The Baltimore Orioles had an incredible regular season. Building off a strong 2022, the Orioles went the whole season without being swept and rolled over almost everyone in their path as they clinched the top seed in the AL ahead of the playoffs, the first time they made the playoffs since 2016.
As we all prepare for a deep October run from the Birds, there is a lot to look back on that our young squad accomplished. From personal awards to team accolades, the O's did it all this year.
Saturday's ALDS game one will come at a rate both too fast and not fast enough as Brandon Hyde gets the team into shape for what could prove to be a historic postseason. Remember, it took 162 games to get here.
Six big things Baltimore did in the 2023 regular season
Number 1: Four All-Stars
The late addition of Austin Hays to this year's All-Star Game gave the Birds four representatives in Seattle. That is the most Baltimore has sent since 2016, when five Orioles made the trip. Adley Rutschman, Yennier Cano, Felix Bautista and Hays were all first-time All-Stars.
They had a mixed bag of performances out West, but Rutschman and Cano in particular shined; giving the MLB a taste of the carnage Birdland was about to release on the rest of the league.
Number 2: Gunnar Henderson likely winning Rookie of the Year
Okay, it has not happened yet, but Henderson is seemingly a lock for this year's ROY award. He would be the first Baltimore player since pitcher Gregg Olson to claim the title back in 1989. Hitting 25+ home runs, 25+ doubles, double-digit steals and a slightly above .970 fielding percentage, the youngster has made himself an integral part of this team.
His cannon of an arm on the left side of the infield gives him the ability to gun down runners at first or at home. Henderson will be one of the leaders of this developing squad for years to come.
Number 3: First AL East crown since 2014
It has been almost ten years since the Birds last topped the American League East, and what a year it was to do it. Tampa Bay was right on their tails. Toronto put in an impressive winning record. The Yankees, despite underperforming their payroll, had strong stretches this season.
Even Boston had a respectable year which saw them post a winning record against teams with a losing record and were less than 10 games under .500 when facing teams with a winning record. Not only did the Orioles win their division, but they also won the best division in the American League.
Numer 4: Best record in the American League
Having the best record in your half of the playoff bracket is historic no matter what. Hyde's ballclub was shaky against NL opponents, especially the higher-caliber ones, but owned the American League in 2023.
It is the first time Baltimore has ended the regular season with the most wins among AL squads since 1997. A packed OPACY will be where the road to the World Series in the AL runs through thanks to a stellar year-long performance.
Number 5: Kyle Bradish's pitching
The Oriole ace will likely lose out on the American League Cy Young award, but that does not detract from the consistency he has displayed with the club this year. His statistics are historic for Birdland pitchers.
Mike Mussina was the last Orioles pitcher to put up a year like this. Bradish's 2.83 ERA tops all Baltimore pitchers since Musina's 2.54 in 1992. Additionally, the 27-year-old's 1.05 WHIP was good for third in the league and the best for an Oriole since Mussina's 1995 season.
Number 6: Over 100 wins
Brandon Hyde led the O's to their highest win tally in decades. 1979 was the last campaign Baltimore won over 100 games, and that year they made it to the World Series, where they ultimately lost a close series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Two years ago, the team endured a horrid 110-loss season. It has been a drastic turnaround for the ballclub which, now thanks to Norfolk's series championship, can officially say the program is on the track to becoming a powerhouse for years.