MLB Breakdown: Baltimore Orioles

by Bill M on February 17, 2014 · 0 comments

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NOTE: The team write-ups are based on my preparation for my fantasy season rather than trying to breakdown teams or focus on actual MLB.  The main fantasy format I play is Scoresheet baseball, which is a simulation service, so skills are more important that counting numbers for me.  But, a good player is a good player so the info should translate well to any format, and you should get a decent idea about the team based on the write-ups.  I hope you enjoy!

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

TARGET: Chris Davis, Manny Machado (dynasty), Kevin Gausman (dynasty)

MID-RANGE: J.J. Hardy, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Nick Markakis, Tommy Hunter, Darren O’Day

END GAME: Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, rest of RP

INFIELD

Chris Davis had an all-time beautiful season in 2013.  The seeds were sown for goodness in 2012, but I’m not sure anyone expected last season.  The power is giant and cannot be ignored however the contact rate (66%) is disturbing.  He’ll still be a productive player, but expecting a replay will probably leave you unfulfilled.  Manny Machado is a favorite of the prospecting crowd.  He’s only 21 and held his own in MLB, but he’s coming off major knee surgery and his skill levels look pretty comsi comsa.  Still, scouting reports and pundit drooling say he’s an impact talent so you better know his name.  J.J. Hardy has great Scoresheet defensive range and great power from the SS position and well above average power for a middle infielder, but the OBA around 0.300 leaves a lot to be desired.  Ryan Flaherty has supposedly put on weight, but he’ll likely be replacement at best at 2B.

OUTFIELD/DH

Baseball Prospectus writer Jason Parks describes CF Adam Jones as having top of the line #rig.  His counting stats back that up in a big way (30+ HR, 15+SB, 100 RBI), but this OBA (0.322) and OPS (781) paint a more reserved picture for Scoresheet.  I’m completely conflicted with this guy…he’ll probably be good in any format but not my ideal profile.  Nick Markakis is coming off a horrific year that saw his power freefall.  He has a neck/herniated disc issue listed on Baseball Prospectus, and that is a terrible thing.  He’s a target name with an end game value.  Left field for this team is not worth mentioning.  David Lough is currently listed as the starting LF.  He has very little experience and middling minors pedigree.  Avoid.  DH will be a lost position for the O’s with either Delmon Young or Nolan Reimold.  Many NL teams have better options on their benches, which is pretty despicable.

ROTATION

Chris Tillman is slated as the #1, but he’s really more of a mid-rotation guy.  He was a huge prospect that finally came through for BAL fans in mid-2012 and 2013.  His peripherals are very supportive of the breakout, but I worry that he relies on the fastball 62% of the time.  He has great velocity separation to his comps, but it’s still disconcerting.  It’d give him a cautious buy.  Wei-Yin Chen is a 4 ERA guy.  His FIP and xERA are pretty much right with the ERA.  He shouldn’t be in your rotation.  Bud Norris is an interesting guy.  He can miss bats at a K per inning rate and rack up big numbers in individual starts.  He’s a FB/slider guy, which is why many have suggested he’d be better off in the pen.  I lean that way myself, and the Orioles even flirted with the idea of making him their closer.  Miguel Gonzalez is a late bloomer with decent everything, but you can pretty much see Chen for how I would rate him for fantasy purposes.  The wild card is Kevin Gausman at #5.  He’s listed at #5, but in reality, his ceiling is far higher than anyone else on the list.  He struggled in his first taste of MLB last year, so he’s more of a post-hype prospect.  Scouts are still very high, as they should be.  Power, power, power.  He’s a big time sleeper in my book.

BULLPEN

Tommy Hunter bounced around being a swingman for years prior to going to the pen fulltime in 2013.  And in short bursts, his fastball went from pedestrian to 95-96 on average.  I’m not sure how this capability was not recognized earlier in his career, but it’s here now.  He still didn’t miss bats at a dominant level (7.1 K/9), and his BABIP was low (0.249) in 2013, but he doesn’t walk anyone and that kind of velocity is hard to square up against even the best.  I mark him as a stud.  Darren O’Day has been about as consistently great as any guy you’ve never heard of.  Aside from a hiccup in 2011, he’s been in the low 2.00s for ERA or even under.  He’s the kind of guy that can be the lynchpin of a championship.  Brian Matusz is their lefty specialist and he’s serviceable in that spot.  Then there are two NL refugees Ryan Webb and Brad Brach that I have love for.  Webb throws hard but doesn’t miss bats.  The velo prevents hard contact, but he’s dependent upon the defense.  I could never figure out why Brach seemed to constantly be in the doghouse in SD.  He does miss bats but also walks a lot of guys…I guess I just answered my own question about the doghouse in SD…

 Reach me on Twitter @wjm37 and on email at wjm37_jds@outlook.com

Sites used in research: Baseball Prospectus, Baseball HQ, Baseball America, MLB Depth Charts, BrooksBaseball, and Baseball-Reference.

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