Legendary fantasy expert Shawn Childs will be breaking down all 30 teams ahead of the 2023 MLB season. This is the kind of deep-diving, advanced information you can only get from FullTimeFantasy. Up first, Shawn’s 2023 Preview: Baltimore Orioles
Also, check out Shawn’s extensive breakdown of his unique FPGscore, which gives you a huge edge over the competition. Plus, you’ll learn more about other advanced metrics like Average Hit Rate (AVH) and Contact Batting Average (CTBH.)
2023 Baltimore Orioles
Since 1997, the Orioles have made the postseason in three years (2012, 2014, and 2016 while finishing fourth or fifth in their division 19 times. Last season, their pitching staff allowed 267 fewer runs than in 2021 (988), leading to the 18th-ranked ERA (3.97 – 4th in the AL East). Baltimore moved the fence back last year, which was part of their improvement in pitching. The Orioles’ last World Series win and appearance came in 1983.
Unfortunately, the Orioles finished 20th in runs scored (674), 16th in home runs (171), and 20th in batting average (.236). In addition, their defense made 91 errors, placing them 20th in field percentage (.985).
In the offseason, Baltimore moved on from 2B Rougned Odor, OF Brett Phillips, 1B Jesus Aguilar, IF Chris Owings, and C Robinson Chirinos. They signed 2B Adam Frazier, SP Kyle Gibson, and RP Mychal Givens, plus took fliers on Jon Lester, Nomar Mazara, and Franchy Cordero.
The future of this franchise lies in the development of C Adley Rutschman, SS Gunnar Henderson, 1B Ryan Mountcastle, and SP Grayson Rodriguez.
The early over/under total for wins for the Orioles is 75.5, pointing to a step back from the growth in 2022. The top of the batting line looks competitive while needing more power to compete with the best teams in baseball.
A significant part of the improvement of Baltimore last season was their bullpen (42-29 with 46 saves and 3.49 ERA over 631 innings). This season, the Orioles need Grayson Rodriguez to hit the ground running if Baltimore wants to push higher in the AL East standings. In addition, they have some young developing arms that need more major-league experience.
OF Cedric Mullins
Mullins was a waiver-wire darling in 2021, helping many fantasy teams win league and overall championships. He finished 10th in FPGscore (6.36) for hitters.
Last year Mullins finished with almost the same opportunity in at-bats (602 and 608), but he failed to repeat in power despite a higher fly ball rate (43.6 – 41.1 in 2021). His HR/FB rate (7.7) was more than 50% lower than in 2021 (15.5) while failing in a range more in line with his previous career. Mullins saw a sharp decline in his average hit rate (1.561 – 1.781 in 2021) and contact batting average (.326 – .367 in 2021). On the positive side, he continues to have a better-than-league-average strikeout rate (18.8), with a step back in walks (7.0% – 8.7 in 2021).
Mullins lost his feel at the plate vs. left-handed pitching (.209/4/15 over 182 at-bats), and the change in dimensions in his home park showed in his stats (.243/10/39 over 296 at-bats – .294/22/37 over 306 at-bats). Despite his regression, he finished as the 23rd most valuable hitter based on FPGscore (5.33) last season.
Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship, Mullins is the 33rd hitter drafted with an ADP of 48. I respect his speed while expecting repeated success in runs. However, I fear he could lose some at-bats vs. lefties while understanding the rules changes for shifts should lead to a slight rebound in batting average. I view him as a .265/85/20/60/30 player who falls in a draft range with some more dynamic hitters.
C Adley Rutschman
Baltimore drafted Rutschman in the first round in the 2019 MLB June Amateur Draft. He came into college with a light-hitting swing. His power developed in 2019 (17 home runs over 185 at-bats) at Oregon State, along with his approach (76 walks and 38 strikeouts over 266 plate appearances). After missing development time in the 2020 Covid-19 season, Rutschman handled himself well at AA (.271 over 295 at-bats with 61 runs, 18 home runs, 55 RBI, and one steal). He finished with strength in his walk rate (15.4) while posting a better-than-major ready strikeout rate (15.9).
