We witnessed a number of memorable moments from the Baltimore Orioles 2019 season. What were some of your favorites? Contributing writer Jesse Morrison looks back at the top five on his list.
The 2019 season was another tough season for the Baltimore Orioles, but unlike 2018, this year was much more enjoyable. We saw the emergence of young players such as John Means and Anthony Santander, while witnessing the likes of Pedro Severino and Hanser Alberto find success at the plate and earn at least one more year of playing time in Birdland.
Trey Mancini exceeded expectations and was one of a small handful of players to record 35+ doubles and 35+ home runs this season, and we can’t forget about Jonathan Villar. His future with the organization is up in the air, but his 52 extra-base hits and 40 stolen bases were a lot of fun to watch throughout the year.
When you look back at the season that was 2019, aka the first year of the rebuild, what positive moments will stick with you? Below is a list of my top five favorite moments from this season. We would love to hear what you would put on your list in the comments below!
Memorable moments from the Baltimore Orioles 2019 campaign.
5. Stevie Wilkerson’s save
This is my first of two Stevie Wilkerson moments. On July 25th, the Baltimore Orioles played the Los Angeles Angels and the game went to 16 innings. When games go as long as this one did, pitchers are used up and position players sometimes have to come in. This was the case when Wilkerson came in in the 16th inning in a save situation. Surprisingly, he would slowball his way into a 1-2-3 inning and become the first position player in MLB history to record a save, since the stat became official in 1969. The ball used to get the final out and his hat from the game ended up in Cooperstown. Long live the legend, Dr. Poo Poo.
4. The Orioles make history against the Cleveland Indians
The Birds played the Indians in a late June series and shocked a solid Cleveland team, winning 13-0 in back-to-back games and becoming the first team in MLB history to post back-to-back shutouts and win by that high of a margin in consecutive games. Pretty bizarre record for a team in the midst of a 108-loss season. The Orioles piled on 29 hits, including two home runs each from Chance Sisco, Santander, and Renato Nunez.
In true Orioles fashion, these historic games were sandwiched in-between a series against the San Diego Padres in which O’s pitchers gave up eight home runs in two losses and a 2-0 loss to Cleveland to close out their three-game series.
3. John Means making the All-Star team
This was a bit of a shocker, as it seemed as though Means would be snubbed from the Mid-Summer classic and the Orioles lone representative would be Trey Mancini. Someone must have been paying attention to the O’s and Means’ success as he was named an All-Star in his first season in the pros, not long after creating a LinkedIn profile to prepare for life outside of baseball. While in the end, Means was not used in the game, it was cool to see an Oriole starting pitcher make an All-Star team, especially in a year where the O’s pitching was historically bad.
2. Drafting Adley Rutschman No. 1 overall
The disaster of 2018 was unbearable to watch and the downfall of the Buck Showalter era Orioles was sad to see. However, having the worst record in the league meant receiving the number one overall pick in the 2019 draft, which happened to be can’t-miss catching prospect Adley Rutschman out of Oregon State. The drafting of Rutschman was the first time it seemed as though Mike Elias was not going to mess around. He could have went with the raw, high school prospect in Bobby Witt Jr, but instead, he went with one of the most polished players in MLB draft history. Rutschman would not disappoint as he went on to hit .325 in 20 games with Low-A Aberdeen before ending his debut season with the Delmarva Shorebirds.
1. Stevie Wilkerson’s epic catch
This catch was potentially the catch of year across the entire league. It was an awesome way to cap off the season and left Orioles fans with something positive going into the offseason, even though the Birds would lose the game. Wilkerson’s display of athleticism, effort and sacrificing his body was incredible. The Orioles do not seem to have many of these moments. This is why this catch is my favorite moment of the season.