The Baltimore Orioles are currently in last place in the American League East with a 36-52 record which has them 18 games behind the Red Sox in the division. They are also 17 games back for the A.L. Wildcard. They are going to be sellers once again at the trade deadline as this season has been especially brutal because the Orioles spent a lot of money on free agents who have not panned out in 2011. Here is a look at the players who made the biggest impact for the Orioles in the first half of the 2011 season:
Team MVP: I’m going to go with 25-year old righty swinging CF Adam Jones. Jones has played in 87 games for the Orioles so far this year and he is 96 for 337 (.285 avg, .785 OPS) with 38 runs scored, 13 homers, 49 RBIs and 6 stolen bases. Jones has been hitting with a lot of power this year and he’s playing a very solid CF defensively for the Orioles.
Biggest Surprise: Despite pitching very well out of the bullpen in 2010, 36-year old righty reliever Koji Uehara had his skeptics. Some of those skeptics must have been in the O’s front office as they brought in Kevin Gregg to replace Uehara as the closer in 2011. Uehara has outpitched Gregg and all of the other pitchers on the Orioles. Uehara has pitched in 37 games (0 starts) for the Orioles so far this year and he is 1-1 with a 2.03 ERA and a 0.75 WHIP. He has only given up 22 hits in his first 40 innings this year and he has walked only 8 batters while whiffing 52! Uehara is going to be a hot commodity on the trade market this month.
Biggest Disappointment: This is a tie between 25-year old righty starting pitcher Brad Bergesen and 24-year old lefty starting pitcher Brian Matusz. Both of these guys were very solid when Buck Showalter took over as the manager last season, so he was counting on them at the back end of the starting rotation. Both pitchers have failed miserably in 2011 as they have both spent time in the minors this year. Bergesen has pitched in 17 games (9 starts) for the Orioles so far this year and he is 1-6 with a 5.65 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He is hanging onto a job in Baltimore by a very thin thread. Brian Matusz is currently in AAA right now. Matusz has pitched in 6 games (all starts) for the Orioles so far this year and he is 1-4 with a 8.77 ERA and a 1.99 WHIP. He has given up a stunning 40 hits (9 homers) in his first 25 2/3 innings with the Orioles this year.