Let's Go Tribe's American League Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Kevin C. Cox

Our look at the Tribe's competition around the American League continues with the Orioles, who were busy this offseason, especially in the last few weeks.


Between now and Opening Day, we'll be taking a look at each of the other American League teams, to see what they've done during the offseason, and what their outlook is for 2014.

Previous entries: Yankees - Blue Jays

- - - - - -

Baltimore Orioles

2013 Record: 85-77 (3rd in A.L. East), 3-4 vs. Cleveland

745 runs scored (4th of 15 in AL), 709 runs allowed (9th of 15 in AL)

The Orioles surprised the baseball world in 2012 by winning 93 games and making their first playoff appearance since 1997. Despite that success, few people considered them a real contender going into 2013, but they played well during the first half of the season, and 100 games into their schedule, they were 57-43, just 2.5 games behind Boston for the best record in the American League. There were still in the thick of the Wild Card race with a week and a half left in the season, but they were swept in a 4-game series in Tampa Bay, ending their chances of another postseason trip.

Baltimore's five most frequent starting pitchers were a fairly average group. They don't have anyone who'd qualify as an ace (or even an especially strong #2), but their top five all performed reasonable well. Someone beyond those five guys started 40 games for the Orioles though, and the guys they were turning to for those games were not an impressive bunch. Worse news than that, top prospect Dylan Bundy had to undergo Tommy John surgery near the end of June. He's hoping to be back before the All-Star break, but it's too early to say if that will happen or not. He's got much higher upside than anyone in the rotation, but even if he's cleared to play in July, it's not likely that he'll be in a position to really help the team until 2015.

Offensively, Baltimore was led by a career year from Chris Davis, who set a franchise record and led the American League with 53 home runs. His OPS of 1.004 was second in the AL to only Miguel Cabrera, and his 165 OPS+ was behind only Cabrera and Mike Trout. Beyond Davis, the rest of the lineup was mostly something close to average, but they managed to score a lot of runs. Manny Machado, the team's young All-Star third baseman suffered a knee injury in September, and it's not yet clear whether he'll be ready for Opening Day.

Key offseason additions:

Ubaldo Jimenez (SP), Nelson Cruz (OF/DH), Suk-min Yoon (P), Ryan Webb (RP), Jemile Weeks (2B), David Lough (OF)

Key offseason departures:

Scott Feldman (SP), Jason Hammel (SP), Nate McLouth (OF), Brain Roberts (2B)

2014 Payroll: ~$105 million

Projected 2014 Starting Lineup (with ZiPS fWAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

C

Matt Wieters

4

1B

Chris Davis

3

2B

Jemile Weeks

1

3B

Manny Machado

5

SS

J.J. Hardy

3

LF

David Lough

1

CF

Adam Jones

3

RF

Nick Markakis

1

DH

Nelson Cruz

2

TOTAL

23

Indian who has killed the Orioles:

Jason Kipnis - .327/.429/.564, 1.003 OPS, 3 HR in 66 PA

Oriole who has killed the Indians:

Matt Wieters - .236/.328.473, .801 OPS, 7 HR in 125 PA (that's not killing anyone, but it's the top OPS on the team among players with 50+ PA vs. the Tribe)

Projected 2014 Starting Rotation/Bullpen (with ZiPS fWAR projection):

Pos

Player

Projected WAR

1

Ubaldo Jimenez

3

2

Chris Tillman

3

3

Wei-Yin Chen

2

4

Bud Norris

2

5

Miguel Gonzalez

2

RP

Bullpen

3

TOTAL

15

2014 Outlook:

The Orioles look pretty solid to me, but I don't know that solid is enough in the AL East. Nelson Cruz is better suited to DH than play the field, so he's a good fit for them, but I don't think he's quite as good a hitter as some fans still seem to think he is. They are hurt by a lack of guys who can take a walk, which keep will limit the team's on-base percentage, but they've got pretty solid pop in their lineup, and the PECOTA projection (below) for how many runs they'll score seems low, even if Davis falls back to earth a bit.

Their starting rotation has five pretty decent pitchers, and they've got some pitching depth as well, and I think Baltimore has a decent shot at its third consecutive winning season, but I don't see them having enough to grab a playoff spot, and I also wouldn't be surprised to see them fall into last place, given their divisional competition.

PECOTA Projection: 78-84 (5th in East), 696 runs scored, 729 runs allowed

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Join Let's Go Tribe

You must be a member of Let's Go Tribe to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Let's Go Tribe. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker