Over the last few years, pitching has slowly but surely retaken control of baseball. Runs, and specifically home runs, are way down from what they were during the live-ball era of the game. But don’t tell that to the Baltimore Orioles. The ability to hit the ball out of the ballpark has been Baltimore’s biggest strength this season, as the Orioles lead the majors in home runs. Not so coincidentally, the Orioles also lead the AL East, as that power has put them atop their division.
Leading the way for the Orioles are Mark Trumbo and Manny Machado, both of whom have 11 home runs on the season — just one off the league lead. Trumbo has always had plenty of home run power, but he already has half as many home runs as he hit all of last year, making him look like one of the best acquisitions of the offseason. Meanwhile, Machado is on pace to surpass the career-high 35 home runs he hit last season, and at age 23, it’s possible he’s not yet reached his ceiling as a player. Trumbo and Machado have been the catalyst for Baltimore’s power explosion this year, and it doesn’t hurt that both are hitting over .300.
Of course, Trumbo and Machado aren’t the only Orioles hitting the ball out of the park. Predictably, Chris Davis has supplied nine home runs. This doesn’t quite put him on pace to match last year’s total of 47, but reaching 40 on the season is not out of the question — especially with Davis now easy to overlook in Baltimore’s lineup among the likes of Trumbo and Machado. Perhaps most surprising is the seven home runs the Orioles have gotten out of Jonathan Schoop. Playing every day seems to suit Schoop and could be a factor in the power he’s displayed this season.
Even with traditional home run hitters like Pedro Alvarez and Matt Wieters not providing much pop, the Orioles still lead the majors in home runs. This makes the power that has catapulted Baltimore to the top of the AL East all the more impressive. At the same time, it’s also scary to think what the Orioles are capable of doing from a power perspective if they get everyone clicking at the same time.
To be fair, Baltimore’s pitching staff has been a consistent contributor to the team’s success this season. But the power Baltimore’s hitters have displayed has been too much to ignore. The Orioles have won this year with power bats, and considering the depth in their lineup, that’s unlikely to change any time soon.