Baltimore Orioles vs Detroit Tigers: Five players to watch

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 23: Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman
BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 23: Starting pitcher Kevin Gausman /
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Baltimore Orioles
BALTIMORE, MD – APRIL 26: Anthony Santander /

Anthony Santander, RF

Some Orioles fans were excited about Santander at the outset of the regular season — and who could blame them? The Birds have found power in some unexpected places over the past few seasons, and with a spring training line of .292/.309/.538 with 4 home runs and 4 doubles, it was easy to imagine the young right fielder as a lineup mainstay.

So far, it’s been rough sailing for the 23-year-old. Heading into Thursday’s game against the Rays, Santander had just 10 hits in 66 plate appearances, good for an adjusted OPS of 30. It was a brutal stat line, but something finally clicked for him, and he finished the night with three singles in four trips to the plate.

Santander’s journey to being a consistent batter is far from complete, but Thursday’s performance was a tantalizing reminder of his potential. Even before the multi-hit effort, Buck Showalter gave him a vote of confidence, per Rich Dubroff of PressBox:

"I like him as much as I did the day we drafted him and the day we came out of camp. He’s got a great future ahead of him, but we’ve had to really expose him and I like it has good for him. It may not be statistically pleasing for him or anybody, but there are some positives to gain from it."

With his power, Santander has a chance to create some more positives this week. Fiers and Norris in particular give up a lot of home runs, so this series could hold a lot of opportunities for the right power hitter. If Santander really has found a rhythm in the batter’s box, now would be a good time to prove it.