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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The 2019 Orioles Are One Of The Most Anonymous Teams In MLB History

The 2018 Baltimore Orioles were so bad that we questioned whether they belonged in the major leagues at all. They were our runaway pick for worst pro team of the year, going far beyond the many wannabe Astros and Cubs who’ve jumped on the tanking fad in recent seasons.

Amazingly, things might get even worse this year. Since the middle of last season, Baltimore has traded away established veterans Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Zach Britton, Kevin Gausman, Darren O’Day and Brad Brach, and watched as others such as Tim Beckham, Caleb Joseph and Adam Jones departed in free agency as well. Now there are only three remaining members of the Orioles’ lineup with even two years of MLB service time heading into 2019: Jonathan Villar, Trey Mancini — both average players at best — and Chris Davis, who had arguably the worst individual season in MLB history in 2018 when he hit .168 (in 470 at-bats!) with a .539 on-base plus slugging and -2.9 wins above replacement (WAR).1 Davis’ untradeable contract means the Orioles are stuck with him, so they’ll pencil his name in on opening day no matter how bad he was last season.

And those are the guys in the starting lineup who can be remotely labeled as household names. The rest is filled out with either youngish players who are past “prospect” status or journeymen plucked off the scrap heap. Taken as a whole, the 2019 Orioles’ roster basically recalls this scene from “Major League”

QLE Posted: March 13, 2019 at 07:47 AM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: orioles

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   1. escabeche Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:06 PM (#5822483)
Amazingly, things might get even worse this year.

Very doubtful. Just about everybody on the Orioles played worse than you'd reasonably expect in 2018. It seems very unlikely the 2019 team won't finish with a substantially better record.
   2. Davo (Love Won The Battle Of Stalingrad) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:19 PM (#5822492)
They’ll be “worse” in terms of recognizability, is the point.
   3. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:30 PM (#5822494)
Now there are only three remaining members of the Orioles’ lineup with even two years of MLB service time heading into 2019


"Lineup" is the operative word here. The rotation has four more experienced people, I think it's Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, Alex Cobb, Nate Karns, and then either Hess or Ramirez who debuted last year.
   4. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 02:31 PM (#5822495)
Very doubtful. Just about everybody on the Orioles played worse than you'd reasonably expect in 2018.
Yes, but since most of those people are gone, that doesn't help much. I get regression to the mean, but the people you'd expect to improve are mostly gone. If Kevin Gausman or Jonathan Schoop play better in 2019, that doesn't help the Orioles. And of course there's a big Manny-sized hole in the roster. Fine, maybe you get a bit more out of Cobb/Cashner/Bundy.
   5. jingoist Posted: March 13, 2019 at 04:06 PM (#5822536)
Will the 2019 O’s be a 110 loss team?
   6. Chris Fluit Posted: March 13, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5822548)
The Orioles are going to be awful this year but the article is also weirdly slanted against the facts. For some reason, they left out Mark Trumbo who is slated to be the team's DH and has 9 years of service time. Less egregiously, they ignored Joey Rickard who looks to be the starting RF and has 3 years of service time (or at least 2 and some fraction). I'm not saying either player is going to be good or that either player is a household name. However, that makes 5 of 9 players in the starting line-up with 2+ years of service time. The bigger problem is that the Orioles don't have any young stars like Vlad Guerrero Jr. so they'll lose now but aren't yet building towards the future.
   7. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 13, 2019 at 05:17 PM (#5822564)
Less egregiously, they ignored Joey Rickard who looks to be the starting RF
Why don't you just project Alcides Escobar to start for the team, as long as you're going for the nightmare scenario?
   8. Walt Davis Posted: March 13, 2019 at 05:24 PM (#5822567)
Yes, this O's team will be atrocious. Most remiscent of the 2003 Tigers than won only 43 games, following seasons of 55 and 66. The O's won't be quite that bad -- arguably even the 2003 Tigers weren't that bad with their 49 pythag wins. The main O's advantage is the rotation which will probably be better than the Tigers young and not very good rotation. But that Tigers team too had some vets -- Higginson, Meathook, Warren Morris and even a few genuine prospects in Carlos Pena, Bonderman, Infante, Ramon Santiago ... but a guy like Infante was just 21 and I think straight up from AA and got eaten alive.

That disaster following on the previous crappy seasons (from an aging veteran team as I recall) panicked Tigers ownership so much they went out and signed Pudge, Urbina, Rondell, Vina and ripped off the Ms for Carlos Guillen to claw their way back to 72 wins (79 pythag). They made the WS in 2006 with still a handful of those 2003 players around.

I don't expect the O's to go nuts on FAs anytime soon and they have very little in the system yet so this run of terrible teams could last a long while. Still, there's hope that Chris Davis will be part (of the payroll) of the next winning O's team.
   9. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 13, 2019 at 06:45 PM (#5822598)
The 2019 Orioles rotation will be WAY better than the 2003 Tigers rotation. That is one department where they should be better this year than last year.

The Tigers already had a bad rotation in 2002 despite two good starters, Jeff Weaver and Mark Redman. They traded both of those guys for prospects, AND moved Steve Sparks to the bullpen.

The rotation 2003 was Mike Maroth (pretty good as a rookie in 2002), Jeremy Bonderman (promoted straight from A-ball), Gary Knotts (spent 2002 in the Calgary Cannons bullpen), and guys who couldn't establish themselves in the previous year's bad Tigers rotation (Bernero, Cornejo, Shane Loux).
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 13, 2019 at 11:50 PM (#5822656)
Will the 2019 O’s be a 110 loss team?

Quite possibly. They certainly aren't helped by the other teams in their division actually being good.
   11. . Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:08 AM (#5822684)
It's impossible for a team in the internet/social media age to be the most anonymous ever, or even one of the most anonymous ever.
   12. Dingbat_Charlie Posted: March 14, 2019 at 09:57 AM (#5822704)
This long disenfranchised fan is getting back in on the ground floor of the post-Peter era. Go Cedric Mullins.
   13. Misirlou doesn't live in the restaurant Posted: March 14, 2019 at 10:06 AM (#5822714)
Less egregiously, they ignored Joey Rickard who looks to be the starting RF

Why don't you just project Alcides Escobar to start for the team, as long as you're going for the nightmare scenario?


FWIW, MLB.com projects Rickard as the starting RF on the O's depth chart.
   14. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 14, 2019 at 12:01 PM (#5822783)
Joey Rickard is a perfectly cromulent fifth outfielder (if you carry few enough pitchers to carry a fifth outfielder). He's a barely passable fourth outfielder. He's a joke starting outfielder. So, yes, the Orioles will probably start him.
   15. Zonk is Back Where He Came From Posted: March 14, 2019 at 01:40 PM (#5822817)
Is it really a settled question that the Orioles will be worse than the Marlins?

Because - especially if they're paying better - I think I'd take the Marlins.... I might very well take the Marlins at even money.

I suppose you could make the case that the Marlins crappy team will be made up of younger bad players who once appeared on prospect lists....
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 14, 2019 at 02:50 PM (#5822840)
Is it really a settled question that the Orioles will be worse than the Marlins?


FWIW, Fangraphs has them neck and neck. O's 63 Ws, Fish 62. I expect both to be worse than that.
   17. jingoist Posted: March 14, 2019 at 04:03 PM (#5822861)
So...fangraphs predicts a 63 and 99 record.
That’s a considerable improvement above last years 47 and 115 mark.
I figured that playing all year without Machado, Gausman, Schoop, Jones they would struggle to win 50 games.
   18. BrianBrianson Posted: March 14, 2019 at 04:05 PM (#5822862)
It's very hard to put together a team that shouldn't win 50 games. Winning less than fifty really requires a terribly team to also have bad luck. A replacement level team is expected to win 52 games.
   19. Sunday silence Posted: March 14, 2019 at 04:34 PM (#5822869)
I think they've dialed "replacement" level back to mean 48 or 49 wins, but I get your pt.
   20. BrianBrianson Posted: March 14, 2019 at 04:51 PM (#5822871)
Oh, yes, it seems some while back Fangraphs & BB-Ref decided to standardise their WAR to a team that wins 47.6 games. I must've pulled the value off some older-reference.
   21. DFA Posted: March 15, 2019 at 12:28 AM (#5822943)
The Orioles bullpen could be decent until the trade deadline, as they do have a fair number of interesting relievers (Givens, Bleier, Scott, Castro, Fry). They do have some interesting younger players who do at least have some potential (Sisco, Nunez and Ruiz), and their trio of Rule 5 players (Santander, Jackson, Martin). The rotation will be an unmitigated disaster. But hey, at some point their lineup will feature Austin Hays, Yunsiel Diaz and Ryan Mountcastle. Certainly a 100 loss team, probably a 105 loss team.

My question is when do they cut ties with Chris Davis?
   22. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: March 15, 2019 at 11:28 AM (#5823005)
My question is when do they cut ties with Chris Davis?
Given that this is a lost year for the team and that he's not blocking anyone who deserves playing time, I think you give him three months. If when he sucks as badly as he did last year, then you throw in the towel.

(I'm sure he's in the best shape of his life... but he has struck out 9 times in 16 ST ABs.)
   23. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: March 15, 2019 at 12:13 PM (#5823020)
You never know. The year after Adam Dunn had the previous worst season in baseball history, he was an All-Star!

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