Just last year, I called for the dismantling of the Orioles and held them up as an example of relatively well-laid plans not always working out. See, they've had a fair number of players that generated prospect hound cupidity before, and they were all hitting the team around the same time, with the position players more established and a number of young arms ready to join them.
Only, the Orioles stayed pretty terrible.
It was "hopeless" for them, and I advocating a massive tear down: trading Adam Jones, trading Matt Wieters, trading everyone with any perceived value and trying to win in 2015 or 2017.
Now, the Orioles are 28-17. Is there hope after all?
- After years of underwhelming, Adam Jones is hitting .311/.357/.601 while playing a passable (probably) CF. His power spike, so far, may be legitimate, given his age and progress last season. He's under contract for one more season after this one.
- Matt Wieters may never justify Matt Wieters Facts, but he's hitting .238/.321/.463 with defense that everyone loves at catcher. He's under team control for years to come.
Nick Markakis isn't a star, but he's decent. His power has mysteriously declined instead of improving. But he's OK.
- Their random signing and extension of JJ Hardy continues to look good.
- And they still have a bunch of young pitchers, although they don't really appear to have turned a huge corner. But they aren't setting records for futility this year, like happened in 2012.
So, I don't actually want to keep running down the Orioles, but you get the idea. These things aren't always linear. Mike Moustakas could look awesome in his early 20s, then be "meh" later on, Markakis style. Eric Hosmer might just be frustrating as hell for the next few years, then become awesome. We might never develop an actual average starting pitcher, but Felipe Paulino could be that #2 starter we've all been dreaming of.
This could be us, in good ways and bad. Of course, the Orioles may have just had a good 45 games. Actually, that's probably just what happened. But maybe not.