Fantasy Baseball Team Previews – Baltimore Orioles

Joy R. Absalon - USA TODAY Sports

2015 did not go quite to plan for the Baltimore Orioles, who finished the season .500 and missed out on the playoffs by five wins. Fantasy-wise they are a team who plays in a good hitter’s ball park and in a division where they need to score runs to survive; four of the top seven AL offences were in the East, meaning they should offer some nice fantasy pieces. However, they are very top heavy with three studs, two maybes and then a bunch of league average hitters. Pitching-wise the fantasy upside lies in the two young arms and the bullpen where they have two legitimate studs.

In the offseason they added Hyun-Soo Kim, Mark Trumbo and L.J Hoes before signing their power first baseman to a seven-year deal (which pays him for 20-plus years!). All three of their main additions should have a place in the line-up but Trumbo is probably the most fantasy relevant entering the season.

AL East

AL Central AL West NL East NL Central NL West

Baltimore

Chicago WS Houston Atlanta Chicago

Arizona

Boston

Cleveland Los Angeles A Miami Cincinnati Colorado

New York Y

Detroit

Oakland New York M Milwaukee

Los Angeles D

Tampa Bay

Kansas City Texas Philadelphia Pittsburgh

San Diego

Toronto Minnesota Seattle Washington St. Louis

San Francisco

Projected Starting Line-up (according to www.rosterresource.com)

  1. Hyun-Soo Kim (vs RH), Nolam Reimold (vs LH)
  2. Manny Machado
  3. Chris Davis
  4. Adam Jones
  5. Matt Wieters
  6. Mark Trumbo
  7. Jonathan Schoop
  8. Jimmy Paredes (vs RH), Joey Rickard (vs LH)
  9. J. Hardy

Manny Machado, 3B

Machado has stamped his name among the fantasy elite with his performances so far in his career with the Orioles. If it hadn’t been for injuries earlier in his career, he would have been the no-brainer stud entering 2014 as well. Entering this season, he is in the elite tier of fantasy third base prospects thanks to a projected combination of 25-plus homer power, 10-ish steals speed and a batting average which should be in the 0.290 region. Batting second should allow him to score 90-ish runs, but it does hurt his RBI potential and may prevent him reaching 70. Machado is going to come at a cost and I think you will struggle to get him much beyond the second or third round of either format.

Adam Jones, OF

2015 was a slightly down year for Adam Jones, on the account of 20-ish games missed due to injury. And that has seen him slide a little in ranks entering this season. The injury cost him around 100 AB’s on the season and helps explain the slide in runs and RBI last season. However, the average dip into the 0.260’s is probably due to playing part of the year hurt, and he was actually on pace to hit 32 homers last season had he of got his normal amount of AB’s. Jones is a prime bounce back candidate as a stud outfielder who had a slightly below average year for him. He is usually a lock for 155-plus games in centre and my projections have him good for 30 homers. And with more playing time should come a return to the 90-ish runs and RBI region. Jones will likely go late in his tier and you could get a real bargain if you can get him in round 4 and potentially even later.

Chris Davis, 1B, OF

Can Chris Davis keep mashing in 2016 or is another 2014 performance looming?

Can Chris Davis keep mashing in 2016 or is another 2014 performance looming?

I am no Orioles fan but I couldn’t help but smile when Davis resigned for them. Camden Yards is a hitter friendly park and Davis has done extraordinary things for this team, so getting to play more in a ball park which ranks the warmest annually in baseball can only be a good thing for those power numbers. In points leagues the strikeouts concern me and correspondingly so does the average in roto leagues. However, he is going to get to bat sandwiched between Machado and Jones with Wieters and Trumbo in the five and six holes, so runs and RBI’s should be in the 90-ish range. Davis resigning in Baltimore makes him close to a top five option for roto leagues and only a fraction lower in points leagues. His power always means you will pay a premium for him, especially in roto leagues, so you will need to be prepared to take the risk on that average in the second round if you want him.

Mark Trumbo, 1B, OF

Trumbo’s last move from Arizona to Seattle was a massive negative for the all-or-nothing hitter, but the move to Baltimore could be something really positive. Baltimore has previous history in turning around a hard swinger and making him a usable fantasy tool (see Davis, Chris). Trumbo is never going to be Chris Davis because he doesn’t have the same power and there is every chance his average regresses back into the 0.235-0.240 range. I have him projected to be a 0.245-ish hitter and that drags him to around the 60th range among hitters for me, but if we say he can maintain his average somewhat to around 0.255 and get back into the high 20’s in homers whilst batting behind a decent line-up, we could be looking at top 50 outfielder. Whilst he is by no means an exciting option he has potential to return decent value as a fifth outfielder in roto leagues. Going in the 15th round is about the right value, but keep an eye in case he drops any further.

