If you're like me, every March you spend way more time than you should trying to predict which baseball players will have big years, and which big names to avoid. But for all the time we spend analyzing statistics from previous seasons and comparing it to projected stats for the upcoming season, baseball remains beautifully unpredictable. For the purposes of this article, I will be using numbers from Yahoo fantasy baseball as of May 2. That being said let's take a look at which Orioles you hopefully already have, and which Orioles you should keep an eye on.
Members of the Baltimore Orioles who can help your fantasy baseball team
Jorge Mateo: SS rank #1
Jorge Mateo entered this fantasy season off of the radar for most people. Mateo was useful in fantasy in 2022 but almost exclusively for steals as he led the American League in thefts but had below average offensive numbers otherwise. Going into the 2023 season, Mateo actually lost some fantasy value when his available positions reduced from 2B, SS, OF to just SS. After the first month of 2023 Mateo is the top ranked fantasy shortstop and fifth ranked player in all of Yahoo fantasy. Mateo is putting up number across the board with a .347 batting average, six home runs, 21 runs, 17 RBI's and 10 stolen bases. Amazingly Mateo is still only rostered in 86% of Yahoo leagues, so if you don't have him already, get him while you still can.
Adley Rutschman: C rank #4
There was a lot of talk coming into the season about Rutschman being a great MLB catcher but not great in fantasy. The talk was mostly due to Rutschman's strike zone awareness and willingness to take walks, which while great in baseball, doesn't produce anything in fantasy. Rutschman immediately shut down that talk with a 5-5 opening day. Rutschman has continued to hit all season long and he's only getting better. Rutschman is already owned in 98% of fantasy leagues so if you don't already have him, you're probably out of luck.
Ryan Mountcastle: 1B rank #7
Ryan Mountcastle has seemingly gone under that national radar, although we in Birdland have enjoyed his talent for years. I used that to my advantage and was able to draft Mountcastle in the 14th round of my fantasy draft. I immediately plugged him into my starting lineup and have been enjoying the spoils of that victory ever since. Even as I write this, I am watching Mountcastle go 3-4 with a double, two home runs, three runs scored and five RBI's against the Royals with at least one more at bat remaining in the game. Mountcastle is a streaky hitter and appears ready to catch fire again. Mountcastle is rostered in 88% of leagues and if he's available in yours, go grab him because he's most likely doing better than your current first baseman.
Cedric Mullins: OF rank #15
Mullins is two years removed from the O's first ever 30-30 (homeruns - steals) season. While his power numbers have fallen off a bit since then, Mullins remains one of the top outfielders in all of baseball. Mullins has had his ups and downs this season, but he continues to produce solid numbers all around including 11 steals, tied for second in the major leagues. Speed never slumps. Like Rutschman, Mullins is rostered in 98% of leagues but has been batting at the bottom of the order and may be available for trade.
Tyler Wells: SP rank #26
Tyker Wells entered today with only one win on the season but also a sparkling 2.79 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 29.0 innings. Wells finally looks to be coming into his own on the mound. Wells is pitching more innings and with the success of the Orioles team, you can be sure there will be plenty more wins in Wells' future. Wells is only rostered in 40% of leagues. Get him while he's hot.
Felix Bautista: RP rank #4
The Mountain came into this season with as a lock to be the Orioles closer. Bautista has pitched well out of the bullpen and is tied for fifth in saves this season. Bautista also has 25 strikeouts in just 13.2 innings pitched. Bautista has had some recent control issues allowing Yennier Cano to capitalize with some additional playing time. Bautista has earned the right to work through his issues and should be able to continue to rack up saves and strikeouts all season long. Bautista is also rostered in 98% of leagues and is likely untouchable in a shallow position.
Other Orioles to consider to fill out your roster include Austin Hays, Anthony Santander, Gunnar Henderson and Kyle Gibson. Hays got off to a hot start this season but has cooled off and is a very streaky player. Hays gets his hits in bunches and should be watched closely as his next streak could come any day. Santander seems to be an every other year player. After an All-star appearance in 2020, Santander had a down 2021, followed by a 2022 season that saw him lead the Orioles with 33 homeruns. Santander had a less than stellar first month but still has big time ability.
Henderson has not performed up to the Rookie of the Year hype he was getting to before the season, but the talent is obviously there. At only 21 years old, Top Gun might just need a little more time to get settled in before he finally breaks out. Henderson has seen a recent uptick in his hitting so keep an eye on him. Gibson has picked up four wins already this season but has never been a pitcher that put up big strikeout numbers and has a 3.93 ERA. All of these guys are worthy of roster spots. If you can ride out the cold streaks, the hots streaks will be as productive as anyone. Good luck and Go O's.