This 2015 inaugural edition of the Weekly Wrap covers the whole season to this point, since there were three games during the first week I didn't cover.
The Orioles started 2015 in a similar fashion to 2014, going 5-4 against AL East foes the Rays, Blue Jays, and Yankees. They scored 47 runs and allowed 46. They are also 5-4 according to the BaseRuns calculations displayed at FanGraphs, which uses expected runs scored and allowed instead of actual.
The Orioles are in 3rd place in the AL East, 0.5 games behind the Rays and 1 game behind the Red Sox. Their predicted end-of-season record is 86 wins. If you're not familiar with how I predict their final record, read this post.
For 2015, I'm using a prior "true talent" level of 86 wins, so the formula will regress the team to that level. I got this number by averaging together the Orioles' 2014 regular, Pythagorean, and BaseRuns records along with 14 other predictions for how the 2015 will go for the team. These predictions range from a high of 91 wins by Joe Sheehan to 74 wins from a guy named Bruce Bukiet who runs baseballphd.net. In between are predictions from sites like FanGraphs, Baseball Prospectus, ESPN (which used ZiPS), and even CC's own Mark Brown!
Best Hitter / Worst Hitter
You don't need me to tell you that this season's best hitter is Adam Jones, aka "Doctor". Sporting a wRC+ of 248, he's hit .406/.459/.844 with four dingers already. He's been the second-best offensive player in the game, behind only Adrian Gonalez's otherworldly performance. He's struck out in an incredibly low 5.4% of plate appearances, which is a rate you see from the likes of Ben Revere and Jose Altuve. Jones won't maintain that low K rate, but he's given us all hopes of the kind of player he could be if he made more contact to go along with his already awesome power. The worst hitter on the young season is Manny Machado, whose wRC+ of 52 is backed up by a line of .161/.250/.290. Yuck.
Best Start / Worst Start
Like Jones' performance, if you pay even a tiny bit of attention to the Orioles you'll know that the best start was Ubaldo Jimenez's 8 K, 1 BB, 1 H, 0 R performance against the Blue Jays on April 11th. Orioles fans everywhere hope this was a sign of good things from Jimenez, who struggled to find the strike zone last season. This year's worst start belongs to Bud Norris who pitched the day before Jimenez with drastically different results. In 3 IP he struck out one batter and walked one but allowed seven hits that led to eight earned runs.
Clutch PA of the Week
The honor so far this season goes to Jonathan Schoop and his performance on April 15th against the Yankees. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 6th and facing David Carpender, Schoop led off with a home run on an 0-1 pitch to tie the game, adding 38% to the Orioles' win probability along the way. The Orioles would indeed go on to win, 7-5.
Clutch Relief Appearance of the Week
The day before, on April 14th against the Yankees, Zach Britton entered the game in the 8th inning to preserve a 4-3 lead with a runner on second. He got Brian McCann to ground out, then induced the same from Gregorio Petit, Chris Young, and Alex Rodriguez in the 9th inning to get the save.
The Orioles start a road trip in Boston and then then head to Toronto for three games before returning home.