Last year, Rutschman developed a triceps issue in his throwing arm, leading to him missing most of April. He hit .304 over 69 at-bats over three levels of the minors with 12 runs, three home runs, and 10 RBI.
After a slow start over 126 at-bats with Baltimore (.206/15/3/9), Rutschman hit his stride over the final 79 games (.276 with 55 runs, 10 home runs, 33 RBI, and three steals over 272 at-bats), highlighted by a bump in production in September (.270/17/5/17 over 115 at-bats). His swing offered emptiness vs. left-handed pitching (.174/9/1/5 over 98 at-bats). He finished the year with an elite walk rate (13.8) and a favorable strikeout rate (18.3).
Rutschman hit 12 of his 13 home runs right of centerfield, but many of his hits went the other way.
Fantasy Outlook: Based on Rutschman’s average hit rate (1.752), he should have no problem smashing 25 home runs this season. His approach and success at the plate will be much improved in his sophomore year. There is no doubt that Baltimore will give plenty of at-bats at DH to help his fantasy value and production. Rutschman should lead all catchers in runs while chipping in with a handful of steals. In the NFBC in early January, he is the fourth catcher off the board with an ADP of 63. His next step in growth is solving lefties (.350/7/25 over 140 at-bats in 2021 in the minors). Rutschman is in my thoughts with a bright shade of green, but I will struggle to roster him as my second bat if I start my team with a pair of aces. With 525 at-bats, .280+ with 90+ runs, 25+ home runs, 75 RBI, and five stolen bases.
3B Gunnar Henderson
Between AA, AAA, and the majors last season, Henderson hit .289 over 523 at-bats with 113 runs, 23 home runs, 94 RBI, and 23 stolen bases. His approach at AA (41 walks and 38 strikeouts over 208 plate appearances) gave us a hint of his potential in Baltimore once he gets conformable at the plate.
His contact batting average (.402) at all levels points to an asset in batting average while also projecting to steal more than 20 bags. Henderson did see his groundball rate rise in 2022 when he moved from AA (40.2) to AAA (50.3) and the majors (59.8) while maintaining his HR/FB rate (17.8/20.8/20.0). His average hit rate (1.762) in pro ball supports a high floor in power.
Fantasy Outlook: In the early draft season at the NFBC, Henderson only draws a third base qualification. He ranks eighth at the position based on his ADP (91 – 10th at shortstop). His combination of power and speed will be his drawing card, but drafters need to be careful and not overrate him over players with established major league resumes. The gap after him in the third base ranking seems wide, and stolen bases from the position offer an edge. In the end, Henderson must correct his major league ground ball issue to help his chances of hitting the ground running. So, let’s go with a four-category asset (80/20/80/15) with an opportunity to beat the league average in batting average.
1B Ryan Mountcastle
Mountcastle has two full seasons under his major league belt, but his stats leave fantasy drafters wondering where his ceiling will be. He slightly improved his strikeout rate (25.3 – 27.5 in 2021) while trailing his minor league career (20.1). His walk rate (7.1) has been better than expected with Baltimore (4.6 in the minors).
Despite regression in home runs (22) and his average hit rate (1.691), Mountcastle ranked 17th in the majors in barrel rate (15.0 – minimum of 250 plate appearances), with a reasonable launch angle (15.9) and strength in his average exit velocity (91.3). In addition, his contact batting average (.347) showed growth while still trailing his path in the minors (.375).
His best data point so far in his major league career has been his RBI rate (17.7), supporting a middle-of-the-batting-order opportunity. Mountcastle offers a relatively balanced swing path (22/37/41 – line drive/ground ball/ fly ball rates).
