Sun 08/03/2015 - 21:25 EDT

Baltimore Orioles 2015 Season Preview

Baltimore Orioles 2015 Season Preview
The reigning American League East champs look to battle for the playoffs with a proven rotation and strong bullpen. If Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones can carry the offense, look for the Baltimore Orioles to be playing meaningful baseball come September.

Baltimore Orioles Futures

Odds To Win Division: +350

Odds To Win AL Pennant: 14/1

Odds To Win World Series: 28/1

Regular Season Win Total: 82.5

Most Significant Offseason Changes

Biggest Additions:

Everth Cabrera, SS

Wesley Wright, RP

Travis Snider, OF

J.P. Arencibia, C

Biggest Losses:

Nelson Cruz, OF

Andrew Miller, RP

Nick Markakis, OF

Nick Hundley, C

They’ll Be Successful If…

A strong starting rotation and a power hitting lineup are the keys for the Orioles to return to the playoffs in 2015. The Orioles rotation had four double digits-game winners in 2014, all of whom had an ERA lower than 4. With the starting rotation all 30 years old or younger, the Orioles have a excellent combination of talent, experience and youth. Look for Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen to have strong 2015 campaigns. Even with the loss of the American League All-Star and leader in home runs in Nelson Cruz (who hit 40 in 2014) they still were the MLB leader in team home runs, with 211. If Chris Davis can return to 2013, when he lead the Majors with 53 dingers, Manny Machado can say healthy (who lead the AL in doubles in 2013 with 51), and with Adam Jones coming off his 4th All-Star selection in 6 seasons, the team should be able to minimize the departure of Cruz.       

They’ll Be Unsuccessful If…

If Davis and Machado perform at 2014 levels and the bullpen cannot replace Andrew Miller, the team will struggle in 2015. Davis is coming off a miserable season, where he batted a paltry .196, and hit less than half the home runs he did in 2013 (53 in 2013 compared to 26 in 2014). Machado is coming off a season where injuries limited him to only 82 games and saw much criticism due to his immature nature. If both players act and perform as this did in 2014, it will be a long season and may lead to changes come the end of it. With Andrew Miller signing with the divisional rival New York Yankees, the Orioles lost one of the best relievers in the game. Miller posted an astounding WHIP of 0.6 and 15.3 strikeouts per 9 IP. Those numbers will be extremely difficult to replace, and even though the Bullpen has talent and depth, no individual player on the roster can match that level of efficiency and production.    

Fantasy Bargain: Alejandro De Aza – LF, CF

After arriving in Baltimore via trade in 2014, Alejandro De Aza posted excellent numbers in his limited time, batting .293 with an OPS of .877 with 11 extra base hits. De Aza recorded at least 20 doubles and 20 stolen bases in 2012 and 2013, and ranked 4th in the AL in triples in 2014 with 8. De Aza should hit both of those marks in 2015, rank in the top ten in triples and flirt with a batting average of around .300. 

Outlook

Even though the offseason did not produce much in top tier additions, the Orioles have a talented and well-rounded roster. The team will need improvement from Machado and Davis, and a routinely All-Star caliber performance from Jones to reach the playoffs in 2015. The starting rotation should keep the Orioles competitive and the Bullpen should perform admirably, even with the loss of Miller.   

Prediction: 3rd In AL East

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Tag : Baltimore Orioles , Baltimore Orioles 2015 Season Preview , baseball , mlb , Orioles

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