As we enter the final month of the regular season, let’s take a look back at three impressive performances from the month of August.
After finishing the month of July with a 12-12 record, the first .500 or better month since August of 2017, the Baltimore Orioles limped through August of 2019 with a 9-19 record, giving up 189 runs in the process, a high for any month this year.
Credit where credit is due as the Orioles did end the month on a high note, going 6-4 over their last 10 games against the Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Washington Nationals, including a 14-2 win in Kansas City with John Means on the mound in front of his hometown crowd. Before rosters expand and the final month of the regular season begins, let’s take a moment to recognize three of the top performers from August.
There’s no question that the month of August belonged to the one everyday fixture in the Orioles lineup, infielder Jonathan Villar. In 28 games, Villar slashed .333/.424/.629 with seven home runs, 15 runs driven in, and 22 runs scored. His 172 wRC+ was tops on the Orioles roster and ranked 17th in all of baseball, tied with Mike Trout and Adam Eaton. So the obvious conclusion is that Vilar should be re-signed immediately because he provides Mike Trout-like value, right?
Don’t close out this page just yet, I hope you caught the sarcasm oozing out of that last statement. It was, however, a very solid month for the newest member of the Orioles 20/20 club as his future with the franchise hangs in the balance.
Despite finding himself in trouble more often than the Orioles would like, Villar is up to 32 stolen bases this season and became the first Oriole to steal second, third, and home in the same game, per STATS.
He is very quietly having a fantastic season, currently owning a .279/.348/.464 slash with 20 home runs, 29 doubles, and 62 RBI, one away from his career-high. Per Baseball Reference, Villar has nearly matched his career-high bWAR of 3.9. As of Sunday morning, he’s been worth 3.7 bWAR in 2019, is coming off his hottest month of the year, and has one more month to go. Can he end the year as a 5.0 WAR player? It’s likely. A stretch, but likely.
A strong September may lead to a few more phone calls from teams around the league after they all passed on the speedy infielder at the trade deadline. But without much middle infield help in the upper minors and the possibility of sending Richie Martin down to the minors next year to continue his development, could the Orioles hang on to Villar until at least next year’s trade deadline to help bridge the gap? It’s an interesting question heading into the offseason.