Baltimore Orioles – Predicted Finish: Third Place, AL East
The 2012 Orioles made the playoffs for the first time in [Quick internet search…] …15 years! You’d have to think that they’ll be chomping at the bit for another playoff run, and you’d have to think they’ll have at least a fighting chance with Buck Showalter at the helm. Dude’s legit. We think the good luck holds and they go from being a lucky team in 2012 to a good team in 2013.
But we’re more interested in how their players will perform on our fantasy baseball teams, and the good news is that there is a lot to like, if we’re talking about their offense.
|J.J. Hardy ||SS||30||R||527||76||20||70||1||.262|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Jones, Weiters, Machado, Davis, Markakis, and Hardy have fantasy baseball value.
One thing to note about this lineup though, is that you’ll have some platoon situations, plus some shuffling in who hits second. Roberts won’t stay healthy, but was one of the game’s best lead-off hitters 5 years ago and may hit there occasionally. Reimold will fight for (and lose) outfield at bats. Hardy will hit second to begin the season, but Machado has the upside and talent to stick there by season’s end.
I share this because you want to draft guys for your fantasy team that hit in the top spots of the lineup, because they get more at bats and their counting stats trend higher. Pay attention to where guys hit in the lineup.
|1 Starter||Jason Hammel||30||R||170||51||13||159||0||3.73||1.26|
|2 Starter||Wei-Yin Chen||27||L||180||55||14||148||0||3.55||1.23|
|3 Starter||Chris Tillman||24||R||166||47||12||122||0||3.89||1.28|
|4 Starter||Miguel Gonzalez||28||R||155||60||9||113||0||3.60||1.24|
|5 Starter||Zach Britton||25||L||135||40||10||96||0||4.28||1.38|
Crackerjack Fantasy Options: Johnson, Hammel, Wei-Yin
Johnson is unspectacular but reliable and he could be a value pick for reliable saves.
Hammel added a sinker and is now a sub-4 ERA pitcher, so grab him late rounds. Think of Chen maybe a round later. The truth is that none of these pitchers are great fantasy plays, but here is a little upside to each, so don’t let them sit on the waiver wire if they start out hot.
Dylan Bundy will crack the rotation by mid-season and he’ll be a force.
Fantasy Star: Jones
2012 was Adam Jones’ breakout, and boy did he ever. There’s no reason to think he won’t have another 30 home run season, but you won’t be able to draft him at a discount in 2013.
Fantasy Bust: Hardy or Davis
It’s clear that Hardy’s 30 home run season in 2011 was his outlier; expect 20 homers as his ceiling. Also keep in mind that the fragile Hardy’s at bats in 2012 was a career high and boosted his counting stats. But shortstop is thin so someone will pay too much for him.
Predicting a bust for Davis may be unfair, but it’s hard for me to truly trust him. His poor contact % means his AVG will drop, but if he can hit the ball, he’ll probably hit it a mile, meaning the home run numbers should again be good.
Fantasy Sleeper: Machado
Manny Machado very well may be the next Hanley Ramirez. He has all the tools and the makeup to be an absolute star. But he’s just 20 years hold so don’t go crazy in redraft leagues. In dynasty leagues you should absolutely go crazy.
It’s unusual to talk about the Orioles as having a lot to offer a fantasy baseball team, but the offense is pretty good, their pitching is solid (enough), and they have some young players that will be future fantasy baseball stars.
It’s a better time to be an Orioles fan, but was it luck last year or do they have what it takes to compete in 2013? Certainly there will be lineup adjustments by Buck. What do you think they might be? Let us know in the comments.
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