Baltimore Orioles Fantasy Baseball Forecast


We are less than six days away from Opening Day in Major League Baseball. Every team in the league starts the season with an opportunity. Some know that they have no chance. Others think they have all the pieces to win a championship.

That is exactly what fantasy baseball owners think too. This is the year I win it all.

You cannot watch any game or visit a sports website that is not advertising fantasy sports. Fantasy sports have become such a sensation in recent years that there are multiple websites that allow you to compete in a wide array of leagues. The options available are limitless. You can do a snake or auction draft. Roto scoring or head-to-head matchups. Like pitchers? You can make it a pitchers only league. Let’s not forget about the money that comes along with it. It is a phenomenon like no other.

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The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a season in which they advanced all the way to the American League Championship. Household names to us have now become familiar names throughout the country. Despite that success, the Orioles have a relatively small group of players that fantasy experts are expecting to have an impact in fantasy sports. The top player for the Orioles last season, Nelson Cruz, is now in Seattle. He finished as the No. 18 player in ESPN standard leagues. Not bad for a player that was ranked No. 147 entering the season.

The Orioles have five players that could be selected in the top-200 of fantasy baseball drafts. The top-two are logical choices as one is two years removed from leading the league in homers and the other is our perennial All-Star. The shocker is the two options are guys coming off surgery. Baltimore fans are not the only ones who are hoping they come back and make an impact, but fantasy owners also.

 Note: The projections used below are those of ESPN. I have used their service over the years because I believe it is the best option for fantasy sports. 

Adam Jones

2014 Stats: .281/.311/.469 – 88 R, 29 HR, 96 RBI, 7 SB
2015 Projections: .279/.313/.485 – 93 R, 32 HR, 93 RBI, 10 SB
ADP: 17.1

The Orioles four-time All-Star leads the way for the Orioles, and is a remarkably consistent player for fantasy owners. The only criticism on Jones is that his aggressiveness leads to a lot of strike outs and few walks, but you cannot argue with his overall impact on your team. His ability to contribute in every statistical category as well as provide anywhere between 7-10 steals make him arguably a top-10 player. The general public doesn’t agree with that, as he can still be scooped up in the later part of the second round. Don’t reach for your favorite Oriole, but take advantage of being a fan if he’s still available anywhere after the first round. 

Chris Davis

2014 Stats: .196/.300/.404 – 65 R, 26 HR, 72 RBI, 2 SB
2015 Projections: .241/.332/.495 – 75 R, 33 HR, 87 RBI, 3 SB
ADP: 74.5

What can we expect from Crush in 2015? Is he player that hit 53 homers and 138 RBI in 2013 or the guy that batted .196 and struggled mightily throughout the season, which ultimately ended with a 25-game suspension for PED use. The answer is probably neither. The Orioles are hoping that he returns to the numbers similar to his 2012 season. I think he’s capable of a 35 home run and 100 RBI season. Davis’ value is lower than expected because he is eligible to play both first and third base in fantasy. If Buck Showalter is serious about playing him in the outfield also, that only increases his value.

Manny Machado

2014 Stats: .278/.324/.431 – 38 R, 12 HR, 32 RBI, 2 SB
2015 Projections: .282/.326/.441 – 76 R, 18 HR, 69 RBI, 6 SB
ADP: 100.1

It’s hard to believe that Machado is still just 22 years old and his full potential hasn’t been reached yet. The knock on Manny has been injuries to both his knees, but it is believed that his most recent surgery will fix him for years to come. He was an absolute menace before his injury, sporting an impressive .307/.350/.505 in his last 55 games of the 2014 campaign. It’s a shame that teams don’t get points for defense too cause Machado would be on top. Regardless, Machado could be a steal at 100 because he’s certainly capable of finishing as one of the top-5 third basemen, if he stays healthy.

Zach Britton

2014 Stats: 76.1 IP, 1.65 ERA, 0.90 WHIP – 62 K, 23 BB, 3 W, 37 SV
2015 Projections: 75.0 IP, 2.76 ERA, 1.24 WHIP – 55 K, 29 BB, 4 W, 42 SV
ADP: 139.5

Last season, the Orioles closer role was lined up for Tommy Hunter, but when he couldn’t take advantage of the opportunity, Britton ran away the job. The southpaw went on to convert 37 of 41 save opportunities while enjoying the best season of his career. The projections at ERA and WHIP are high for someone who is a ground ball pitcher with a fantastic infield behind him. The key is to limit the long balls that became a problem in the playoffs. The Orioles have reached 50-plus saves in each of the past three seasons and Britton should finish somewhere near that, proving that last season was no fluke.

Matt Wieters

2014 Stats: .308/.339/.500 – 13 R, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB
2015 Projections: .258/.315/.444 – 55 R, 20 HR, 69 RBI, 2 SB
ADP: 204.3

Wieters gets the benefit of the doubt because of the lack of options that are reliable at the position. It is surprising to see Wieters name listed as a potential top-200 player in fantasy baseball coming off Tommy John surgery. He will start the season on the DL on most likely will return as a DH before we see him catching anytime soon. Fantasy owners are hoping that, once healthy, he can return on last year’s impressive numbers in limited action. The switch-hitter batted .308/.339/.500 with an elbow that was damaged. There isn’t a large sample of catchers who have returned from Tommy John surgery so it remains to be seen if he’ll come anywhere close to the player he once was. Wieters still gets the benefit of the doubt because of the lack of options that are available at the catcher position and could be a bargain late.

Next: Predicting the Orioles Opening Day Roster

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