Unfortunately, after a hot June (.297 with 16 runs, seven home runs, and 19 RBI over 101 at-bats), his bat lost all playable value over 38 games after the All-Star break (.179/12/4/22 over 145 at-bats). However, Mountcastle finished the year with a rebound in batting average in September (.279 with four home runs and 19 RBI). The next step in his growth is playing better on the road (.221/22/8/39 over 244 at-bats).
Fantasy Outlook: This draft season, Mountcastle projects to come off the board as the 15th first baseman with an ADP of 163 in early January in the NFBC. His lack of runs is a concern, and many will question his upside in power and batting average. With a slight improvement in his approach, I see a .270 hitter with the potential to score 80 runs with 30+ home runs and 90+ RBI.
OF Anthony Santander
Over the previous three seasons, Santander finished with strength in his average hit rate (2.200, 1.796, and 1.891), supporting a 30-home run hitter. Baltimore gave him a full-time starting opportunity for the first time in his career in 2022. He responded to set career highs in runs (78), hits (138), home runs (33), and RBIs (89). On the downside, more at-bats led to a further fade in his contact batting average (.305) due to his struggles against right-handed pitching in batting average (.221).
Santander finished with the best approach of his career (walk rate – 8.5 and strikeout rate – 18.9). If repeated, I would expect his batting average to rise. A significant part of his failure in batting average is tied to his high flyball rate (49.8) and his spike infield flyballs (18.9%). With an improved barrel rate (11.6), Santander could have another gear in power based on his launch angle (21.4 – 10th).
Despite hitting third or fourth in the Orioles’ batting order for 509 of his 574 at-bats, his RBI rate (14) isn’t high enough to keep that opportunity in 2023.
Fantasy Outlook: Based on his ADP (132 – 32nd outfielder) in the NFBC, I will avoid Santander in 2023. I respect his power, and his overall game did improve last season. My rub is trusting that his opportunity will stay the same this season. Baltimore doesn’t have an elite backend of their roster, so any regression of at-bats will come from an injury or Santander struggling out of the gate. When building my roster, I want proven players over the first 10 rounds. Low average power can be found later in the draft. In the end, his ADP in 2024 will be higher than his current value, meaning Santander failed to beat expectations. I see .250 with 70 runs, 25 home runs, and 75 RBI.
OF Austin Hays
Last year, Hays missed time on three occasions due to hand (cut from being spikes), wrist, and oblique issues, but he avoided the injury list. Despite finishing with the most at-bats (535) of his career, his bat had regression across the board, highlighted by less production in runs (66), batting average (.250), home runs (16), and RBIs (60). His strikeout rate (19.6) and walk rate (5.8) improved slightly from 2021 (20.2/5.3).
Hays struggled with runners on base (RBI rate – 13) while posting weakness in his barrel rate (5.2) and launch angle (11.3). As a result, his HR/FB rate (10.1) was a career low, with a spike in infield flyballs (17.0%). Hays finished with only six RBI over 146 at-bats vs. left-handed pitching.
His bat looked to be on the rise over 47 games in May and June when he hit .293 with 32 runs, nine home runs, and 36 RBI. However, after getting hit by a pitch in early July, Hays struggled to hit the ball hard (.226 over 243 at-bats with 26 runs, five home runs, and 15 RBI).
Fantasy Outlook: Based on his minor league career (.285 with 197 runs, 66 home runs, 211 RBIs, and 234 stolen bases over 1,332 at-bats), there is a much higher ceiling in his bat. His ADP (264) in the NFBC prices Hays as a fifth outfielder in 12-team formats. He has a lot to prove, and I can’t fight for him at his current value due to his lack of speed and previous injury risk. At the same time, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him hit .270 with 80 runs, 25 home runs, and 80 RBI.
OF Adam Frazier
Frazier is a better real-world player than a fantasy option. In 2021, he outperformed expectations in batting average (.305) with a bump in steals (11). Unfortunately, his average hit rate (1.302) came in at a five-year low while having a sharp decline in his contact batting average (.276 – .346 in 2021).
