Rebuilding the Orioles was the prudent thing to do. Pretty much everyone can agree on that. But it doesn’t make it any easier to see some of your team’s best players go.
In the case of Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton and Kevin Gausman, all these players were homegrown — drafted, developed and established in the big leagues by the O’s. In a way, that makes it harder to see them playing in different uniforms.
The aforementioned group of players has been gone for about a month now, give or take. So we’re going to check in with all of them, doing a quick review of how each is doing with his new team.
The All-Star, Platinum Glove winning infielder was the first in a series of trades the Orioles executed leading up to the 2018 non-waiver trade deadline. He was sent to the Dodgers on July 18 for a package of five prospects.
At the start of play Wednesday, in 125 at-bats with Los Angeles, Machado was hitting .280/.366/.464 with five home runs, 12 RBI and five steals. His season long triple slash line, accounting for his time with the O’s and Dodgers, was .306/.382/.547 at that time.
Machado has really turned it on lately too. In his last seven games, he was hitting .357, as compared to .270 over his last 30 games.
He has also spent some time at his old position while with the Dodgers, playing in 14 games at third base, most coming when regular third baseman Justin Turner was injured. In those 14 games, covering 57 at-bats, Machado hit .246/.358/.421. In contrast, he has hit .314/.385/.564 in 113 games at shortstop between his time with the Orioles and Dodgers.
Schoop has not played as well as his former double play partner since being traded at the last minute of the July 31 trade deadline. In 56 at-bats with the Brewers, Schoop was hitting .179 with just one home run prior to Wednesday’s game. He was carrying a meager .204 on-base percentage and .269 slugging percentage too.
Like Machado, Schoop is seeing time at a different position than he played recently with the O’s. He has started a handful of games at shortstop for the Brewers. But his overall performance has started to affect his playing time too — he’s only started five out of the last 10 games.
MASN beat writer Roch Kubatko recently cast doubt on Schoop’s future with Milwaukee, mentioning rumors that the Brew Crew could look to trade him.
The sinker ball throwing lefty has had a rocky start to his Yankees tenure. He was traded from the Orioles on July 24 for three pitchers.
In 10.1 innings pitched with New York at the start of play Wednesday, he had a 5.23 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. Over that time span, he has had nine strikeouts, six walks and two hit batters. But he has done better as of late. In his last three appearances, each lasting an inning, he has not given up any runs and allowed only one baserunner.
His ground out to air out ratio is an obscenely good 20.00 during his time in New York so far, so if he can keep that up his results should continue to improve. With Aroldis Chapman on the shelf, Britton could see an increase in save opportunities, although it looks like New York will use a closer by committee approach until Chapman returns.
It is a commonly held belief that moving a pitcher from the American League to the National League usually results in about a half a run being shaved off his ERA. But what Gausman is doing with the Braves so far is still remarkable.
He was shipped to Atlanta, along with Darren O’Day, on July 31 for a package of five players and cash considerations.
In the month of August, Gausman is 2-1 with an ERA of 2.00, having allowed only six runs over 27 innings pitched. His four starts have gone like this: three runs in five innings, one run in eight innings, two runs in six innings and zero runs in eight innings. In that most recent scoreless start, he allowed four hits, two walks and five strikeouts on 103 pitches.
So what’s different in Atlanta for Gausman? Mark Bowman’s recent piece on MLB.com explains the Braves recent mechanical change for the right-hander — having him pitch exclusively from the stretch — which “was made as he completed a side session aimed toward lessening the frequency with which he was flying open during his delivery,” which has, in turn, led to “better fastball command and a more consistent slider...” A simple change that has led to impressive gains.