Baltimore Orioles: Second half predictions


Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a disappointing first half for Orioles fans. Entering the season with a roster looking primed to challenge for a championship and playing in a division that looked weak and unstable, it looked as if another division championship was almost a foregone conclusion.

However, inconsistent play in every aspect of the game and a myriad of injuries have left the Orioles with a .500 record at the halfway point.  On the bright side, even with their disappointing record, the Orioles are still easily within reach of contention, and the Orioles have had strong second-halves in almost every season since Buck Showalter has taken over.

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  • Here are a few of my predictions for the second half:

    Kevin Gausman will become a staple in the rotation. Kevin Gausman’s role, or lack thereof, has been a constant source of distain among Orioles’ fans ever since he broke into the league. In the past, he has just been the victim of the roster crunch. There were just too many established pitchers playing well already on the roster.

    This is no longer the case. With incumbents Bud Norris and Chris Tillman having horrific seasons thus far, the Orioles will need Gausman to solidify the back of the rotation if they want to make a playoff run.

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    The trade-deadline will be disappointing for fans.  The Orioles management is in an awkward position. On the one hand, the amount of pending free agents could leave the Orioles with an abundance of production lost next season. However, on the other hand, the Orioles are in a position to contend this season, and contending this season always takes priority.

    At the moment, the Orioles don’t have the MLB-ready production in the minors to deal any veterans that could leave after the season. Also, they don’t have an over-stock of prospects to deal for any superstar level players, especially if those prospects could be used to fill the gaps left next season.

    Dan Duquette, as he always does, will search the market for cheap and unique options for production, but fans waiting for the blockbuster move will probably be disappointed.

    Mike Wright will become a force in the bullpen: Orioles’ fans caught a slight glimpse of who Mike Wright was with his first two electrifying starts. However, like many young players, the league adjusted and Wright was shuttled back to AAA to harness his talent.

    However, stuff is obviously not an issue. With a fastball that topped in the high 90s, Wright has the arm to be strong rotation candidate next season. However, until his raw secondary stuff is polished getting big league hitters out for multiply innings will be a struggle. Yet, that shouldn’t hinder the Orioles from using his talent. As a late inning flame-thrower, Wright should be used to further solidify an already solid bullpen.

    The Orioles will win the AL East: With a close look at the rosters in the division, it’s not a stretch to say the Orioles are disappointed to be where they currently are. After watching the first half, it’s difficult to predict any consistency for the team. However, eventually one would have to believe the best team will win, and the Orioles are the best team. It will be close, but the Orioles should pull away by the end.

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