The Baltimore Orioles are not the worst team in the MLB, at least as far as records go.
But, if Baltimore Orioles fans read the latest piece from CBSSports.com, the team is on the brink of hitting rock bottom.
Mike Axisa with CBSSports.com claims that the Orioles are not just a bad team, they are a really bad team.
Here’s how Axisa ended his latest piece:
"“Things are not looking up for the Orioles. Not at all. Not now, and not in the future.”"
He focused on the horrible loss on Friday night. The Orioles were up 6-0, but managed to lose the game 6-9. Granted, the Twins have exceeded their expectations, but giving up nine runs is a tough loss to take. How many runs do the Birds have to score to keep a lead?
Run differentials are not good
As of yesterday, the Orioles lost five games in a row. And, the losses weren’t by one run. In those five losses, the Birds scored 13 runs to their opponents’ 33. That’s a 20-run differential. Ouch.
That differential was also noted by Axisa who calculated this stat:
"“Baltimore is 18-35 dating back to May 9 and they’ve been outscored by 99 runs. Egads.”"
Controversial draft issue
So, what are the Orioles doing about their losing season? Are they preparing for the future? According to Axisa, the answer is a resounding no. And his evidence is clear. Especially when it came to the O’s draft pick, Jack Conlon. The young right-handed pitcher needed to be signed by the Orioles by Friday, but he wasn’t signed. Reports were that Conlon did not pass his physical.
Not signing this young pitcher is probably not the end of the world for the Orioles. Conlon made it all the way to the fourth round in the 2017 draft before the Birds snapped him up. This means that the 29 other teams did not find him appealing enough to grab in the earlier rounds. There was something about him that the other teams did not like.
Still, it is odd that he was not signed. The Orioles forfeited $409,000 that they cannot spend on any other drafted player by letting Conlon go. Axisa (and other experts) are predicting that there will be a feeding frenzy for Conlon and that he could end up pitching for division rivals.
Why avoid the international players?
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The other big issue with the Orioles and the team’s descent to a sub-.500 team involves the lack of international signings. Axisa mentions that the only Orioles’ All-Star, Jonathan Schoop, was an international draft pick. Since the Orioles have been trading away their international bonus money and picks, they are not doing themselves any favors.
Along with the lack of signings, there are serious issues in the team. The starting pitching is the worst in the American League with a team ERA of 5.13. Of the 30 MLB teams, the Orioles rank 29th, with the Cincinnati Reds with an ERA of 5.16 sitting in the 30th spot. Offensively, the Orioles are 23rd in MLB team stats and 12th in the AL – even with strong hitters like Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo. The stats do not look good for the rest of the season – unless some interesting trades happen prior to the deadline.
So, is Axisa accurate in his assessment of the Orioles? Is the team sinking to new lows? It does look that way. Honestly, the biggest problem involves neglecting the international market. The O’s signed most of their draft picks, but avoiding the young players from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico is just not smart.