Today, I'm taking a look back at some recent stories and topics that appeared in this space while discussing some interesting potential O's developments. Such as ...
* What to do with right-hander Jordan Lyles and his 2023 team option for $11 million?
Most seem to be in favor of a return of Lyles, who pitched decently enough for the Orioles and was huge in the clubhouse.
Last season over 32 starts and 179 innings, Lyles went 12-11 with a 4.42 ERA. He allowed 26 homers with 52 walks and 144 strikeouts. His WHIP was 1.385 and he walked 2.6 per nine innings and fanned 7.2. His numbers were similar to 2021 in many respects, except his ERA went down from 5.15 and his homer rate of 1.3 fell from 1.9.
It is well documented that Lyles was a real leader for the pitching staff, and he embraced and enjoyed the role. Right-hander Tyler Wells discussed Lyles’ leadership abilities.
“He is invaluable in so many ways,” the right-hander said. “You can’t really put a price on what he has done for us as a starting staff, as a team, and as a mentor for a lot of us. He really teaches us what it’s like to be a starter and how he has made a 10-year career into what he has. All based on certain principles – like going deep into games and giving your team a chance to win every single time."
* We also recently took a look at the Baltimore bullpen. I suggested this would be another area to seek an addition or two this winter, not because the O's 'pen was not good last year, but because bullpen pitcher performance can widely vary season to season. And the O's lost a key member late last year with the trade of Jorge López. Adding a late-inning arm would provide depth late in games and displace others to handle other innings.
For much of last season and into mid-August, the O's bullpen ERA of just over 3.00 was among the best in baseball. The final ‘pen ERA of 3.49 was still seventh-best in the American League and ninth-best in the majors. The Orioles ranked last in bullpen ERA in 2021 at 5.70, so this over two-run improvement was massive and a huge difference between 110 losses and 79.
The two AL teams that played for the ALCS – Houston (2.80) and New York (2.97) – ranked 1-2 in the league in bullpen ERA. But in a stat via Baseball-Reference.com called Wins Above Average, the Orioles ‘pen ranked first at 4.1 followed by Houston 2.7 and New York 1.9.
But while those clubs were near the top in fewest innings needed from the 'pen, the '22 Orioles pitched the fourth-most innings in the AL.
* Also, here we looked at how O's manager Brandon Hyde could be a finalist and perhaps the winner of the BBWAA American League Manager of the Year Award. The finalists will be announced Nov. 7 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 15.
Some national outlets seem to expect Cleveland's Terry Francona to get strong sentiment for that award. But on Thursday of this week, one national outlet, the Sporting News, named Hyde as AL Manager of the Year.
The winner is chosen in a survey of players, managers and executives.
Hyde led the club's improvement from 52 to 83 wins, a plus 31 in wins, second best in O's history behind the 1989 "Why Not" team that went plus 33. The club posted its first winning record since 2016.
Seven Orioles managers have received the award: Hank Bauer won it in 1966, Hall of Famer Earl Weaver in 1977 and 1979, Frank Robinson in 1989, Johnny Oates in 1993, Davey Johnson in 1997, and Buck Showater in 2012.