2020 MLB Preview: Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles Will Take Flight… In 270 Days
This could be the first time any team wins fewer than 20 games in a full season. Sure, part of that is the COVID-19-shortened season. The bigger part is half of the Orioles’ team sucks.
But hope is on the horizon. The orange birds keep rebuilding which means finding someone foolish enough to trade for under-performing players or those who might bring prospects in return. Last season Baltimore lost solid, but unspectacular second baseman Jonathan Villar and also “lost” the career 4.67 earned run average of Dylan Bundy. Executive Vice President/General Manager Mike Elias and Assistant GM of Analytics Sig Mejdal, came from Houston two years ago after being part of the team that developed George Zimmer, Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.
As management continues to stockpile position players –13 of its last 14 draft picks– the team does show signs of life. Outfielder Austin Hayes hit .309, second baseman Hanser Alberto hit .305 with 12 homers and outfielder Trey Mancini hit .291 with 35 blasts. Third baseman Anthony Santander hit .261 with 21 bombs. Best of all, Mancini is the oldest at 28.
Yes, we know Chris Davis continues to struggle and makes a lot of money, but he’s not alone. There’s an interesting rundown of money owed to players in future years here: https://birdswatcher.com/2020/07/01/baltimore-orioles-celebrating-bobby-bonilla-day-deferments/.
On the mound there wasn’t much to get aflutter about. John Means went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA and 2013 first-round pick Hunter Harvey (son of Bryan) made seven appearances and had an 1.42 ERA. Ryan Eades appeared in eight games and allowed 1.5 runners per innings pitched which gives one pause despite the 2.38 ERA. Beyond that, there are a lot of hits, runs and losses on this staff.
Simply put, it’s just not enough to win, yet. They need pitching desperately, especially in the American League East. Without it there will be more slugfests and interest may grow a smidge but there won’t be many wins. Next year, perhaps, they’ll have enough arms to start being compared to the Astros. For now though they’re a 60-win team for a regular season. Coronavirus 60-game prediction: 23-37.
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