Brian Matusz and Ubaldo Jimenez aside, not many people within the Orioles organization in recent years have received as much criticism as Dan Duquette has – rightly or wrongly.
When Matt Wieters hit free agency at the end of the 2016 season, many within Baltimore had hoped that the four time All-Star would ink a new deal with the Orioles – seeing him return to duties behind the dish at Camden Yards in 2017 and beyond.
At 13-6, there’s certainly no need to worry about how the Orioles are travelling in the early stages of the 2017 season, however, the way in which they are winning does have a few fans slightly nervous.
Every year, MLB’s so-called experts discount Buck Showalter’s team, predicting them to finish near the bottom of the AL East standings with a win total less than 80 (sometimes, even less than 70). However every year, for the last six anyway, the Orioles have proven their doubters wrong.
Playing on a team full of undeniable young talent in the likes of Manny Machado (24), Jonathan Schoop (25), Kevin Gausman (26), and Dylan Bundy (24), it’s pretty hard for any young player to enter the scene and create an immediate sense of hype amongst the fan base.
Powered by a Mark Trumbo home run in the 11th inning, the Orioles continued their run of Opening Day success, accounting for the Toronto Blue Jays 3-2. The win sees the Opening Day streak progress to seven, and makes it 14 of the last 17 – pretty impressive.
The second week of Spring Training has flown by, much like the first, and there’s been plenty to like about the O’s thus far.
The first week of Spring Training has passed by in a flash, with the Orioles finishing the week with a 3-4-1 record.
The Arizona Fall League has finished for another year, with seven Orioles appearing throughout the five week campaign.
All bias aside, those representing the BBWAA in deciding the finalists for the 2016 Cy Young Award got it wrong in the most obvious, and embarrassingly horrendous way imaginable.
Heading into the 2016 season, it was well known that huge question marks lurked over the Orioles pitching staff. While the bullpen was – mostly – very reliable, the rotation appeared weak and was likely to present some trouble throughout the six-month campaign.
At the conclusion of the 2015 season, the Orioles, who have relied on power hitting during their four year resurgence, were faced with the possibility of losing Chris Davis and Matt Wieters to free agency.