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The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

The student news site of Dickinson College.

The Dickinsonian

Baltimore Orioles Season Preview

The young Baltimore Orioles are fresh off of their first postseason berth since 2016. Last year, the Os landed on top of the American League finishing with 101 wins and only 61 losses. The Orioles showed they were a playoff caliber team, but were swept by the eventual World Series champion Texas Rangers. Now, Birdland is even stronger and poised for a deep postseason run. 


The offseason started quietly for the Os. However, that changed drastically on February 1. The Orioles acquired former Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for shortstop Joey Ortiz, left handed pitcher DL Hall, and draft pick No. 34. The breaking news sent warning signs to not only the rest of the American League, but the National League as well. By trading for Burnes, the Orioles have a bonafide ace to pair with a mix of young and veteran arms in a rotation that was not the strongest last year. 


Paired with Burnes will be former top prospect Grayson Rodriguez. The youngster struggled at first in the majors. However, he was a different pitcher after coming back up for a second time. From July on he was lights out.”Grod” is known for his electric fastball paired with an effective slider and curveball, Rodriguez looks to make the All-Star jump this season. Kyle Bradish, who finished fourth in the American League Cy Young Award voting last season, will miss the start of the season with a sprained UCL. Bradish dazzled with a 2.83 ERA last year with great command and strikeout rates. The Orioles believe that Bradish will pitch early in the first half, but cannot confirm when.


Rounding out the rotation will be Dean Kremer, John Means, and a platoon of Tyler Wells and Cole Irvin. Kremer is the most consistent of the four, while the former All-Star Means is looking to return for a full season after his Tommy John surgery in 2022. 


The bullpen will be anchored by former Philadelphia Phillies closer Craig Kimbrel after All-Star Felix Bautista had to undergo Tommy John. Kimbrel signed a 1-year deal worth $11 million after recording 23 saves with a 3.26 ERA last season in Philadelphia. All-Star Yennier Cano will be the primary setup relief pitcher after a brilliant 2.11 ERA in 72.2 IP last season. The team expects left handed pitcher Danny Coloumbe to be a reliable option versus lefties after he posted a 2.81 ERA in 51.1 IP in 2023. 


The one potential weak point in this team is their pitching depth. However, I am confident that general manager Mike Elias will be proactive in filling any holes that they see on the roster closer towards the trade deadline. 


The most exciting thing about the Orioles is their plethora of offensive talent. Their lineup is a great mix of talented young players and respected veterans. 


The youthful lineup is full of former top prospects and draft picks. Catcher Adley Rutschman is the reigning Silver Slugger Award winner at the position after posting a .809 OPS with 31 doubles and 20 home runs. Rutschman is joined by a second reigning Silver Slugger, Gunnar Henderson. The young infielder won the award at the Utility position playing 84 games at third base and 83 at shortstop. The 22 year-old also won the American League Rookie of the Year award. Henderson tallied 29 doubles and 28 home runs with 82 RBIs. Generational infield prospect Jackson Holliday expects to debut this season. Although it is undecided where in the infield the two of them will play, it is clear that the two will be a strong duo for many years to come. 


Jordan Westburg is projected to be the Opening Day third baseman. In 68 games last season the former first round pick in 2020 hit .260 with a pedestrian .715 OPS. Ramón Urías, a former Gold Glove winner at third base, projects to be manager Brandon Hyde’s second basemen until Holliday is deemed ready for the pros. 


First base will be split by righty Ryan Mountcastle and lefty Ryan O’Hearn. Mountcastle has been a staple in the Orioles lineup since 2021, delivering two seasons with an OPS north of .775. At only age 27, he is primed for a strong season. O’Hearn on the other hand was an unimpressive member of the Kansas City Royals for five seasons until he took flight with the Orioles. In 112 games last season he hit 22 doubles and 14 home runs en route to a career high OPS of .801. The two will rotate at the DH position as well.


The Orioles outfield has one of the strongest position depths in the league. From left to right, Austin Hays will start along with top prospect Colton Cowser behind him. Cedric Mullins will patrol center, and the switch-hitting slugger Anthony Santander will man right field. The veteran trio each posted OPS’s north of .720 last year, with Santander and Hays clubbing 35+ doubles. The Orioles have an abundance of options with prospects such as Heston Kjerstad and Kyle Stowers waiting in the minors. 


The 2024 Orioles are not the lovable underdogs they once were. They are now a powerhouse. They have a target on their back and now they have to deliver in October and November when it matters most. Don’t be shocked to see the O’s flying into the Fall Classic this season and for the rest of the decade.

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