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MLB Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of Season

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Baltimore Orioles: 5 Biggest Surprises Through First Half of Season

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At the midway point in 2014, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in second place in the very tough AL East. Over the course of achieving a solid 44-39 record, the O's have dealt with their fair share of good and bad fortune. Out of all the unforeseen that has taken place to this point, here are the five biggest surprises that few people saw coming for the Orioles during the season's first half.

5. Matt Wieters Needing Tommy John Surgery

Matt Wieters Orioles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

5. Matt Wieters Needing Tommy John Surgery

Matt Wieters Orioles
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With so many players needing Tommy John surgery in recent years, seeing another arm bite the dust isn't too surprising. Seeing it happen to a catcher, on the other hand, is. With a .308 average to go along with five HRs and 18 RBIs in just 26 games, Wieters seemed primed for a career-best season. Now the best he can hope for is to be ready for Opening Day 2015.

4. Bud Norris Is The Best Starting Pitcher

Bud Norris Orioles
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

4. Bud Norris Is The Best Starting Pitcher

Bud Norris Orioles
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This right-hander entered 2014 with an ugly 4.37 career ERA and atrocious 1.42 WHIP. With talented names like Ubaldo Jimenez, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen on this staff, few could have foreseen Norris as being the best of the bunch by quite some margin. It remains to be seen if he can keep this up in the second half, but his 3.62 ERA and 1.16 WHIP would be career-bests by a mile.

3. Zach Britton Joins Bullpen and Turns Into Stud

Zach Britton Orioles
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

3. Zach Britton Joins Bullpen and Turns Into Stud

Zach Britton Orioles
Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

In three seasons as a starter, this southpaw managed a horrendous 4.78 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in 46 appearances. After being relegated to bullpen duty this year, Britton has magically transformed into a force to be reckoned with. He sports an outstanding 1.49 ERA and 0.92 WHIP to this point, and at least for now has seized the closing job from the very unreliable Tommy Hunter.

2. Chris Davis Loses His Mojo

Chris Davis Orioles
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

2. Chris Davis Loses His Mojo

Chris Davis Orioles
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

This slugger's 2013 season was simply remarkable. I doubt most people expected a 53-HR and 138-RBI repeat this year, but few likely saw this coming. Davis' embarrassingly low .205 average is 81 points lower than last season's, and he's on pace for less than 30 HRs and 90 RBIs. The talent is there for him to turn this around, but it would take an incredible second half to avoid this season going down as a massive disappointment.

1. Nelson Cruz Goes From Unwanted to Career Season

Nelson Cruz Orioles
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

1. Nelson Cruz Goes From Unwanted to Career Season

Nelson Cruz Orioles
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Coming off a 50-game suspension for PED use, few teams were interested in Cruz last offseason. Baltimore took a gamble on him, however, and they have seemingly hit the lottery with that decision. Cruz's 26 HRs and 67 RBIs are both tied for tops in baseball at the moment -- just imagine where the O's offense would be without this big bat in the middle of its lineup?

Brian Davis is a fantasy writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @SportsGuyBrian, ”Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.