2018: Record: 47 – 115
2018 Finish: 5th in the American League East, 15th in the American League
Surprises in 2018
Finding the disappointing parts of 2018 in Baltimore will be much easier, but there were some good things that happened.
Renato Núñez was selected off the waiver wire in May and once the third base slot opened up in July, Núñez turned on the jets. After failing to hit above the Mendoza Line in 41 plate appearances in the first half, Núñez began to play like the player the Orioles didn’t know he could be. In the final month of the season, Núñez put together a .313/.341/.550 slash, and a .891 OPS. Not too bad for a guy you picked up on waivers.
The Manny Machado trade brought in 5 players for the O’s, including top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. So that’s something!
Disappointments in 2018
Where to begin?
No team in their right mind would ever think they’d be going 47-115 at the start of the season, but it became very clear early on that the wheels were falling off at Camden Yards.
Chris Davis continues to be a well-documented disappointment in Baltimore. With years remaining on his monstrous deal, the sad reality is that a Crush Davis renaissance doesn’t appear to be in the cards. After turning in the worst season of all-time things can only get better, right? Isn’t that what we also said last year?
On the mound, Dylan Bundy went from having a WHIP in the realm of 1.110 to becoming a human pitching machine. Bundy surrendered 41 long balls in 2018, easily leading the entire league. Second place meat-baller and known batting practice hurler Jame Shields gave up 34. It’s hard to be worse than James Shields, but Dylan Bundy managed it with ease.
Aside from the on-field mishaps and daily degradation, the Orioles suffered the worst fate of all: being the punching bag of the AL East.
The American League East was powerhouse division in 2018 with the Red Sox, Yankees,
Looking Ahead to 2019
There’s no way it can get worse for Baltimore, and history is on their side for a bounce back. The last team to have back to back seasons with a Win Percentage below .300 was in 1941 and 1942 when the Philadelphia Phillies won a combined 85 games in two seasons.
In recent memory, the last team to hit below the .300 mark was the 2003 Detroit Tigers. If any Orioles fans are looking for a reason to not jump ship, know this: three years after their abysmal season, the Tigers went to the World Series. Once you hit rock bottom, the only direction you can go is up.
Another thing to look forward to are the prospects within the Orioles system. The Manny Machado trade brought in 5 players for the O’s, including top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz. The deal that sent Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves also netted two top 30 team prospects. The farm system
The thing to cling to within the farm system is the impending ETAs for all these young players. A solid chunk of the Baltimore farm system will join the club in the next two years, with names like Diaz, Ryan Mountcastle, Austin Hays, and Dillon Tate, all slated to make their big league debuts in the upcoming season.
That being said, if you’re an Orioles fan, you can look to the future knowing it’ll be much better than the past…
I mean, it can’t get much worse than 2018, right?