The many mistakes made in preseason evaluations of 2022 Orioles

The Orioles had their predictable side this season. The skinny side.

Adley Rutschman made his major league debut and lived up to the hype. He’s getting votes for American League Rookie of the Year. He’s the real deal.

What else?

Reciting the shockers is more time consuming. Rest breaks are recommended.

The winning record and playoff contention until the last road series is No. 1, which leads to Brandon Hyde’s unexpected status as favorite to be named American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

I could fill a book with my wrong assumptions. A smart idea, actually, to profit from my poor prognosticating. But most people in the business could pen the same chapters.  

I didn’t think Anthony Santander would rank second on the club in walks and tied for second in on-base percentage behind Rutschman. Wasn’t in his skill set until this season.

I didn’t think Jorge Mateo would play in 150 games or lead the AL with 35 stolen bases.

I didn’t think Félix Bautista would reduce his walk rate during his first major league season and become the closer.

I didn’t think Cionel Pérez would reduce his walk rate in his first season with the Orioles, post a 1.40 ERA in 66 appearances and become a dominant left-hander in the bullpen.

I didn’t think Bryan Baker would go wire-to-wire and get better down the stretch as some others faded, stringing together 11 scoreless appearances to end the season.

I didn't think DL Hall would be a major league reliever in September.

I didn’t think Tyler Wells would go from Rule 5 reliever to starter, let alone become the most consistent member of the rotation for a significant stretch.

I didn’t think Dean Kremer would lower his ERA from 7.55 last year to 3.23 and his WHIP from 1.640 to 1.253.

I didn’t think getting only two starts from John Means would fail to destroy the season.

We had a late entrant: Ramón Urías’ award-winning glove story.

Did not see it coming. Could not see it coming.

Urías passed his audition in 2021 by handling multiple positions and impressing at the plate with a .279/.361/.412 line, 14 doubles and seven home runs in 85 games. He earned a spot on the 2022 roster, though he didn’t have a starting job locked up.

The Orioles signed Rougned Odor to compete at second base. They kept Kelvin Gutiérrez and made him the starting third baseman on opening day. The Orioles wanted to give Mateo a lengthy look at shortstop.

There’s absolutely no way that anyone thought Urías would become the 18th Orioles player to win a Gold Glove. I had lots of company.

His chances increased with the addition of a utility award, but his versatility wasn’t necessary. The voters made him a finalist at third base, the first of two surprises.

I wrote that Urías wasn’t a favorite to win it. The Blue Jays’ Matt Chapman, with three Gold Gloves and two Platinum Gloves, and the Guardians’ José Ramírez were much safer bets. But what Urías lacked in name recognition and reputation he made up for in defensive metrics, which accounted for about 25 percent of the voting.

A deeper dive into the numbers placed Urías in a more favorable light. Starting only 84 games at third seemed to hurt his chances.

Hyde kept promoting him for the award during media scrums. It wasn't just a manager spewing kind words.

The announcement had me scrambling to write a story in timely fashion. I didn’t have one in the can, ready to publish as soon as it became official.  

Live and learn.

Now I need to decide which chapter in the book is devoted to him.

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