Baltimore Orioles: Takeaways from the 2017 World Series

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 17: Buck Showalter #26 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on from the dugout against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 17: Buck Showalter #26 of the Baltimore Orioles looks on from the dugout against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Even though the World Series did not involve the Baltimore Orioles, the seven-game series provided plenty of excitement.

The series was loaded with plenty of successes and failures that the Baltimore Orioles and their front office can learn from for the future.

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros were very evenly matched as many of the games involved back-and-forth scoring. The Orioles have a few of these pieces already, but they need to get the rest in order to become a contender.

Home runs ruled the day

The Dodgers and Orioles combined to hit the most home runs ever in a World Series. George Springer has tied for hitting the most home runs (5) in a World Series. In the regular season, the Astros hit 238 home runs and the Orioles hit 232. Orioles’ fans know that their team has no problem sending the ball out of the park. But, it sure would be nice to add one more big slugger to the team, even one who is fleet of foot.

There were only two stolen bases

With the number of home runs hit, there wasn’t much need for runners to steal, but two Astros did it. So, base stealing is still a thing. Of the 30 baseball teams in the MLB, the Orioles finished dead last in stolen bases. The Astros, who finished 8th in stolen bases, stole 98 bases in the regular season and the Orioles stole 32.

Starting pitchers did not last long

In Game Seven, the two starting pitchers did not last into the third. Yu Darvish pitched 1.2 and Lance McCullers, Jr. pitched 2.1. And, this wasn’t unusual for this series. This could be a good thing for Orioles starters who were not as successful as the bullpen in 2017, but the starting pitchers have to be good enough to get to the playoffs in the first place. The Orioles don’t have that ONE pitcher who can take charge and bring up the whole rotation. This is a huge piece that needs to be fixed. They need a franchise pitcher.

Bullpenning is everything

The epic game five saw 14 pitchers and over 400 pitches thrown. Especially in the National League parks, strategic use of the bullpen has been vital. Buck Showalter can manage a bullpen and the Orioles have a good one. Kenley Jansen was the best relief pitcher in the National League, but the best reliever in the AL, Craig Kimbrel did not make it. It would have been fun to watch a healthy Zach Britton close out a World Series game. But, could the rest of the bullpen have thrown as many innings as Brandon Morrow? Could the starters have filled in like Brad Peacock and Kenta Maeda have?

Rookies and young players dominated

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The best defensive plays were made by Alex Bregman, who is a rookie. Manny Machado is another player who has the same defensive range, but it seemed at times like Bregman was dealing on a completely different level. Bregman also dominated at the plate, hitting bombs off of none other than Jansen. Cody Bellinger is the other rookie in the World Series and he, too, has come up big. Even young Joc Pederson has come up big – bigger than older players like Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe.

The Orioles have young players, three of the best (Trey Mancini, Jonathan Schoop, and Machado) will turn 26 in the 2018 season. Consider that the Astros only had one infielder over 30 and Yuli Gurriel is in his rookie season. In the outfield, Josh Reddick was the oldest, at 30. Young players dominated this series.

Big deals happened

The Orioles did not do much at the trade deadline, other than pick up a shortstop and a not-so-good pitcher. The Astros nabbed Justin Verlander in an epic trade that has made a difference. The Dodgers did the same bringing in Yu Darvish. Adding veterans to the roster brought the teams to the postseason. No doubt about it.

Next: Should the Orioles target Carlos Gonzalez?

Hopefully, the decision-makers in the front office paid attention to what worked in the World Series and what the teams did to get there. The Orioles can do it, too.