coming off a season-opening sweep At the hands of the defending American League East champion Tampa Bay Rays, the Orioles went 0-3 in Monday’s home opener at Camden Yards for the first time since 2007. But there may be a silver lining.
In their last three seasons, the Orioles won at least one of their first three games before falling to the bottom of the standings. The 2021 season, which began with a sweep of the Boston Red Sox, ended with 110 losses, the franchise’s second-highest loss since moving to Baltimore in 1954. Perhaps a poor start this time indicates a bright future.
In many ways this year may offer some first glimmers of hope Long-term rebuilding under Executive Vice President and General Manager Mike Elias and his staff. Before the Orioles took the field on Monday, beat reporters Nathan Ruiz and Andy Kostka and editor Tim Schwartz gave his expert opinion on how the 2022 season might play out.
Which Oriole will break this season?
Ruiz: Mike Bowman. This spring, Bowman showed off the dynamic stuff that made him one of the Orioles’ top minor leaguers in 2019 and led him to share the organization’s Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year award with Grayson Rodriguez, who has since Has become baseball’s top pitching prospect. , Bowman will start the year in the Orioles’ bullpen, and even though he may never return to a starting role, he is capable of being a multi-inning relief weapon, and there could be opportunities for him to pitch late in the games. Huh.
Kostka: Ramon Ureas. Carlos Correa was at best and worst delusional for the Orioles rumours, but perhaps that — or the cooked-up pipeline of intruders breathing down Urea’s neck in the minors — will propel the 27-year-old to a breakout season. He played well, hitting .279 in his first full major league season in 2021. But Ureas hit too many times last year, which outweighed some of his power potential. A sample size is too small for a weekend of the season, but the Uriahs showed glimpses of that extra bag capacity against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Schwartz: I’ll go outside the box and say Felix Bautista, a right-hander. The Orioles trade Tanner Scott and Cole Sulcer to the Marlins, opening the door for some unproven talent to showcase that they are in a big league bullpen. Bautista has come a long way for Baltimore, but he has shown the ability to miss a lot of the bat at every level. If he can trim to 5.8 walks per nine innings last season in the minors, he has the stuff to save the game by the end of the season in what was the worst bullpen in baseball last year.
Who Will Be the Most Valuable Oriole of 2022?
Ruiz: John means. Especially at the start of this year, the innings will be hugely important, and although Jordan Lyles will compete, Means will probably be Baltimore’s best provider. At the start of his second season, Reese ramped up his pitch count, but he still only managed to get four frames while allowing one run, his signature change racking up swing-and-misses. If Means, one of baseball’s best pitchers during the first two months of 2021, can stay healthy through the year, it could prove hard to argue that there’s a more valuable Oriole.
Kostka: John means. There are very few fixed stakes in Baltimore’s opening rotation beyond the mean, and he will need a steady presence. Trey Mancini and Cedric Mullins have the potential to be the most valuable Orioles, but Mancini may be carried away by the deadline and Mullins’ influence in the order may not be as distinct from the pack as Means’ work in rotation.
Schwartz: Trey Mancini. Mullins is likely to have another 30-30 season, but Mancini has recovered fully and will be looking to make a big buck in Baltimore or elsewhere. The 30-year-old surprised many by playing 150 games last year after beating colon cancer, and he spoke at length this spring about how he prepares to focus on baseball. He was the team’s best player in 2019, finishing the year as one of only four major leaguers with 35 home runs, 35 doubles and OPS of at least .899, and there’s no reason why he’ll be there again. He cannot be a player.
Predict top prospect Adley Ratshman’s final stat line and finish in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Ruiz: .265/.377/.482, sec. I only deducted 20 points from each section of Rutsman’s 2021 batting line between Double-A and Triple-A, which might be optimistic given the boom in talent he’s going from Norfolk to the American League East. It is a projection based on the possibility that Rutschmann is as special a player as he has been hyped to be. In the wild-card era, only 17 rookies with at least 250 plate appearances have finished with this good of a batting line, and this is a group that includes Albert Pujol, Mike Trout and Juan Soto. But none of that trio ranked as baseball’s top prospect.