Matt Wieters, C

Wieters has shown himself to be a useful catching option in the past but injuries have derailed his career the last two seasons. I think his 20-homer days are behind him because of the injuries, but I would also expect his average to improve into the 0.260-0.270 range as he won’t be striving for the fences quite as much. Last year he was on pace for 15 homers and a 0.265 average with 50-ish runs and RBI. If he is healthy he should bat fifth and therefore we can expect to see those RBI numbers creep up, and it is highly feasible he ends the season as a top five catcher. However, it is hard to draft him much higher than the ninth catcher off the board because he is a massive injury risk who could leave you tearing your hair out. He’s worth a gamble in the 13th, where he is currently going, especially in shallow leagues where catchers are a dime a dozen on the wire.

Jonathan Schoop, 2B

Can Schoop put it all together and break out in 2016?

Can Schoop put it all together and break out in 2016?

Schoop is getting a lot of hype right now for his power potential, and rightly so given his draft position right now. He is going in the 20th round where 20 homer potential is extremely rare and there is very little downside to taking the gamble. I don’t have him ranked massively high because I think the strikeouts and the average drag him down to a league average player who will frustrate you as much as he will excite you. However, value is everything with Schoop and I have seen him starting to go higher and higher in drafts and given the downside it doesn’t take much increase for him to no longer be worth the gamble.

Any Other Business?

  • Hyun-Soo Kim, OF: Hard to know what to make of him but if he starts hot then he could shake off the platoon and be worth an add if he stays at the top of the order.
  • Nolan Reimold, OF: Needs to dislodge Kim as a platoon partner to have any real value in 12 or 14 team leagues. Always going to be hard to produce on the short side of a platoon.
  • Jimmy Paredes, DH: Has now got a spot in the line-up courtesy of L.J. Hoes being designated. However, with only a platoon role there isn’t any real value to start the season but definitely a name to keep an eye on.
  • J. Hardy, SS: Has some sneaky power but the plate discipline is awful. There is more upside elsewhere at the position.
  • Joey Rickard, OF: Rickard is an interesting proposition as a rule 5 addition. However, he is stuck in the wrong side of a platoon to start the season and therefore has limited value in drafts.

Projected Rotation

  1. Ubaldo Jimenez
  2. Chris Tillman
  3. Miguel Gonzalez
  4. Kevin Gausman
  5. Dylan Bundy

Ubaldo Jimenez & Chris Tillman

Both will have their good streaks but both are wildly inconsistent and shouldn’t be relied upon regularly. Tillman will make the top 100 in my rankings and Jimenez won’t be far away, but neither will be more than a back of the rotation guy.

Kevin Gausman

Can Gausman break into our fantasy hearts in 2016?

Can Gausman break into our fantasy hearts in 2016?

Gausman has been on sleeper lists now for the past couple of year but his performances have not been consistent enough to really allow that hype to build. In 2014 he had good season with a 3.57 ERA across 113.1 IP’s. However, he followed that up with a 4.25 ERA in 112.1 IP’s in 2015. There is enough potential there to make him worth a gamble in the late teens rounds especially in shallower leagues where there are streaming options available everywhere.

Dylan Bundy

Bundy has a lot of talent but there will also be teething problems as he gets used to the majors and pitching in a tough, hitter friendly ball park half the time. Could end up being a must start but could easily go the Archie Bradley route.

Closer:

Zach Britton

One of the more solid closers in fantasy baseball even with a very talented guy right behind him. His job security comes from Baltimore’s hesitation to take O’Day out of the high leverage situations he performs so well in. Britton is a consensus top 10 fantasy closer

Next Man Up:

Is O'Day a threat to dethrone Britton for saves in 2016?

Is O’Day a threat to dethrone Britton for saves in 2016?

 

Darren O’Day

A really good pitcher who the Orioles will have no choice but to turn to if Britton goes down. O’Day is a must draft in holds leagues because his ratios will be pretty fantastic.

Prospect Potential

  • Christian Walker, 1B: Has 20 homer potential but not much more which is concerning for a guy who can only play 1B.
  • Trey Mancini, 1B: I had Trey Mancini as a potential deep option at first base that had the potential to take the job and run with it. That was until they re-signed Chris Davis and shifted Mancini’s timeline back. Mancini is touted as a potential 20 homer guy who can provide decent upside.

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