O's offense came up a bit short in the 2022 season

The cold and hard math from the 2022 season tells us this: The Orioles had a below-average offense this year. But not by a large amount. Still, it was enough to have Birdland’s concern meter on the rise as the year ended. The O’s offense stumbled badly at the end, and for some, that is the lasting memory of how they did with the bats this year.

Wins is the stat that matters above them all, but for offense, the number of runs tells the most complete story. The Orioles averaged 4.16 runs per game this year to rank 10th in the American League, behind the league average of 4.22 per game.

For much of the year the club was at right about league average. They were at 4.20 runs per game at the All-Star break and scoring 4.24 through August. Had they maintained that, they would have finished just above league average. But the Orioles scored just 3.97 runs per game in the final month, and their season-long average decreased.

The highest-scoring teams in the league were the Yankees (4.98 rpg), the Blue Jays (4.78 rpg) and the Astros (4.55 rpg).

In 2021, when American League teams produced more offense, the O’s scored 4.07 runs per game to rank 14th in the league, well behind last year's average of 4.60 per game. So they went from 14th in 2021 to 10th in runs per game in 2022.

Unless the team has outstanding pitching, you would imagine it will need to rank higher next year. Being almost average meant the Orioles were far from terrible but also far from the top clubs in offense.

So there are good reasons that many fans believe the club needs to add that big bat this winter. I am certainly not against that outcome, but not sold, either, that it is a must.

I’ve stated numerous times that full seasons from Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson will help significantly and expressed a belief that several of the young vets, such as Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays, will see their offense improve in 2023. All that could happen, and the Orioles offense might well be in a much better place if it does, but nothing is guaranteed. Adding a big bat would provide a level of insurance here and add more ways the club could score more runs next year.

Here is a look at several stat categories, listing the O’s team number for 2022 followed by their AL rank and then the AL team average.

Average: .238, 11th (.242 is AL avg.)

OBP: .305, 11th (.309 is AL avg.)

Slugging: .390, 7th (.392 is AL avg.)

OPS: .695, 10th (.701 is AL avg.)

Runs per game: 4.16, 10th (4.22 is AL avg.)

Homers: 171, 8th (170 is AL avg.)

K rate: 23.0, 10th (22.2 is AL avg.)

BB rate: 7.9, 8th (8.0 is AL avg.)

Exit velocity: 88.0, 9th (88.3 is AL avg.)

Line-drive percentage: 24.2, 5th (23.9 is AL avg.)

Groundball rate: 39.0, 15th and low in AL (42.5 is AL avg.)

Chase rate: 34.3, 3rd most (AL avg. not available)

Hard-hit percentage: 38.8, 8th most (AL avg. not available)

The only areas where the Orioles exceeded league average were homers, by one, and line-drive percentage. And since most would rather not see batters hit grounders, the O’s were well above average in producing the lowest groundball rate in the AL.

But the offense could use more of just about everything in 2023.

More Orioles reflections from 2022 season
Orioles won't be overlooked in 2023

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