Yovani Gallardo, Mark Trumbo, Hyun Soo-Kim, Pedro Alvarez
Wei-Yin Chen, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce
Gallardo has the potential to be an upgrade from Chen, but the major upgrade could be Trumbo or Alvarez. Both have high strikeout potential, and are coming off of a stretch of poor play, but both have 30+ home run potential. Camden Yards may play to his power, so if either can get back to their old ways it would be a big jump in the lineup. In both cases though, they would serve best as a DH, so how the rotate the two, and how much right field Trumbo plays could affect the team.
Projected Playoff Lineup
- Joey Rickard
- Manny Machado
- Adam Jones
- Chris Davis
- Mark Trumbo
- Matt Wieters
- Pedro Alvarez
- JJ Hardy
- Jonathan Schoop
The O’s have major power potential but at the same time have big time K potential. Fortunately, Jones and Machado at the top are guys who will at least put the ball in play, and both have big power potential to go with it. Davis hit 47 home runs last year but with that came a 31% K rate. Adding Alvarez and Trumbo only adds to him, Schoop, and Weiters as guys who strike out about ¼ of the time or more. The other problem is that Davis, Alvarez, Trumbo, and Schoop were all below average defenders last year. If they are not hitting, they are not bringing much to the table at all, and how they manage the defensive shuffling with only an average bench could be concerning.
Their biggest questions will come from the rotation. I mean the last time Jimenez was in competition to be an ace it was 2012. Last year he did post the second highest WAR on the team, following Chen who is now gone. Gallardo posted a 2.5 WAR last year behind Jimenez who posted a 2.7. Gallardo is also coming to a league where he now doesn’t see a pitcher every nine hitters, which may hurt him, especially considering that he doesn’t really have a high strikeout rate to begin with. They have two young arms in Gausman and Dylan Bundy, but Bundy was hurt most of last year, and is a bit of a question coming into 2016. Gausman spent a lot of 2015 in the bullpen, but they may need him to be their ascending ace at some point. He is already dealing with a spring injury, and if he cannot be a guy that takes control the rotation has little hope of being a contending one.
The pen isn’t necessarily a weakness, but at the same time it isn’t the strength that can carry the team. They had success in Zach Britton and have a strong back end, but their middle and long relief are areas of weakness. Given the starters they have in the rotation it may not matter how much the back end is if they can’t outscore teams.
The AL is so much more wide open than the NL. The Orioles have a lineup that can hang with most of the good teams in the MLB. Their pitching however is a major cause for concern. With their pitching holding them down, you tend to put the lineup under the microscope. The holes are there, and this could be a very streaky team. If they can be consistent they can hang in the division for the entire year. If not, they will begin to sink towards the bottom of the division,
5th in the AL East