State Of The Squads – Baltimore Orioles

chrisThe Baltimore Orioles enter into 2016 as one of the more intriguing teams in the league.  In a division that’s usually one of the most competitive in the American League, the Orioles watched just about everyone else around them get better.  The Orioles had a few key goals in the off-season and were for the most part successful.  They were able to retain Catcher Matt Wieters, 1B Chris Davis, and bullpen stud Darren O’Day.  They replaced Bruce Chen with Yovani Gallardo, and added Mark Trumbo, Hyun-Soo Kym, and Pedro Alvarez.  This is also the year we see once top prospect Dylan Bundy join the squad, although that is due to a contract situation.

If there is any one thing to expect from this team it’s a lot of fireworks.  The Orioles were third in the league last season with 232 home runs, and expects to dwarf that mark this season.  Machado, Jones, Alvarez, Schoop, Trumbo, and even Matt Wieters are all expected to hit at least 20-30 home runs.  Chris Davis is expected to crack 30+.  Additionally, Kyun Soo Kym has shown quite a bit of power overseas.  That leave only J.J. Hardy who has had 20+ HR seasons, though has been hampered by back and shoulder injuries the past few seasons, leading to a dramatic drop in power.  Along with all those home runs will come a metric ton of strikeouts Chris Davis alone has been in the top 6 in strikeouts each of the past 4 seasons and lead the league last year.  The offense seems to be going full bore, all or nothing.

As per usual with this club, the offense will be attempting to overcome the deficiencies in the starting rotation.  While I expect Kevin Gausman to have a break out season and turn into the club’s ace, the club will need up seasons from Chris Tillman, Yovani Gallardo, and Ubaldo Jimenez if they hope to take the division.  While Gallardo and Jimenez are always good for a ton of innings, you also never know what you are going to get out of them.  Some days they are lights out, other times they are nothing more than batting practice.  orioles_white_sox_baseball-06173

Backing up the weak rotation is a stronger than average bullpen.  The Orioles were able to get Darren O’Day to return, have one of the best (and often overlooked) closers in the league in Zach Britton, and have a good mix of arms to back them up.  Chaz Roe, Todd McFarland, and Mychal Givens are all up and coming stars.  Buck Showalter does a pretty good job managing the bullpen, but ultimately the team will need the starters to give them at least 6 innings a start to keep the pen from getting worn out quickly.  Keeping the starters in the game has been difficult at best the past few seasons.

If the Orioles are to contend, they need up years from several of their stars, including Davis, Tillman, Gausman, and Jones.  I expect to see Machado turn into the best third baseman in the league after an occasional sloppy defensive 2015.  Jonathan Schoop is also poised for a breakout season and could club 30 Home Runs and turn into a real force at second base.  (The converted short stop hit 15 home runs in just 86 games last season.)  I don’t expect too much from J.J. Hardy, who’s been hampered by injuries the past few seasons and has decided to forgo corrective surgery.  Matt Wieters is still struggling coming off Tommy John surgery two years ago, and has already started to experience some arm soreness this spring.  (Although a MRI came up clean.)  The O’s do have a few decent backups in place in case any starter goes down for a few weeks.

GausmanThe team is a very interesting one, as if things go mostly well, they could take what promises to be a very difficult division, however if things don’t go their way, they could end up dead last in the division and trading off their chips at the deadline.  I can’t think of any team more difficult to predict in the past few seasons as it seems that this will be one gigantic roll of the dice.  Lots of power, lots of strikeouts, above average defense in the infield with average to poor defense in the outfield.  The team is trying to squeeze three first baseman on the field, and has a rotation full of number 3 starters.  The farm system is very lacking, making any major acquisitions via trade unlikely.

Projected Starting Rotation

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Yovani Gallardo
  3. Kevin Gausman
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Miguel Gonzalez

Projected Lineup

  1. LF – Hyun-Soo Kym
  2. 3B – Manny Machado
  3. 1B – Chris Davis
  4. CF – Adam Jones
  5. RF – Mark Trumbo
  6. C – Matt Wieters
  7. DH – Pedro Alvarez
  8. 2B – Jonathan Schoop
  9. SS – J.J. Hardy

Bullpen Standouts

  • Zach Britton
  • Darren O’Day
  • Todd McFarland
  • Brian Matusz
  • Chaz Roe
  • Oliver Drake
  • Dylan Bundy
  • Mychal Givens

Top Bench Players

  • C – Caleb Joseph
  • Utility – Ryan Flaherty
  • OF – Nolan Reimold
  • DH – Jimmy Paredes

8 thoughts on “State Of The Squads – Baltimore Orioles

  1. Wow, that rotation is a bunch of #4 starters with maybe just a little hope from Gausman. Bullpen is excellent. Lineup is power heavy with serious contact issues. Ts team is going to have 20 strikeouts in a game.

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