The RISP stats will be hard to duplicate for the Orioles

The Orioles averaged 4.98 runs per game in the 2023 season to rank fourth in the American League and seventh-best in the majors among the 30 teams. 

Only six teams this year averaged 5.00 runs per game or better for the full year. The Orioles came up just short of that scoring 807. That was seventh-most in team history and the most since the 2004 O's team scored 842.

Here are the six teams that outscored the Orioles this year.

5.85 - Atlanta
5.59 - Los Angeles Dodgers
5.44 - Texas
5.31 - Tampa Bay
5.10 - Houston
5.06 - Chicago Cubs

The Orioles were keeping pretty good company being among this group. Had they scored just three more runs to finish with 810, they would have averaged exactly 5.00 runs per game.

When I wrote about the 2023 offense a few days ago in this entry, it was noted that the club finished sixth in the AL in team batting average, tied for seventh in OBP, seventh in slugging and eighth in OPS.

So how did they finish fourth in runs per game?

It was also noted how good the team was when batting with runners in scoring position. They were not just good, they were excellent in this stat. 

The club’s .287 team batting average with RISP led all of MLB. So did the O’s .837 team OPS with RISP. Surprisingly, seven teams had an .800 or better OPS this year with RISP, but none was better than Baltimore.

Yesterday among the questions we asked in this space was where might the team regress in 2024? Batting with RISP is one obvious category. Hard to do better than first. Or finish first again in that stat among 30 teams.

Last year the O's had several individuals that thrived when batting with RISP. In batting averages in such situations, Ryan O'Hearn hit .349, Aaron Hicks .321, Cedric Mullins .320, Ramon Urias .309, Anthony Santander .305, Ryan Mountcastle .298, Adam Frazier .294 and Gunnar Henderson .281.

There are those that say that hitting with RISP is not a skill like foot speed or arm speed and strength, which should remain constant or close each year. Your mileage may vary here from year to year and one season a guy hits .300 with RISP and the next year hits .225.

But even with falloff in this stat next year the Orioles still could score 4.98 runs per game again. They scored well in some stats last year like pitches per plate appearances and in some small-ball stats like sac bunts and sac flies and stolen base percentage that could be solid again for the team. They could score well again in team exit velocity and hitting the ball hard is always important.

One area they may progress and not regress is hitting more balls out of the park. But yes, the deep left field wall works against that and that won't change next year. Still, the Orioles had no player finish in the top 15 in the American League in homers. Gunnar and Santander tied for 16th, each hitting 28. That pair could both exceed that number next year and others could top their 2023 homer numbers.

As a team the Orioles averaged 1.13 homers per game to rank ninth in the AL. They hit 86 homers at home or 1.06 per game. And 97 on the road for 1.20 per game.

Yes, lot of math here today.

And lot of ways to look at things.

One area on the stat sheet could fall off and another could improve. Also, in case any of us forgot, it's a team game so the pitching could continue to improve and offset any hitting falloff. The defense could help both. Some players might get injured and not achieve what we expect, and others could go the other way and play more. Like John Means, for instance, who could go from four starts to 25 or 30. 

For me the Orioles offense found a real good level during the 2023 season and produced well. That could easily happen again, no matter what ingredients they use to get there. 

More reasons to appreciate the Orioles' 2023 seaso...
Leftovers from the Orioles mailbag

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