The 2022 season for the Baltimore Orioles was one of many surprises.
A team that was projected to lose 100-plus games wound up finishing the year at 83-79, while playing in the toughest division is baseball.
Many factors went into the Orioles’ success in 2022, and as odd as it is to say, the overall offensive production is near the bottom of that list.
In part two of The Baltimore Battery’s 2022 Orioles season recap, we are going to dive into the team’s offensive success as a whole and key in on a few major contributors.
Firstly, the O’s offense was just about middle of the pack in almost every major hitting stat. With a team OPS of .695, the Birds sat at 10th in the American League.
The Orioles also ranked 10th in the AL in RBIs (639) and runs scored (674).
What is surprising to me is the Orioles’ 171 home runs on the year, good for eighth in the AL. That may not sound great, but let’s remember, the Orioles played 81 games with the deepest left field in all of baseball. Their 171 long balls were 16 more than the ninth place Boston Red Sox.
In 2022, the Orioles averaged 4.16 runs per game. The crazy part is that’s only a few ticks higher than their average in 2021, yet their win improvement was over 30 games.
This is in large part to the vastly improved pitching staff. Another factor that played into that is the rise of clutch hitting throughout the O’s lineup, something that rarely occurred in 2021.
An interesting note about this Orioles offense was their ability to win ball games in the late innings. The O’s had 36 comeback victories, a total that is well over half of their win total from 2021 overall.
The average runs scored in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings were all higher than their total runs scored per game. In the eighth inning alone, the O’s scored 86 runs, good for their second most productive inning throughout the year, with the first being the third inning, where the Birds scored a total of 101 runs.
Now, let’s take a look at a few key contributors from the 2022 Orioles offense.
The most productive Oriole bat, in my opinion, and this may be a hot take, was Anthony Santander.
Santander had a career-year, and he did it just in time to try to get a new contract. Santander led all switch-hitters in home runs with 33, which was also good for the home run lead for the O’s in general.
He also led the team in RBIs (85), was second on the team in OPS+ at 117 and had a career-high 55 walks. The biggest stat for me is Santander’s .455 slugging percentage, which also led the team.
The next contributor is the one everyone else will say was the best, and that is Adley Rutschman.
We all know what Adley can do and how well he showed it in is first 113 games. It all started with a triple to the right field against the Rays at home for his first big league hit.
The rookie catcher was tied for the Oriole lead in doubles (35), which is also good for the record number of doubles for an Orioles rookie, surpassing the great Cal Ripken Jr.
His batting eye was absolutely phenomenal, as the kid drew 65 walks to just 86 strikeouts. Those walks led to a fantastic .362 OBP as a rookie, as well as putting him on base enough to come in third in runs scored on the team with 70.
Adley netted just over 100 hits, again, in 113 games, impressive for a rookie catcher. He held the highest OPS and OPS+, finishing at .806 and 128, respectively, and was the only Oriole to finish with an OPS of over .800.
Jorge Mateo was an absolute surprise on the defensive side at shortstop, but he had a productive full season with the O’s in 2022.
He was undeniably the worst Gold Glove snub of recent memory. However, let’s focus on his offense.
It may seem like his bat was far off from his glove, but that truly just wasn’t the case. If we look at July through the end of the season, Mateo was a steal all around.
He netted an OPS of .707 from July on, hitting 15 of his 25 doubles on the season in the second half. Along with the extra base power, Mateo struck out significantly less in the last three months compared to the first, with 82 in April through June and 46 from July on.
Maybe the most dangerous weapon that Mateo possesses is his base stealing ability, as he came in third in MLB with 35, which topped the American League.
Cedric Mullins seemed to have a down year compared to last. However, that’s really not true.
He didn’t have another 30/30 season, which is incredibly difficult to accomplish two years in a row, but it was still productive. Mullins had more RBIs in 2022, with 64, and hit .284 with a .786 OPS with RISP, proving to be one of the more clutch guys on the team.
He was also dangerous on the base paths, finishing second in the American League in stolen bases with 34, only behind his teammate Jorge Mateo for the league-lead.
There were many other contributors to the offense, such as Ramón Urías, who had his first 100-hit season and had a career-high in home runs. Austin Hays hit for the cycle in six innings, and Terrin Vavra was an on-base machine in his first major league experience.
Next year will be an extremely exciting time for the Orioles offensively. Young stars like Rutschman and Henderson will continue to improve and impress, and we can only hope a quality free agent bat may be signed this coming offseason.
Who was your favorite Oriole offensive contributor this season? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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