3. Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore Orioles’ RFs – Seth Smith, Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez, Aneury Tavarez, Michael Bourn, Craig Gentry, Anthony Santander
Quite a list, isn’t it. It is widely assumed that Smith may be heading toward a platoon situation with Rickard, with Smith playing against right-handers. Trumbo will be the primary DH, Alvarez has to learn the outfield (which is liable to be an adventure), Tavarez and Santander are Rule 5 picks that have too many defensive liabilities to break through on a crowded outfield. Bourn’s injury will keep him out until at least mid-April, and Gentry also looks like he may break camp with the team as a platoon with Hyun Soo Kim in left field. Got all of that?
Smith hit .249/.342/.415 in 2016 for Seattle and is a career .247/.334/.418 hitter in the American League. He added 16 HRs, 15 2Bs, 63 RBIs and 62 runs for the Mariners in 2016. He was a better hitter for average in the NL, buoyed by two years in Colorado where he hit .293 and .284.
If you look at Smith’s dWAR, you will see all negative numbers, which isn’t great. However, his range factor per nine innings, total fielding runs above average and runs saved above average are very, well, average.
Rickard was doing quite well as a Rule 5 pick and leadoff hitter for the Baltimore Orioles before he got hurt in 2016 at Yankee Stadium. Rickard was hitting .268/.319/.377 with 5 HRs, 13 2Bs, 19 RBIs and 32 runs in 85 games, and also had four stolen bases, which led the Orioles. Rickard’s sabermetrics are not good defensively, but a lot of that may have been attributed to still learning to play at Camden Yards and other major league stadiums. There is a chance Rickard could start the year at AAA Norfolk, but he has had another excellent spring, and most would expect him to be an Oriole come April at this point.