The Orioles worked for years on a tedious rebuild, and Baltimore fans saw the fruits of that labor last year. So far, the Orioles have looked to take the next step, as several key pieces have had strong seasons for a team poised to break a playoff drought.
Baltimore has failed to make it to the postseason since 2016, but that may change this season. The O’s entered the All-Star break with a 54-35 record and in the top AL Wild Card spot.
The Orioles offense has been fine by and large. Baltimore entered the day on July 9 with the 12th-best team OPS (.739) and the ninth-most runs scored (427). Adley Rutschman, Cedric Mullins, and Anthony Santander have powered the offense, but let’s not forget about Austin Hays.
The 27-year-old Hays hit .314 with nine home runs and 36 RBI for the O’s in the first half and is set to play in the 2023 MLB All-Star Game in Seattle. Hays is a bit underrated, as he doesn’t have elite power.
However, his ability to put barrel on ball and make contact is incredible and an asset for a young Orioles team.
As far as the O’s pitching staff is concerned, the Orioles have received strong results from control artist Tyler Wells and Kyle Bradish, both of whom have ERA figures below 3.40. And, Baltimore has two sensational weapons out of the pen in Felix Bautista and Yennier Cano.
While the Orioles owned the 16th-best ERA (4.17) as of July 9, Baltimore’s opponent’s batting average (.253 – 23th) and Hard Hit% (41.9 – t-28th) numbers are not great.
The Orioles have received mixed results from the likes of Kyle Gibson and Dean Kremer, both of whom have consistently given up hard contact. Baltimore has yet to receive great results from prospect Grayson Rodriguez and Cole Irvin, the latter of whom was acquired from the A’s this past offseason.
Baltimore’s time has arrived, but that doesn’t mean the job is done. In the interim, the O’s should look to add a starter or two over the coming weeks to shore up its rotation. However, what — in a hypothetical scenario — would the Orioles be willing to give up in a trade for either a rental or an arm with control?
Baltimore has the bats and the bullpen to succeed, but questions linger as to whether the Orioles have the pieces in the rotation to do damage in the MLB Playoffs.