When will the 2022 MLB regular season start? Who knows, but it will get started at some point (my guess in May). Let’s take a look at the Baltimore Orioles, who should be one of MLB’s worst teams again.
MLB Analysis 2022 season
The Orioles might be the worst-run franchise in the major leagues and had a fifth straight losing season in 2021 with an MLB-worst 52-110 record. The 110 losses were the second-most in Orioles history (since 1954); the club record is 115 losses in 2018. They went 27-54 at home and 25-56 on the road; their 54 home losses were the second-most in club history (56 in 2019) and their 56 road losses were tied for the third-most in team history.
The team’s best player rather amazingly was Cedric Mullins, who revealed recently he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2020. Mullins first started feeling symptoms in the spring of 2020 but played through the affected season with the help of antibiotics before undergoing surgery on his intestines. He lost 20 pounds and admitted to having doubts about how he could perform physically heading into last year, but the 27-year-old center fielder was great with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in 159 games.
Mullins was one of nine players in the majors in 2021 to record back-to-back multi-home run games. His four multi-homer games from the leadoff spot were the second-most in a single season in O’s history, trailing only Brady Anderson’s five such games in 1996.
Camden Yards will be a bit harder to homer in this season as the team is changing the park’s dimensions. The left field wall will be moved back about 26.5 feet and the wall’s height will increase from 7 feet, 4 inches to 13 feet. The left-field foul pole will not be moved back, though.
The Orioles posted a slash line of .251/.317/.443 with 122 home runs at Camden Yards last season. Their 122 home runs were the second-most in the AL at home and their .443 slugging percentage ranked fourth-highest.
One thing Baltimore did well last year was field. The Orioles finished the season with a team fielding percentage of .9869, the third-best fielding percentage in the American League and the sixth-best in the majors. Orioles outfielders recorded 23 outfield assists, tied for the seventh-most in the AL and tied for the 10th-most in the majors. Austin Hays led the Orioles with nine outfield assists (5 in right field and 4 in left field), tied for the seventh-most in the AL and tied for the 10th-most in the majors.
We still don’t know fully what the 2022 Orioles will look like as there are still many unsigned free agents but the O’s and free agent right-hander Jordan Lyles agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract. The 31-year-old right-hander will step into the Orioles’ starting rotation after posting a lackluster 5.15 ERA, 1.39 WHIP and 146/56 K/BB ratio across 180 innings (32 appearances, 30 starts) with the Rangers in 2021. He also served up a league-high 38 home runs.
There is potential help on the horizon with arguably the No. 1 prospect in baseball, catcher Adley Rutschman, expected to make his big-league debut at some point this year.
Between two minor-league levels in 2021 — with 80 games at Double-A Bowie and 43 with Triple-A Norfolk — Rutschman put up stellar numbers. He hit .285/.397/.502/.899 with 25 doubles, two triples, 23 homers, 86 runs and 75 RBIs. He was the Orioles’ Player of the Month on the farm for August, when he batted .312/.408/.511/.919. It was during that month he moved to Triple-A on Aug. 10. In 43 games at that level, he hit .312/.405/.490/.895. Rutschman, who is 24, led O’s farmhands in plate appearances (543), hits (129) and runs. He was fourth in doubles and RBIs, and second in homers and OPS.