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The MLB Season Is Finally Here, Let's Look At Your 2019 World Series Champions, The Baltimore Orioles
Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, and the Orioles play an actual real life baseball game today. Let's forget the 115 loss season they had last year and focus on the big thing, the future. The Birds are in New York for Game 1 of 162 today, but this already is a lost season. They won't compete for the division or wild card spot, they won't even sniff a .500 record, this is the first season the rebuild that HOPEFULLY turns this team around. The old names associated with the Orioles are gone, Dan Duquette, Buck Showalter, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Zach(k) Britton, Darren O'Day, Kevin Gausman, and Jonathan Schoop are all no longer in Baltimore, it's time for the new regime to reign. We won't be measuring this season in wins and losses because we're only worried about the future. We just opened the puzzle and dumped the pieces out, now we need time to put it together. They're 2000/1 to win the World Series, with a win total out of Vegas at 58.5, the lowest they've ever posted for a baseball team. Regardless of all that I'm very excited to watch this team and see how the young guys perform. I'm over Chris Davis and Dylan Bundy, they won't be here for the parade because they'll be long gone. Let's dive into the roster.
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Pedro Araujo, Richard Bleier, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, Miguel Castro, Paul Fry, Mychal Givens, David Hess, Nate Karns, John Means, Mike Wright, Jimmy Yacabonis (Alex Cobb starting season on Injured List)
We really have a ragtag group of guys thrown in here. They don't have the traditional five starters, instead to start the season we'll have Andrew Cashner going on Opening Day, Nate Karns as an "O'pener" on Saturday, with Dylan Bundy pitching on Sunday. With Cobb on the injured list that threw a wrench into the plans to have him start Opening Day. Outside of those guys, we may see Mike Wright, Davis Hess, or Jimmy Yacabonis get a spot start or two this season. Wright is out of options and had to make the team, a failed starter in the past, he has the physical build to be a dominating pitcher, he just has to match it with the stuff. Hess showed us some good stuff last year, but also some bad. I think he can be a quality back of the rotation guy so I'm excited to see what he can do. Yacabonis has some filthy stuff, absolutely filthy. They need to let him know which spot he'll be in and let him go there, don't flip flop him around. We can only hope that Bundy can somehow regain his previous form, and not like what he did last year leading the bigs in bombs given up. Orioles' fans are starting to grow tired of him and the leash seems to be getting very short for the former first round pick. Cashner is looking for a rebound year as well, and can help himself out if he pitches well in the first half. Maybe he finds his way on a contending team for these stretch run, just has to stay healthy and bring some prospects back. This isn't a traditional rotation and won't blow your socks off, this is just what we have to work with.
The bullpen actually is solid. You'll have Wright, Hess, and Yacabonis who I mentioned above, plus some other pretty damn good pitchers. John Means is an intriguing guy and I'm excited to see what he can bring to the pen. Paul Fry is a nice lefty who performed really well last year in a decent amount of games, he's a nice piece to the pen. Miguel Castro will likely be a workhorse again for the Birds out of the pen. If he can get the control down he can be an awesome arm out of the pen. He seemed to fall off at the end of last season, let's hope he has found his command this season. Richard Bleier was unreal last year and putting up All Star numbers before a devastating injury forced him to have surgery and miss the season. I'm really excited for Bleier to have a complete and hopefully healthy season. Mychal Givens will likely be the closer for the team and has a big year coming up. It wouldn't surprise me to see them move Givens during the season if performing well. He was dreadful in spring but everyone knows he has some great stuff, couple that with his delivery that is insanely hard to pick up the ball from, and you've got a dangerous guy in the pen. They may not be big names, but I think they aren't a bad group of arms. We're not talking Brach, O'Day, and Britton, but these guys aren't bad.
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Chris Davis, Jonathan Villar, Richie Martin, Hanser Alberto, Drew Jackson, Renato Nunez, Rio Ruiz, Pedro Severino, Jesus Sucre
We're gonna have almost an entire new cast in the infield. Chris Davis is the most known bum in the world. I've pounded it into the ground so much I can't talk about it anymore. He and his contract are a blackhole that is sucking the Orioles into space. I really don't expect anything out of him this season, except a few excuses on why or how he can't hit anymore. Jonathan Villar came over from the Brewers last season and is a damn good player. Wouldn't surprise me if he led the bigs in stolen bases this season and made the All Star team. He's a stud. Richie Martin and Drew Jackson are both Rule-5 guys who came over in the offseason. Martin is known for his glove, it's his bat that needs to pick it up. Because of their impending 110 loss season, Martin will get plenty of at-bats to try and figure this thing out. Jackson can literally play everywhere, he basically did that this spring. He's going to be the new Ryan Flaherty this season. Need him at short? Okay. Renato Nunez showed some pop at third last year, but has to get better with the leather. Rio Ruiz is an interesting guy that was brought in during the offseason. I liked what I saw from him in the spring but we have to see if he can keep it going under the bright lights. You're gonna see some guys moved around a lot too, don't be shocked to see Villar at second, or Trey Mancini or Mark Trumbo at first some days. Former Nats prospect
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Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, Joey Rickard, Dwight Smith Jr
Mostly familiar names here as we'll like see Trey Mancini in left, Cedric Mullins in center, and Joey Rickard in right. Mancini isn't the best fielder in the game and is going on year 3 of playing out of position. He'll get some games at first, where he should be. Mullins is the new sheriff in center field after Adam Jones headed out. Mullins can cover some ground and can flash the leather. He'll be a real treat to watch with the glove. If his bat improves, he has the speed to cause some headaches on the base paths. He's someone to keep an eye on. Joey Rickard did it again. Like 2016, he had a great spring and forced his way onto the roster. I personally think he's a AAAA outfielder, but this team is basically a AAAA team. He'll likely platoon with Dwight Smith Jr. I honestly don't know much about Smith. He came over late in camp but performed well enough to stick around. Theres also chances we see guys like Austin Hays, Yusniel Diaz, and DJ Steward later this year in the outfield. They have some real young studs waiting to patrol the outfield, but this current crop of guys isn't half bad.
I don't have to dive deep into it, the club is gonna be bad. Get used to a lot of rotating names, and young names too. You won't know a lot of these players, but thats okay. This is phase 1 of the rebuild, and it's the toughest. Hopefully after this season we will have a better idea of the identity and the talent that this team has. Maybe next year I'm writing about Adley Rutschman in the lineup and a handful of prospects as well, we can only hope. This team doesn't have the Fernando Tatis Jr or Vlad Jr waiting to break the door down, but they have some talent in the minors, especially pitchers. I'm not judging this season off of wins or losses, I'm judging it off of which young players separate themselves from the pack and which veterans are flipped. The draft will be huge for this team, and who's to say they don't get the #1 overall pick next season too?
I want to steal #TrustTheProspects from WSD and the White Sox, but I don't think that will fly, cuz thats such a dope slogan.  This rebuild won't be a quick one, this isn't going to be fun for a few years, but I do believe it will work. Keep the faith, Orioles fans. I'll see you out at the yard.