Is the Baltimore Orioles Franchise Improving in 2021?

Aug 17, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 17, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Brandon Hyde looks on against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Franchise history shows that the Baltimore Orioles are improving through their rebuilding process

Currently, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in the midst of one of their longest losing streaks in recent franchise history. The losing streak has hit 15 games and unfortunately shows no true signs of stopping. This is the second ten-plus game losing streak and the team’s fifth losing streak of five-plus games in 2021. Times are dark for the Orioles and it is truly hard to wonder if the “rebuild” from their most recent playoff appearances is working.

The progress that the O’s have made in recent years can be clearly defined by looking at the teams of past years before the most recent winning teams Baltimore has had.

In 2012, the Orioles finished 2nd in their division, later falling to the Yankees in the ALDS. Regardless of the postseason outcome, this season gave fans hope that good times were ahead, and they absolutely were. From 2012 to 2017, the O’s held a .534 winning percentage, reaching the postseason three times and capturing the AL East Division Championship in 2014. These were truly times of Oriole Magic at Camden Yards. What fans tend to forget about are the few seasons before the winning ways around Baltimore.

From 2008 to 2011, the Orioles had three different managers, (Dave Trembley, Juan Samuel, and Buck Showalter) all of which had losing records in that time frame. During this stretch, the O’s averaged 95 losses per season and finished last in the AL East each season. The roster for the 2011 team had many well-known names around the Baltimore baseball scene, such as Matt Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Chris Davis. These names would be catalysts for the Baltimore Orioles’ success in the next five years.

Now, looking at these past few years, Brandon Hyde was selected as manager and Mike Elias was hired as Executive VP & GM for the franchise in 2019. In their first season, the team finished 54-108, which landed them in last place in the AL East. Last season, during the condensed 2020 campaign, the Hyde-led Orioles finished with a promising 25-35 record where they ended up 4th in the division.

Currently, in the 2021 MLB season, the Baltimore Orioles hold a 38-82 record and sit firmly in the last spot in the American League. The current average win percentage for Hyde and Elias’ teams sits at .356 in their two years and change at the helm, which is comparable to the 2008-2011 Orioles, where the average winning percentage was .409%.

Most fans and followers of baseball understand that to set a franchise up for sustained success with a limited budget, they must first endure hard, losing times. The Orioles are in their second full season and third calendar year with a new regime and a new rebuild underway. It has been looked at as the Orioles not caring about winning right now by a number of outlets and to a certain extent, that may be true. But, this team competes on the field in hopes of building the foundation for years to come and improving upon their current season’s misfortunes.

If the dark days from 2008-2011 show Orioles fans anything, it shows them that members of the current team will be here to put on the white, orange, and black uniforms when brighter days are ahead in Baltimore. In the middle of a 15 game losing streak, it is hard to see a bright side to a situation. But, if history has told anything, it is that good times are ahead and ultimately the Orioles and their fans simply must trust the process.

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