Baltimore Orioles 2018 Season Preview By: Peter Snyder

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The Baltimore Orioles are an exciting team and there is no questioning that. They have one of the more explosive offensives on the east coast and can score runs in bunches and can produce them in a hurry. Unfortunately, the 2018 Baltimore Orioles are going to be overshadowed in due to a loaded AL East. The Yankees and Red Sox are both significantly better than the O’s and the Rays are a tad more talented as well. Due to a lack of starting pitching and defensive inconsistency, the Orioles are going to finish in the bottom half of the AL, but that does not mean they won’t be a fun team to watch.

The Baltimore Orioles weakness coming into the 2018 season is their starting pitching. It is thin and does not have a true ace and this has been a problem for the O’s for a number of years. They have had the offensive firepower, but due to the lack of pitching, they have not been able to win a championship or come anywhere close for that matter. The leader of the Orioles pitching staff coming into the season is Dylan Bundy, a 25 year old from Tulsa who is coming off a mediocre 2017 campaign.  You know there is a problem with your rotation when your ace is Dylan Bundy from Tulsa. If you are guessing that this Orioles rotation gets worse as you go down the line you would be absolutely right. At the two, the O’s trot out Kevin Gausman, a guy who in his 5th year, has not had a record of above .500. The Orioles then cap off their rotation with Andrew Cashner, who was a decent acquisition for them in the offseason, but is getting old, and good old Chris Tillman who finished last season with a 1-7 record and a 7.847 ERA. There is no beating around the bush with this one, this rotation FLAT OUT STINKS and is going to get exposed all season long.

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Luckily for the O’s, to make up for their horrific pitching staff and the only reason they won’t lose 100 games this year is because they have an insanely talented offense. The loaded O’s offense is led by Dominican superstar, Manny Machado. Machado plays the game with a swagger and a smoothness that is admirable and he is one of the guys I would pay for just to watch him field ground balls and swing the sticks. Machado finished the 2017 season with a .259 BA, drove in 95 runs and hit 33 homers. As Machado is set to be a free agent next year, I think he will have a huge 2018 campaign and like him hitting 40 bombs and driving in 110. Supporting Machado in the lineup  is two power hitters that should be referred to as the lumber jack twins. Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis are absolute monsters. They both are coming off of disappointing 2017 seasons, but I like them to bounce back in a big way in 2018 and think they will combine for 55 homers and 190 RBIs. The Orioles also have one of the most underrated players in the game in Johnathon Schoop. A lot of people think he is good but I think he is great and think he has potential to be a star in 2018. The Curacao native had a monster 2017 campaign, in which he batted .293, hit 32 big flies and drove in 105 runs. I think Schoop will have a repeat of success in 2018 and think he might even improve his numbers. I also am a big fan of Orioles CF, Andrew Jones. Jones is a terrific athlete and is one of the greatest guys off the field that you will ever meet. Although his numbers are not what they were, he can still provide the team with leadership qualities that are very valuable in major league club houses. The moral of the story here is that the Baltimore Orioles have a legit offense but for them to compete this year in the AL East, they are going to have to be the greatest offense of all time which we all know is not going to happen.

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Overall, I want this Orioles team to succeed. I am a huge fan of their offense and think they have a few guys who are absolute studs. That being said, I have to be realistic. This team is not going to be successful in 2018. Yes, they are going to score a lot of runs but not enough to make up for one of the least impressive starting rotations I have ever seen. Now this could all change of course because Jake Arrieta is still a FA and the O’s name has been thrown around in talks, but the likelihood of that happening is slim. I think this team finishes dead last this season in the AL East and have them finishing with a 66-96 record. The beautiful Camden Yards that is accustom to singing “Orioles Magic” at nights end all summer long, will now be leaving in the 5th with a sad face and an empty heart.

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