There's no denying this simple fact: 2016 has been a delight for the hometown Birds. Buck Showalter has done a brilliant job with the early portion of the season thus far, especially after an offseason of mega speculation and downright pessimism.
It appears the O's are here to stay for the rest of the summer, putting the club on an optimistic track toward a potential playoff spot (cheers to that!).
With that said, let's dig a bit deeper into the "surprise" portion of the conversation. Who has been the most surprising Oriole in 2016? It's an interesting topic to digest, so why not take a closer look?
This seems like the most logical pick at the onset simply because of Trumbo's sheer ability to mash baseballs over fences across the league. He's hitting at record-breaking pace - through 69 games, he's hit 20 home runs ... his career high came with the Angels in 2013 when he crushed 34 out of the park. Think he'll surpass that this season?
More than that, Trumbo is spraying it across the field at a pace he hasn't seen throughout his entire career. If his .281 average were to hold up for the entirety of the year, the 30-year-old will beat his previous career best (.268 in 2012) by a significant margin.
The Brachness Monster has been legitimate this season, and there's really no other way to spin it. In 31 appearances out of the ‘pen, he's paired together a 1.16 ERA and 0.88 ERA with 45 strikeouts in 38.2 innings thrown. Legit, indeed.
Five earned runs in 38.2 frames ... sure, the starting pitching has been dreadful early, but perhaps Brach can pitch nine innings every night and solve every problem needed to bring home a title - we can dream...
Since Opening Day, it's seemed as though Tillman has found new life as an MLB starting pitcher. Maybe it's a feeling of picking up the slack, or he's just finally figured out his "ace stuff" to be a legitimate number one in the Major Leagues. Either way, he's been impressive.
Through 15 starts, he's 10-1 with a 3.11 ERA. Putting up 86 Ks in 89.2 innings, his 1.15 WHIP leads all starters and is good enough for top-20 in the American League. They aren't Clayton Kershaw numbers, but for this year's Orioles squad, they might as well be MVP stats.
The "Left Field Duo"
I would give Hyun-Soo Kim and Joey Rickard their own spots here, but their combined efforts are more impressive as a whole, so we'll stick with that. For a team with a giant looming question mark over the left field spot heading into the season, it's safe to say the Orioles have gotten adequate play from the Kim/Rickard duo.
Kim has played in just 33 games, notching 104 at-bats but hitting for a more-than-impressive .337 average combined with a shiny .415 on-base percentage. And while Rickard has cooled off, one could argue that his hot start was the leading spark behind the momentum-filled start to the season. It's not always about the numbers... Rickard has carried a great vibe from the start; sometimes, that's just as important as on-field performance.
The Best of the Rest
At first look, the previous five guys provide the best overall bodies of work to give them the fast-track to the crown of Most Surprising Oriole of 2016. However, before the comments section goes wild with cries of lack of inclusion of their favorite player, a few more shoutouts must be given.
Things have begun to click for Dylan Bundy, an absolutely fantastic sign for the future. He's giving up a few too many hits and runs at inopportune times, but things are beginning to shape up for his future.
Both Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop have contributed quite well to their dynamic duo, hitting .317 and .281 respectively. They've combined for 29 home runs and 83 RBI with 82 runs scored. And on defense? Well, you already know.
So, we have eight surprises on the table. Who takes home the prize, who was left off, and who doesn't even deserve to be listed?
That's up to you. Fill up the comment section and vote away.
All stats as of Tuesday, June 21st.