Baltimore Orioles: A few 2015 predictions
By Jacob Adams
Photo: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
This is the time where fans, experts and all others following the game get to express their predictions about the upcoming season. These predictions normally only result in debate, anger and sometimes justification among other baseball fans, and really don’t have much purpose otherwise. In fact, its relatively silly given that the sport’s unpredictability is its greatest quality. However, I do have an outlet here to document my predictions, so on the off chance that I’m right, here are a few…
Chris Davis will have a bounce back year (which is good and bad for the Orioles).
After his career year in 2013, Chris Davis had a well-discussed flop in 2014. Some of last year could be attributed to his nagging rib injury, or his lack of Adderall, or his pressure to live up to the high expectations he set the previous season. Whatever the reasons, Davis will be able to put last season behind him and put up numbers similar the 2013 Chris Davis. Fortunately for the Orioles, this will fill the much needed offensive void left by the departure of Nelson Cruz. Unfortunately for the Orioles, a strong 2015 for Davis, who is a free agent at the end of the season, will most likely make him too expensive once he hits the open market after the season.
Matt Wieters won’t have a bounce-back season (which is also good and bad for the Orioles).
Coming back from Tommy John surgery, Matt Wieters will begin the season on the D.L., and it’s hard to tell at this point when exactly the Orioles are aiming for their catcher to return. Wieters will at some point this season be the regular catcher again, but it may take even more time after that for him to become the Wieters Orioles’ fans have seen in the past. Although the Orioles may miss his bat for much of the season in 2015, his less-than-par numbers will make him more likely to sign an extension with Orioles rather than take his chances on the open market after the season.
Manny Machado will be in the MVP discussion.
Orioles’ fans have watched in horror twice in the last two seasons as their promising young third baseman has been carried off the field with frightening knee injuries. Although he is only twenty-two, knee problems have been a nagging injury that have derailed many promising careers. For that reason, Manny Machado will carry the “if he stays healthy” tag around for most of the foreseeable future. However, in spring training he has looked bigger, stronger and healthier than he has since putting on an Orioles’ uniform. He has shown he can be the best defensive player in baseball, and he has shown he can be a productive offensive player. This season he will add a spike in power numbers that will solidify himself among the elite players in baseball.
The Orioles will have a slightly different offensive philosophy.
Earl Weaver famously set up the “Orioles’ Way” offensive blueprint of getting on base and hitting homeruns, and that philosophy has continued under Buck Showalter. Essentially, the last few seasons, the Orioles haven’t taken chances on the base-paths and have waited for the big homerun, and with the lineup the Orioles currently have there is no reason to think they won’t follow a similar philosophy in 2015. However, this season the Orioles have more running threats in Alejandro De Aza and Everth Cabrera than in previous seasons. Also, Jonathan Schoop and Manny Machado have been vocal about wanting to steal more bases. Last season, the Orioles stole 44 bases, which was by far the lowest in baseball. Don’t look for the 2015 Orioles to run like the 2014 Royals, but expect that they will run significantly more than in recent memory.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: Final spring night on Tillman island