Hello all! I know that several of us batted around the idea of starting to keep track of the Power Rankings as they were released this week and one of the glowing reviews (as you will see below the jump) inspired me to begin the process. So without further ado, let's take a spin and look at what some of the major media outlets have to say about this week in Orioles baseball after the jump.
#12, up six from #18 last week...
Just 22 games into the season, Baltimore already has matched its 2011 total for come-from-behind wins in the seventh inning or later (five), making up more than one-third of its total victories in 2012 (14). -- Nick Faleris: Camden Depot.
#14, up five from #19 last week...
The Orioles are near the league lead in home runs with 30, which has helped mitigate the fact that the team's on-base percentage is just .308. While their 3.06 overall ERA looks very impressive, their 3.99 FIP suggests that an ERA that low is far from sustainable. This has been a nice start for the Orioles, but they will need to continue to hit home runs at a very high rate and continue to see Jason Hammel and Wei-Yn Chen produce as they have in order to compete with the rest of the AL East for the remainder of the year.
#12, up eleven from #23 last week...
Matt Wieters had a big week at the plate for the Orioles, who continue to surprise early this season.
#13, up three from #16 last week...
#8, up four from #12 last week...
BWI rivalry! Thing is, while you could close your eyes and imagine an upgraded Nationals rotation fostering a contender in D.C., even the most loyal, Boog's Barbecue–engorged orange-and-black supporter wouldn't have predicted a contender on Eutaw Street. After 22 games, the O's very much belong in this spot, winning six of their past seven games to climb into a tie for first in the AL East. Is there any chance they can claim contender status 100 games from now? Or hell, even 20 games from now?
For some added insight we turned to Baseball Prospectus writer and Orioles superfan Jon Bernhardt. Are you skeptical of Jason Hammel's 1.73 ERA to start the season? Bernhardt notes that Hammel's three-to-one strikeout-to-walk rate and lofty 61.8 percent ground ball rate can be at least partially traced to a sinker that Hammel started throwing this year (because apparently having an effective sinker at Coors Field isn't useful??). Adam Jones's .330/.359/.614 start smacks of batted-ball luck and a Jonesesque microscopic walk rate that'll cause his overall numbers to drop sharply sometime soon; but Jones is also roping line drives at his highest rate since he became a full-time player, small sample size caveat acknowledged. Matt Wieters might be turning into the franchise player everyone expected. And Rangers castoff Pedro Strop has been a late-inning revelation as a flame-throwing strikeout and ground ball guy, whether he settles in as the primary setup man or as Jim Johnson's replacement. Actually, the Rangers donated three of Baltimore's top 2012 contributors: Strop, starter Tommy Hunter, and first baseman Chris Davis, because they have so much talent they sometimes run out of room.
The O's get the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Rays, and Yankees in their next five series. That means this very well might be the last time this season they achieve these heights. If so, we salute you, Baltimore, with your killer crab cake Benedicts and your compelling walk-off bombs.
I am very open to critiques and suggestions for a name for this if you all think it should continue. Also I just picked several rankings at random and would love to know of some others that you think I should substitute in instead of some of the more awful choices listed above (Fox, CBS). Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!