And the top three Baltimore Orioles on the list are…
3) Brad Bergesen– 3.1 bWAR in 2009
When Brad Bergesen is the team leader in WAR, it doesn’t take many more details to figure out what the 2009 season was like in Baltimore. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters were very early in their careers, while the likes of Luke Scott, Brian Roberts, and Jeremy Guthrie provided the veteran leadership on a 64-win team.
It was a 23-year-old starting pitcher named Bergesen who ended the year on top with a 3.3 bWAR, just beating out Brian Roberts by a slim margin. Making 19 starts, Bergesen went 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA, striking out a team-low 4.7 K/9 IP, and finishing with a 1.28 WHIP. Bergesen appeared in 64 more games with the Orioles across the 2010 and 2011 seasons before being designated for assignment and playing one final season in the big leagues with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
His career WAR dropped from 3.1 to 2.8 over the course of the remainder of his career, in case you were curious as to whatever happened to Brad Bergesen.
2) Manny Machado– 2.9 bWAR in 2018
We aren’t far enough removed from the worst season in Orioles history, so we don’t need any refreshers on what led to just 47 wins in 2018. The 25-year-old Machado led the way last season, despite playing in just 96 games before being traded at the trade deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers. While in Baltimore, Machado compiled 46 extra-base hits and finished as the team leader in home runs (24, tied with Trey Mancini), batting average (.315), and on-base percentage (.387).
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1) Jeff Conine- 2.9 bWAR in 2001
Under the leadership of Mike Hargrove, the 2001 Orioles finished at 63-98 as they witnessed the careers of prominent figures like Cal Ripken Jr.(40), Brady Anderson (37), and Mike Bordick (35) come to a close. Jason Johnson led the pitching staff with 10 wins and only one regular in the lineup ended the year with a batting average above .300, Jeff Conine
The first baseman played in 139 games, slashing .311/.386/.483 with 14 home runs and 97 RBI. All but his 14 home runs were team-highs (Chris Richard and Jay Gibbons both hit 15). It was his best season in seven years with the Orioles and the second-highest single-season WAR total in his 17-year career which saw him rack up two All-Star appearances and two World Series titles. He was worth 3.5 WAR with the Florida Marlins in 1996.
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