The Orioles have led the AL in home runs the last four years. After resigning Mark Trumbo its possible to make it five straight. The only thing that will hold the O’s back from making some noise in the AL East is their starting rotation. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman must take huge steps in 2017 for the pitching rotation to be dominant.
3 Storylines to Watch in Spring Training
1. What will the Orioles starting rotation look like?
Unless the O’s can acquire another starting pitcher this Spring, they will have the same options from 2016 to make their rotation. Chris Tillman is undoubtedly the ace in the rotation winning 16 games last season. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman have to show they have improved this offseason for their rotation to improve. The O’s have a platoon of options to fill the remaining rotation out. Those options include Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright.
2. How will the Orioles utilize Seth Smith?
The O’s traded Yovani Gallardo in January to the Mariners for outfielder Seth Smith. The 34-year-old hitting outfielder hit .249 in 137 games last season for the Mariners along with 16 homers and 63 RBI. Smith only has a .202 career average against lefties and is something that might concern manager Buck Showalter. How the O’s utilize Smith’s skill set this season will be very intriguing.
3. What impact will the loss of Matt Wieters have?
Matt Wieters hit 17 homers and had 66 RBI last season for the O’s. This offseason, Wieters was not given a 17.2 million qualifying offer. However, Baltimore signed veteran catcher Wellington Castillo to a one-year contract with a player option for a second. Castillo hit .264 for Arizona last season, with 14 homers and 68 RBI. In his career, Castillo has thrown out 31 percent of would-be base stealers. The O’s have top prospect Chance Sisco chomping at the bit to make a name for himself this season. Cisco hit .320 with a .868 OPS at Double-A Bowie last year and homered twice in four games upon his late-season promotion to Triple-A Norfolk.