The Orioles added and lost several players throughout the offseason, but the player they kept was the biggest news.
Mark Trumbo finally re-signed and this club looks like one that could again be among the league leaders in home runs and runs scored. Even with Trumbo's importance overshadowing other Orioles acquisitions, it's hard not to wonder what Camden Yards can do for players like Seth Smith and Welington Castillo.
Much like the Blue Jays, the Orioles have a pitching staff full of mostly familiar names from the past few seasons, but that doesn't necessarily mean we know exactly what to expect from them.
In fact, even ranking the top three can be a difficult exercise. if Chris Tillman is going to continue getting propped up by wins, shouldn't we be more excited about the Orioles' starters that might be good?
Finally, we know this team has a surefire first-round pick in Manny Machado. But they have several other hitters who have given us elite production in the past. Will Trumbo regress? Can Chris Davis bounce back? Why doesn't anyone want to draft Adam Jones where he deserves to be drafted?
Who is the Orioles' best starting pitcher?
Tillman has the most experience and won 16 games last season. So if you asked Buck Showalter, I'm sure he'd probably say Tillman is the team's ace. I'll give Tillman one thing -- he's consistent. He's maintained a FIP between 4.01 and 4.45 the past five seasons. While that's consistent, it does not make for an exciting Fantasy pitcher. His Fantasy value is almost entirely dependent on him getting to 200 innings or around 15 wins. He's a streamer and not much more.
That's not to say the Orioles don't have exciting pitchers in Fantasy.
Both Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy took steps forward in 2016. Gausman flirted with 180 innings and nearly struck out a batter per inning. He continued to struggle with the long ball but his Fantasy value was mostly held down by the fact that his record (9-12) didn't line up with his production. That figures to change in 2017.
Bundy spent a lot of the year in the minors but got through his first full professional season, topping 100 innings for the first time. He's still just 24 years old and his strikeout rate and contact rate allowed both showed promise. Most importantly for Fantasy, Bundy is reliever-eligible. He ranks as the second best SPARP in points leagues and the best Orioles starter because of that eligibility. Gausman would be my first choice in Roto.
Which Chris Davis should we expect in 2017?
In some ways, Davis has been pretty close to the same guy. His hard contact rate is between 40 percent and 42 percent for three of the past four seasons. His HR/FB rate has been at least 25 percent in each of those three seasons. His K-rate has hovered between 30 percent and 33 percent. The difference in his production has been largely a suspension and variance.
Davis should be expected to hit around .250 with 40 home runs and around 210 runs and RBI combined. Bad fortune may prevent him from reaching that potential or he may lead the league in HR/FB rate and hit 50 home runs again. He'll be a great value at 1B if he just delivers exactly what the peripherals say he should.
Can Camden Yards turn Seth Smith into a mixed league asset?
Can he play every day? That's probably the bigger question. Smith has the pop to be able to take advantage of Camden Yards, and if he hits he probably fits near the top of a very good lineup. Unfortunately he also plays almost exclusively against RHP. Smith has 558 plate appearances against lefties in his entire career and a less-than-inspiring .594 OPS.
If that trend continues, and you should absolutely believe that it will, Smith will only be useful in AL-Only leagues and mixed leagues that allow daily lineup changes. He could very easily hit 20 home runs and post an OPS over .760 in a very good environment.