In a year full of disappointment for the Baltimore Orioles, there is yet another historic moment for the team in 2019.
Jonathan Villar hit for the cycle on Monday night in a loss to the New York Yankees. He rocked a triple to centerfield in the third, doubled in the fifth, and went yard for a two-run homer in the sixth. In the ninth, he capped off his memorable night with a single.
Not too shabby for a guy that lead off the game for the Orioles with a strikeout. He finished the night 4-for-5 with two RBI and two runs.
Notching the feat for the first time in his seven-year career, he becomes the fifth player in Major League Baseball to record a cycle this season.
Interestingly, Villar easily could have missed out on the cycle. His double should have been a single, but Villar's hustle took the Yankees by surprise and he was able to sneak into second base, earning his double the hard way.
Villar apparently had no idea he was just a single shy of the cycle until after he was already standing on base.
It’s also the first time an Oriole has accomplished the rare hitter’s feat since 2009. He joins a mighty fine list that includes Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Aubrey Huff and Felix Pie.
With it being the fifth cycle of the year, MLB could very well be on track for another record broken this season. Already this season we have seen the O’s hit multiple home runs in 10 straight games and become the first team to score 13+ runs in back-to-back games while shutting out their opponent, plus they saw one of their position players record a save. All that is compounding with it being an MLB season on track for the most home runs and most strikeouts in the league’s history.
This could very well be another mark that falls, as the record currently stands at eight cycles hit in a single season, set in 1933 and tied in 2009.
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Wednesday has already brought a flurry of transactions in Major League Baseball, and the Orioles got in on the frenzy by trading Dylan Bundy to the Angels.
According to Ken Rosenthal, Baltimore sent Bundy to LA in exchange for Triple-A pitching prospect Isaac Mattson. Jeff Passan reported that the three pitchers included in the package to Baltimore are Zach Peek, Kyle Bradish and Kyle Brnovich.
The Orioles took Bundy fourth overall in the 2011 draft, but the right-hander wasn't able to become the ace they were hoping for in his first four seasons in the big leagues.
In 2019 he went 7-14 with a 4.79 ERA over 161 innings pitched. His ERA never dipped below 4.00 during his tenure with the Orioles.
Mattson was a 19th round pick by the Angels in 2017 and has yet to make an appearance in the majors. Last season he threw 73.1 innings for three different minor-league clubs and posted a 2.33 ERA with an opponent batting average of .184.
Peek and Brnovich are both 2019 draft picks, while Bradish threw 101 innings in the California league last season. He posted a 4.28 ERA and .235 opponent batting average in 18 starts.
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The Baltimore Orioles may be in need of a new starting second baseman after reportedly waiving Jonathan Villar on Wednesday, giving other teams the opportunity to claim him before he likely becomes a free agent on Monday.
Villar, projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make $10.4 million in his final year of arbitration, played all 162 games for the Orioles last season. He hit .274 with a .792 OPS while setting a career high in home runs (24) and stealing 40 bases.
The 28-year-old provides most of his value with his legs, with which he’s stolen 160 bases since 2016—second in baseball over that span behind only Billy Hamilton (173). Villar can also play multiple infield positions, logging over 300 career games at both second base and shortstop with experience at third and the outfield as well.
If Villar isn’t claimed by Monday, the Orioles will either negotiate a cheaper salary or non-tender a contract to him and allow him to become a free agent. With a weak free agent class at both second base and shortstop, Villar would likely have no problem finding a new employer for his services.
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