The Baltimore Orioles are going into the 2018 season with a powerful offensive force, much like in other seasons. However, this year has a different flavor of power deep into the lineup and the bench.
Baltimore finished fifth in home runs in MLB during the 2017 regular season with 232, just behind the Oakland Athletics, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros and New York Yankees. With a few offseason additions, a bounce back season from a slugger or two and a continuation of last year’s midseason addition, Baltimore has a chance to make noise all across the lineup.
Power in the infield
Baltimore will employ Tim Beckham (third base), Manny Machado (shortstop), Jonathan Schoop (second base) and Chris Davis (first base) in the infield. Each player had over 20 home runs in 2017, with Machado leading the pack with 33 in a “down” season, with Schoop adding 32, Davis with 26 and Beckham hitting 22 between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Orioles.
Baltimore will now have Beckham for a full season in Oriole Park, where in 150 at-bats in three season, he has batted .307/.348/.520, driving in 15 runs and hitting seven home runs. As for Davis, his .215/.309/.423 slash line and total of 61 runs batted in during the 2017 season isn’t quite the norm for him. This season, he will be used as the leadoff hitter, in hopes that the move can jump start his bat.
Power in the outfield
Orioles outfielders Trey Mancini (left field), Adam Jones (center field) and Colby Rasmus (right field) all have the ability to hit 20+ homers as well. Mancini ranked fifth on the team in home runs, hitting 24 in 2017, was third on the team in RBI (78) and carried a slash line of .293/.338/.488, tying for the team lead in batting average. Jones was third on the team in home runs (26), fourth in RBI (73), and slashed .285/.322/.466 and was third in batting average.
Rasmus is Baltimore’s power wild card, as he has shown that he can be a difference-maker in the past. Before departing from the Rays during the middle of the 2017 season, Rasmus batted .281/.318/.579, with nine home runs and 23 RBI in just 121 at-bats. Just as recently as 2015 did Rasmus hit 25 home runs. If he can display the hot bat that allowed the Astros to return to prominence back then, he will be able to assist Baltimore’s already powerful lineup.
There are old faces returning like Danny Valencia and Pedro Alvarez, who will most likely provide added power on the bench. Valencia took 450 at-bats with the Seattle Mariners last season, hitting 15 home runs and driving in 66. Though Alvarez saw limited action in Baltimore last season, he hit 22 home runs in 2016, providing a platoon left-handed bat at designated hitter.
Outfielder Anthony Santander has shown that he has a great deal of power in the minor leagues, hitting 20 home runs in 2016. He has shown pop in his bat in the majors, hitting three doubles and eight total hits, in 30 at-bats.
If these players can produce the power numbers that they have shown to be able to produce, Baltimore’s lineup could offer a serious threat to opposing pitching throughout the 2018 season.
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