He finished 312th in barrel rate (1.5) while ranking 300th in average exit velocity. In addition, Frazier offered no value against left-handed pitching (.210 with one home run and 11 RBI over 138 at-bats).
When at his best from 2017 to 2019, he hit .277 over 1,278 at-bats with 187 runs, 26 home runs, 138 RBI, and 15 stolen bases.
Fantasy Outlook: Based on his FPGscore (-4.16), Frazier was the 165th-ranked hitter. Drafters can find him in the free-agent pool in all formats. If his batting average shows life early in the year, he may work as short-term injury cover in deep formats. I don’t expect him to see more than 450 at-bats with minimal chance of moving up in the batting order.
2B Ramon Urias
Urias gave the Orioles good at-bats (262) over the bench in 2021 (.279/33/7/38), leading to a bump in chances last year. He set career highs in at-bats (403), runs (50), hits (100), home runs (16), and RBIs (51). His increased role did lead to a fade in his contact batting average (.328 – .392 in 2021) despite an uptick in his approach (strikeout rate – 22.0 and walk rate – 6.7).
Over five seasons in the minors (.268 with 161 runs, 29 home runs, 160 RBI, and 11 stolen bases over 1,055 at-bats), his bat failed to make an impact. Urias put his name on the Orioles’ radar after an excellent season in Mexico in 2017 (.340/91/19/79/12 over 388 at-bats).
A right knee sprain at the end of last season put Urias on the shelf for multiple months while expecting him to be ready for spring training.
Fantasy Outlook: At best, he is a fill-in fantasy bat, highlighted by success over 41 games last summer (.285 with 19 runs, seven home runs, and 27 RBIs over 144 at-bats). I expect Urias to see less playing time in 2023.
SS Jorge Mateo
For the wise guys fishing for late speed in 2022, Mateo ended up being that player. He led the American League in steals (35), but there was a downside cost to investing in him before the All-Star break (.205 with 32 runs, seven home runs, 23 RBI, and 22 stolen bases). His play improved in August (.277/15/4/17/4 over 94 at-bats), adding hope that Mateo would push his game higher this season.
He finished the year ranked 56th in FPGscore (-1.27) while helping fantasy teams gain 4.72 points in roto standings in steals.
His strikeout rate (27.6) and walk rate (5.1) fell in line with his limited experience in the majors. Despite more power on his minor league resume (19 home runs at AAA in 2019), Mateo ranked poorly in barrel rate (6.0) and exit velocity (86.8). On the positive side, he does put the ball in the air (launch angle – 14.8%) more than 40.0% of the time in the majors.
Fantasy Outlook: Mateo comes off the board as the 20th shortstop in the NFBC in early January with an ADP of 203. His swing-and-miss approach hurts his chances of moving up in the batting order. He has a rare 15/35 skill set, but a drafter must price in his batting average risk or punt category. I expect him to outperform his price point, but he doesn’t fit my team builds.
1B Lewin Diaz
After stalling in the Twins’ system for six seasons (.269 with 175 runs, 58 home runs, and 236 RBI over 1,548 at-bats), the Marlins acquired Diaz at the trade deadline in 2019 for RP Sergio Romo. His bat played well in power at AAA (39 home runs and 115 RBI over 607 at-bats) with Miami.
The Marlins gave him chances in the majors over the previous three seasons (.181 with 30 runs, 13 home runs, and 27 RBI over 321 at-bats). Unfortunately, Diaz whiffed 31% of the time in Miami in 2022. This offseason, he spent moments with Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Baltimore.
His strikeout rate (18.2) was positive in his minor league career while offering a below-average walk rate (7.1). He offers a fly-ball swing path (49.6) with Miami.
Fantasy Outlook: His average hit rate points to over 30 home runs with better contact. However, his batting average looks to be a negative due to the number of easy outs created off his bat via fly balls. Diaz won’t be drafted in any redraft formats, but his bat may help fill some injury gaps during the season if he is getting starting at-bats.
