MLB Opening Day Countdown Series – Baltimore Orioles

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Baltimore Orioles

2017 Record: (75-87) 5th in the AL East

Off Season Transactions:

Released:

Wellington Castillo, JJ Hardy and Wade Miley.

JJ Hardy – From a DFS perspective the loss of JJ Hardy is going to boost the Orioles lineup as a whole as JJ never was one to really hit for power or drive in runs at the bottom of the lineup as his sole purpose was a defensive specialist. They will be moving Manny Machado, Tim Beckham and Johnathon Schoop into their infield roles who are all way better hitters.

Wade Miley – Everyone who played MLB DFS last year should know who Wade Miley is. We’re going to want to keep an eye on where he goes in Free Agency because you will be able to stack against him. Although he is a frequently targeted pitcher he has potential to put up 7 scoreless innings to shock the world. For Baltimore, they’re going to be experimenting with 3 new starting pitchers this year in Mike Wright, Gabriel Ynoa, and Miguel Castro as of this article. All of these guys pitched last year for the Orioles and Ynoa was a guy that you wanted to target hitters against.

Wellington Castillo – He is in my opinion the biggest loss for the Orioles for DFS impact. Wellington was a guy you could get at a cheap price and lower in the batting order who could come out and give you a big day in the right matchup. He had the ability to drive in guys ahead of him like Machado, Schoop, etc. He will be replaced by Chance Sisco who came in last year and had his ups and downs and won’t be providing the power that Castillo brought to the bottom of this lineup. Sisco also won’t lower the K% of this Baltimore club as he has a career 31% strikeout percentage.

Traded:

Acquired Andrew Susac from Milwaukee

Andrew Susac – I am not seeing much of a DFS impact here. I just think the Orioles wanted to add catching depth in the organization.

Projected Starting Rotation:

Kevin Gausman – Gausman is going to be the ace of the Orioles this year. He has been a guy who has been thought of highly coming up as a prospect and just never was able to consistently piece games together early on in the year last year and improved throughout 2017. From a DFS prospective you are going to want to know who Kevin Gausman is. This guy has the upside to win us a GPP this year and probably will when the right matchup comes as long as his price is reasonable. It is all dependent on how his splitter is that day and the frequency at which it is called. Last year he sat around the mid 8k ranges on FD and is the poster child for high risk/high reward. You can always make a hedge stack when pitching a guy like Gausman. Last thing to note but this is also very important, Gausman pitches much better when Caleb Joeseph is catching and almost exclusively want to roster Gausman only when Joeesph is catching.

Dylan Bundy – He is a guy who will be in consideration on a lot of slates because of the upside he brings. He absolutely torched teams last August at the end of the year and I hope he can ride that into 2018. He has 60-point upside vs teams that struggle with the slider.

Mike Wright – Looking into this guy he looks like one of those where you don’t use as a pitcher but you don’t stack against either. He needs to work a bit on his sinker if he is going to keep throwing it.

Gabriel Ynoa – We’re going to want to jump on this guy early this year if the right teams comes along vs him. He isn’t good. He doesn’t strike anyone out and gives up ropes!! I remember stacking against him last year and now I know why. Last year in his 1st 35 innings in the MLB he gave up a 41% Hard Contact percentage to pair with a 40% Fly Ball percentage. When you are pairing those with the fact that he isn’t going to strike you out much and that you have a good chance to put the ball in play, I like the hitter’s chances.

Miguel Castro – I don’t think he is a very good pitcher and the numbers look like there is going to be more regression toward him giving up more runs than he did last year. With that being said, he isn’t going to be a great candidate to stack against as he keeps the ball on the ground with a 50% Ground Ball percentage and limits hard contact and only 27% of the time.

Bullpen:

Last year this bullpen had its struggles due to injuries and minor league call ups. But this year they are looking like they are going to be a very solid group anchored by All- Start Zach Britton. When we’re picking stacks this year, we’re going to want to consider that our hitters are going to have to get to the starter right away because if they struggle early they most likely find too much success vs the Baltimore bullpen.

Starting Lineup:

Tim Beckham (3B) – This year the Orioles are going to move Machado to Shortstop and Beckham to 3B. Beckham was a good option as SS as it is usually a weak position when it comes to hitting but now at 3B its going to make it tough to click his name over the likes of many other 3rd baseman in the league. With that being said, Beckham last year found a bit of a spark after leaving Tampa Bay where he had a run of many 20+ fantasy point games in a couple weeks span. He changed his approach at the plate last year which resulted in a lot more home runs and high batted ball statistics. However, he also strikes out at an alarming 30% K percentage and is an extreme ground ball hitter. This means that when he puts one in the air you have to hope it goes out because there are not many Fly Ball chances in a game for Tim.

