It Won't Be Pretty This Season, But I'm So Damn Happy Orioles Baseball Is Back

It's officially Opening Day for the Birds as they get ready for 3 with Tampa. The road to 65 wins is officially on. It's another year of the rebuild and maybe this is the year they take a step forward? Maybe? Please? This fanbase is almost at their wits end with this club and the fact that they haven't taken steps forward. This isn't going to be a huge, long in-depth blog, but I'm for sure going to let you know about the expectations for the season.

The first reason to be excited for this season is the future is coming up, it's almost here. We will see Adley Rutschma soon. A triceps injury is the only reason he isn't in the Opening Day lineup. He's going to be a flat out superstar. Multiple All Star Games, Gold Glove winner, Silver Slugger, he's going to do it all. His floor is an All Star, his ceiling is a top 3-4 MVP candidate. He is the real deal and he'll be in Baltimore soon, I say by the end of the month. 

One of the biggest names we're looking forward to seeing is Grayson Rodriguez, the top pitching prospect in baseball. A guy who has hit 103. Who is constantly around 99. A guy who is built like an All Star pitcher. He's going to make his debut at some point this summer, probably in a few weeks. So headlining the rookie class you're looking at the top catching prospect and pitching prospect. That's a decent start. I truly believe he has the makings to be one of the best pitchers in baseball, his debut is going to be must see. 

Now they still need more pitching help, and that is where DL Hall will come in. One of the top lefty prospects in baseball, he'll be up here soon as well. Limited to around 30 innings last season due to a stress reaction in his elbow, Hall is currently healthy and ready to go. He's a flamethrower but can also get you with the breaking stuff. He's going to fit in nicely in this rotation, he and Grayson are going to strike out a ton of players. Those really are the top guys we are looking to see this season in Baltimore, but we'll see some of the other prospects too. These are the big 3 though, and they're going to be so much fun to watch when they get here. 

As for the rest of the team….well they've got some names you recognize. Cedric Mullins was the only 30/30 guy in baseball last year. Is he due for a slight regression on the offensive side? Probably, but he'll still bring the GG defense in center. Ryan Mountcastle should have been Rookie Of The Year last year after hitting 33 homers and driving in and drove in 89. He's going to be your first baseman of the future, no doubt about it. He has so much raw power he'll make us forget that the Orioles moved back the left field wall. 

Trey Mancini, my guy, is still here. Will he be here at the end of the year? Who knows. He's been a hot trade candidate even though I will object to any trade involving him. He means more to this team than to any other team, he beat cancer last year and showed up to work everyday. He wants to be here, he loves the city. He's everything you want in a clubhouse leader, and he can still swing it even though he just turned 30. It appears as if he'll be traded to a contender looking for a bat but we don't have to talk about that now. Those 3 guys are the main pieces of offense. Austin Hays is another strong outfield piece who I expect to have a big offensive season if he can stay healthy. Anthony Santander is a trade candidate that I expect to be picked up by someone looking for a good bat. 

The pitching outside of the prospects that haven't come up yet….well there is John Means. He's good. He's very good. That is about it for the Orioles pitching staff. Jordan Lyles is nothing to write home about, some of the other pieces are fine, but they aren't anything special. Bruce Zimmermann is a local Maryland kid getting the home opener start which is a cool story. Is he a stable rotation piece? Probably not. I won't waste words on Keegan Akin. Tyler Wells was a pretty good bullpen piece last year that they will stretch into a starter which intrigues me. Outside of that, it'll be a rotation of AAA guys that will be riding the Norfolk taxi. 

The bullpen is the same. Just a group of guys. It will be a rotating cast of characters that are kind of just placeholders. Plenty of pitchers in the minors will be up this season and Brandon Hyde is going to see what they can do. No one is safe in that bullpen really. 

This is the part that sucks, this team isn't very good and we know it. They play in the best division in baseball and they're very young. They are going to get their teeth kicked in a lot this year. Hell, they almost lost 20 straight games last season. This season won't be much better. My prediction is 65 wins. 65. I wish they had done more during the offseason, I wish they had signed some extra arms, just veterans that they could flip if they did well, or guys to just have in the clubhouse because you literally need arms and bodies to fill out this rotation. I am excited for this season because we will finally see the fruits of the drafting labor. 

They have the #1 pick again so they will add another top talent to the #1 farm system in baseball. It's just getting very old and tiring to keep wishing and praying for the farm system to work out. I've been pretty open with my defense of the process and front office, but we're all growing tired of it. All we want to do is see a winning team. 2012-2016 was fucking awesome, in 2014 when I started blogging at Barstool the Orioles were 4 games away from the World Series, it was amazing. Now we're 3 years into a rebuild that has shown next to no improvement on the MLB diamond. Minors are stacked and thats fine, but man do we want to see that talent translate to the big league level. No one will be happier than I will be if this team turns into a wagon in 2024, but we are all getting very impatient. The fans know this isn't a playoff team. It's not a .500 team. But they just want to see improvement. We want to see the front office show us they care about the on-field product. This can't be a season where they get embarrassed every single night out there, it can't. It's time to bring up the guys we've been hearing about and see what they can do. I love this team, I really do. I love Mullins, and Means, and Mountcastle, and Mancini but man is it frustrating to look up in the 3rd and it's 8-2 already. The club has to get better, it has to.

Possible 100 loss season for the fourth time in five years, it takes a toll. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I HOPE we start seeing some more of that this season. The Adley debut is going to be nuts, the Grayson debut is going to be nuts, the DL debut is going to be nuts. Better things are coming. Maybe next year just spend a little more money and bring in some actual players  in free agency? I'm going to support them regardless. You'll see me at Pickles, you'll see me at the centerfield bar, you'll see me on Eutaw Street, I just want this team to be a winner so damn bad. 

Time will tell, but until then….turn this shit up and crank it to 11. Orioles magic baby.