With the 2016 season now just about at its mid-way point, its time to take a look back at the first half. A lot went right for the Baltimore Orioles, as they currently lead the AL East over the surging Toronto Blue Jays and limping Boston Red Sox. What stood out for the O’s? Let’s take a look.
Orioles 2016 Midseason Report
This was about the easiest selection in the whole league. Mark Trumbo has experienced a career resurgence in 85 games with the Baltimore Orioles. After down seasons with the Diamondbacks and Mariners, it looks as if he’s returning to the form he showed with the Angels from 2011-2013. He currently leads the league with 27 home runs; and with a slash line of .287/.338/.578, looks to be an absolute bargain on a one-year, $9.15 million deal. Trumbo has been the most impactful power bat on an Orioles team that leads baseball with 134 homers.
Trumbo received his second AL All-Star Game nod in 2016 as a reserve and will compete in the T-Mobile Home Run Derby. If he keeps up this pace in the second half, he looks to be a slam dunk for AL Comeback Player of the Year. If history is any indicator, Trumbo may take after Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz and use this one-year deal to slingshot himself into a multi-year contract in the offseason.
Over the past several seasons, starting pitching has been a bugaboo for the Orioles. Despite Chris Tillman being 11-2, the O’s are 14th in the American League with a 5.23 starters ERA. This category could have gone to the rotation as a whole, but the biggest disappointment for Baltimore in 2016 has to be Ubaldo Jimenez.
Since Jimenez’s breakout 2010 season with the Rockies, his career has been remarkably inconsistent. He’s currently 5-9 with with a 7.38 ERA this season and has had an ERA over 4.00 in five of the last six seasons. He leads the league with 67 earned runs in 2016 and has a WHIP of 1.97. Jimenez is currently in year three of a four-year, $50 million deal.
Midseason Team MVP
The midseason MVP for the Orioles may end up being the American League MVP once the 2016 season is all said and done. Manny Machado is once again proving that he may be the best player in the game of baseball. The 24-year-old is hitting .323/.381/.581 with 19 homers and 29 doubles so far this season.
Drafted as a shortstop, he’s been playing third base almost exclusively since his call to the big leagues because of J.J. Hardy’s success at the position. This season, however, the two-time Gold Glover has started 43 games at shortstop in Hardy’s absence due to injury – furthering his case for team MVP.
Machado was named an American League All-Star for the third time in 2016, having been voted in by the fans as an AL starter.
What to Watch For in the Second Half
The Orioles are 49-36 and currently sit atop the American League East, one game ahead of the Blue Jays and two games above the Red Sox. One thing is for sure: this team will continue to be an offensive force. Machado, Trumbo, Chris Davis and Adam Jones are the cogs in what could possibly be the deepest lineup in the game. Another thing this team has going for it is the strong bullpen. AL All-Stars Zach Britton and Brad Brach will continue to anchor the O’s bullpen, which currently has the second best ERA in the American league. The downfall of the Orioles, however, could be the lackluster starting pitching. An AL East division filled with lineups that feast on mediocre pitching, they might not be able to just hit their way into October.
Baltimore plays Boston seven times and Toronto three times in the month of September, almost insuring the division could go down to the wire.