As early Cinderellas of the 2020 Major League Baseball season, the Baltimore Orioles are perfect comparisons to the most famous fictional Cinderella team in sports movie history: Major League, the story of an Indians team whose owners actually wanted them to lose.
Unlike those Indians, the Orioles are actually trying to win this season. That may be a surprise to those who studied their lineup before the season, but the O's have made it clear they aren't focused on what the experts predicted. They are happy to keep defying expectations, despite a roster without much obvious star power or depth.
The Major League cast certainly had star power and depth, but their lineup was just as lacking. So, I guess there's only one thing left to do...compare the whole team.
Lou Brown: Brandon Hyde
An obvious comparison as managers of the two Cinderella squads. Hyde also was called up from a long career in the minor leagues and player development to lead a team most expected to struggle. He may not have Brown's experience, as Hyde is only in his mid-40's, but he's enjoying an unexpectedly successful season nonetheless.
Jake Taylor: Renato Nûñez
Not every player has a perfect comparison. Nûñez isn't a catcher, nor is he a former star, but he was very highly-rated in the Athletics organization prior to joining the Orioles. He was ranked as their 4th-best prospect in 2016 and is a former All-Star Futures Game participant.
Now a veteran with a second chance in Baltimore, he's thriving as a leader for a young, talented team. Like Taylor, he isn't much of a contributor in the field. Unlike Taylor, Nûñez still has plenty of power he can tap into at the plate, as evidenced by his 31 home runs in 2019 and .636 slugging percentage early in 2020.
Ricky Vaughn: Tanner Scott
This one is easy. Scott may be a southpaw, unlike Vaughn, but he fires his fastball in the mid-to-upper 90's. Just like Vaughn, Scott's control has long been lacking. Scott has walked a whopping 15% of batters in 2020, which would have been the 6th-worst mark of any reliever in baseball in 2019.
Scott may not have the same vision issues as Vaughn, but an electric heater coupled with so-so command will always remind fans of the "Wild Thing".
Willie Mays Hayes: Austin Hays
I mean, come on, it's even right there in their names!
Hays entered 2020 with a bit more pedigree than Hayes in the movie, as the former was a third-round pick and top prospect while the latter showed up unannounced to Spring Training. But both players play a strong centerfield, and both are fast.
Hayes claims to be a great hitter, and Orioles fans have heard great stories about Hays' bat in the minor leagues, though neither translated immediately to the big leagues. And what sounds like Willie Mays Hayes more than an inside-the-park home run?
Pedro Cerrano: Chris Davis
Davis may not follow the same superstitions as Cerrano in Major League, but he is definitely a tall, bulky power hitter who hits the ball 600 feet -- when he makes contact. Like Cerrano, Davis has struggled to deal with offspeed pitches and breaking balls, looking uncomfortable in the batter's box when he doesn't know a fastball is coming. Both players often look like they are guessing at the plate.
Hopefully Davis is also able to swat a huge home run in a clutch moment late in the season.
Eddie Harris: Tommy Milone
Milone may never have had the star power Harris, the Indians' fictional ace, once did. But he can relate as an aging player whose fastball doesn't have the speed it once did. Milone has never been a fireballer, but his fastball velocity in 2020 is the lowest of his career.
Despite that, he's managed to provide the Orioles with a 3.21 ERA, including starting on Opening Day. He may not be overpowering, but he's finding a way to give the Orioles a chance to win, by any means necessary -- short of illegally doctoring the baseball of course, as Harris reverted to in the movie.
Roger Dorn: No One
Jose Iglesias is the best fit on the 2020 Orioles, as the "big name" offseason acquisition who plays on the left side of the infield. Iglesias has been one of the best players on the Orioles, batting third and playing shortstop, and like Dorn is a former All-Star later in his career.
Unlike Dorn, Iglesias is a quality addition to the clubhouse, somebody who has no problem getting dirty and scrapping to win games. In reality, every regular starter this season is a grinder, and the O's have relied on their scrappy, never-give-up attitude to win games this season.
Players like the always smiling Hanser Alberto and former Rule 5 Draft pick Anthony Santander came from humble pro baseball beginnings, and through hard work and good attitudes are now leading one of MLB's biggest surprises. The lack of a Roger Dorn on this roster is one of the biggest reasons for its success.
Clu Haywood: Aaron Judge
In Major League, Haywood is a hulking Yankees slugger who terrorizes Indians pitching. In reality, Judge is a hulking Yankees slugger who terrorizes Orioles pitching.
At 6'7" and 282 pounds, Judge is one of the largest players in MLB history. He destroys O's pitching, with 11 doubles (most against any opponent), 17 home runs (second-most) and 45 RBI (most) in just 49 games started against Baltimore.
All he's missing is an iconic mustache.
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