The Baltimore Orioles have been through these last few seasons, but 2020 wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The crew at Camden Yards showed flashes of the future and even inspired some hope for a swifter turnaround than expected. All things considered, the shortened 2020 season gave the Orioles an opportunity to check-in with their rebuild and see what they’re at.
The Baltimore Orioles
2020: Record: 25 – 35
2020 Finish: 4th in the AL East, 12th in the American League
Surprises in 2020
Two big surprises came out of the 2020 season for Baltimore, with one of them being more celebrated than the other.
José Iglesias should not have had the season he did for the O’s. No way. The veteran infielder who has been a consistent hitter his entire career was coming off a great season with the Cincinnati Reds. After the Detroit Tigers parted ways with Iglesias, the Reds took a chance and got a solid year out of him. After the Red let him go, the Orioles rolled the dice too.
What the Orioles got for one-tenth of Chris Davis‘s 2020 salary was a .373/.400/.556 slashline, with a .956 OPS, and a team leading 17 doubles over two-thirds of the season. That’s right, José Iglesias led the team in doubles, and was second in hits, but only played in 39 games last season. That’s huge.
And the Orioles made the smart move of trading him to the Angels for two low-level prospects. That’s how you rebuild a team right there! Strike while the iron is hot and move experience for youth!
A surprise from 2020 that’s sticking around for a while is Hanser Alberto. The player who led the Orioles in hits this season, did so after a solid rookie season in 2019. So why is this a surprise? Because in reality, this should have been a tough year for Alberto, who hit over .300 the previous year.
Instead of a bottoming out, like we’ve seen from other rookies, Alberto just kept on trucking. That’s good for the future and a great sign that he’s only going to get better from here on out.
Disappointments in 2020
John Means had a rocky, and yet expectably up-and-down 2020. If you look at his numbers from 2020, it’s a rollercoaster ride. 4.53 ERA, 0.989 WHIP, 8.7 k/9, 2.3 HR/9, 2-4 record, 7 total walks. It’s a little bit all over the place. Means had a great rookie season, finishing the season as the Rookie of the Year Runner-Up. This sophomore effort was a bit more disjointed than O’s fans and the front office might have hoped. But depending on how you look at his season, these numbers could mean anything at this point.
And finally, it’s less of a disappointment, but more of a “we’re rooting for you, kid,” when it comes to Tre Mancini.
Mancini was diagnosed with Stage 3 Colon Cancer earlier this year when his bloodwork showed some concerningly low iron levels. After some tests the doctors discovered a malignant tumor in his colon. Surgery was scheduled and then chemo therapy started, and Tre Mancini was out of baseball for the forseeable future.
Thankfully, Mancini has great care, a smart team of doctors and a support system within his family, giving him a shot at beating this. It’s always sad when a player is forced to leave the game due to cancer or illness, but we’re rooting for Tre’s successful recovery and return to the game.
Also, Chris Davis. The biggest Orioles disappointment yet again. That’s it. That’s all I’m going to say.
Looking Ahead to 2021
There’s a lot to like about the future of this Orioles team, and we haven’t even seen the full power of their farm system yet. That should give Orioles fans something to cheer about.
This season we saw bits and pieces of Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays, both of whom had terrific seasons. But there’s still much more to come, especially the anticipated debuts of DL Hall, Yusniel Diaz, and the #2 prospect in all of baseball, Adley Rutchsman.
Things are about to get interesting in Baltimore. Get ready.
Projected 2021 Finish: 75-87, 4th in the AL East
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