Baltimore Orioles: Will the 2018 version be better than the 2017 team?

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with Tim Beckham #1 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 6, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 06: Trey Mancini #16 of the Baltimore Orioles celebrates with Tim Beckham #1 after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 6, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) /
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In 2017, the Baltimore Orioles finished in last place in the American League East with a record of 75 and 87.

With those 75 wins, the Baltimore Orioles finished two spots out of last place in the American League. They were tied with the Oakland Athletics with a few more wins than the White Sox and the Detroit Tigers.

WIll the Orioles get more than 75 wins in 2018? Is the team any better after this off-season?

Looking at projected wins

Simply looking at the starting pitching, the answer is not good. Baseball Reference provides projections for the upcoming season. Let’s simply look at pitcher wins. Kevin Gausman is expected to get 9 wins. Dylan Bundy is expected to get 11.

The Orioles depth chart on the team’s MLB site includes Gabriel Ynoa, Miguel Castro, and Alec Asher as the rest of the starting rotation. Ynoa, Castro, and Asher are each expected to get three wins. So, that put the Orioles at 29 wins.

Let’s look at the bullpen. Brad Brach is projected for five wins. Darren O’Day and Zach Britton should each get three. Mychal Givens has high expectations in 2018 as Baseball Reference is predicting six wins from the man with the best ERA in 2017. Richard Bleier should get two wins.

With these projections, the Orioles should get at least 48 wins. That’s not much of a relief. But, it’s also not much to work with for the upcoming season.

How projections are figured

Unfortunately, these projections do not take into account Ynoa, Castro, and Asher pitching more than a handful of starts. Baseball Reference does not estimate starts but uses the previous stats to estimate wins.

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Bad players haven’t been replaced

So, looking at the Orioles overall, the team hasn’t gotten any better or worse. Yes, the team got rid of the albatross pitchers like Ubaldo Jimenez and Chris Tillman, but they have not added anything better, just younger. The rest of the team has remained the same, but Tim Beckham will be with the team the entire season.

One thing that could be helpful for the Orioles is that young pitchers are unknown, at least for a few outings. So, the Orioles could be a tough team to face in the early weeks. Eventually, opposing teams figure out young pitchers, so if there is some success, it could be short-lived.

Next: Trey Mancini named a top left fielder for 2018

If everyone stays healthy (Britton will start the season on the DL) and the Orioles can get some quality pitching, the team will probably finish with 70 to 75 wins. Those will be hard-fought wins, too. They should finish with a better record that the White Sox, Tigers, and Athletics. But that’s about it.