O's led by Mancini, Bundy breakouts in '17

Schoop's career year, Hardy's farewell also among top highlights

O's led by Mancini, Bundy breakouts in '17

BALTIMORE -- It's easy to chalk up the 2017 season as a disappointment for the Orioles, who were eliminated from postseason contention in mid-September after opting to be buyers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and putting together a solid August.

But there were still some positive developments that shouldn't go without notice. So before you go counting down the days until 2018's Spring Training, let's appreciate some of the positives. Here are five things worth remembering from this season.

Mancini's rookie season
Trey Mancini was a great story in Spring Training, but no one was quite sure what would happen after he forced his way onto the Opening Day roster. Mancini impressed everyone in the outfield -- a new position for him -- and he became the team's most consistent hitter.

• O's aim to boost rotation behind Bundy for '18

He ran balls out hard, played better defense than expected and moved himself up in the lineup as he played his way into a regular role. Mancini was always able to dial up what the team needed. With 159 hits on the season, Mancini moved him ahead of Cal Ripken Jr. for sole possession of second-place on the Orioles' all-time rookie hits list.

Mancini's awesome catch

Schoop's career year
The All-Star finally got his due in 2017, as Jonathan Schoop became one of the League's best hitters. Talk to any opposing pitcher about the Orioles and Schoop's name was bound to come up as a tough out and a guy who had finally developed enough plate discipline to be a real menace. Schoop finished the season with career highs in every major offensive category, with his skyrocketing walk totals the catalyst for an incredible season. Most impressive of all? His consistency.

Schoop wins Most Valuable Oriole

Offense heats up in August
An up-and-down lineup came alive in August to put the Orioles in the thick of the American League Wild Card race. Lead by AL Player of the Month Manny Machado, who hit three grand slams, the O's raked. New Oriole Tim Beckham was also red-hot the entire month, compiling 50 hits, which was the second-most in any month in club history. While the pitching remained a problem, the O's bats covered for them, helping to fuel a season-high seven-game win streak.

Machado's walk-off grand slam

Bundy becomes ace
Did Dylan Bundy tire down the stretch? Sure. But let's not forget the quality-start streak he opened the season with or the fact that the righty was very often the only reliable starter Baltimore had. In just his first full season in the rotation, Bundy was impressive -- on the mound and in his demeanor. Scouts raved how he had the look of a 10-year veteran and his health was never a question. He threw his first career complete game and emerged as a bona-fide top-of-the-rotation guy with a bright future for Baltimore.

Bundy's one-hit shutout

Hardy's farewell
Certainly this wasn't the swan song J.J. Hardy envisioned. Had he avoided the disabled list, his option would have vested and he would not have even had to say goodbye. But he didn't, and the hoards on their feet at Camden Yards for multiple ovations showed just how much the veteran shortstop was loved in Baltimore. A key cog in the organization's turnaround, Hardy suffered a wrist injury that saw him miss more than two months. He rallied for his final home game, homering to thunderous applause, in one of the most memorable moments of the season.

Hardy's memorable day

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.