The Orioles public relations staff sent out a package of extensive season-ending notes on the club and its players recently. Let’s take a look at a few of those notes today.
Miguel Castro: His 73 1/3 innings as a reliever ranked as the 10th-most in the American League. He posted a 0.89 ERA when pitching on three or more days of rest. Castro is durable and often available - he threw 86 1/3 innings the year before - but you can’t afford to have a reliever who would need that much rest each outing.
Castro has a big arm, that we know, but he can’t seem to take the step forward to become a top reliever. He averaged 5.2 walks per nine innings in 2018 and 5.0 last year. Unless and until he can greatly reduce that, he won’t improve his standing on this team.
Trey Mancini: The player named the Most Valuable Oriole by the media, led the majors in slugging percentage (.900) on fastballs away this season, according to InsideEdge. The AL average was .487.
Mancini wears out right-center field and, as scouts say, when you can hit the ball out the other way, that is legit power. Only 10 players in the AL topped his 35 homers this year. Manager Brandon Hyde is convinced Mancini can hit 40, and it’s not exactly a huge leap from 35.
Renato Núñez: Became the fifth player (producing the eighth time) in Orioles history to hit at least 30 home runs in a season at age 25 or younger. Manny Machado did it three times, Boog Powell twice. Jonathan Schoop and Eddie Murray each had such a season. Núñez was one of 20 players in the AL with at least 30 home runs and at least 90 RBIs.
The Orioles will not turn their back on such power, despite his seeming lack of a position and his hot and cold streaks. He is under team control through 2024. Núñez is part of a logjam of players who play first and can DH (he has also played third). Ryan Mountcastle may join that group at some point this year. Where will they all play and can they all co-exist on the roster? Núñez has probably done enough with the bat to stick.
Dylan Bundy: In 13 starts after the All-Star break, Bundy surrendered nine home runs for a home-runs-per-nine-innings rate of 1.15, compared to 20 home runs in 17 starts before the break for a HR/9 of 1.98. In his career, Bundy is 21-9 with a 1.90 ERA when he does not allow a home run, compared to 17-36 with a 6.64 ERA when he does.
So it’s pretty clear which stat is huge for this right-hander. His homer rate did go down from 2.1 to 1.6 from 2018 to 2019. Bundy pitched to a 4.24 ERA in 2017, and a combined ERA of 5.13 over the past two years. Moving forward, he is going to need to look more like the guy whose ERA was in the low 4.00s. I think he can do it. I also think the borderline obsession over his velocity is a waste of time.
Jonathan Villar: He set career highs in games played (162), at-bats (642), hits (176), runs (111), triples (5), home runs (24), and RBIs (73). In scoring a team-high 111 runs this season, Villar recorded the most by an Oriole since Melvin Mora also scored 111, in 2004. Villar’s 40 stolen bases led the Orioles and ranked as the third-most in the majors. Other Orioles who have stolen 40 or more in a year are Brian Roberts, Luis Aparicio and Al Bumbry, who each did it twice, and Brady Anderson and Corey Patterson, who joined Villar doing so once.
Villar filled up the stat sheet. He had a strong year. But with an arbitration projection north of $10 million, he could be with another team next year. The Orioles could trade or non-tender him. If they do either they will sure be losing a lot on the stat sheet from the 2019 season.
Finally, check out these video tweets from yesterday. The first on Jose Altuve is amazing in that the short-of-stature player who signed for just $15,000 as an amateur now is one of the largest talents in the game. The second is an amazing playback of many massive walk-off homers in the postseason. Many were pennant-clinchers. One sent a local team home in the wild card game.
Take a walk(-off) down memory lane. pic.twitter.com/wZxO3NwFrt-- MLB (@MLB) October 20, 2019