2015 Fantasy Outlooks: Baltimore Orioles

Jones

The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a season in which they won the AL East by a 12 game margin and they will be looking to try and retain that advantage in 2015. They haven’t made many additions in the offseason with Travis Snider being the only significant new face. The Orioles will be hoping he can replace some of the output they have lost with the departure of Nelson Cruz, and to some extent Nick Markakis. From a fantasy point of view the Orioles play in an average ball park for offensive production but they do get to play a fair few games in two stadiums within the top three for power production so there should be plenty of opportunities for their hitters.

Hitting

Predicted line-up: (courtesy of www.rostersource.com)

  1. Alejandro De Aza (vs RH), Delmon Young (vs LH)
  2. Manny Machado
  3. Adam Jones
  4. Chris Davis
  5. Steve Pearce
  6. Travis Snider
  7. J. Hardy
  8. Caleb Joseph
  9. Jonathan Schoop

Fantasy Superstar: Adam Jones OF

This is a no brainer choice for the most exciting Baltimore player for fantasy in 2015. Adam Jones has been a top 5 outfielder in roto in each of the last three seasons and there is no reason to expect that shouldn’t be a repeat this year. His projections this year have him scoring almost 100 runs, hitting around 30 homers and driving in 100 all whist hitting at around 0.280.

Fantasy Enigma: Chris Davis, 1B

This really could either way, I could see him returning somewhere close to his 2013 form where he was the #2 first baseman with 50 homers (40 is a more realistic ceiling) but I could also see him struggling and putting up something closer to his 2013 form of 26 homers and being closer to a top 15 option at first base. He is one of the biggest risk reward players in fantasy this year but the ball park he plays in should ensure he is somewhat fantasy relevant. N.B. He is suspended for the first game of the season due to PED’s (apparently they are prescribed!).

Mid/Late-round Gold?: Matt Wieters, C

Missed a huge chunk of last season after starting the season in decent form and there are currently question marks about whether he will be ready for opening day. However, he is a great option at catcher and was a top 6 catching option for roto is 2012 and 2013.  There should be plenty of opportunity to kick on so taking the risk and drafting him in the area of round 15-20 could provide you with a top 5 upside at catcher this season.

Massive Upside: Manny Machado, 3B

Machado was picked as the breakout candidate for many people in 2014 but a knee injury derailed that before the season even started. However, with a full year to recover and spring training to get ready I would expect Machado to come bouncing back to be a top 10 third baseman with top 5 upside. Scoring runs shouldn’t be an issue if he can get on base with the line-up he has behind him and with the speedy De Aza infront of him there should be a fair few opportunities to knock in some runs. What he lacks in steals potential he makes up for potential 20 homer power at an average of around 0.290. To say I am excited about his prospects is a massive understatement.

Late-round Power Potential: Steve Pearce, 1B,OF

Currently Pearce is scheduled to be the regular DH for the Orioles but he is also capable of playing both first base and outfield which should see him getting plenty of AB’s in 2015. There is a worry that if he cannot get onto the diamond to field he could lose a large number of AB’s to Matt Wieters when he is rested from catching duties. However, with 25 homer potential and a 30 homer ceiling at a solid 0.270 average he is definitely someone worth drafting from round 15 onwards if you have skimped on power early on in the draft.

Late Round Flyer: Travis Snider, OF

Snider is one of my sleepers this year as he makes the move from PNC Park to Baltimore. He hit 13 homers in 322 AB’s last season and if he can have a full season in the Baltimore outfield then 20 homers could be within his reach. Finding 20 homers late in a draft is extremely rare and while he doesn’t have the immense upside of Cruz he could be a handy replacement for Baltimore.

Any Other Business?:

The fear that De Aza and Delmon Young are in a platoon really affects both of their values and stops them being mixed league relevant. In the middle infield the only mixed league relevant guy is JJ Hardy who was top 15 in 2012 and top 10 in 2013. However, 2014 was a massively down year for him so he is at most a middle infield option. As for Schoop; yeah there is nothing here really so you should go looking for shortstop work elsewhere. Finally, Caleb Joseph is literally just a place holder for Wieters so I expect to see him spend spring training as the first choice catcher but he will have no real fantasy relevance in 2015 for me.

Pitching

Chris Tillman has the potential to be a top 25 pitcher this year

Chris Tillman has the potential to be a top 25 pitcher this year

Projected Rotation:

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Wei-Yin Chen
  3. Bud Norris
  4. Miguel Gonzalez
  5. Kevin Gausman

This pitching group feels extremely underwhelming so there isn’t a real stand out must get fantasy player. I like Chris Tillman as a late round option as he has shown the ability to be useful in that ball park and has the potential to be a top 25 starting pitcher. Gausman interests me as a sleeper but you aren’t taking him much before the 20th round. The real talent in this staff will start the season at AAA.

Projected Bullpen:

CL: Zach Britton

SU: Darren O’Day

SU: Tommy Hunter

MR: Brian Matusz

MR: Brad Brach

MR: Wesley Wright

LR: Ubaldo Jimenez

Again there isn’t too much to go into here; Britton should be a solid closer who will be drafted in the top 15 and could return top five results. His main threat should be O’Day but they are reluctant to use him as a closer because they like having him in the setup role. That means there is nothing threatening in this bullpen so Britton may have a decent leash if he starts with a wobble or two.

Prospect Report

  • Dariel Alvarez, OF: An international free agent who could get his opportunity to come in if Snider, Young or De Aza start slow. There is potential power here that could be intriguing if he gets a shot.
  • Christian Walker, 1B: A lot here seems to depend on Chris Davis, if he flops then Walker could get his shot in the bigs. I expect to see him at some point if there are injuries and the O’s are in contention.
  • Dylan Bundy: This is the no brainer star of the pitching for the Orioles but they won’t want to rush him if they don’t have too. It might take a couple of injuries for him to get a chance as Jimenez will likely be the first call. Bundy has stud potential but the ball park is something that won’t help him. If he gets promoted then he is worth stashing in keeper leagues as he is their #1 prospect.

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