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2017 Orioles Report Card

October 5, 2017
By any measure, the Orioles' 2017 season was a disappointment

The Orioles' 22-10 record through May 9 was the best in the majors, but -- except for a stretch in late August and early September -- it was all downhill from there.

For more than two months (May 10-July 16), the Orioles lost nearly two of every three games (20-39), but after winning 10 of 13 from Aug. 23-Sept. 5, they were within one game of the second wild-card spot Sept. 5.

Then the Orioles collapsed, losing 19 of 23 to finish 75-87. It was their first losing season since 2011 and their worst end to a season since 2002, when they went 4-32. This year's Orioles didn't win consecutive games in September.
 
Here are the final grades for the 2017 Orioles.

Offense
 
The Orioles finished the year fourth in the American League with a .260 average and fifth with 232 home runs. But they were eighth in runs (743) and 13th in on-base percentage (.312).
 
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop had his best year. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time and finished sixth in the AL with 105 RBIs.
 
While center fielder Adam Jones had another good season (.285 batting average, 26 home runs,73 RBIs), third baseman Manny Machado started and ended the season in a funk. In between, Machado was hot. While he hit a team-high 33 home runs and drove in 95, his .259 average was the worst of his six-year career.
 
Designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who led the majors with 47 home runs in 2016 and had 108 RBIs, was rewarded with a three-year, $37.5 million contract. But he slumped badly this season, hitting .234 with 23 home runs and 65 RBIs.
 
First baseman Chris Davis felt compelled to apologize to the fans for his weak performance (.215 with 195 strikeouts in 128 games)
 
Left fielder Trey Mancini (293, 24 home runs, 78 RBIs) had a strong rookie year, and Orioles catchers combined for 31 home runs.
 
Grade: C
 
Defense
 
For years, the Orioles have prided themselves on excellent defense. This year's defense fell markedly. The Orioles were 15th in defense in the majors and made 94 errors, their most since 2012.
 
Schoop had 15 errors, Machado 14 and shortstop Tim Beckham, who played only the last two months of the season after his acquisition from the Tampa Bay Rays, committed nine in 49 games.
 
Near the end of the season, manager Buck Showalter criticized the team's defensive performance.
 
Grade: C-
 
Starting Rotation
 
Dylan Bundy established himself as a frontline major league starter. Kevin Gausman had a strong second half, but other than the pair of right-handers, the starting rotation struggled mightily.
 
Orioles starters had a 5.70 ERA, and in June, when the team allowed 10 or more runs six times, the starters' ERA was 7.18.
 
Chris Tillman, who missed the first month of the season with a right shoulder injury, won his first start and none of his next 18. The right-hander had a 1-7 record, 7.84 ERA and 1.892 WHIP.
 
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (6-11, 6.81), left-hander Wade Miley (8-15, 5.61) and right-hander Jeremy Hellickson (2-6, 6.97) all were mostly ineffective.

The Orioles will be aggressive in the trade and free-agent markets in an effort to bolster this weak link.
 
Grade: F
 
Bullpen
 
Like the defense, the bullpen slipped a bit in 2017. Closer Zach Britton missed nearly the entire first half with a left forearm injury. The left-hander ended the season sidelined when his left knee flared up.
 
In 2016, Britton had a year for the ages when he converted all 47 of his save opportunities. He stretched his American League record to 60 consecutive saves before it was ended Aug. 24. Britton appeared in just 38 games this season, however, and his 2.89 ERA was by far his highest since becoming a reliever in 2014.
 
Brad Brach, who like Britton was an All-Star in 2016, floundered when took over the closer role while Britton was out. The right-hander blew six of his 24 save chances.
 
Darren O'Day was sidelined for part of June with a shoulder injury, and when he returned, the sidearmer struggled. But he returned to form with August and September ERAs of 1.23 and 1.00, respectively.
 
Right-hander Mychal Givens had another strong season. He's now 18-3 with a 2.75 ERA for his three-year career. Left-hander Richard Bleier and right-hander Miguel Castro were pleasant surprises. Castro will get a look as a starter next spring.
 
Grade: B

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox