Baltimore Orioles Posting the Hottest and Coldest Starts to 2013
The Baltimore Orioles are now 12 games into the season and their record currently stands at 6-6. Baltimore has seen some positive things from their offense and pitching staff early this season, but not everybody has gotten off to a strong start.
Both hitters and pitcher alike still have plenty of time to find their groove, with 150 games still remaining this season.
Let's take a look at some of the hottest and coldest starts for Orioles players this season.
10. Ryan Flaherty
Since the injury to Brian Roberts happened in the opening series against Tampa Bay, Ryan Flaherty and Alexi Casilla have both shared time at second base. Casilla hasn't posted the best numbers this season, but when comparing them to Flaherty's stats, you have to wonder why they even split time.
No hitter on the Orioles' roster has seen 20 or more at-bats and performed worse at the plate than Flaherty. On the year, Flaherty is hitting an embarrassing .083, registering just two hits in 24 plate appearances.
Flaherty's biggest contribution to the Orioles came in Baltimore's second game of the Boston series, where he recorded a two-out single to keep the Bird's hopes alive in the ninth inning. The Orioles would go on to win that game, 8-5, thanks to Flaherty's clutch hit.
While credit should still be given to Flaherty for that game in Boston, you can't deny his struggles at the plate. Hopefully, Flaherty will come around and find himself able to become an effective hitter for the Orioles. If not, fans will have to hope Buck Showalter comes around and sits Flaherty for Casilla.
9. Tommy Hunter
While the Orioles have had several strong performances out of their bullpen this season, Tommy Hunter has yet to join that fold. This season, Hunter has pitched only 4.2 innings for the Birds, but his 5.79 ERA and the fact that he has given up three home runs has limited his appearances.
Hunter is no stranger to the long ball, having given up 32 home runs last season in 32 games played. The Orioles thought they had found the answer for Hunter as an effective reliever. In September of last season (per Baseball-Reference.com), Hunter was phenomenal out of the bullpen.
During that time, Hunter pitched 12.2 innings over 10 games for the Orioles, striking out 12 and walking only two batters while posting a 0.71 ERA. The fact that Hunter has been unable to pick up from where he left off last season could be worrisome to Orioles fans.
Hunter will likely be given time to try to improve on his early-season performances. If Hunter is unable to produce for the Orioles, he could find himself demoted or traded sometime during the season.
8. J.J. Hardy
Since the start of the season, it has been my hope that Hardy would bounce back to his 2011 form. So far, Hardy has yet to do so.
Hardy has struggled at the plate for the Orioles this season, hitting just .217 with an on-base percentage of .265. The main reason Hardy is struggling could be attributed to his strikeouts this season. In 12 games, Hardy has struck out 10 times, the second-most of any player on the Orioles' roster.
Last season, Hardy struck out 106 times in 158 games. At the rate he is going right now, Hardy is on pace to strike out 135 over the course of the season. Expect Hardy to come around and put more balls in play as the season progresses.
Hardy won't be in any danger of losing his job anytime soon, given that he is still a great defensive option at shortstop. Hardy finding his swing will be a tremendous help to an already productive Orioles offense. He still possesses the power to hit 30 homers this season to be a strong middle-of-the-order hitter once he comes around.
7. Matt Wieters
Matt Wieters finds himself ahead of J.J Hardy on this list for one reason, his on-base percentage. While Wieters is hitting only .200 this year, his .304 on-base percentage still makes him a relatively productive player at the plate for the Birds.
Wieters is still waiting for his power to come out of his bat this season. Wieters has hit only one home run for the Orioles on the year and has just one double to show out of his eight hits in 2013.
Out of all the Orioles who are struggling at the plate this season, Wieters is the one who I most expect to bounce back. He only hit .249 last season and still managed to hit 23 home runs while posting 83 RBI.
Despite his low average last season, Wieters has shown that he is capable of producing, so his slow start shouldn't be too much of a concern for the Orioles.
6. Nolan Reimold
Nolan Reimold has slowly been coming around for the Orioles as of late. The young outfielder has hit safely in three of his last four games (per Baseball-Reference.com), which is hopefully a sign that he will continue to get hotter.
This year Reimold has hit .233 for the Birds, but is still finding ways to reach base, posting a .324 on-base percentage this season. Reimold has only seven hits on the season, including one home run. Despite the lone homer, Reimold has no other extra base hits to show for himself, but the power is there.
