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Orioles Roster Review, Part Five: The Nine Best Orioles

October 13, 2017
In the final part of a five-part series on the Orioles' roster, we look at the team's nine best players in 2017. In the first part of the series, we looked at the replaceable position players, the second at  replaceable pitchers, the third at players who could help in 2018 and the fourth at solid contributors

Short and Sometimes Sweet
 
Shortstop Tim Beckham: August was the month of Beckham. After he was acquired at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline from the Tampa Bay Rays, Beckham had 50 hits in his first month, the second-most in club history.
 
In September, however, Beckham had only 16 hits and hit .180, finishing the season sidelined with a hamstring injury.
 
The Orioles are hoping the 2018 Beckham is closer to the one they saw in August than the September version.
 
Beckham is planning to work with third base coach Bobby Dickerson on his fielding this offseason. He made nine errors in 49 games at shortstop for the Orioles.
 
Better and Better
 
Right-handed pitcher Mychal Givens: While it's debatable whether a relief pitcher's won-loss record is all that important, it's still worth noting that Givens has an 18-3 mark during his first three major league seasons to go along with a 2.75 ERA.
 
This year, the 27-year-old made impressive strides against left-handed hitters. In 2016, lefties hit .366 against him, but this year they hit .184.
 
He walked fewer batters this season, and while his strikeouts were down, he still fanned more than 10 batters per nine innings.
 
Quietly Returning to Form
 
Right-handed pitcher Darren O'Day: In the season's final two months, the soon-to-be 34-year-old sidearmer had a 1.14 ERA. Through the season's first four months, his ERA was 4.91.
 
O'Day, who has been on the disabled list three times since the start of the 2016 season, has two years remaining on a four-year, $31 million contract.
 
He's sixth on the club's all-time games pitched list and should move up a few spots next season.
 
Soon to Be Gone?
 
Catcher Welington Castillo: Castillo is widely expected to decline his $7 million player option for 2018 and cash in as a free agent.
 
Even though he was twice on the disabled list, Castillo still hit a career-high 20 home runs in 96 games. His .282 average was his best, too.
 
He threw out 49 percent of runners trying to steal on him, the best in baseball, and should have plenty of suitors this offseason.
 
Great Rookie Year
 
Left fielder Trey Mancini: A year ago, it was uncertain Mancini would even make the team, but thanks to his diligent work in learning the outfield, he made the Orioles' leap of faith look good.
 
Mancini set a club rookie record with a 17-game hitting streak and was second only to Jonathan Schoop with an .826 OPS.
 
While he's not fast, he had four triples, the most on the club since Nate McLouth had four in 2013.
 
Fulfilling His Promise
 
Right-handed pitcher Dylan Bundy: In his first full year as a starter, Bundy was 13-9 with a 4.24 ERA.
 
Because Bundy had never pitched this many innings, Orioles manager Buck Showalter often gave him extra rest, and it paid off. In six starts with six or more days of rest, Bundy was 3-1 with a 2.68 ERA.
 
On Aug. 29, Bundy threw a 4-0, complete game against the Seattle Mariners, striking out 12. It was one of the most dominant Orioles starts in years.
 
What an August!
 
Third baseman Manny Machado: Machado was named the American League Player of the Month for August, narrowly beating Beckham.
 
Machado hit .341 with 12 home runs and 35 RBIs in August. Unfortunately, he hit under .250 in four of the five other months, and as late as July 6 he was batting just .215.
 
His defense took a step back, too. Though there were still dozens of impressive plays, he made 14 errors.
 
Mr. Consistency
 
Center fielder Adam Jones: For seven straight seasons, Jones hit at least 25 home runs and driven in 70 runs. His .285 average equaled the second-best of his career.
 
Jones has a year remaining on his six-year, $85.5 million contract, and it may be the best signing in club history.
 
Most Valuable Oriole
 
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop: I voted for Schoop, Jones and Machado in the Most Valuable Oriole balloting, and the choice wasn't hard.
 
Schoop continues to grow as a player and was rewarded with his first All-Star selection. He hit 32 homers, trailing only Machado (33) on the team, and led the Orioles with 105 RBIs.
 
Like Machado, Schoop's defense slipped a bit. He made a career-high 15 errors.
 
NOTE: Orioles pitchers are scheduled to report to Sarasota, Fla.,  for the beginning of spring training Feb. 13 . Position players will report Feb. 18, and the Orioles' spring home opener is scheduled for Feb. 23 against Tampa Bay. They'll play 16 home games. Twelve will start at 1:05 p.m. and four have 6:05 p.m. starts. 

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox