Baltimore Orioles: The Most Pleasant Surprises Of The First Week

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TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates a victory with Rio Ruiz #14 after MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: Jonathan Villar #2 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates a victory with Rio Ruiz #14 after MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
TORONTO, ON – APRIL 01: Dwight Smith Jr. #35 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the first inning during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on April 1, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

Dwight Smith Jr.is making the most of his opportunity with the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Armed with the highest amount of international bonus pool money, Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias went to work spending his soon to be worthless money on pieces who can provide depth to a team in need of extra bodies at every position. One of those pieces was Dwight Smith Jr.

Leading up to this season, Smith had just 52 games of major league experience under his belt but did sport a .304 batting average and show an ability to find the gaps. With an option remaining, many assumed that Smith would begin the year in Norfolk and given an opportunity to continue to acclimate to the organization, but that wasn’t necessary.

Smith is hitting .350, striking out at less than a 10% rate, and recording a 139 wRC+ through five games. However, Baseball Savant has Smith at a .257 expected batting average, likely due to his 57% groundball rate and league-average exit velocity on batted balls.

The small sample size numbers are nice to see, but projecting a full season of Dwight Smith Jr. I see a league-average hitter with league-average athleticism and league-average defense. Here’s the thing, that would be a welcomed improvement injected into this lineup! If Cedric Mullins can figure it out at the plate or someone emerges as a leadoff hitter, the top of this Baltimore Orioles lineup will be pesky, with the ability to flex their home run power during stretches.

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