The O's offense so far: Lot of runs, lot of homers but not many walks

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Through the first part of this 2024 season, the Orioles offense has been very productive. Going into Wednesday’s MLB games, the Orioles ranked first in the majors in homers and homers per game. They ranked No. 2 in slugging and OPS and extra-base hits. 

They ranked third in the majors scoring 5.65 runs per game. That is a big number.

Only once in O’s history have the Orioles scored 900 runs for the season and it was in 1996 during the Steroid era when the team scored 949, the club record. The current team is on pace to score 915 runs.

The team record for homers, also set in 1996, is 257 and their current pace would see them approach that with 254 longballs.

They are doing a lot right on offense. So why is this team not drawing more walks and should we really care if they are scoring so well?

As of Wednesday, the Orioles had drawn 60 walks, the 29th-most, so second to last in the bigs and just one ahead of Miami, which is last in walks.

A few players I talked to this week see a team that is aggressive early in counts and is getting their pitch right now and often not missing it.

“We are not walking very much because we’re not missing pitches,” said Ryan O’Hearn. “The game is full of ebbs and flows. Sometimes we walk more. For me personally, I would like to walk more, but I’m not going to try and walk more. If there is a pitch I can handle, I’m going to attack.

“Sometimes you look at walks specifically in 3-2 counts. If we are winning that battle swing decision wise, that is the only time you can, you know, put it under a microscope.”

Said manager Brandon Hyde: “It’s not fun to go 0-1 every count. I think our walks are going to go up. I do think that teams know we have hitters up and down the lineup that are selective and will take pitches on the edge or off. So, maybe teams are being a little bit more aggressive with us early in the count. Sometimes that works to our advantage.

“But I do think our walk totals will go up and our on base from that standpoint will probably go up. I’ve been happy with the at-bats we’re taking for the most part. I do want us to swing aggressively on strikes. Want us to battle with two strikes, put the ball in play. Not try to do too much. Cover the zone and grind it out. We have guys that have the ability to do that.”

Gunnar Henderson’s take: “If you get the pitch you want and make contact earlier in the count that doesn’t lead to walks. Those pitches you can do damage with, that’s how we get our runs. It’s a give or take and we are doing a good job right now.”

While the Orioles ranked 13th in the majors in 2023 in pitches per plate appearance, they are only 26th now at 3.79 per PA.

They are mostly aggressive hitters, and they will get walks, but they are not up there seeking them.

“But I think it can change by the day,” added O’Hearn. “What is the pitcher trying to do? Is he coming right at us, or he is trying to hit corners and get guys to chase?

“I think it’s about confidence. If we get pitches we think we can do damage on, we’re going to try and do damage with it.”

Some of the O’s young prospect hitters have shown they know their way around a strikezone and have good plate discipline. They learn to make good “swing decisions” on the farm. They are also told get a good pitch to hit and then put your best swing on it.

Yep, do as much damage as you can.

O’Hearn did not come up in the O’s farm system but says the club’s hitting coaches, to include some he has gotten to know from the farm and throughout the organization, do a wonderful job making players better.

“I think the coaches and the people in this organization, and I can speak from experience how they help hitters. It’s off the charts and incredibly good and something I am grateful that I get to be around and learn from.

“It makes me a better player being around guys like Ryan Fuller, Matt Borgschulte, Cody Asche, Anthony Villa, Brink Ambler, Mike (Montville) at Triple-A. They are all great,” said O’Hearn.

For the Orioles right now, the walks are not plentiful. But the runs have been.

Few quick final notes from Anaheim: The Orioles went 2-1 in both series this road trip for a 4-2 record on the trip and a 16-8 overall mark as of today's off day. They have won four of five, eight of the last 10 and are 11-4 the last 15 games.

O's pitchers fanned 12 and 16 in the final two games of the Angels series.

The Orioles won two games versus the Angels, even while scoring 14 runs with just four homers in the series and they went 5-for-30 with runners in scoring position in the three games.

Dean Kremer fanned 10 yesterday to match his career high and became the second O's pitcher to hit the century mark in pitches throw. Corbin Burnes threw 100 on April 3 versus Kanas City and Kremer pitched 101 on Wednesday afternoon.

Henderson hit homers No. 7 and No. 8 the last two games, each time off a lefty. He has hit five homers his last nine games.

In his past 10 games, Henderson is 18-for-40 batting .450 with two doubles, a triple, five homers, 11 RBIs while slugging .925 with an OPS of 1.436.

Adley Rutschman went 7-for-13 in the series in Anaheim with a double and three RBIs and raised his average from .298 to .327. 





Orioles are back in action and giving us more to t...
McKenna happy for Kjerstad and hoping to rejoin hi...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to