The Orioles come into the season facing a lot of uncertainty. This is not unlike last season, when they entered a season with most of the same roster. Other than Yovani Gallardo and Matt Wieters, pretty much everybody is back - and Gallardo’s 2016 gives plenty of reason to believe that his absence will be addition by subtraction.
Will the Orioles starting rotation be able to hold up with no Chris Tillman for at least a month? Will the back end of the bullpen, especially closer Zach Britton, be able to be as near-perfect as it was last season? Will their offense be able to hit enough home runs at the right times to overcome any deficiencies that the club might experience as the season progresses?
These are some of the key questions whose answers will determine the fate of the Orioles team this year.
If you’re feeling optimistic, you might be confident that the O’s offense will continue to be good enough to power through a horrible starting rotation, much like last year. The starting rotation could even still be bad and yet be better than last season. Some personnel changes and some room for individual improvement is there.
If you’re feeling pessimistic, you might be fearing that there’s no way that Britton can be perfect again. You’re probably also worried about the absence of Tillman, among other things, and whether the outfield defense will once again be a drag on the team’s fortunes. How can we know how good or bad any pitcher may be when the outfield can’t run far enough to catch anything?
I leave the answer to the question in your hands:
How many games will the Orioles win this year?
Consider any factor that you deem to be appropriate. The poll is below this post.
Will it be a key injury - beyond what they’ve already suffered - that exposes the Orioles nonexistent high minors depth? Will there be tough decisions to make when July rolls around? Or will the Orioles just shock the world again, making fools out of every pundit who has doubted them? It wouldn’t be the first time for that last one.
If Manny Machado turns in a third straight top 5 AL MVP season, that will go a long way towards getting the Orioles somewhere good. If Kevin Gausman can pitch himself into the Cy Young conversation, as a few baseball talkers seem to believe will happen, that would be a big boost to the rotation as well.
There are certainly Orioles who are capable of better than they did last year. Chris Davis hit 38 home runs despite being diminished for a lot of last season. An appropriate amount of rest could keep Adam Jones and Jonathan Schoop from wearing down in the last month of the season.
The Orioles won 89 games last season. The 85-89 win range was the most frequently selected choice in last year’s poll, so good job for the 34% of people who picked that range last year. Another 21% were even more optimistic than that, thinking the team would win 90+ games.
We’ll start to find out today what direction the season is headed. Here’s your last chance to get in your prediction so you can tell everyone how smart you were when October rolls around. What do you think is going to happen this season? Vote below and let us know in the comments too.
How many games will the Orioles win this season?
This poll is closed
69 wins or fewer
90 wins or more