The 2019 season is now over for the Baltimore Orioles. Check out these ten fun numbers from the last 162 games.
If you’re like me, you have been ready for this season to end for a long while now. However, we are going to wake up on Monday morning and wish there was a Baltimore Orioles baseball game to throw on TV later in the evening. Ok, it might feel good to have that break on Monday night, but by Tuesday, I’m going to want Orioles baseball.
To begin our end of season coverage, we’re taking a quick look at ten fun numbers from the 2019 year. These are just quick glances over the final stat sheet and finding numbers that are either just fun to see or numbers that may require a bit more digging into.
162- For the first time since Jonathan Schoop appeared in all 162 games in 2016, the Baltimore Orioles have a player who appeared in every single game this season. It’s quite the achievement, to play in all 162 games throughout the summer and make it through the dog days of summer healthy (as one can be at this point). The only other players to play in 162 or more games in a season as an Oriole are Cal Ripken Jr.(10 times), Brooks Robinson (four times), Bobby Grich, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Rafael Palmeiro (twice), Miguel Tejada (three times), B.J. Surhoff (twice), and Eddie Murray. Villar was one of just five to play in all 162 this season in the majors.
40- With his 40 stolen bases this season, Jonathan Villar became just the sixth player in Baltimore Orioles history with at least 40 stolen bags in a single season. It’s the second-highest total of Villar’s career (62 is season-high), giving him 202 since his rookie season in 2013. The last Orioles player to steal 40 bases in a season was Brian Roberts back in 2008. It’s been six years since Nate McLouth reached 30 SB’s. Needless to say, success in this aspect of the game has been rare in Birdland.
35- What a season for the 2019 Most Valuable Oriole. After a big rookie season and a bit of a sophomore slump, we weren’t sure what to expect from Trey Mancini in year three of his career. Well, we got 35 home runs, 38 doubles, 97 RBI, and a .291 average. More importantly, he’s ready to step up and be the leader of this team in the clubhouse. Sounds like someone who will be sticking around for a while. He was one of just six players in all of baseball with at least 35 home runs and 35 doubles (Trevor Story, Bryce Harper, Matt Chapman, Josh Bell, Alex Bregman)
12- I know, wins and losses don’t mean much from an analytical perspective, but they do mean something to these pitchers, just ask John Means. The All-Star rookie was the only pitcher on the Orioles staff to earn double-digit wins as he finished at 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 1.14 WHIP, both of which were also team-highs. The fact that a 54 win team had a 12-game winner is a testament to the work Means produced. It was a rookie year to remember for the West Virginia product who will be counted on to lead this pitching staff again next year.
9.2%– This won’t be the only time you see Hanser Alberto‘s name on the list. His 9.2% strikeout rate was the lowest mark in all of baseball, among qualified hitters. David Fletcher of the Los Angeles Angels was the only other player to stay under 10%, finishing at 9.6%. Five of the lowest 28 strikeout rates in the league were held by Houston Astros hitters. Something to look forward to for Orioles fans, maybe?
88- You know who is ecstatic that the 2019 season is over? Left-handed pitchers in the American League. Hanser Alberto demolished lefties this year, racking up 88 total hits this season, 22 more than Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who finished in second with 66. Alberto’s .398 average was good for second, behind J.D. Martinez and his .404 average, but Alberto had 80 more at-bats.
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.276– The main focus of 2019 was development. The roster was full of unknowns and young players getting their first extensive taste of major league action. There were sure to be bumps along the road, especially early on. Take Richie Martin, for example. Martin hit .166 with a .226 OBP through the first half of the season, but picked it up after the All-Star break. In 50 games since the break, Martin hit .276 and posted a .314 OBP. He cut his strikeout rate from 31.8% to 18% and raised his wRC+ from 30 to 87. That’s still not a great number, but a big improvement. It will be interesting to see if he begins 2020 in the majors or takes some time in the minors next year. His glove clearly plays and he got better, he’s just very young and raw still. There’s still time.
58- While trying to figure things out this season, the Baltimore Orioles used 58 different players, a new team record. Remember Drew Jackson? Jose Rondon? Yefry Ramirez? Sean Gilmartin? Yeah, they all appeared in at least one game, didn’t work, and were either DFA’d, traded, or sent back down to Triple-A to never come back up. Will they break the record again next season? I may take that bet.
12.5- It was an up and down season for Mychal Givens this year, but he did record a career-high 12.5 K/9 IP this year, an improvement of more than three strikeouts per game from 2018. Unfortunately, home runs were up, walks were up, Givens was unable to lock down the closer’s role, and he posted the lowest bWAR of his five-year career. When Givens was on, he was on and looked like someone who could be a reliable option out of the bullpen. He’s still a trade candidate, so there’s no guarantee he returns next season. With the right team and in the right situation, Givens can be effective. We’ll see if that’s with the Orioles.
0.9- September was a fun month for the Orioles. Dylan Bundy and John Means finished strong, we saw some unbelievable catches, including two candidates for the catch of the year in all of baseball, and we saw a lot of Austin Hays. Hays played in 21 games, hitting .309 with a .373 OBP, four home runs, six doubles, and a .947 OPS. He was worth 0.9 fWAR in his very brief time in the majors, good for fourth-best among Orioles hitters, behind Villar (4.0), Mancini (3.5), and Alberto (2.0). The hype over what Austin Hays can achieve in 2020 may be a bit extreme after watching him rob home runs and put up big numbers at the end of a depressing season, but I’m ok with that for right now. Hays represents the optimism fans should have going into 2020.
Take some time to recharge the batteries, because the offseason should be full of excitement as the Baltimore Orioles continue to set themselves up for sustained success under the leadership of Mike Elias and his staff. Fun times are ahead. Just enjoy the process.