Baltimore Orioles 2020: Scouting, Projected Lineup, Season Prediction

How will things shape up in the AL East?

The Baltimore Orioles remain entrenched in a rebuild mode that has little room for spending or the acquisition of top-shelf talent outside of the amateur draft. Contender status won’t happen for at least a few more years. Their welcome mat in the basement of the American League East hasn’t been moved. They’ll hit triple digits in losses again and could surpass 2019’s 108 after trading away pitcher Dylan Bundy and infielder Jonathan Villar, arguably their best overall player last season. There are no quick fixes for what ails this franchise, but the commitment to analytics and the international market is a huge step forward. It just won’t lead the Orioles anywhere near .500 this season.

 

Opposing Scouts Size Up the Orioles

Baltimore Orioles logo“They’ve got a big hill to climb to compete with the Yankees and the Red Sox, and while they’re headed in the right direction, it’ll be a slow, painful slog. They’ve gotten under the hood there, building out their front office and changing their scouting and player development system. But those kinds of changes take years to make an impact at the major league level. They had a real find in John Means last season, and that’s what they’ll continue to look for — they’ll give plenty of opportunities and see which guys surprise them. Look for Austin Hays to get a chance to prove himself in center; he showed big power in the minors, and at 24, he’s ready. The guys you can count on are Trey Mancini, who should have been an All-Star, and Hanser Alberto, a versatile piece who came into his own last year. But overall, it’s going to be really ugly here, and they’ve got no other alternative but to work on the organizational infrastructure, build the farm system and wait for the kids to arrive.”

 

Beyond the Box Score

 

Power Duo Trey Mancini and Renato Nunez became the eighth pair of Orioles teammates with at least 30 home runs and 90 RBIs in the same season and the first since Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop in 2017. Four of these seasons have come since 2013. Mancini joined the Rockies’ Trevor Story as the only players in the majors with at least 35 home runs and 38 doubles. He’s the seventh player in team history with at least 35 homers and 35 doubles in a season, joining Rafael Palmeiro (1996 and 1998), Brady Anderson (1996), Albert Belle (1999), Chris Davis (2013) and Manny Machado (2016).

 

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Wet Birds The Orioles had only 78 home dates last season due to the weather. They played six double headers, including five at home, and endured eight postponements (six at home). They had only two postponements in 2017. Ten home games were delayed because of the weather, totaling nine hours and 15 minutes.

 

All-Star Rookie John Means was the fifth Orioles rookie to make the All-Star team and the first since catcher Andy Etchebarren in 1966. The others: pitcher Chuck Estrada (1960), first baseman Jim Gentile (1960) and infielder Ron Hansen (1960).

 

Historic Night During a Sept. 23 game in Toronto, outfielder Austin Hays became the first major league rookie to record five or more RBIs, a stolen base and an outfield assist since RBIs became an official stat in 1920. It also was Hays’ first career multi-homer game.

 

Rising to Mediocrity The Orioles were 12-12 in the month of July. It represented their first non-losing month since August 2017 (17-12) and their first non-losing month of July since 2014 when they went 17-8. Their 12 wins were the most in a month since August 2017.

 

Cast of Dozens The Orioles used 58 players during the season, the most in club history, surpassing the 56 players used in 2018. They also used a club-record 38 pitchers, eight more than the previous mark set in 2018.

 

Hit Parade Jonathan Villar hit his 21st home run of the season on Sept. 11, a three-run shot in the seventh inning. It also was the 6,106th homer in the majors last season to surpass the previous record of 6,105 in 2017. The bat that Villar used was sent to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

 

Hitless vs. Hess David Hess didn’t allow a hit to the Blue Jays for 6.1 innings on April 1 in Toronto to join Jason Hammel as the only Orioles pitchers since 1974 to log at least 6.1 no-hit frames in their first starts of the season. It was the fifth-longest hitless start by an Orioles pitcher behind Hoyt Wilhelm (9.0 innings in 1958), Tom Phoebus (9.0 innings in 1968), Jim Palmer (9.0 innings in 1969) and Steve Barber (8.2 innings in 1967).

 

Projected Lineup

 

LINEUP

CF     Austin Hays (R)

RF     Trey Mancini (R)

LF     Anthony Santander (S)

DH    Renato Nunez (R)

3B     Rio Ruiz (L)

2B     Hanser Alberto (R)

1B     Chris Davis (L)

SS     Jose Iglesias (R)

C      Chance Sisco (L)

 

BENCH

C      Pedro Severino (R)

UTL  Stevie Wilkerson (S)

OF    Dwight Smith Jr. (L)

SS     Richard Urena (S)

 

ROTATION

LHP    John Means

RHP   Alex Cobb

RHP   Asher Wojciechowski

RHP   Kohl Stewart

RHP   Brandon Bailey

 

BULLPEN

RHP    Hunter Harvey (C)

RHP    Mychal Givens

RHP    Miguel Castro

RHP    Shawn Armstrong

LHP    Richard Bleier

LHP    Paul Fry

RHP    David Hess
LHP    Keegan Akin

 

2020 Prediction: 5th in AL East

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