Baltimore Orioles 2019: A bridge to tomorrow

The Baltimore Orioles led by new manager Brandon Hyde weren’t expected to do much in 2019. According to their 54-108 record, they lived up to expectations. However in my season preview prior to Opening Day I said that success for this team would be to win more games than they did last year.

And that happened – to the tune of seven additional wins. That won’t win you anything. But it also shows the beginnings of progress.

The O’s surprised a lot of people by taking two-of-three on the road both from New York and Toronto in the first two series’ of the year. However reality soon set in, as they dropped seven of their next eight. And that’s pretty much how the season went.

The Birds would drop a string of games, and eventually get a win. Again, this season wasn’t about wins and losses. It was about seeing what the organization had in the first year of a rebuild.

And the process ended up being as painful as advertised. I think a lot of fans say that they understand that rebuilding isn’t an easy process. But in practice it’s even tougher than advertised. As the Orioles found out, it’s not for the faint of heart.

But there were promising signs. Starter John Means was elected to be the Orioles’ All-Star Game representative. Richie Martin, Anthony Santander, Hanser Alberto, and others all showed promise. As did Austin Hays, who received a September call-up. And that may end up parlaying him into a spot on the roster going into Spring Training next year.

Overall, the season itself was forgettable. However a funny thing happened in the final six weeks or so. The players really came together and became a close unit. I don’t necessarily mean that the wins came or anything, just that the players played as a team. And again, going into next year’s spring training, that’s a good sign.

Trey Mancini was voted the Most Valuable Oriole for 2019.. He led the team with 35 home runs on the year. That’s a bit of a surprise that someone on the Orioles would hit that many homers however Mancini has long been seen as a potential weapon on offense for the Orioles. And he showed it in 2019.

The hope is that going into 2020 the team can improve on it’s record once again, by way of the progress made towards the end of 2019. It is possible; I’ve see it done.

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