You might remember that in just 16 games last season, Reimold hit for extra bases in 11 of his 21 hits. It is only a matter of time until Reimold begins to put his power on display in 2013, but the Orioles will have to bare with him until then.
The ideal situation would be for Reimold to elevate his average and power numbers, allowing the Orioles to permanently lock him in as the team's every-day designated hitter. Until that happens, expect Reimold to continue to struggle, but hope that the struggles won't last long.
5. Nate McLouth
Through 10 games, McLouth has hit .263 for the Orioles while posting a .349 on-base percentage. McLouth has a total of 10 hits on the year, to go along with four walks. In addition to his efficient hitting numbers, McLouth has also stolen two bases for the Orioles and has yet to be caught stealing.
McLouth has the chance to be one of the most productive players for the Orioles this season. While he may not post the most stellar numbers, it's his ability as a catalyst that makes him so valuable. McLouth has the ability to hit anywhere in the lineup should they need him to fill a spot.
McLouth's production at the plate and in the field will give the Orioles one less thing to worry about if they can regularly put him in their lineup.
4. Jim Johnson
Jim Johnson has made six appearances for the Orioles on the young season and appears to be every bit as strong as he was last season (per Baseball-Reference.com).
Johnson has yet to give up an earned run this season and has converted on all five of his save opportunities. In addition to those numbers, hitters are only hitting .190 on the year against him. The lone blemish on Johnson's record, so far, is his one loss he suffered in a game against the Minnesota Twins.
While Johnson was tagged with the loss, the loss was not entirely his fault. An error in the ninth inning by first baseman Chris Davis allowed the Twins the baserunner who would eventually score to give the Twins the win.
The Orioles have had their share of good and bad performances out of the bullpen this season. Johnson's consistency gives Baltimore one less thing to worry about in the bullpen, and all but secures a Baltimore win anytime he takes the mound.
3. Nick Markakis
Nick Markakis continues to establish himself as one of the best hitters on the Orioles' roster. Markakis has gotten off to yet another hot start and does not appear to be hampered by the injury that kept him out of the playoffs last season.
Markakis has seen time as a leadoff hitter and a hitter out of the three hole in 2013 (per Baseball-Reference.com). Markakis is hitting .294 for the Orioles right now and is second on the team in hits behind Adam Jones with 15.
When healthy, Markakis has been a staple in the Orioles' lineup. A lifetime .295 hitter with 119 home runs in eight major league seasons, there is no doubt that Markakis' bat is one of the most valued in Baltimore's lineup.
Markakis' hot hitting has played a huge role in the Orioles' offensive success this season and will hopefully continue throughout the rest of the year.
2. Adam Jones
As expected, Adam Jones has been one of the most productive hitters for the Orioles this young season (per Baseball-Reference.com). Jones is hitting a remarkable .412 on the season and leads all Orioles in hits (21).
Jones is also leading Baltimore in runs scored (12) and has the most doubles on the team with five. Jones' numbers speak for themselves, and the Orioles will need them to continue for their team to be successful.
The good news for Baltimore is Jones' numbers should continue if he stays healthy. Jones has missed only 11 games in the last two seasons with the Orioles and played in all 162 last season.
With his health not appearing to be any concern at this point in his young career, Jones should be considered a likely candidate to turn in another full season. With another full season likely on the horizon for Jones, look for him to improve on last year's career-high numbers this season.
1. Chris Davis
Is there any doubt that Chris Davis would head this list? Davis has been hitting at a ridiculous clip this season. After 12 games Davis is hitting .366 and leads the Orioles with six home runs, 19 RBI and has been walked seven times.
Through his first five games Davis posted remarkable numbers at the plate. During that span, Davis registered 10 hits and 17 RBI while hitting .556 for the Birds.
Davis played a key role in Baltimore's series against the Red Sox. In the Orioles' two wins in Boston, Davis reached base four times, hitting a homer for the Orioles in each of those games. Just how big has Davis' bat been for the Orioles?
In the six games the Orioles have won, Davis has registered a home run in five of those games. His RBI production in Orioles' wins has also been a big factor for the Orioles in their wins. Davis has a combined 14 RBI in the Orioles six wins, while only driving in five runs over their six losses.
Davis will likely see his bat cool down as the season progresses. That being said, don't be surprised to see the first baseman, who has come to be known as "Crush" Davis, continue to be productive.
All stats on this slide are courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.
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