Baltimore Orioles: Roundtable Discussion On The 2019 Season

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 01: A detailed view of Dwight Smith Jr. #35 of the Baltimore Orioles necklace against the San Francisco Giants at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 01: A detailed view of Dwight Smith Jr. #35 of the Baltimore Orioles necklace against the San Francisco Giants at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 1, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
BALTIMORE, MD – APRIL 20: Dwight Smith Jr. #35 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates hitting a two run home run in the third inning during game one of a doubleheader baseball game against the Minnesota Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 20, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /

The season is just over a third of the way complete, so the staff here at Birds Watcher took a moment to reflect on what we have seen from the Baltimore Orioles and discuss a hot-button topic or two.

The overall record is about the same as 2018 and many of the numbers are similar to last season’s numbers (or worse), but at least the 2019 Baltimore Orioles have been a bit more interesting.

We’ve seen philosophical changes begin to take shape on the field, which has been one of the more intriguing aspects of 2019. Defensive positioning, leading the league in double plays, pitchers utilizing new pitches, and adjustments at the plate for a number of players have all led to both good and bad results. However, no matter the results, there are positive learning experiences taking place.

The staff here thought it would be a good idea to take a moment, step back, and reflect on what we have seen through the first two-plus months of the regular season.

We threw out five questions for discussion, including our general thoughts on the regular season, should the Orioles trade Trey Mancini, biggest surprises, biggest disappointments, and we each made one bold prediction for the rest of 2019.

General thoughts on the 2019 Baltimore Orioles.

First question- How are you feeling about the direction of the team at this point in the season? The record is similar to last season at this point, but what positives stick out to you?

Co-Site Expert Nick Stevens: I side with the crowd that says 2019 has been much more entertaining than 2018. It’s been a lot of fun to see some of the fringe guys get their opportunity to prove whether or not they belong. I spent the last two seasons writing about the minor leagues, spending time in minor league press boxes, and getting to know these guys well, but I find myself paying even more attention to the farm. The growth has been exhilarating and I can’t wait to see who pans out and what happens when Mike Elias stocks the organization full of talent.

Co-Site Expert Aaron Gershon: Obviously, the 2019 season is not going well for the Orioles, which was expected. However, the key to watching a rebuilding big league squad is to find some players that will help the organization going forward. I feel the Orioles have done that. I’ve been impressed with the power displayed by Renato Nunez. In an era of baseball where home runs are critical to success, Nunez has a chance to become the O’s DH for years to come. Finally, John Means seems to be a keeper in the rotation with his ERA below three in nearly 10 starts

Contributor Chuck Boemmel: My feelings about the direction of the team are positive.  I see a change in the attitude of the team, in that the players are playing hard all nine innings.  I don’t see anyone getting down, in fact, it’s quite the opposite. The entire team is enthusiastic and engaged during the entire game. The rapport seems to be positive as well. The players seem to be all-in on what is transpiring.  The one thing that stands out is how much this team cares; they are not hiding behind the rebuild.  The players care about the team, each other, and the results and it shows.

Contributor Jesse Morrison: Even though 18-41 is a horrendous record, I have been happy with what I have seen this year from an offensive standpoint. I have liked what I have seen from Dwight Smith Jr., Renato Nunez, Pedro Severino and Trey Mancini (of course). I am excited about the future of the starting pitching staff with John Means in the majors having success and Grayson Rodriguez, Zac Lowther, Blaine Knight, Michael Baumann, Alex Wells, and Drew Rom all creating havoc for hitters in the minors this year. Also, D.L. Hall, the starting pitching prospect who, in my opinion, has the greatest future, has also started to bring down his ERA and settle into High-A ball.

Next question: Who has been the biggest (positive) surprise of the season?