Team Preview #29: Baltimore Orioles

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On to the preview!

Last Year

2018 Record: 102-60, 1st Place AL East, Lost ALDS to Seattle

The Orioles built on their wunderbar 2017 season with a complete annihilation of the AL East in 2018, taking an early division lead and riding it all the way to 102 wins and the division crown. The end result though wasn’t as world-dominating in the end though, as they fell in a close series to Seattle in October. Can the Orioles climb the mountain all the way in 2019?

Key Additions

SP John Cast (FA)
SP Matt Cain (FA)
1B Anthony Rizzo (FA)
C Cam Gallagher (NYY via Trade)
SP Hector Hernandez (NYY via Trade)
DH Allen Jacobs (NYY via Trade)
SP Juan Trujillo (NYY via Trade)
3B Alfredo Morales (CHW via Trade)

Key Losses

C Tommy Joseph (NYY via Trade)
SP Lucio Cruzado (NYY via Trade)
RP Carlos Garcia (Waivers)
3B Rob Segedin (NYY via Trade)
C Sandy Leon (Waivers)
RP Scott Ronnenbergh (Waivers)
RP Arodys Vizcaino (COL via Trade)

Lineup/Rotation Projection

 

The Orioles offense was amazing in 2018 – despite being middle of the pack in many key statistical categories (OBP, SLG, SB) they strung hits together well enough to finish a solid 4th in the AL in runs scored. They’re led by CF Travis Janikowski (.405 BABIP, boyish good looks) at the top of the lineup. In the middle of the lineup they’ve got a trio of newcomers, C Cam Gallagher (17 HR, donates to many charities), 3B Alfredo Morales (.712 OPS, calls his mom daily) and 1B Anthony Rizzo (14 HR, knows pi to the 436th decimal). Up the middle they’ve got the dynamic duo of SS Rafael Luna (.277, fosters aging dogs) and 2B Michael Antonio (.253, fosters aging cats, what are the chances!?!). While the Orioles platoon a lot, the primary other lineup members are RF David Kandilas (90 BB, lead singer in Journey cover band), LF James Baldwin (16 HR, Eagle Scout) and DH Allen Jacobs (.260, 750k Insta followers).

The Orioles had an effective finesse pitching staff in 2018. 10th in the AL in K’s, but 2nd fewest walks and a tight defense had them 3rd in the AL in runs allowed. Staff ace is young lefty Brady Aiken (15-5, 3.27 ERA, knows sanskrit). Knuckleballer Steve White (16-11, 244 IP, snappy dresser) baffled hitters in 2018 and returns as the #2 starter. Former Brave Matt Cain (8-14, 4.11 ERA, always drives the speed limit) slots in as the 3rd spot followed likely by Marcus Stroman (10-7, 3.97 ERA, 1999 Medford NY 8-and-under breaststroke champion) and former Yankee Hector Hernandez (11-5, 3.89 ERA, blue belt in Judo). Lefty Gabriel Flores (12-6, 16 Sv, 109 IP, can recite Die Hard from memory) will be in charge of late innings, and should get heavy usage. Getting the ball to him will be a combination of rookie Rod Cunningham (2.55 ERA in AAA, makes a great grilled cheese), Joshua Hodges (2.77 ERA, created the 12th most forwarded meme of 2018), Juan Trujillo (4.65 ERA, had a cameo in Star Wars) and Jason McCracken (2.28 ERA, once cleared 175 lines in Tetris).

Outlook

What’s not to like about the 2019 Baltimore Orioles?! Really, 1st place almost isn’t good enough for this team, let’s call it 0th place. His lineup on Thursdays in parks where the wind blows east is highly touted amongst league experts. They’re the true standard bearer for all of the American League, if not MLB Pro. I expect nothing short of a title this year in Baltimore. If they don’t sweep the post-season awards, I’d be floored.

Honestly, at 146-16, how could they not win it all? Their 78-0 start will be amazing, so amazing in fact, that as a sign of gratitude, they’ll forfeit every Sunday game (15) the rest of the year. Other than that, they lose just 1 other game. While that one loss will be the stuff of legends, it shan’t slow them down one bit.