Manny Machado (SS) – As mentioned previously Machado is moving from 3rd base to Shortstop which is his natural position. Machado is a really good example of regression when it comes to baseball. He was hitting about .200 at the All-Star break or something crazy along those lines. However, his advanced statistics were elite. It was one of those situations where you had to trust your process and keep playing the guy. Well in the second half of the season it paid off and Machado had a lot of multi-homer 40+ point DFS games. I don’t expect him to struggle like he did last year again and now with the move to Shortstop he is going to be one of the highest owned players in DFS when he is on a slate due to position scarcity and the talent that he is.

Johnathon Schoop (2B) – I found myself rostering this guy a lot last year because he was never too expensive and brought you a lot of upside at a weak position. He has the ability to drive in runs batting behind guys like Beckham and Machado who can get in scoring position with one swing, yet he also has guys behind him in the lineup like Davis, Trumbo and Mancini who can drive him in. He will be one of the best options at 2B all year, just make sure he is at a reasonable price and in a good matchup when you’re playing him because 2B is the prime punt position and you can get burned paying up sometimes.

Adam Jones (OF) – He is another OF I like to roster because he is never too expensive and in this offense, has a lot of upside especially at home in Camden Yards. He will be a really good cash option on most days due to the price and usually puts the ball in play.

Trey Mancini (OF) – He was a guy last year who got called up and was popping in models but with the small sample size I was hesitant to play him. Well he exploded early and then came back down to earth for the rest of the year. He is a good player and will definitely merit consideration as he has power and the price isn’t usually too bad.

Chris Davis (1B) – Oh boy, it is literally a guessing game with him when he is going to hit bombs! Obviously, there are spots that are better than others when you look at numbers but the dude rocked a 37% K% last year so he is always a Wild Card. Due to the risk though his price is usually low unless he is on a hot streak (he does get on these so roster him in streaks). Lastly, you only want Davis as a low owned GPP play only. NEVER CASH AND NEVER CHALK. I’m sure there will be spots where he will have some ownership and I don’t think I’ll be one.

Mark Trumbo (1B/OF) – Trumbo has power but doesn’t flash his upside all that much. He is usually in a price range where I like other guys better than him and let’s face it, he isn’t a very sexy guy to roster. You won’t be seeing him in my write ups this year, that is for sure. He is a guy that if he wins someone a tourney I will tip my cap and move to the next day.

Caleb Joeseph/Chance Sisco (C) – I am not going to ever be thrilled with either guy this year but Joeseph last year was a guy that usually you could round out a Baltimore stack with if you’re trying to get Macahdo, Schoop and those guys in. He has some decent games considering he hovers around min price. Chance Sisco last year got called up and had a couple good games where he hit a home run but looking at his AAA numbers I don’t think he is going to be anything more than a flyer to round out expensive Baltimore stacks.

Austin Hays (OF) – Keep an eye on this dude! His minor league numbers are very impressive and if he can get an everyday role with this team he can be a very cheap option for us early in the year! I’m going to be looking at Austin Hays early at a low price.

Playing Field:

Oriole Park at Camden Yards-

Ballpark Factor Rating – 5th Overall

This ball park ranks 11th in the MLB for runs scored in its games. However, it is important to note that it ranks 3rd in the MLB when it comes to Home runs producing 122 Home runs per every 100 Home runs hit in an MLB average ballpark. This makes sense as it is a smaller ball park and it limits the amount of doubles and triples you can hit, yet it makes it easier for guys to go yard.

We want to note that when players are playing in Baltimore we get a boost for the power hitters but guys who rely on doubles and triples rather than home runs should have this reflected in their projections.

“Must Know’s” of the Baltimore Orioles going into 2018 MLB DFS:

I think it is very important to know that Kevin Gausman is a much different pitcher when he has Caleb Joeseph calling the games. I have looked at some numbers and articles on this and it is a real thing. It gives us an advantage to know when to be on and when to be off this highly volatile pitching option for the Orioles.

Austin Hays is a highly regarded prospect around the MLB and could be thrown into an OF role in Baltimore if they decided to hold off in free agency. His numbers in the minors were outstanding and if he can continue what he did down there at an MLB level, we will be able to find value in him before the price corrects itself.