2018 Baltimore Orioles: Good Lineup, Very Iffy Pitching

manny machado

Mark Lathrop

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 1:21 PM GMT

Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018 1:21 PM GMT

Our MLB handicapper Mark Lathrop breaks down the rosters of each team in search of futures and wagering value. Here he takes a look at the 2018 Baltimore Orioles of the AL East Division.

We will be breaking down each division team by team as we approach the 2018 MLB season to identify futures value and upcoming betting trends. Today we will take a look at the Baltimore Orioles out of the AL East. Baltimore won 75 games in 2017, going 'under' the 80.5 total set at SBR's top-rated sportsbooks.

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Baseball sounds ⚾️ 🎶 #OrangeSpring pic.twitter.com/5XR7qPGU5U

— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) February 13, 2018
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Pitching Staff

Early spring team breakdowns are usually a fool’s errand, but in this case it may be a greater one than normal with the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles have huge questions with their pitching staff, which as currently constructed is ranked 31st in projected WAR in the MLB. The two solid starters on the staff are Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, pitchers who have a projected WAR of 1.3 and 2.4, respectively. Not exactly numbers that will strike fear into opponents' hearts, which is why it is expected that the Orioles will make some moves to bolster their pitching staff before the end of spring training.

The rest of the starting staff is replacement value at best, starting with Miguel Castro, who has a very live fastball but not much more. A bullpen arm for the Orioles in 2017, Castro put in 66.1 innings over 39 games while putting up a respectable 3.53 ERA but a subpar 4.94 FIP. Walks are an issue for Castro, and his 48.5% pull rate is alarming. Gabriel Ynoa slots behind Castro in the depth chart for now, but would best be used as a reliever with a plus two-pitch fastball/slider combo akin to a Mariano Rivera lite. The 5th starter will be decided in the spring.

The Orioles' bullpen will be shorthanded to start the season after the loss of closer Zach Britton to injury until likely mid-June. That leaves them short a left-hander too, which as of now they do not have an experienced southpaw arm.

Lineup

The offense is anchored by shortstop Manny Machado, who is projected to put up 5.6 WAR this season as he moves full time from third base. The pending free agent won’t be able to do it alone, though, and he will need a follow-up performance from second baseman Jonathan Schoop to see things through. Schoop put up 4.1 WAR in 2017 and is projected for a drop off, but I think he could surprise. Tim Beckham, Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo round out the sure things in the Orioles' lineup.

Wild Cards

If 1B/OF Trey Mancini takes another step forward and can continue playing in the outfield, the Orioles could have a dangerous lineup to make up for their deficient pitching staff. Mancini put up a .293 AVG and 24 HRs in his first full season with the big-league club, and at just 25 has time to mature even more as a hitter.

Baltimore is given a win total of 73 at BetOnline, with the 'under' a slight favorite. With the prospect of a deep lineup and bad pitching, the Orioles look to be a team that will carry 'over' daily betting trends throughout the 2018 MLB season.

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