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Orioles 2023 Spring Training Preview

The Orioles are looking to get back to the playoffs after seven years, and they have the core in place to compete.

The Baltimore Orioles are officially done with their rebuild, and the next step is to get back to the postseason.  Following the pleasant surprise of 2022 when the team won 83 games, expectations are now higher.  Restless fans would be gravely disappointed by missing the playoffs again, but the regression monster might have something to say about that.

Here are the storylines to follow and roster predictions as players make their way to Sarasota.


SP Cole Irvin

SP Kyle Gibson

2B Adam Frazier

C James McCann

RP Mychal Givens

RP Andrew Politi

OF Daz Cameron

1B Ryan O’Hearn

RP Darwinzon Hernandez

1B Lewin Diaz

1B/OF Franchy Cordero (minors signing)

RP Eduard Bazardo (minors)

OF Nomar Mazara (minors)

RP Kyle Dowdy (minors)

RP Wandisson Charles (minors)

3B Josh Lester (minors)

RP Reed Garrett (minors)

RP Ofreidy Gomez (minors)

1B Curtis Terry (minors)

RP Kyle Virbitsky


SP Jordan Lyles

2B Rougned Odor

C Robinson Chirinos

1B Jesus Aguilar

SS Darell Hernaiz

3B Tyler Nevin

OF Yusniel Diaz

OF Luis de la Cruz

Offseason Grade: C+

The Orioles took basically the opposite approach as the Red Sox, with similar results.  Instead of going all-in on a superstar free agent, the O’s made a number of smaller moves to supplement the roster.  All of the major league additions make sense and cost little, but this was the offseason to spend big on someone like Carlos Correa.  While fans were planning on rolling out the welcome mat, they must hope the kids all play like stars.  Speaking of…

The Young Studs Have Arrived

The top prospects are all ready to contribute this season.  Adley Rutschman was as good as advertised last season, and he finished second in Rookie of the Year voting.  Gunnar Henderson shot up more than any other minor leaguer last year and more than held his own over 34 big league games.  He is a huge favorite to win ROTY in 2023.  Grayson Rodriguez, one of the top pitching prospects in the minors, is on track to win a spot in the rotation.

And those are only the guys in the universal top five.  DL Hall, Kyle Stowers, and Terrin Vavra should assume complementary roles.  Colton Cowser, Joey Ortiz, Jordan Westburg, Connor Norby, and Heston Kjerstad all have high pedigrees and are close to the Majors.  Injuries or underperformance from veterans will lead to another wave of debuts.

Who Earns a Spot in the Rotation?

Fans are rightly frustrated that Mike Elias did not cash in some prospect chips for a high-end starter, but the Orioles have plenty of serviceable guys.  Trading for Cole Irvin was a shrewd move at low cost.  The coaches are surely hoping Kyle Gibson succeeds Jordan Lyles as the innings eater.  Those two are locks, though Dean Kremer should be comfortable and might even start on Opening Day.  Kyle Bradish and Rodriguez have enough talent to warrant long looks out of the rotation.

There are plenty of other options though, some of whom will be in the bullpen while others will wait in AAA. Maybe one or two have improved this offseason and earn a spot. Michael Baumann and Bruce Zimmermann have started in the past but look better in shorter stints.  Tyler Wells and Austin Voth were much better than expected as starters in 2022 but will more likely act as bulk relievers.  Spenser Watkins will wait in the wings in case of injury or for a double header.  John Means is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, but he will return midseason.

Can the Bullpen Overperform Again?

The Orioles bullpen was dramatically better in 2022 than 2021, lowering the unit’s ERA from 5.70 to 3.49.  The pitching development staff has a lot to do with that, but many of the relievers also outperformed their peripherals.  Five relievers (including swingmen) had a 2022 ERA more than a half run below their FIP, which is a more useful statistic to predict future performance.  Two of them were over a full run lower, including Jorge Lopez who pitched much worse after a deadline trade to the Twins.

Many Baltimore relievers made real improvements, but they will likely regress to some extent.  There is no way Cionel Perez pitches to a 1.40 ERA again, though his 2.80 FIP is still great.  The story is similar for Felix Bautista, while Bryan Baker was the outlier underperformer, with a 3.49 ERA and 2.74 FIP.  Crucially, relief pitchers are very volatile and become suddenly good or suddenly bad.  The key will be depth, which the Orioles have addressed.  Bringing back Mychal Givens provides reliability, while Rule 5 pick Andrew Politi could break out.

Projected Opening Day Roster

Starting Lineup

1. CF Cedric Mullins

2. C Adley Rutschman

3. 3B Gunnar Henderson

4. DH Anthony Santander

5. 1B Ryan Mountcastle

6. LF Austin Hays

7. RF Kyle Stowers

8. 2B Ramon Urias

9. SS Jorge Mateo

Bench: James McCann, Adam Frazier, Ryan McKenna, Terrin Vavra

Starting Rotation

1. Dean Kremer

2. Cole Irvin

3. Kyle Gibson

4. Kyle Bradish

5. Grayson Rodriguez


Andrew Politi

Austin Voth

Tyler Wells

Keegan Akin

Mychal Givens

Bryan Baker

Dillon Tate

Cionel Perez

Felix Bautista

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