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Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

Baltimore Orioles Roundup: Jonathan Villar steals 37th base of the season

Check out the latest news and notes from the  Baltimore Orioles' clubhouse. 

Player Updates:

2B Jonathan Villar went 1-for-3 with a walk, a stolen base, and a run scored in Friday’s win over the Mariners. Villar singled to lead off the bottom of the first inning and came around to score on Anthony Santander’s three-run homer. He stole his 37th base of the season after walking to lead off the seventh. The speed is great, but he’s also pitched in 23 homers, 69 RBI, and 106 runs scored to go along with a .277/.344/.462 batting line. 

2B Hanser Alberto went 1-for-3 with a solo homer and a walk Friday against Seattle. Alberto is now up to 12 homers on the year, with nine of them coming during the second half. The 26-year-old has faded here in September, but he still finds himself among the league-leaders with a .313 batting average. Nobody would have predicted that in the spring.

OF Anthony Santander finished 1-for-4 with a three-run homer in Friday’s 5-3 win over the Mariners. Santander delivered the big blow in a four-run first inning against Felix Hernandez. He’s now homered twice in his last three games, bringing his total to 20 despite appearing in just 91 games this season. The Orioles are looking for building blocks and the 24-year-old switch-hitter would appear to be one of them.

SP Aaron Brooks threw seven innings of one-run ball for the win against the Mariners on Friday. He came on in relief of opener Richard Bleier, who allowed a two-run shot to Kyle Lewis over his two innings of work. Brooks induced just three swinging strikes in his 83 pitches, but it didn’t really matter, as he Seattle’s lineup to just one hit while walking one and striking out four. 

Injuries

OF Mason Williams, knee, out indefinitely

RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Monday 9/23: Orioles vs Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. Rogers Centre

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Orioles announce family-friendly time changes to their regular season schedule

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Orioles announce family-friendly time changes to their regular season schedule

The Orioles announced significant changes to their regular-season schedule Thursday, making it more family-friendly during non-summer months. 

According to Joe Trezza, the Orioles will start at 6:35 p.m. ET for games that occur before Memorial Day and after Labor Day. Home games during the summer will retain their 7:05 p.m. ET start time.

Major League Baseball saw a record 3:05:35 average run time for games in 2019 despite changes made before 2018 to cut mound visits without pitching changes. 

With the average length of a game longer than ever and the fact that the Orioles have finished last in the AL East in three consecutive seasons, this is seemingly a smart move to get more fans out to Camden Yards. 

John Means finished second in AL Rookie of the Year voting after a surprising season, so the Orioles days as the butt of most baseball-related jokes could be nearing an end. 

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

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Orioles' John Means falls short in AL Rookie of the Year voting

It was always going to be an uphill climb. Now? It’s reality.

John Means did not become the first Oriole to win the AL Rookie of the Year award in 20 years.

The surprising ace finished second behind Yordan Alvarez in this year’s voting. The result is less of a surprise, as Alvarez utterly dominated opponents at the plate all year long. From the moment he was promoted in June, Alvarez was one of the best hitters in baseball. 

By wRC+, an all-encompassing offensive metric, he was actually the second-best hitter in baseball behind only Mike Trout. And he owned the best OPS for a rookie in MLB history.

He accomplished all this while hitting in the middle of the most formidable lineup in baseball, a Houston unit that carried them to the American League pennant.

Alvarez didn’t enjoy the most prolific postseason of all-time, but he still pitched in with a few big hits against the Nationals in the World Series. His hot streak in the Fall Classic actually allowed him to lead the Astros in both batting average and OPS against the Nats.

For so many reasons, Alvarez earned his unanimous first-place finish. But don’t let that diminish Means’ year.

A non-prospect who was made the Orioles roster out of Spring Training, Means was the team’s lone All-Star representative this season. He held his own in the vaunted AL East, and was the clear-cut second-best rookie in the AL in 2019.

Means’ great season helped him receive 16 second-place votes, while no other candidate received more than six.

In a long, trying season, Means stood out as one of the most pleasant surprises for the Orioles in recent memory. The organization has long struggled to develop starting pitching, which has constantly placed them behind the 8-ball in their division. If the front office can unearth a few more hidden gems in the coming seasons, the rebuild may just work out after all.

Brandon Lowe of the Rays rounded out the top three finishers, while Eloy Jimenez finished fourth.

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