The Baltimore Orioles Are NOT For Real

Updated: May 9, 2012

Baseball is a game of consistency. Over the course of a  grueling 162 game season, good players prove that they are good, bad players show that they are bad and teams do the same. Occasionally, you’ll have a player like Adam Dunn have an uncharacteristically terrible year like he did in 2011 or someone come from no where to have a great season but for the most part, Albert Pujols will get to his normal numbers by season’s end, despite any sort of slow start. Often times, guys like Albert will get just as hot in June as they are cold now and by September, all will be right with the world.  The same principle applies for the Baltimore Orioles. Frankly, they are the 5th best team in an excellent division and even though they have been playing great so far, everything will normalize over the course of the year and the O’s will end up at the bottom of the standings just as everyone predicted. 

Robert Andino is batting .306 despite having a career average right around .250. Adam Jones is on pace to hit 43 homers despite his previous career high of 25. Jason Hammel currently has an ERA of 2.09. His previous career best over the course of a season is 4.33. Wei-Yin Chen, a rookie, is 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA through his first career 29.2 innings and, although he has looked great, especially against the Angels a couple weeks ago, once the league has seen him a bit more and there are thorough scouting reports, I’d be willing to say that his numbers will come back down to earth. That’s the story with the entire Orioles team right now, they have a bunch of players playing to the peak of their abilities. In the case of some like Brian Matusz, they are finally playing up to their potential, others, like Andino, are clearly exceeding it. Matt Weiters has emerged as one of the best catchers in baseball, something the O’s have been waiting for him to prove for years. He currently has a .588 slugging percentage, easily a career best and a full 138 points over what he posted in his All-Star season last year. Problem is, you can’t expect peak performance from such a large group of players all season long. Career number aren’t just made up, they are a reflection of how good a major leaguer has been while he’s played the game. While some will now and again have breakout seasons that change the course of their careers (a la Jose Bautista, and, the Orioles hope, Matusz and Jones) most players will play in line with the way they have proved to be able.

There is some precedent for teams coming from nowhere to have great seasons. Most recently, the 2010 San Diego Padres surprised the baseball world with 90 wins and a very narrow 2nd place finish in the NL West. If it wasn’t for an insanely hot streak by the San Francisco Giants (the team that eventually won the World Series),the Padres would have won the division. There are many differences between that team and this Orioles team. First and foremost, the level of competition. The Padres beat out and beat up on the Rockies, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks, three very weak teams. By contrast, the Orioles have to play the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, three of the strongest teams in the MLB. Even if you think that those teams aren’t as good as many thought they were, and there is very good evidence for that, they are still above average teams with major resources (for the most part) that will do everything they can to win as many games as possible. At the very least, two of those three teams will win 90 games, and the O’s would have to be better even than that.

Baltimore has played phenomenal baseball so far this season. Nothing should be taken away from for doing that. They have played and beaten some of the major’s best already. But, over the course of a full season, things have a tendency to get back to normal. It is rare that we see a surprise team do what the Orioles are trying to accomplish this season. The other teams in the AL East are too good and many Os are playing well above their demonstrated abilities for this fun ride to sustain itself. Enjoy it while it lasts, Orioles fans, because it won’t be here for long.

-Max Frankel


  1. luis ares

    May 9, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    hope ur are wrong like always, then u would say again ” i retrack my statement from before, once again i have been proven wrong…. wow is been a while since i have read your lame reports. first time reading in while and nothing has change . in one way u are right everything returns to normal, just like this lame reports ……. again.

  2. Jeremy

    May 9, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Interesting you make no mention of the 3-4 guys in our lineup who have been batting in the 100s all season, and playing well BELOW their career Averages. mark Reynolds, jj hardy, nick markakis, Wilson betemit…. I guess they will just continue to struggle all year, and the guys excelling, will meet them there…is that your theory… Or do u just write the easy article without thoroughly doing your homework?

  3. Joe L.

    May 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Guys I understand your frustration over the article, but at the same time lets be real. The Orioles have the best catcher in the AL East, maybe even all of baseball in Matt Weiters. But name me another position where you’d take an Orioles player over a Yankee or Red Sox player. The Red Sox and Yankees kill the Orioles in hitting. The Rays have the best pitching staff. Its only a matter of time before the teams with the best players start winning. I love what the Orioles have done so far this year. They’re fun to watch. Adam Jones and Matt Weiters are great players to watch, but even those two great players don’t compare to a Cano/Granderson combo or a Gonzalez/Pedroia combo. I see the Orioles just beating Toronto for the 4th spot in the AL East, but I can’t see them finishing above the Yanks, Sox, or Rays.

    • Charles Kelly

      May 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      The standings speak the truth, no matter what you think!. It is a long season, but
      today we are in first place!
      You are basing your opinions on past years results. Times change, face it!
      Orioles are a team to deal with, like it or not!

  4. Jeremy

    May 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    First I’d all joe, it’s a collective unit that wins games, not a great “combo.”. Have u looked at the orioles roster? Jones, wieters, hardy, Reynolds, Davis, and possibly markakis should all hit 20-30 homers this season. Yeah, it will never equal the Yankees roster, bet one money can buy. Lucky for us there is more to baseball than just batting. NO team can match the yanks lineup, yet they’ve won ONE ring the last 12 years. There’s a little thing called pitching that u left out of your brilliant
    Observation. That is how we r winning, and how we will continue to win. If the pitching stays on point and healthy that is…

  5. Joe L.

    May 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Dear Jeremy,

    For someone who claims to do his homework, you sure have a lot of spelling mistakes. Also, I’m not quite sure about your level of reading comprehension. I did mention in my previous post that the Rays had the best pitching staff in the AL East. Your claim that 6 guys in the Orioles lineup will have 20-30 homeruns this year is ludicrous. Do you really believe that or did you get a little carried away? I agree with you that a “collective unit” wins games. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays all have much better “collective units” than the Orioles.

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