How the Baltimore Orioles can win the AL East in 2023

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Patrick Smith/GettyImages
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2. Gunnar Henderson Contends for Rookie of the Year

It is pretty rare for a team to have the top pitching prospect and the top position player prospect on the same team to start the season. But that is what the Orioles have with Rodriguez and the No. 1 overall prospect, Gunnar Henderson. Henderson dominated minor league pitching in 2022 to the tune of a .946 OPS between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk, and more than held his own in Baltimore, posting a .788 OPS over 132 plate appearances with the Orioles. And even bigger things are expected for the 21-year-old infielder, as well-respected ZIPs projects a 5.0 WAR season for Henderson, an .812 OPS, 24 home runs, and 100 RBIs. Well-respected baseball writers, such as ESPN's Buster Olney, are predicting a Rookie of the Year season for Henderson. For the Orioles to win the division, they will need all of that and more from Henderson. And like Rodriguez, Henderson is more than capable of answering.

3. Adley Rutschman Plays at an MVP Level

While the Orioles need their two impressive rookies to emerge as stars to win the division, it is just as important that their best player, Adley Rutschman, continue to improve. Rustchman had a terrific rookie season, amassing 5.2 WAR and OPSing a solid .806. But for the Orioles to win the division, Rustchman needs to do even more, such as becoming the first catcher to win MVP since San Francisco Giants' great Buster Posey took home the trophy in 2012. It would likely take an OPS over .875, more stellar defense, and leadership that produces winning. And Rustchman, the number one prospect in baseball heading into 2022, is more than capable.