Orioles’ anemic offense may force Baltimore’s hand with minor league call-ups

Baltimore's offense is absolutely not doing what everyone thought it would to start the 2024 season.
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Baltimore Orioles Toronto Blue Jays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

Coming into the 2024 season, it appeared as though the Baltimore Orioles almost had too many good players on offense. This isn't an actual problem, of course, but there were certainly positions where there were more good players than actual big league roster spots. Teams would kill to have this kind of depth at one position, and Baltimore has it at multiple.

If one were to guess based on this logjam, you would think that the Orioles would have one of the best offenses in the league, right? If you can't field Jackson Holliday, Coby Mayo, Heston Kjerstad, or the other top position prospects on your roster, the lineup must be loaded. Unfortunately, that is not how things have played out this season at all.

Through nine games in 2024, the Orioles' offense ranks just 16th in fWAR (0.8), 18th in wRC+ (91), 29th in OBP (.274), and 22nd in wOBA. Some of that is due to a truly horrific .247 BABIP, indicating some bad luck on balls in play, but these are not the numbers you would expect from a team coming off 101 wins, and it could mean some changes are coming very soon, especially if certain fans get their way.

Could we see a round of big league call-ups from the Orioles soon?

Service time is always going to be a big deciding factor, but it does feel like the end of April may be a hard deadline for Baltimore to let this current group of guys have their chance. Ramon Urías, Cedric Mullins, Austin Hays, and Tony Kemp have not hit in 2024, and both Anthony Santander and James McCann have been hit and miss. When you combine those guys with others like Gunnar Henderson, who haven't quite hit their stride, you can clearly see why the Orioles' offense has struggled so much to start the season.

There is no world where the Orioles jump ship on ALL of those guys, especially early in the season. Santander is valued highly in the Orioles' clubhouse, and we have seen Mullins play at an All-Star level in the past. He's not going anywhere.

However, with Jackson Holliday playing like a man possessed in Triple-A, along with Kjerstad, Coby Mayo, and others, calls are going to continue to grow for changes to happen until Baltimore starts hitting again.

That said, the Orioles may not feel the urgency to promote guys like Holliday and Kjerstad just yet. The season is still very young, and making wholesale changes nine games into the season doesn't seem like the best process. However, if guys like Hays, Mullins, and/or Urías continue to struggle, or if Jorge Mateo's usefulness finally runs out, Baltimore has top prospect replacements waiting at Triple-A right now for an opportunity.

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