Baltimore has managed to keep near the top of the AL East recently with players that came through their farm system. They made some smart moves over the years, but now with a bare farm system, they will need to learn to win in a different way.
The AL East is never down for long. After a fairly weak 2014 season, the division bounced back to life last year. It will be very competitive again in 2016.
How will Chris Davis perform after getting a huge pay day?
Here is the 2016 MLB season preview for the Baltimore Orioles.
2015 Win/Loss Record: 81-81
Key Additions: OF Hyun Soo Kim, 1B/DH Pedro Alvarez, RP Samuel Deduno, SP Odrisamer Despaigne, 1B Mark Trumbo, RP Vance Worley, RP Todd Redmond & C Francisco Pena
Key Losses: SP Wei-Yin Chen, DH Steve Pearce, OF Gerardo Parra, OF David Lough, OF Delmon Young, C Steve Clevenger & SS Everth Cabrera
Interleague Schedule: NL West
Projected Starters: Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Jonathan Schoop, Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy, Hyun Soo Kim, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo & Pedro Alvarez
Projected Starting Rotation: Chris Tillman, Yovani Gallardo, Miguel Gonzalez, Ubaldo Jimenez & Kevin Gausman
Closer: Zach Britton
Fantasy Sleeper: OF Hyun Soo Kim – MLB has long ignored Korean baseball. They would often just pluck the best pitchers from the league, but would rarely sign any position players. A mere few were signed over the years, but only Shin-Soo Choo had success (although he never played in the KBO). The Pirates won the bidding for Jung Ho Kang and he had a pretty nice season last year. Many other KBO players signed deals this offseason. Kim showed power and hit for average in the KBO. I’m not expecting him to be a .300 hit in the Majors, but the 6’2 player could slug for a decent percentage and hit for a solid average. He could be worth a late-round pick.
Prospect To Keep Your Eye On: SP Dylan Bundy – Bundy is only 23 years old, but has been on baseball fans’ radar since he was drafted 4th overall out of high school in the 2011 amateur draft. He looked like a future ace before needing Tommy John surgery in June 2013. He came back from the injury and pitched limited innings in the minors the last two seasons. It’s time to either show up or his pro career could be in danger. He’s out of options, so if Baltimore calls him up, he has to either stick or be forced to be placed on waivers. He still has upside and Baltimore will most likely keep him in the minors until they know he will stay on the Major League roster. Keep an eye on his progress.
Team Analysis: The AL East will be cutthroat this season. The Red Sox and Yankees are improved and the Blue Jays are coming off a year of offensive dominance. I wouldn’t count out the Rays either. The Orioles could end up getting lost in the shuffle.
The Orioles spent the offseason making sure to keep slugger Chris Davis in town and trying to sign a rotation piece. They finally settled on signing Yovani Gallardo (although his medicals don’t appear to be the best).
The Orioles have been in the discussion for the AL East division crown for a few years now. They went to the postseason a few times, but failed to make much noise in October. The clock is ticking in Baltimore. Their farm system is depleted and they don’t have the deep pockets to compete with the Yankees or Red Sox.
Manny Machado, Adam Jones and Chris Davis will need to carry this team if they hope to compete for the division.
2016 Wins Over/Under Betting Line: 78 (Prediction: UNDER)
2016 Projected Win/Loss Record: 75-87 (5th in AL East)
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.