The Baltimore Orioles officially announced the hire of Brandon Hyde on Friday evening. What we can, and should, reasonably expect from Hyde and the Orioles in 2019
It’s been two and a half months since we learned that Buck Showalter wouldn’t return to manage the Baltimore Orioles in 2019, but the O’s have finally found Buck’s replacement and on Friday, officially named Brandon Hyde the club’s new manager. Hyde will be introduced in a press conference on Monday at noon eastern, which will be available on MASN and 105.7 The Fan.
Hyde had been with the Cubs since 2013, notably serving as their director of player development, and as a bench coach at the major league level. While Hyde doesn’t have major league managerial experience, one of the big draws with him is his background in player development.
The Orioles have one of the weaker farm systems in the major leagues at the moment; there’s depth, for sure, but there isn’t star-level talent. Hyde, along with Mike Elias and Sig Mejdal, will be tasked with getting more out of the minor league system than Dan Duquette and Showalter were ever able.
Which brings us to our question: what can we expect from Hyde and the Orioles in 2019?
Let’s get this out of the way, right off the top: the 2019 Orioles will not be good.
Much of Birdland is bursting with excitement about Elias and Mejdal leading the Orioles into the future, hopefully much in the same way that they helped lead the Astros to success. The industry has many good things to say about the duo, and thus far, it seems the same with Hyde.
But Elias won’t be able to turn this broken ship around as quick as we’d like him to. We’re about to find out just how patient the Orioles fan-base is willing to be as the Orioles rebuild their entire organization.
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
Elias has stated that he’s here to win games, and that’s true to a point. But we shouldn’t expect much in the way of major improvement in the win-loss column in 2019. After all, there’s more value in the 2020 first overall amateur draft pick than there is in 75 wins next year for the Orioles.
The Orioles won’t be actively trying to lose games, but the focus will be on player development, rather than the standings. That’s where Hyde comes in.
With his extensive background in player development, Hyde, and his to be determined staff, are in Baltimore to maximize the development of the players in the system, and to get them functioning as a team again.
The locker room fell apart last year; Hyde needs to help fix that. It’s a tough ask with such little veteran leadership in the clubhouse, but there needs to be cohesion throughout the organization. The Orioles need better communication, and they need better collaboration between the front office and analytics department, and the players on the field.
We want to see Hyde help build a functioning relationship between the front office and the players. We want the Orioles to be open to myriad new tactics and approaches to the game; this is the time to try new things, to throw stuff against the wall and see what sticks. We want Hyde and the Orioles to be willing to go against the grain to find ways to win baseball games.
Realistically, we can expect another last place finish in the AL East for the Orioles. But we should expect to see marked improvements on the field with certain players, including Cedric Mullins, Trey Mancini and Dylan Bundy. Mullins can’t hit lefties – platoon him, have him hit right handed full time, just make it work. Mancini isn’t an outfielder – get him back at first, where he’s comfortable and effective defensively. Bundy was awful last year – figure out what’s wrong, why he’s been so homer-prone and fix it.
Success for the 2019 Orioles won’t be defined by the win-loss column. It’ll be defined by how much those guys improve, by how Ryan Mountcastle develops, by Yusniel Diaz , Austin Hays and Ryan McKenna, and by whether DL Hall, Grayson Rodriguez, Keegan Akin and Zac Lowther can take steps forward.