The Baltimore Orioles Have a Good Young Nucleus

Baltimore Orioles 2020

Fans in Baltimore have already moved on to the NFL and their beloved Ravens. Laying on the couch at half time of the football game, it’s still nice to dream about what coulda been or what could be for the Baltimore Orioles next season. The fans in Baltimore are good at this. After all, they’ve been practicing for decades and now the Orioles have a good young nucleus of young talent to work with. The Baltimore Orioles 2020 season should be viewed as a success with a clear future of better times ahead.

This year, however, the dreams are a little more vivid, a little more colorful than usual. So, let’s think glass half full. The O’s finished ahead of three other teams in the American League this Corona-season. When nestled all snug in the recliner, names like Mountcastle and Means couldn’t be finer. Sorry.

The truth is, the Baltimore Orioles have a good young nucleus to work with for next year. It’s hard, however, to figure what management has in mind for this group. Is it a group solid enough to grow around, or will a few of them be bait for bigger fish in the trading pond? Maybe a combination of the two. Let’s take a look at the Baltimore Orioles 2020 season review.

Offensive Cream of the Crop

On the offensive side, veteran  Jose Iglesias was a surprise at shortstop, leading the team with a .373 batting average and a pretty good glove. Twenty-six-year-old Ramon Urias, although coming up late, with only 25 AB, batted .360. He shows enough promise to get a closer look next season. Ryan Mountcastle who is only 23 years old, was a consistent force both at the plate batting .333 and defensively showing speed and talent in the outfield. Mountcastle should also be, not only a great contributor for the Orioles but one of the better players in the American League next year. Twenty-eight-year old Hanser Alberto played well at second base. He was also steady at the plate, batting a solid .283, Although, in the last thirty games of the shortened season, he slumped to a .248 batting average. Austin Hays, 25 years old, looks to potentially be the center fielder of the future for the Orioles. He fielded well and batted .279 with a .722 OPS. He came on strong in the final part of the season, batting .375.

Offensive Promise

Infielder, Pat Valaika at 28 years old was solid at the plate with a .277 batting average. He also played well down the stretch hitting .381 in the last seven games. Twenty-six-year old Cedric Mullins played well in the outfield and batted .271. Twenty-five-year-old outfielder, Anthony Santander batted .261, with 11 home runs and tied for the team lead with 32 RBI but slumped over the last 15 games batting .234. Rafael Nunez, also just 26-years old played well at first base and batted consistently throughout the season with a.256 batting average and led the team with 12 home runs and had 31 RBI. Infielder, Another 26-year-old player, Rio Ruiz only batted .222 but tied for the team lead with 32 RBI. Catcher Chance Sisco and outfielder DJ Stewart each had a little less than 100 at-bats, and their batting average was only .214 and .193, respectively, but they showed power with 10 and 15 RBI respectively and should get a shot again next season.

Relief Pitching

The young arms of the Baltimore Orioles also showed promise. Reliever Tanner Scott, also 26-years old, appeared in 25 games and had an ERA of 1.31. Right-handed reliever Shawn Armstrong appeared in 14 games and posted an ERA of 1.80. Left-handed reliever Paul Fry appeared in 22 games and had a 2.45 ERA. Travis Lakins also appeared in 22 games and had a 2.81 ERA. Right-handed reliever Dillon Tate had an ERA of 3.24 in 12 games.

Starters

John Means was the lone all-star in 2019 but only started 10 games due to injury. In his last seven games, after recovering from arm problems, Means had an ERA of 3.25 and looked like the All-Star pitcher of the 2019 season. Besides Means twenty-six-year-old right-handed starter, Thomas Eshelman was 3-1 with a 3.89 ERA. Although closer Hunter Harvey was 0-2 with an ERA of 4.15 in 10 games this season, he showed the fastball and control of a future closer. Two young pitchers, a 25-year-old lefty, Keegan Akin 1-2 4.56 ERA, and 24-year-old righty Dean Kremer 1-1 4.82 ERA also showed promise as future starters.

Fans Can Smile

So, Baltimore Orioles fans can smile when they dream of the future Orioles. Lots of young talent already transitioned to the bigs, and a farm system that ranks with the best of them. With the core of this team under 30 years old, the Orioles might be building a team that can be competitive for the next decade. The Baltimore Orioles 2020 season was better than what most experts predicted.  Next season should be even better.

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