipline lately. Mental errors, which this team is prone to,is something we would like to see addressed publicly but is better off handled behind closed doors. Let the NFL players do the public bashing of their teammates and coaches but keep baseball professional and “grown up”.

    • Birdman

      September 13, 2020 at 11:34 am

      To your list of free swingers who need to show more plate discipline, add Chance Sisco. Coming into this year, Sisco had a 39% MLB strikeout rate, and so far during the current (admittedly brief) season his strikeout rate has climbed to 44%. Sisco has shown some power, but not enough to compensate for a 40% strikeout rate (that’s CD territory). Going forward, if Sisco is going to be a starting player, he will need to either jack up his HR numbers, or substantially cut back on the strikeouts.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 13, 2020 at 3:02 pm

        He has been chasing these past few weeks. Might have something to do with not playing regularly. Yeah…I’m a shill and apologist for the guy. You’re right, he needs to fix that.

  6. Nellie

    September 13, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Previously we discussed possible MVP candidates this year. Now let’s talk about MDP- Most Disappointing Player – candidates this season. I’ll go with Ruiz. His defense, which was previously solid, has disappeared along with his bat. He still hustles but his concentration has gone south.

    • CalsPals

      September 13, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      Maybe he is playing more like himself, the honeymoon is over, maybe this is the same player non-protected by multiple other teams, probably the same thing other teams had noticed earlier…go O’s…

    • Orial

      September 13, 2020 at 12:51 pm

      Yeah Nellie speaking of that MVP poll I went with Severino and as fate would have hit he hasn’t hit the ball out of the IF and has played terrible defense since my call. How dare you embarrass me Pedro.

  7. spwagner44

    September 13, 2020 at 12:59 pm

    I think coach Hyde is the perfect person for the job right now while we’re building!
    His communication is very good, and he can be direct/critical with his players! I like him for a young and building team.
    Will we need a more clever, calm, experienced, confident manager when it’s time for a playoff run?

  8. CalsPals

    September 13, 2020 at 1:38 pm

    Like the fans in the stands for the Ravens…go O’s…

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