A.L. East Prediction: Baltimore Orioles
Is this the year they win 70 games? How about 60? Do I hear 55?
The stars are in the bullpen. That’s not a good thing, but that’s where you’ll find Shawn Armstrong. He was a bright spot for the club last year with 14 strikeouts in as many innings pitched and a sparkling walks plus hits per innings pitched of 0.80. Paul Fry is a solid presence with an ERA of 3.11 over his career. Dillon Tate put up good numbers last year with an ERA of 3.24 but his career mark is around five. The Orioles, for obvious reasons, would like the latter. Cesar Valdez on the appeared in nine games last year but his ERA was 1.11 and his WHIP was even better than Armstrong’s at 0.70. The problem there again though is in a larger sample size as a professional. His ERA is around six. In case you forgotten that’s bad. Tyler Wells‘ numbers in the minors were solid but it’s pretty common for kids coming up to tack on at least a run to their ERA as they adjust
The same goes for righty starter Dean Kremer and lefty starter Bruce Zimmerman who has struggled so far is a pro. As long as the Orioles let Matt Harvey pitch the relievers are going to be in for a ton of work. You do have to feel sorry for a guy who was considered one of the best in the game for a time but those days have come and gone. His ERA last year in seven games was 11.57 and, no, that’s not a typo You can’t tell me that there’s not a AAA pitcher somewhere who can’t do better and probably for a hell of a lot cheaper. Same goes for Jorge Lopez and his 6.23 career ERA. You can’t tell me that there’s not another AAA pitcher somewhere else who can’t do better. Left-hander John Means has been through about a season and a half at the big league level and looks like he could be a pretty good number-three starter. Too bad that with this group he looks like the ace of the staff.
Offensively, Baltimore welcomes back Trey Mancini after a year spent battling cancer. He looks like he could put up some .300/30 home run seasons based on his 2019 campaign. He’ll need help to reach those numbers, though, and I’m not sure where he’s going to get it. Freddy Galvis isn’t going to scare anyone. Anthony Santander could be an Edwin Encarnacion type. He does have power, having hit 32 home runs in 660 at bats. Pedro Severino would make somebody a good fourth outfielder. He hit .250 last year and has 20 home run potential. Maikel Franco also has 20 home run power but he basically played his way out of Philadelphia. Is it possible to play your way out of Baltimore? At least Baltimore looks like they have a decent centerfielder in Cedric Mullins. He should be able to improve on his .246 batting average. Shortstop Rio Ruiz is in his fifth year and needs to show he can improve. He swings like he’s got 60 home run potential. He doesn’t.
All told they’re not very good on offense and there is no indication that players who have been struggling for several years in the Major Leagues are going to turn it around this year. All I really want to see is Mancini hit, Santandar crush home runs and back up catcher Chance Sisco every chance I get. Why? Because his name is Chance Sisco. Why wouldn’t I want to see that? Chance Sisco. Chance Sisco. Chance Sisco.
The only way this team wins more than 40% of their games is if two of their young starters blossom. Could it happen? Sure. Will it? Who knows. The bullpen is the strength which means means most of them will probably be gone at the All-Star game for draft picks. If the Orioles can trade some of the dead weight in their infield and their outfield for draft picks then at least Orioles fans could make it through another awful season knowing there is a plan. Even if they win six series over the season they’re still no better than 60 wins.
I put them at 53 WINS.