Orioles offense: Bottom line was solid, plus a deeper look

If you grade the Orioles’ offense on the bottom line - and that is runs scored - it would get decent grades for the 2013 season.

The O’s scored 745 runs last year to tie for fourth in the American League. Only Boston (853), Detroit (796) and Oakland (767) scored more. The O’s scored 31 more runs in 2013 than they did in 2012. They averaged 4.6 runs per game and the AL average was 4.33.

But going beyond just the runs scored, most fans could tell you there are areas on the offense the Orioles need to improve on.

The O’s ranked high in homers (first in the AL), slugging (third) and OPS (fourth). They rated down the list in on-base percentage (10th), walks (14th) and triples (15th).

The O’s scored fewer runs after the All-Star break then before, averaging 4.8 runs per game before the break and 4.3 after. They scored just 4.0 runs per game in September.

Those that feel the Orioles could do a better job at working the count and trying to get an opposing starter’s pitch count up are correct.

The Orioles averaged 3.8 pitches seen per plate appearance last season to rank 12th in the AL where the league average was 3.86.

The 2013 AL team leaders in pitches per plate appearance:

4.02 - Minnesota
4.01 - Boston
3.95 - Cleveland
3.94 - Oakland

Going along with that stat, the Orioles swung at more pitches than most teams. They swung at 46.6 percent of the pitches they saw in 2013, to tie for third highest total in the league.

Some other offensive notes from 2013:

* The O’s drew 416 walks, ahead of only Chicago (411) in the AL. Tampa Bay led with 589 and Boston was second, drawing 581 walks.

* The Orioles .313 OBP was slightly better than it was during 2012 when it was .311. The AL average was .320 with Boston first at .349.

* The O’s rated 10th in the AL with 79 steals but rated tied for sixth in stolen base percentage at 73 percent.

* The Orioles led the majors hitting 212 homers with Seattle a distant second with 188 and Oakland third with 186. The major league average per team in 2013 was 155 homers.

So we know there is some good and some room for improvement with an offense that led MLB with three Silver Slugger winners in Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones. Players like Davis, Jones and Manny Machado were among the league leaders in several categories. The Orioles scored well in power-type stats and less well in patience and speed-type stats.

Some players may have better years in 2014 while others may not do as well as they did in 2013. The core six in that lineup of Davis, Jones, Hardy, Machado, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters are combined pretty solid and likely will be again. The other three probably need only be a solid supporting cast to keep the engine humming along well.

So how is the O’s offense looking to you right now?

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