How Well Do You Know Your Orioles?

Zachary BallAnalyst IJuly 14, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 19:  Brad Bergesen #64 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the New York Yankees on May 19, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  The Yankees defeated the Orioles 9-1.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Hopefully, you all remember the classic Sportscenter segment that always aired near the end of the show. It was called "Did You Know." It featured some statistical anomaly that occurred during the day or sometimes took notice of some historical achievement. Well, here's my All-Star version, with a bias towards the Orioles. These "did you know" questions cover the big league club, as well as their minor league affiliates. Here goes!

#1. Did you know the last Oriole rookie to lead the team in most statistical categories at the All-Star break was Travis Driskill in 2002? In eight starts before the break, Driskill posted a 6-1 record with an ERA just over four (4.01). Brad Bergesen has easily been the team's most effective starter so far, posting a 6-3 record with a 3.54 ERA. For all of those hoping Bergesen will have just as special a second half, don't look to Driskill's post break splits. After a rookie of the year caliber first half, he went 2-7 in 16 starts with a 5.75 ERA. The year before Driskill posted stellar first half numbers, rookie Josh Towers did the same. He went 6-3 with a 2.22 ERA before the break, only to go 2-7 with a dreadful 6.45 ERA after.

#2. Did you know that the only Oriole farmhand to win multiple league hitter of the week honors is Frederick Keys outfielder Robbie Widlansky? Wid-who? That's right. In an organization that has big names like Billy Rowell, Brandon Waring, Nolan Reimold and steady performers like Ronnie Welty, Matt Angle, Pedro Florimon and Xavier Avery, Widlansky has been the only one to take home that honor more than once. The 24 year old Widlansky has played in 36 games this season, hitting .388 with two home runs and 24 RBI. He did hit .395 in the month of June, best in the Carolina League, and is hitting .385 through 10 games in June. Another number to watch for Widlansky: he is hitting close to .500 (.443) with runners on base. Let's keep an eye on this guy.

#3. Did you know that left-handed pitcher Brian Matusz is the only pitcher to win pitcher of the week honors in two different leagues? The 2008 first-round pick won the award in the Carolina League in the period from May 25-31, and won the equivalent in the Eastern League this past week (July 6-12). What can we read into this? Matusz is good, just as we all knew. 

#4. Did you know that the Orioles have only 43 stolen bases so far this season? That puts them on pace for 79 base swipes. AKA, their lowest total since 1997, when they swiped a league low 63 bases. Mind you, that Davey Johnson managed squad featured eight regulars who swatted at least 10 home runs, led by Raffy Palmeiro's 38, and finished fifth in the Majors in the category. The leading base-stealer that season was Brady Anderson with 18. Eighteen is also the same number of steals that Brian Roberts paces the O's with this season. Unlike that team, this O's team isn't knocking out home runs at a league leading pace (15th), making their shortfall in steals seem more impactful. 

#5. Did you know that combined with Brian Matusz, the player from the 2008 MLB Draft that has reached the highest affiliate is...Brian Conley? Who? Conley, an outfielder, was taken in the 17th round (pick 506) and despite playing most of his season at Delmarva, took part in four games for the AA Baysox, the team Matusz now pitches for. In seven at-bats Conley only notched one hit but did score a run. 

#6. Did you know that if Luke Scott would have had the same amount of at-bats as league HR king Albert Pujols and had kept his same pace, he would have 23 home runs on the season? That number would have placed him 5th in the Majors, and probably would have secured Scott a spot on the All-Star team. Instead, Scott will have to settle for setting a probably career high in home runs, RBI and most likely batting average.

#7. Did you know that if Nick Markakis plays the same number of games for his career that Hall of Famer Al Kaline did, he should come out ahead of Kaline in every major offensive category except home runs? Why Kaline? Well, first off, a respected journalist recently compared "Nick the Stick" to the Hall of Famer because of his steady, non-flashy play. And second, because Kaline was born in Baltimore. 

Kaline played in 2834 games over 22 seasons. If Markakis somehow manages to hold on that long, he will finish with an average (.298) just a tick over Kaline's (.297). Markakis would get the edge in hits (3167-3007), runs scored (1680-1622), runs batted in (1629-1583), and stolen bases (163-137). He would also overrun Kaline in doubles (733 to 498). Provided Markakis grows into his power, and avoids outages like his recent draught, he should top Kaline's 399 home runs. In my book, that would make Markakis a sure-fire Hall of Famer.

#8. Did you know that Adam Jones became the youngest Oriole to be named to the All-Star team since Mike Mussina rode a 9-3 record, a 2.40 ERA and three complete games to his first mid-season classic? Mussina and Jones were both 23 at the time of their nomination, but Mussina gets the edge because of his December birthday. Jones also became the youngest outfielder from Baltimore to ever receive the honor. Just in case you were wondering, Adam is on pace for 24 home runs, 94 RBI, 110 runs scored, and a .303 average.

#9. Did you know that despite hitting a measly .217 in 83 at-bats with the Norfolk Tides of the AAA International League, Brandon Snyder is still hitting .306 on the season and is on pace to set career highs in every offensive category? A .217 average surely puts a damper on the .343 he hit at AA Bowie, but I'm sure Snyder won't complain about being one step closer to the Majors. He is already only three homers shy of a career high and is only short 21 RBI, 10 doubles, 13 walks, and 51 base hits of setting marks in those. 

#10. Did you know that the Orioles have FOURTEEN minor league pitchers on pace for double digit wins? Those starters already close include: Brian Matusz (8-2), Jake Arrieta (8-6), Chris Tillman (7-5), David Pauley (7-6), and Troy Patton (7-5).

Those that need a few more quality starts to get them close: Tim Bascom (6-7) and Nate Nery (6-3).

And, those who need big halves to finish with double digits: Zachary Britton (5-3), Pedro Beato (5-5), and Ryan O'Shea (5-5).

That doesn't even include a few relievers who could make a run at 10: Andy Mitchell (7-2), Chris Waters (7-3), Fredy Deza (6-3), and Eddie Gamboa (6-0). 

#11. Did you know that I'm out of "Did You Knows?"