Ranking the Orioles Seasonal Acquisitions
Now that we are down to just five games remaining of the 162 game season, the picture is pretty clear as to what roster moves made by the Orioles have yielded the most benefit. And the picture is quite a colorful blend of personalities and talents that have all gone together exceeding well.
It was not long into the season when it became clear that the Orioles were going to need to count on a lot more people than the 25 who broke camp and came north with the team. In fact, over 50 players have made an appearance for this year’s club.
So, looking at those players who were not a part of the opening day roster, which additions have proven the most significant in contributing to the incredible total of 90 wins?
From Outside the Organization
1. Nate McLouth– Released by the Pirates at the end of May because of a .140 average – and that on top of three less than stellar seasons in Atlanta – McLouth has looked for the Orioles more like the 2008 all-star and gold glover! With Markakis gone from the leadoff spot in the lineup, Nate has not only filled in, he has excelled. And the Birds have no other person who could play better in left field. In his 49 games with the Orioles, McLouth is batting .274 with 6 homers.
2. Miguel Gonzalez – This 28-year-old rookie who was signed out of the Mexican winter leagues has done nothing less than win 8 games, while pitching to a 3.45 ERA.
3. Jim Thome – The future hall of famer has had limited games and opportunities, but recent home runs and critical hits in this final stretch have demonstrated his value to the team. Not nearly as obvious is his value in the clubhouse and on the bench with all the young players on the Orioles team.
4. Others: Lew Ford – hit 3 critical homers / Steve Pearce – .254 in 28 games with 3 homers / Omar Quintanilla – has provided key hits and valuable defense, particularly over a critical stretch of games in July / Joe Saunders – The veteran has given the Orioles 37 innings over 6 starts – winning twice.
From Within the Organization
1. Manny Machado – It was a bold move at the time to bring the 20-year-old to the Orioles. But his play at 3rd base has made all the difference in turning a porous defense into a team asset. As well, batting .264 with 6 homers over his 45 games demonstrates that the guy is not in over his head. The Orioles are 30-16 since Manny joined the big league team!
2. Chris Tillman – I was tempted to actually list Tillman as the #1 person in this category but chose the everyday player instead. He is now 9-2 with an ERA of 2.78. This is amazing. He is a new person compared to last year. Whereas Tillman used to be a frustration to watch – with high pitch counts and runners continuously on base, he is now a delight to watch control a game.
3. Steve Johnson – He has pitched 33.1 innings in 11 games – 3 as a starter – and boasts a record of 4-0 with an ERA of 1.62. There is no way that any team wants to see this guy right now.
4. Others: Zach Britton – certainly not the guy we had hoped to see, but one who has gained 5 wins in his 11 starts / Taylor Teagarden – He has proven to be the worthy backup catcher he was reputed to be, and his hits – though few – have come at very critical and opportune times.
Players who have been added to the team during the season, from both inside and outside the organization, have won 30 of the 90 Orioles victories. As well, they have hit 30 of the 204 homers. It has to be granted that this is more than simply good fortune. Duquette has had the Midas touch this year! And Showalter has demonstrated a sort of 6th sense as to whom to play when. It has been an awesome season.