If Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias was to assess his rebuilding project on results alone, he'd take no satisfaction in finishing 10 games under .500 and in fourth place in the AL East.
Elias, however, remains focused on the long term. So he sees reason to be enthusiastic about the improvement the Orioles showed in the second year of his quest to bring glory days back to Baltimore.
Young starters Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer shined in their first season in the majors. Second-year starter John Means got in a groove in September, and Hunter Harvey and Tanner Scott took the next step in their development as effective relievers. The offense received a boost from the power of former No. 1 draft pick DJ Stewart, the all-around play of Anthony Santander and the surprising consistency of 23-year-old Ryan Mountcastle, who batted .333 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 35 games after making his long-awaited debut in August.