Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Every great baseball team that ever was has had that one player they can call on to do something great. The Orioles teams of the 1960s and ’70s had players like Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson. The 2004 Red Sox had David Ortiz and the reigning World Series Champions had Madison Bumgarner.
Although everyone keeps talking about the quiet off-season Baltimore had, the 2015 Orioles may have that X factor on their roster in Alejandro De Aza.
With an opening in left field and at the lead-off spot in the lineup, De Aza has a great opportunity here. And, just like Kurt Russell said in the box office classic Miracle, “Great moments are born from great opportunities.”
In 2014, De Aza hit .252/.314/.386 with 24 doubles, eight triples and eight home runs combined with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. He also batted in 41 runs and stole 17 bases.
In his seven years in the Majors, De Aza has hit 23 triples and has stolen 79 bases. His speed alone is something the Orioles do not have a lot on and will try to take full advantage of it moving forward.
Whether De Aza is capable of hitting with consistency remains to be seen, but if his short stint with the Orioles at the end of the 2014 season was any indication of things to come then the Orioles may have found a deadly lead-off hitter to go with this season.
In his career batting lead-off, De Aza has batted .271/.334/.405 with 64 doubles, 11 triples, 26 home runs and 117 RBIs. He has made 1219 plate appearances in 304 games batting first so he is surely experienced in this role.
Couple this with his speed and solid defense and you have an X factor on your team who can make a difference on this Orioles team.