Now a little over two weeks into the start of this once in a lifetime 2020 MLB season, it finally feels like baseball season.
The Yankees lead the A.L. East, the Dodgers run differential is almost uncountable, and the Orioles are in playoff contention. Yes, you read that right!
With so many uncertainties and misfortunes cursing the Orioles leading into this season, one thing was for sure; the Orioles would be bottom of the pack again.
Now two weeks into the season, this prediction has yet to come true, and it is due to many pieces of the Orioles rebuild finding their stride in the major leagues.
Pitching is the most important thing in baseball. Without good pitching, a great team can never be. For the Orioles so far in 2020, pitching has been a strong suit. Minus a shaky first start from John Means, the Orioles have held their own against a couple of very good lineups.
Alex Cobb has been fantastic so far, finally living up to his monster 4-year, $57 million contract he signed before the 2018 season. Dubbed “The Thing”, Cobb’s famous split finger changeup has stifled lineups over his last three starts.
With a record of 1-1 with a 2.51 ERA, Cobb is showing the younger arms in the Orioles organization what is possible, whether he is part of the future or not. Oh, he also has more strikeouts than innings pitched so far. Good start.
Another beauty to the eyes of Oriole fans is the production at the plate. A few long term hopefuls in Hanser Alberto, Rio Ruiz, and Anthony Santander have really provided some good offense so far in 2020, while also receiving some help from newer faces like José Iglesias.
Rio Ruiz started out the season showcasing some new found power, smashing three home runs as his first three hits this season. In the offseason, Rio worked with a private hitting coach appointed by the Orioles, and it is paying off.
Hanser Alberto continues to embarrass opposing pitching, netting a .326 BA and a couple of home runs.
José Iglesias was signed by the Orioles in the offseason before 2020, and he has stolen the hearts of Oriole fans already. Sidelined at the moment with a quad injury, Iglesias was red hot to start the season, with a .458 BA in 24 at-bats so far.
This might not sound like too much, but with the loss of Trey Mancini, the extra offense picks up the slack.
Defensively, the Orioles young core has provided a lot of security in the field. Austin Hays as an everyday center fielder is a blessing to an outfield that has been uncertain the last few years, with help from Rio Ruiz becoming a very solid third baseman.
Out of the bullpen for the Orioles have been a couple new names that have been solid. Travis Lakins has thrown 6.2 innings of relief, tossing eight strikeouts. Another name is Cole Sulser, who has recorded three saves in the same amount of opportunities.
With outfielder DJ Stewart being optioned after Wednesday’s doubleheader, we shall soon see a new face on the major league roster, although there is no word on who that player is yet.
In other news, rosters must be cut to 28 men today and will remain at that for the rest of the season and the playoffs.
What do you think of the Orioles’ 2020 performance so far? Let us know in the comments below, and make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!