Orioles 2017 Prediction By Neil Dembeck
Major League Baseballâ€™s home run leading Baltimore Orioles have focused their efforts on adding even more power this offseason. They re-signed outfielder/designated hitter Mark Trumbo, and signed the power hitting Welington Castillo to take over behind the plate (and presumably ending the Matt Wieters era in Baltimore). While ensuring yet another explosive offense, Baltimore also ensured another mediocre starting staff. The Oriolesâ€™ rotation is headlined by the recently arrived Kevin Gausman. Gausman showed flashes of brilliance in 2016 and had he had satisfactory run support could have found himself amongst the league leaders in a variety of categories. That said, it was only one strong year and one lone year does not guarantee a dominant 2017. He likely wonâ€™t start opening day, but expectations are off the charts for Kevin Gausman
entering 2017. Chris Tillman will likely start opening day. The 6’5” veteran has been the model of consistency for Baltimore starting pitchers. Tillman has had only one season with an ERA over four in the past five years. He is also the Orioles’ top innings eater, having thrown over 170 innings in each season in the past four seasons. That said, He is not immune to the long ball. Tillman gave up 19 home runs last season and walked 66 batters a number that is too high for his level of talent. A noted “high ball” pitcher, Tillman’s approach does allow for some long balls. The super-talented Dylan Bundy (scouts are very high on Bundy!) will rank third in the Oriole rotation. Bundy is supremely talented and has the ability to dominate. He is the type of talent that could bring home a Cy Young trophy one day. But he’ll have to improve his consistency which was lacking in the 2016 campaign. Granted it was his first season
back from Tommy John surgery, Bundy showed some vulnerabilities last season. He proved himself a true power pitcher by striking out 104 batters in 109 innings. Additionally, his .257 BAA proved him difficult to hit. However, like his fellow starters, Bundy struggled with walks and keeping the ball in the yard. In 109 innings (which is roughly one half season’s worth of work), Bundy walked 42 batters and gave up 18 home runs. Unfortunately for the Birds doesn’t get much better in the back-end of the rotation (though it rarely does). Wade Miley was acquired midseason last year and proved to be a disappointment. The Orioles were expecting him to be a quality innings-eater and were let down. Both he and Ubaldo Jimenez inflated the staff’s statistics. Miley gave up 25 home runs in 166 innings, while Jimenez gave up 16 in 142 innings. Miley allowed 49 free passes. Jimenez allowed 72. All together, the Orioles’ starters gave up the second most
walks in the American League, and the fourth most runs. It’s no secret that Camden Yards is a hitter’s ballpark. Unfortunately, Baltimore does not have starting pitchers (Mike Mussina was able to dominate for a decade due to his ability to keep the ball down in the zone) suitable for the ballpark in which the team plays 81 games. 2017 prediction The Baltimore Orioles offense is as deep as it is powerful and could produce 7 players with 20+ round trippers this summer. Likewise, they have an outstanding bullpen – one that was highlighted by the dominant performance of closer Zach Britton, Neil Dembeck’s choice for 2016 Cy Young Award. The problem is getting to the bullpen. Baltimore’s starting pitching will be the team’s demise and will ultimately keep them from a playoff berth in 2017. Their division is very competitive and the Orioles simply do not have the pitching
nor have they made the blockbuster acquisition on offense to keep them afloat.