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Your 2017 Baltimore Orioles Preview - Part 2: Outfield and Bullpen

You saw my Part 1 preview of the Orioles 2017 season earlier where I went over the infield and starting rotation. Now we get to the outfield and bullpen. The outfield has some interesting guys in it, and the bullpen has the best closer in recent memory, along with the other guys to make up the best bullpen in the league. The pen will be counted on a lot early on with Chris Tillman out, let’s hope they can shoulder the load. Let’s meet the outfielders on this club first.

Outfield- Adam Jones, Hyun-Soo Kim, Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo, Seth Smith, Trey Mancini, Craig Gentry, (Anthony Santander on DL)

O’s outfield is crowded now, but it is led by Cap10 America, Adam Jones. Everyone who watched the WBC got a taste of what us Baltimorons have known for a while, Adam Jones is good. He showed off in the WBC and became a hero and the vocal leader for the tournament champs. He returns to Baltimore for his 10th season as an Oriole, he’ll patrol center field, be in the mix for a Gold Glove, bat around .270-280, hit over 30 bombs, and knock in 90. Love that Adam Jones, such a damn good baseball player. Hyun-Soo Kim was boo’d by idiots last year on Opening Day, by the end of the year I saw people wearing his jersey. Kim had a rough introduction to the states, but he got comfortable, showed us he could get on base, and eventually showed us some power. I expect to see him lead off most of the time against righties and think he can be a nice table setter with his patient at-bats for the big bats. The greatest Spring Training player ever, Joey Rickard returns to the club after injuring his thumb in the middle of last season. Rickard will likely platoon with Kim and face mostly lefties. He’s a decent fielder, and showed some potential at the plate last year, I think he can be a nice weapon for the O’s if he can get on base and steal some bases.

MLB Home run leader and #DongCity resident, Mark Trumbo re-signed with the club in the offseason for an insanely team friendly deal (3 Yrs/$35.5 million), he’ll likely DH a majority of the time, but will find himself in right, as well as a little bit of first. People are saying he can’t hit 37 homers again this season, why can’t he? He has such a smooth swing, the ballpark is built for him, and he has protection all around him. Wouldn’t surprise me to see him up around that number from last year. Seth Smith came over from the Mariners in a trade for Yovani Gallardo in December and is expected to be another platoon guy. He reminds me of Kim, can hit righties, but doesn’t hit lefties well. One thing he can do is get on base, his OBP the last three seasons is .367, .330, .342. That is something the team needs, much like Kim, he can be a table setter for these big boppers and turn some solo shots into the 2 or 3 run variety. Smith is an interesting player to me, will be neat to see how he fits on the team.

Maybe the best story of Orioles Spring Training is the emergence of Trey Mancini. I’ve been following Trey since the 2014 season and have loved watching him mash baseballs at every level he has been at. True story- he once told me it was a dream come true to be in a Barstool article, your boy out here just making wishes come true. But seriously, Trey jumped on the scene last season late in September when he homered in his first three starts. How many other guys can switch from first base to right field IN THE MIDDLE OF SPRING TRAINING  and make their club’s Opening Day roster. That just shows how good of an athlete he is, and that he is willing to do whatever it takes to make this club. Congrats to Trey, hoping to see him play well this season, and I think will. Craig Gentry was another great surprise for this team. He has battled concussions the last few seasons, but is healthy now and made the club. He’ll be an upgraded David Lough, meaning he will be a base stealer, defensive replacement, and can spell Adam Jones or any other outfielder if they need a day off. This is the speed demon the O’s need, not necessarily just stealing bases, but a guy who can go first to third on a ball up the middle, a fast guy who can cause havoc on the base paths. The Orioles stole 19 bases as a team last year, I’m not sure if they will stay with their timid approach, or be more aggressive and let these guys run. Guess we will see. Overall, it will be Jones almost every day in center, and a platoon of guys in the corners. lot of moving parts out there.

Bullpen- Tyler Wilson, Vidal Nuno, Brad Brach, Oliver Drake, Donnie Hart, Mychal Givens, Darren O’Day, Zach Britton

There it is, the best bullpen in the league, the group that turns 9 inning games into 6 inning games. Even without Darren O’Day for a majority of last season, they were the best in the league. Led of course by Zach Britton. Zach had arguably the best season ever by a closer. He was perfect, literally. 47-47 in save attempts with a 0.54 ERA and a WHIP of 0.84, and 74 Ks in 67 IP. I know, he got left in the bullpen, I get it. Doesn’t take away what he did last season and how special it was. Darren O’Day will have a chip on his shoulder, he re-signed with the O’s before last year but got hurt and only played in 34 games, and still had an ERA of 3.77 and a WHIP of 1.23. Hopefully a full, healthy season of Darren will help Brad Brach find his first half self where he was great. Brach made the All Star team for the first time, but looked to get tired down the stretch and had some shaky outings. He admitted he had a torn meniscus sometime during the season and got it repaired in the offseason. Tyler Wilson was garbage as a starter last year, but they think he has the stuff to be a long man in the bullpen, he is this years version of Vance Worley. If a starter gets knocked out early, we can see Tyler eat 3-4 innings.

Vidal Nuno will be playing the role of TJ McFarland as the lefty long man in the pen too. Not expecting much out of him at all. Donnie Hart is the new Brian Matusz, except good. He came out of nowhere last year and showed he can be the lefty set up guy. He appeared in 22 games for the Birds and had an ERA of 0.49 and a WHIP of 0.98. Lefties had an average of .132 off him last year, but righties hid .292. He’ll be the guy called on to get those big lefties out, nice to see the young guy get a chance and succeed. Oliver Drake was out of options, but managed to find his way onto the Opening Day roster. Drake has shown promise before in the big leagues, and last year had a WHIP of 1.00 and averaged over a K an inning. Mychal Givens rounds out the bullpen, and I feel like we don’t talk about him enough. 3 years ago the guy was a struggling shortstop, now he’s a setup man for the world champion Team USA WBC team. That is insane. He’s talked about as one of the most underrated set up guys around, and for good reason. He went 8-2 in 66 games last season, and had 96 Ks in 74 innings. He had a big work load last year with O’Day out, and a healthy O’Day means a rested Givens too. I see big things ahead this season for Givens, he just has to worry about getting the lefties out, because righties can’t touch him.

There you have it, a complete look at your 2017 Orioles. I’m so god damn excited for this season, especially with how last year ended. I’m ready to watch Manny go yard, Britton to slam the door, and Gausman pump gas. Buck and co have a solid squad on their hands this season. With the division being handed to the Red Sox already, it looks like the O’s best chances to make an October run is the Wild Card. Can they make it 4 playoff trips in 6 years? Sure they can. I think they do that too. 86-76 for this squad and a trip to the Wild Card game. I’m jacked up now. Let’s play some god damn baseball. GIVE ME THE ORIOLES MAGIC!

@BarstoolRDT is where I’ll be all season to give my opinions and takes on the Birds and everything else baseball. @BarstoolBB is also being run by a few of us baseball guys, so follow us along. We’ve got a lonnnnnnnnng 6 months coming up.