A memorable year for the Orioles was highlighted by bit hits and stellar pitching. However, all-star caliber fielding was just an important to the Orioles' success. Here are the five best defenders the Orioles had in 2023.
These 5 Orioles were the best fielders in 2023
Baltimore had no shortage of stars on their roster. Camden Yards saw brilliant plays in the field which ignited their crusade to the playoffs. Three Gold Glove nominees highlight the best of Brandon Hyde's talent-stacked roster.
Fielding percentage is not the only factor in determining a fielder's skill. Arm strength and accuracy are what completes the putout and several O's performed well in both crucial categories of being a major league player.
1. Austin Hays
A Gold Glove nominee for left field, Hays did not commit a single error in 2023. 149 games and nearly 400 innings played was not enough to see #21 falter. His tracking ability and speed made hitting the ball his way a guaranteed out.
Over the 260 opportunities the 28-year-old had, Hays recorded 256 putouts and four assists. Playing more innings than any other Oriole, Birdland will hope to see their left fielder back in the starting lineup for another playoff run in 2024.
2. Anthony Santander
He does more than just crush home runs. Santander made only one error in right field. A strong arm contributed eight assists and five double-plays from an unlikely position. 263 putouts also led all outfielders.
Santander did not take the field as much as his left-field counterpart, but he has been developing one skill that makes them similar nightmares to hit towards. Not known for stealing bases, the right fielder was 5-6 on attempts this year and tracked the ball all over the outfield.
3. Gunnar Henderson
The projected American League Rookie of the Year was a menace on the left side of the infield. Due to his work at shortstop and third base, there were some errors that brought his fielding percentage down, but nothing that took away from his overall campaign.
Henderson recorded 48 double plays. He led the team with 274 assists. His arm was just as much if not more feared than his glove. The youngster gunned down runners from the outfield and foul territory if they dared to try and tag on him.
4. Ryan Mountcastle
Another Gold Glove nominee, Mountcastle only featured in 90 games this year thanks to a few stints on the injured list. His stats were still stellar. A .997 fielding percentage was highlighted by a very respectable two errors. 647 putouts also ranked him second on the squad.
Mountcastle's 67 assists were impressive for a first baseman. His dependable playing style contributed to his team-leading involvement of 79 double plays. The other Ryan at first base, O'Hearn, likewise completed a solid year in the field.
5. Adley Rutschman
The young catcher also benefitted from a strong backup in James McCann, but Rutschman's campaign behind the plate was insane. As expected, he led the team with a staggering 932 putouts thanks to his ability at keeping the ball in front of him.
Rutschman is the third and final Gold Glove nominee from Baltimore. He made a total of six errors following thousands of pitches being thrown at him and the own throws he made to record putouts. A star at a young age, the Birdland star has time to get even better.