Baltimore Orioles (From David Hess)
World Series Odds: 750-1 AL Pennant Odds: 350-1 AL East Odds: 250-1
2019 Recap: It was a miserable season for the Baltimore Orioles as they finished at 54-108, which was the 2nd worst record in the league. That is after they posted the worst record in the league in 2017 at 47-115. Do they have a shot at getting their act together this year? We shall see. The Orioles have now averaged just 58.6 victories over the last three years and that could very well be their ceiling at the moment. Baltimore has a lot of work to do, so let’s take a look at how the 2020 season stacks up for them.
Rotation: The pitching has been a major issue for the Orioles over the last few years. Last year, they ranked 30th in the league in ERA at 5.61 and it was the 3rd year in a row that they finished 27th or worse in team ERA. Dylan Bundy went 23-15 with a 4.15 ERA in his first two seasons with the O’s, but in the last two years, he has gone 15-30 with a 5.13 ERA. the good news is that he is no longer a problem for the Orioles as Bundy is now a member of the loss Angeles Angels. The ace of the team is John Means, who went 12-11 with a 3.60 ERA in his rookie season a year ago. Alex Cobb was 0-2 with a 10.95 ERA last year but he also played in just three games with all of them being starts. Still, in 2018, he was 5-15 with a 4.90 ERA in 28 starts. Asher Wojciechowski should man the 3rd slot after going 4-8 with a 4.92 ERA in 17 games (16 starts) last year. The O’s brought in Kohl Stewart and Wade Leblanc to help bolster the backend of their rotation. Stewart has tremendous talent while LeBlanc was just 6-7 with a 5.71 ERA in 26 games (eight starts) for Seattle last year. Still, he was 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA in 32 games (27 starts) the year before. If Means can build on last season and Cobb bounces back from injury then the O’s could get out of the basement of the league in terms of ERA. They will need help from the pen, which will not impress anyone. The Orioles had a historically bad pen last year with a 6.34 ERA. The next closest team was Miami which had an ERA of 5.04.
The Offense: The Baltimore offense has not been great the last few years but it also hasn’ been horrible either. Last year, the O’s ranked 22nd in the league in scoring, putting up 4.50 rpg while ranking 23rd in homers with 213. One notable loss to the offense is Jonathan Villar, who batted .274 with 24 homers and 73 RBIs last year. He is now playing for the Miami Marlins. Baltimore brought in SS Jose Iglesias to fill the void and he hit .288 with 11 homers and 59 RBIs for the Reds last year. He will also help the O’s on defense after committing just nine errors a season ago. The Orioles still have Trey Mancini, who hit .291 with 35 homers and 97 RBIs last year. He is their big bopper on the squad but they also have Renato Nunez, who had an amazing first full season in the league, crushing 31 homers and driving in 90 runs. Chris Davis is one of two players in Baltimore’s starting lineup that is over 30 years of age and he has really dropped off from earlier in his carer when he was a monster. Davis has just 54 homers and 146 RBIs in his last three years after crushing 197 homers and driving in 496 runs in his previous five seasons. This could be a halfway decent offense if he could find his groove again. Overall, the Orioles should finish in the bottom 3rd of the league in scoring as they just don’t have enough weapons to improve.
Conclusion: The Baltimore Orioles have a lot of work to do before they get back to respectability. The starting pitching has a chance to be better and they have a solid duo on offense in Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez, but the bullpen is still a mess and the rest of the offense is not that great overall. Baltimore has averaged just 58.6 wins per year over the last three years and if this was a full season, I would say they would be under the posted win total of 56.5 this year. Baltimore is still clearly one of the worst teams in the league and they will finish last in the AL East, by a wide margin.