Kostka: .273/.360/.480. Fourth. Rutschman is behind a trio of top prospects who started the regular season with their major league clubs, and sets a precedent for what a catcher must do to win Rookie of the Year. Take Buster Posey in 2010. In 108 games, Posey hit .305 with a .505 slugging percentage. In 2008 Giovanni Soto hit .285 with a .504 slugging percentage. They are the only two catchers to win Rookie of the Year in this century. If Rutschmann’s slugging percentage isn’t around .500, he may not stand out enough compared to other young talents.
Schwartz: .278/.352/.443, 3rd. Rutschman should make his MLB debut in late April or early May, and will likely be a mainstay in the lineup from there. With Bobby Witt Jr. in Kansas City, Spencer Torkelson in Detroit and Julio Rodriguez in Seattle all breaking camp with his big league clubs, Rutschmann will be a month behind. Still, he has little everyday competition, and at 24 he has clearly shown he is ready for a full season in Baltimore. He would be the best rookie in baseball, but he wouldn’t have the stats to catch Torkelson or Witt Jr., meaning the Orioles run out of luck and being out of the top two for the AL is an extra bit of team control. year receives. rookie of the Year.
Beyond Ratsman, which debut prospect will make the best first impression?
Ruiz: Kyle Bradish. Bradish has already spent most of 2021 in Triple-A, giving figures to beat both Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall – the only two pitchers ahead of him in the Orioles’ system – for the majors. This spring, he worked in two innings against the varsity lineups of the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies. The top arm of four minor league pitchers Baltimore received from the Los Angeles Angels for starter Dylan Bundy, Bradish should settle into the Orioles’ rotation before long and spend the summer showing off his impressive pitch mix.
Kostka: DL Hall. He is taking extra time to ramp up to come back from an elbow injury that hampered 2021 and will start in Double-A. But the hall must be raised quickly. The left-hander’s blazing heat and slider could play well outside the bullpen if he doesn’t find his place in Baltimore’s rotation immediately.
Schwartz: Grayson Rodriguez. Should be, isn’t it? A 22-year-old right-hander and 11th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Rodriguez is banging on Baltimore’s door and should be ready to start by summer. He has been electric in the minors and had a 2.36 ERA at High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie last year. If he continues to make similar numbers to start this season in Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles shouldn’t hesitate to see what he can do in the big leagues, where his stuff should still be playing.
Will the Orioles’ record be better or worse than their 52-110 points in 2021?
Ruiz: Better. There will be some rough parts in the opening round, especially as Brandon Hyde tries to manage an incredibly inexperienced pitching staff. But at some point, he’ll have a few friends on his roster. Adley Ratschman and Kyle Stowers will join a lineup that already has potential fixtures Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays. Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and Kyle Bradish will follow ace John Means and veteran Jordan Lyles in the rotation. This isn’t the year the Orioles started competing – 2023, anyone? — but it must be a rebuild. Finally it looks like it is paying off at Camden Yards. forecast: 60-102
Kostka: Better. But it should be, right? right? Bueller? That won’t change this season, but it may come soon. There will certainly be rough parts until 2022 as prospects leapfrog into the big leagues, but with Hall, Rodriguez and Braddish eventually joining in, the rotation could get some clarity. And maybe that will help the Orioles avoid a fourth 100-loss season in five years. forecast: 63-99
Schwartz: Better, but not much. It’s hard to lose 110 games in three consecutive years, and the Orioles’ young talent will have to improve in 2022. Mancini will not reduce the stretch like last year, and Means is aiming for 200 innings after a shoulder strain sidelined him several weeks into the summer. Reutschman will make an impact, and Mullins is an All-Star. Can Antony Santander return to his former self? Could Lyles be an activist without a bloated age? It’s not a good team by any means, but they won’t be MLB’s worst team again. forecast: 59-103