By David Atlas on April 20, 2014
The Baltimore Orioles are expected to have one of the most powerful lineups in baseball and while the home runs haven’t come yet, they are starting to turn a corner offensively as a team. As the weather heats up, expect Baltimore’s bats to do the same. But, before that happens, let’s grade the Orioles’ hitters.
Nick Markakis has seemed to have finally found his doubles-stroke again and that means he’s ready to have a big year. The left-hander is hitting .290/.315/.362 and while he’s yet to hit a home run, he already has three doubles and a triple. Markakis is off to a good start this year.
Delmon Young isn’t exactly a fan-favorite in Baltimore, but if he keeps hitting like this, people are going to forget about his checkered past. Young was signed to hit lefties hard and that’s what he’s done, in 33 at-bats this season, he’s hitting .333/.371/.485 with a home run and four RBIs.
Being a superstar like Adam Jones, there’s more expected of you and while Jones isn’t playing poorly, a lot of his base hits have been lucky infield singles. Jones is hitting .274/.313/.403 with a home run and seven RBIs. Expect Jones to pick those numbers up a bit as the month goes on.
After sending almost everything he saw last summer into the stands, expectations are through the roof for Chris Davis and he hasn’t met any of them so far. He’s hitting .255/.368/.382 with a home run and eight RBIs so far this season. While I do expect him to turn things around, I can’t give him any grade higher than a C right now.
Nelson Cruz has shown exactly why the Orioles picked him up, he’s not lighting up the stat sheets, but he’s doing exactly what he’s supposed to do: Hit the baseball and drive in runs. So far this season, Cruz is batting .268/.359/.446 with two home runs and 11 RBIs.
Matt Wieters is playing some of the best baseball of his life right now, he’s impressing everyone and if he keeps this up throughout the year he is going to command a very lucrative contract. Wieters is batting .314/.362/.529 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. You couldn’t ask for a better start from the switch-hitting catcher.
J.J. Hardy has been battling back problems to start the season, so that’s why he gets a bit of a break, but he’s still playing very poorly. Hardy is hitting .244/.262/.293 with no home runs and only three RBIs so far. Don’t worry about Hardy, though, as the year goes on, he’ll start hitting again.
Kudos to Steve Lombardozzi, he’s not an everyday player yet he’s been playing almost every day due to others’ injuries and he’s shown he can handle the bat. While he may only have two RBIs and no home runs, he’s still hitting .286/.298/.321.
Jonathan Schoop is a rookie so I’ll give him a break, but unless he learns some plate discipline, his numbers are going to come crashing down. So far he’s had a good start, hitting .280/.280/.460 with a home run and eight RBIs, but he’s yet to draw a single walk and that’s why is on-base-percentage is the same as his average and that’s not a good thing.
David Lough has been excellent defensively, but he’s been so bad offensively that Buck Showalter is having a hard time putting him in the lineup it seems. He’s batting a mere .125/.176/.188 with no home runs and only two RBIs. Can we petition the league to have a designated fielder as well as a designated hitter?
The only reason that Ryan Flahety isn’t joining Lough with an F is because after a 0-for-17 start to the year, he is starting to find himself on-base. But with the way that Lombardozzi and Schoop are playing, it doesn’t really matter. Flaherty is hitting .179/.238/.231 so far this season. Yikes.
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