Baltimore Orioles: Top Five Individual Offensive Performances This Decade
As we close out 2019, we take a look back at the top five biggest seasons for a Baltimore Orioles hitter.
When we look back on the last decade of Baltimore Orioles baseball, I’d like to think that we remember the first winning seasons since 1997 and a number of unforgettable moments, some of which were recently remembered in a piece from BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Rich Dubroff here.
While the decade ended on a sour note, there’s hope for a brighter future and more fun times in Birdland, all made even more special once we stick out a few more years of rebuilding baseball.
With today being the final day of the decade, we’re going to take a look back at some of the biggest individual season performances from Orioles players over the last ten years, beginning with the top five seasons from Orioles hitters.
After looking at the top five pitchers of the decade and naming our All-Decade team, we also reflected on five of the worst starting pitching staffs in recent history this week. We didn’t want to end the year on a negative note, so we’re closing out the year by remembering the good.
Here are the top five seasons put together by Orioles hitters since 2010, organized by Fangraphs’ Wins Above Replacement value.
5) Chris Davis 2015 season- 5.4 fWAR
Spoiler alert, this isn’t the only 2015 performance that is featured on this list and it won’t be the only time we see Chis Davis appear. Davis appeared in 160 games during 2015, slashing .262/.361/.562 with 47 home runs, 117 RBI, 100 runs scored, 31 doubles, and wRC+ of 149. Among all hitters with at least 500 plate appearances in a single season this decade, Davis put together the two highest wRC+ marks, with his 2015 number coming in second.
Despite striking out in 31% of his at-bats, Davis recorded a walk in 12.5% of his trips to the plate, the third-highest walk rate among Orioles hitters with at least 500 PA (since 2010).
His 47 home runs led the major leagues by three over Seattle’s Nelson Cruz (44) and his 5.4 fWAR placed him 15th in the majors. Both Bryce Harper and Mike Trout tied for the league lead in 2015 with a 9.3 fWAR.
4) Matt Wieters 2011 season- 5.7 fWAR
The 2011 season wasn’t the most exciting season of the decade, seeing as the Orioles finished with a 69-93 record and Jeremy Guthrie, the de-facto ace of the starting rotation, led the league with 17 losses, but a 25-year-old catcher named Matt Wieters provided plenty of entertainment for fans.
Wieters slashed .262/.328/.450 with 22 home runs, 68 RBI, and a wRC+ of 110. He would go on to make his first of four All-Star games and win his first of two Gold Glove Awards, all within his eight seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.
His 15.2% strikeout rate in 2011 currently ranks as the lowest K-rate in his 11 seasons in Major League Baseball. After spending 2019 with the St. Louis Cardinals, Wieters is currently a free agent.
3) Manny Machado 2016 season- 6.3 fWAR
Coming off an unbelievable 2015 (more on that in a second), Manny Machado would make his third of four All-Star teams (as of 2019) and finish fifth in Most Valuable Player voting after hitting 37 home runs (tied for single-season career-high) and slashing .294/.343/.533 in 157 games for the Orioles.
At just 23 years old, Machado would lead the 2016 Orioles in doubles (40), batting average (.294), OPS (.876), total hits (188), and runs scored (105). His 6.3 fWAR and 131 wRC+ would fall just short of his previous season’s marks, arguably his best season in the big leagues to date.
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2) Manny Machado 2015 season- 6.6 fWAR
Playing in all 162 games, a 22-year-old Manny Machado hit .286 with a .359 OBP and .861 OPS for the Orioles, making his second All-Star team, winning his second Gold Glove Award, and finishing fourth in Most Valuable Player voting.
His 35 home runs and 30 doubles would begin a stretch of four-straight 30/30 seasons. Machado also added 20 stolen bases. He has since reached double digits in stolen bases just once (2018).
Machado will go down as one of the top Orioles of the decade and his 2015 season was one of the best there was for an offensive performer in Birdland.
1) Chris Davis 2013 season- 7.1 fWAR
Taking the top spot in this list is the $161 million man himself, Chris Davis. His 53 home runs in 2013 still rank as the most in a single season for an Orioles hitter, with his 138 RBI coming in third all-time.
Davis slashed .286/.370/.634, added 42 doubles and 103 runs scored. His home run, RBI, doubles, and runs scored totals are all career-highs.
Davis earned himself a Silver Slugger award for his performance, made his first All-Star game and finished third in MVP voting behind Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera.