clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2023 Know Your Enemy: Baltimore Orioles

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Orioles @ Blue Jays: May 19 -21
Blue Jays @ Orioles: June 13-15
Orioles @ Blue Jays: July 31, August 1-3
Blue Jays @ Orioles: August 22-24

The Baltimore Orioles surprised a lot of people last year, myself included, and went 83-79. That was a huge upgrade from their disastrous 2021 season where they went 52-110. They got there with a big season from their relief corps, plus some solid, middle of the pack starting pitching and offensive production.

Notable Departures

Rougned Odor, 2B
Jesús Aguilar, 1B
Robinson Chirinos, C
Jordan Lyles, SP


Adam Frazier, 2B
James McCann, C
Kyle Gibson, SP
Cole Irvin, SP
Mychal Givens, RP
Andrew Politi, RP

Pitching Staff

Starting pitchers:

RHP Kyle Gibson
LHP Cole Irvin
RHP Kyle Bradish
RHP Dean Kremer
RHP Grayson Rodriguez

The Orioles’ starting rotation took a huge blow last year when ace John Means went for Tommy John Surgery in April after just 2 starts. He’s on the mend now, and could be back in the rotation in a couple months.

The biggest moves the Orioles made over the offseason were bringing in Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin to front their rotation in the short term.

Gibson pitched for the Phillies last year, putting up a 10-8 record with a 5.05 ERA for the National League champs. His FIP was nearly a run lower at 4.28, so pitching in front of a capable defense offers the potential for a strong bounce back season. In 2021, he had a 3.71 ERA and 3.87 FIP, numbers that the Orioles are undoubtedly hoping for out of him.

Like Gibson, Irvin gives the Orioles another starter who made more than 30 starts each of the last two seasons. Irvin is coming off a good season for the Athletics, going 9-13 with a 3.98 ERA. He isn’t much of a strikeout artist, but his value comes from a great ability to limit walks, allowing just 1.79 per 9 innings last season.

Dean Kremer had a good breakout season last year, putting up an 8-7 record with a 3.23 ERA over 125.1 innings. Like Gibson, he doesn’t strike out many, but he’s pretty good at limiting walks, although not to the extent as the Gibson.

Kyle Bradish is a decent arm for the back of the rotation. Over 23 games last year, he went 4-7 with a 4.90 ERA. The 25 year old was probably better though, with a 4.46 FIP and 4.49 xERA.

Rounding out the rotation to start the year is currently still up in the air. Top prospect Grayson Rodriguez is very much the future, but after a rough spring training and the potential to game his service time, his odds of cracking the rotation to start the year are fairly thin. If it’s not Rodriguez, it’ll likely be Tyler Wells getting a look in the rotation.


Félix Bautista emerged last year out of nowhere, breaking out in his first taste of the Majors. With a fastball pushing 100, Bautista struck out 12.06 batters per 9 innings, putting up a 2.19 ERA while collecting 15 saves. He’s their closer for now and the foreseeable future.

A combination of Cionel Pérez, Mychal Givens, Bryan Baker, Tyler Wells and Keegan Akin will bridge the gap to Bautista. They’ll all strike out a good share of batters, but face walk troubles.

Andrew Politi is an interesting arm. He came over as a Rule 5 pick, and possesses a mid-90s fastball, a good cutter and a big loopy curveball.

Position Players


Adley Rutschman

Rutschman made his much anticipated debut on May 21 last year, hitting a triple in his first at bat. On the season he hit .254/.362/.445 (133 wRC+), playing excellent defense and accumulating 5.3 WAR over 113 games. From his debut, the Orioles went 67-54, a .554 winning percentage.

Backing up Rutschman, although not likely to get a whole lot of playing time as a result, is newcomer James McCann. McCann comes over after after a couple of disappointing seasons with the Mets. After a 141 wRC+ over the short 2020 season, the Mets signed him to a 4 year, $40.6m deal. After an 80 wRC+ in 2021, and then a 59 last year, the Mets looked to get dump him, and ended up eating all but about $5m of his contract.


Ryan Mountcastle, 1B

On the season last year, Mountcastle fell a bit short of expectations. He hit just .250/.305/.423 (106 wRC+). Against the Blue Jays though, he hit .313/.362/.641 with 5 of his 22 home runs.

Adam Frazier, 2B

The Orioles signed the veteran Frazier to a 1 year, $8m deal over the offseason. The slap hitting left handed bat had a down season in 2022 after a very strong 2021 season. He put up a 113 wRC+ and 3.6 WAR, but that fell to an 81 wRC+ and 1.1 WAR season. He continues to play nearly every day though, missing a combined 25 games over the last four seasons.

Gunnar Henderson, 3B

MLBs top prospect is set to start the year as the Orioles’ third baseman, just barely still a prospect after last year’s cup of coffee. As such, he’s the odds on favourite for AL Rookie of the Year.

Jorge Mateo, SS

Mateo had a breakout season last year, at least on the non-offense side of things. He hit .221/.267/.379, for an 82 wRC+. But he still managed a 2.8 WAR thanks to strong defensive numbers and a Major League best 35 steals. He’s probably holding the position until Joey Ortiz forces him off the position, or Jackson Holliday eventually.


Autstin Hays, LF

Hays had his typical solid season last year, with a .250/.306/.413 (105 wRC+) line. He combined his mildly above average bat with mildly above average defense in LF to come out with a 1.5 WAR season.

Cedric Mullins, CF

After Mullins’ massive 2021 season where he put up 6.0 WAR with a 136 wRC+. Last season he fell back to a 106 wRC+, but still a strong 3.4 WAR. He came in second in baseball last year with 34 stolen bases. He was borderline unplayable against lefties last year though, hitting just .209/.265/.313 (66 wRC+), so Ryan McKenna likely takes some of his starts in CF.

Anthony Santander, RF

Santander had a breakout season last year, playing a full season and putting up a .240/.318/.455 (120 wRC+) season good enough for a 2.5 WAR. He had the team high mark with 33 home runs 89 RBI.


Fangraphs Depth Charts: 78-84

PECOTA: 74.3-87.7

2023 Outlook

Neither projection system has them as a .500 team this year, despite an 83 win season a year ago. The future is coming soon for the Orioles, and while 2023 may not be the year they make the playoffs, it will be a year filled with a lot of positives. I think they’ll be better than even the 78 wins Fangraphs is projecting for them, but not enough to make the playoffs.


What position in the AL East do the Orioles finish?

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    (6 votes)
  • 7%
    (12 votes)
  • 24%
    (40 votes)
  • 56%
    (91 votes)
  • 7%
    (12 votes)
161 votes total Vote Now


How many of the 13 games against the Orioles do the Blue Jays win?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    (22 votes)
  • 63%
    (91 votes)
  • 19%
    (28 votes)
  • 2%
    3 or fewer
    (3 votes)
144 votes total Vote Now