Regular-season baseball will make its return in a few short days, and we’ll continue to look at my favorite win total bets for the 2023 season. Today we’ll be taking a look at one of the youngest and most exciting teams in the league, the Baltimore Orioles.
After years of struggling and sub .500 seasons, the youth movement of the Baltimore Orioles has started to arrive, and in a big way. The Orioles finished the 2022 season in fourth place in the AL East but did end with a winning record as they went 83-79. At the end of last season, the league started to be put on notice that Baltimore won’t be in contention for the worst record in the league for quite some time.
The Orioles lineup this season will feature two of the most recent top prospects in the game in, Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. The young stars will be surrounded by other impressive hitters, such as Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle, and Austin Hays. Baltimore was 15th in home runs last season, but there is a strong likelihood they rank much higher this season, with seven of their hitters projected to hit over 13 round trippers on Fangraphs.
The starting rotation includes a nice mix of veteran arms and a lot of guys with big-time potential. Two of the Orioles' biggest roster moves included picking up Kyle Gibson in free agency and acquiring left-hander Cole Irvin from Oakland in a trade. Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer will likely follow those two in the rotation, and there is still a chance top pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez is as well.
Based on projections, it looks as if both the rotation and bullpens K/9 numbers will make a significant jump this season. The bullpen will be led by Felix Bautista, who is looking to be one of the next dominant closers in the game. Fangraphs has Bautista projected to pick up 29 saves and 84 strikeouts, but he could blow past those numbers if Baltimore establishes itself as a consistent winning team this season.
The Orioles' win total can be found at 77.5 games, and I'll be taking the over for my play on that total. This Baltimore team was able to win 83 games last season, and they arguably got stronger in the offseason and have plenty of prospects that are knocking on the door of the major league level. Baltimore will also benefit from the new schedule changes as they will not have to play as many games against their daunting divisional opponents in the AL East.
After ranking 20th or higher in batting average, OBP, and OPS last season, I think this lineup will produce way above those numbers. Six of the primary guys in the lineup are projected to finish with an above-average OBP, and seven are projected to have an above-average slugging percentage.
For one of the first times in recent memory, the Orioles also have a deep rotation that will be a challenge to face no matter where in the order they are for a given series. Last season the Orioles were slightly above league average in ERA+, and with the addition of Grayson Rodriguez and guys like Kyle Bradish taking the next step, they could easily be even higher above average this year.