With a starting rotation that is exceptionally thin and made up entirely of righties and a bullpen that has numerous question marks, this is a team that will be vulnerable. Their team ERA in 2017 came in at 4.97 (27th). Teams hit .269 against them while their 35 saves put them 21st in the majors.
With closer Zach Britton (2.89 ERA, 37.1 IP, 15 SVs), the bullpen is down an important reliever. That’s tough news for a staff that put in the second-most relief innings in the AL (595). Brad Brach (3.18 ERA, 68.0 IP, 18 SVs) is the anchor of this group and closer. Righty Michael Givens led Baltimore relievers last season in wins (8), appearances (69), strikeouts (88) and innings pitched (78.2).
The Baltimore roster offers some accomplished and dangerous hitters. The fielding overall is average, but their 177 DPs tied them for first in the majors.
Outfielder Trey Mancini (.293 BA, 24 HRs, 78 RBI) provides some pop, as does Adam Jones (.285 BA, 26 HRs, 73 RBI). Austin Hayes gets a chance, as he comes up from the minors to occupy a starting spot.
At third, Machiado, who’s also solid at short, is a solid presence. Davis, who can be a liability on defense, plays first. In the middle, second baseman Schoop is s dirt dog, ably playing that spot to the hilt. At Short, Beckman offers solid skills. Top backstop Welington Castillo went to the White Sox, leaving the door open for Chance Sisco and Joseph to share that spot. Both have good defensive skills.
In the outfield, centerfielder Jones can be an adventure in a negative way. In left, Mancini offers some good fielding skills and a strong arm. If Hayes works out in right, he could be a great addition. He’s got an accurate and strong arm and hunts down balls well.
Management and Front Office
Both Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Douquette and manager Buck Showalter are in their contract years. In their respective positions, each is about as good as he can be, but as a team, they’re like oil and vinegar. That stress and strain worked at first, as over the past six years, they’ve been to the playoffs three times. In 2014, they helped take the team to the division title. But the club has slipped as of late and how much they can do with these guys is questionable.
Baltimore Orioles 2018 Preview: Final Word
Our Baltimore Orioles 2018 preview sees this team as struggling. The fact is they have to play the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox over and over again. Plus, there’s always the dangerous Toronto Blue Jays. When it comes to pitching, the Orioles need help. Perhaps their farm system can be an asset, but that’s a longshot.