The Orioles’ winning streak does not have to end at ten games. Here are five ways across the organization they can build on their recent success.
The Baltimore Orioles are currently on a ten-game winning streak, and they are playing some fun ball. While everyone in March expected another last-place season, the Orioles are proving to be much better than expected, and they are getting positive media coverage to boot. Since the streak is happening in the middle of July, it comes at a unique time on the baseball calendar. Here are five ways the team can keep the good vibes up in the clubhouse, the front office, and among the fanbase.
1. Keep the Momentum Up
What better way to build on a winning streak than to keep it going? While the Orioles run of ten straight wins is their longest since 1999, it isn’t any kind of stretch for them to reach set the team record. The O’s head to St. Pete for three games with the Tampa Bay Rays this weekend, who are only 3.5 games ahead in the standings and were recently swept by the Cincinnati Reds.
Manager Brandon Hyde has done a phenomenal job getting the most out of his guys this season, so he always has them ready to play. But having a double-digit winning streak and a winning record should fire up the players to finish the first half of the season strong. The Orioles haven’t had a winning record after 80 games since 2017, so the current group can now claim that mantel.
2. Leave the Trade Chatter to the Front Office
If you have read any article or Tweet about the Orioles in the past month, you know that the team is preparing for the trade deadline on August 2. They have been sellers for four straight years, and 2022 was shaping up to be no different. But the winning streak has shot the O’s within two games of a wild card spot, so fans and journalists are suddenly talking about the front office adding to the roster in the coming weeks.
At the same time, some lounge chair general managers (myself included) are still discussing which players on the active roster to trade away. This was the only consideration just a week and a half ago, but now it is merely one option. It is the front office’s responsibility to consider every option and to choose a path, whether to buy, sell, or a bit of both.
Everyone in the clubhouse has heard the trade chatter, but they have to focus on playing baseball. Due to their unique position in the standings and the rebuild, the Orioles cannot expect people to walk in or out of the door, at least for another two weeks. As long as the team is in the thick of the playoff race, they should not wonder who will be leaving, but they should not get their hopes up for an all-out push, either.
3. Ace the Draft
Regardless of what the Orioles do on the field, the most important day this week is Sunday. Fans anxiously await for the MLB Draft, and the Orioles will be at the center of the action. They hold the first overall pick, and Mike Elias maintains that he is still considering five different players at the top.
Because players spend so much time in the minor leagues before ever reaching the Majors, it will be years before we know whether the Orioles are making the right picks. Even so, Elias and company have to get this right to keep the rebuild moving along. We should not be worried given how meticulously the front office scouts and analyzes every prospect, but Elias would need to justify a surprise pick.
The logical choice would be to take OF Druw Jones, the consensus top player, but he is not the only option. Elias has gone underslot the past two drafts and there is a real chance he will again. If he thinks Jones is not much better than someone else, he will cut a deal and save money for later rounds. They are both reasonable decisions, but he can only make one.
4. Increase Team Promotion
This past weekend saw two of the biggest crowds at Camden Yards this season, due mostly to floppy hat night on Friday and Hawaiian shirt night on Saturday. Fans enthusiastically showed up for the fun giveaways, and they were rewarded with two entertaining wins.
Team promotional nights are set before the season, but the Orioles marketing department can still increase advertising to support an exciting team. Fans haven’t had much to cheer for in recent years, and this is their chance to see a new-look roster playing winning baseball. Let’s see more orange billboards in Maryland.
5. Celebrate All-Star Week
All-Star Week is usually not a big deal in Birdland, but it is certainly worth paying attention to this year. The MLB Draft is not the only event over the weekend, as the Futures Game will occur Saturday night. SS/3B Gunnar Henderson will represent the Orioles’ farm system soon after reaching #5 overall in MLB Pipeline’s prospect rankings. There won’t be any Orioles in the Home Run Derby Monday night, but the event is fun to watch regardless of who is swinging for the fences.
On Tuesday, CP Jorge Lopez will represent the big league club in the All-Star Game itself. It is a tremendous honor for everyone, but especially a first timer and his family. In case you haven’t heard, Lopez’s son has a chronic illness and spends a lot of time in hospitals, and he is just as excited about the event as his dad is. Lopez’s teammates are rallying around him, and it is great to see the fans do so, as well.