A big reason for the success of the 2022 Baltimore Orioles was their ability to stay on the field. Aside from losing John Means and Grayson Rodriguez to injury, the 2022 Orioles remained healthy for the most part. The same needs to be true for 2023. Earlier this week, fans were reminded just how fickle player health can be, when Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux tore his right ACL in a Cactus League game and is now expected to miss the entire season. Nearly every team will deal with injuries: a strain or sprain, a bout of tendonitis, and perhaps even a small fracture. But for the Orioles to win the AL East in 2023, their health must remain a strong suit for them, as it was in 2022.
7. A Little Luck
With a new, balanced schedule, where the Orioles play their American East League foes less than in years past, it is possible that items one through six on this list come true - and the Orioles still do not win the division. No, to win the division, the Orioles will need the Yankees, Blue Jays, Rays, and Red Sox to a lesser extent, to underperform. Each team has possible areas that could knock them down a peg. For the Yankees, it would start with Aaron Judge putting up a solid, but non-Ruthian, baseball season and Carlos Rodon perhaps reverting to the pitcher who struggled with his control in Chicago. For the Rays, perhaps the magic will finally run out, and for the Jays, perhaps their starting pitching will remain inconsistent behind ace Alek Manoah. And for the Red Sox, perhaps the losses of Xander Boegarts, J.D. Martinez, Nathan Eovaldi, and Michael Wacha will keep them in the AL East basement.
Winning the American League East will not be easy. It will require good health, good fortune, good luck, and most importantly, good play by the Orioles stars. But no one but dreamers expected the Orioles to improve from 52 to 83 wins in 2022, and they did it. So, as we kick off spring training play this week, why not dream again? Except for this time, the attainable, albeit dream regular season would involve the Orioles taking the AL East crown.