SS Jordan Westburg
The Orioles selected Westburg as the 30th player in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft. In his first season in the minors, he hit .285 with 74 runs, 15 home runs, 79 RBI, and 17 stolen bases over 424 at-bats. Surprisingly, Westburg played better in his time at AAA (.274 with 64 runs, 18 home runs, 74 RBIs, and nine steals over 362 at-bats) than his two stints at AA (.242/47/13/46/6 over 294 at-bats).
Last year he saw time at second base, shortstop, and third base, giving him a better chance to help Baltimore in 2023.
Fantasy Outlook: Westburg looks ready to start his major league career. His approach will trail his minor resume early with Baltimore, but his combination of power and speed should quickly move him past Ramon Urias and Adam Frazier on the Orioles’ depth chart this year. For now, a player to follow in the fantasy market. His stock should rise with a hot spring training.
OF Kyle Stowers
Over three seasons in the minors, Stowers hit .261 over 1,002 at-bats with 146 runs, 52 home runs, 186 RBI, and 16 stolen bases. Last year, he shaved over off some strikeouts (25.6% – 32.3 in 2021) at AAA, earning him first chances in the majors.
With Baltimore, Stowers hit .253 over 91 at-bats with three strikeouts and 11 RBI. His strikeout rate (29.6) showed he was overmatched in too many at-bats. The Orioles only gave him four plate appearances vs. lefties (1-for-2 with a home run and one RBI). In the minors in 2022, Stowers played well vs. left-handed pitching (.330 with four home runs and 20 RBI over 97 at-bats).
Fantasy Outlook: Stowers has a high ceiling in home runs, but he can’t earn starting at-bats in the majors without better contact. His talent opens the door, but the fantasy world needs to see him in the lineup daily before trusting him on the roster.
SP Grayson Rodriguez
Rodriguez was on the doorstep of the majors in early June (5-1 at AAA with 2.09 ERA, .168 BAA, and 80 strikeouts over 56 innings), but he left his 11th minor league starts with a lat issue. After missing three months, Rodriguez struggled to find his previous form over his final 19.2 innings (nine runs and 28 baserunners) while striking out 29 batters.
Baltimore selected him in the first round (11th) of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft after completing his high school career. In his first year at A Ball, Rodriguez went 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 129 strikeouts over 94.0 innings. Then, after missing the Covid-19 season in 2020, he dominated over 23 starts between High A and AA (9-1 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.825 WHIP, and 161 strikeouts over 103 innings). In addition, the Orioles haven’t allowed him to pitch over five innings in six of his 69 career games while never throwing more than 90 pitches in any contest.
Rodriguez’s fastball sits in the mid-90s with upper 90s upside. In addition, his changeup continues to improve while featuring an explosive slider. He needs more consistency with his curveball despite already having swing and misses ability.
Fantasy Outlook: After missing half of his developing time last season, the Orioles need to come north with Rodriguez in their starting rotation. In the early draft season in the NFBC, his ADP (195) priced him as the 80th pitcher selected. The biggest drawback in his rookie year will be his innings pitched cap. I expect him to hit the ground running while only having a chance to pitch about 130 innings. Call me interested, as I rostered Rodriguez everywhere in 2022.
SP Dean Kremer
After struggling as a reliever in 2017 (1-4 with a 5.18 ERA and 96 strikeouts over 80 innings), Kremer moved into the starting rotation. Over his next 66 games in the minors, he posted a 3.50 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over 316.1 innings with 387 strikeouts. Unfortunately, his arm didn’t translate well over his first 17 starts with Baltimore (6.84 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and 17 home runs over 72.1 innings).
Last year Kremer started the season on the injured list with an oblique injury. After two appearances in the minors (no runs over nine innings with two walks and 18 strikeouts), his ticket was pushed to Baltimore. He handled himself well over his first five starts (1.29 ERA and 19 strikeouts over 28 innings) before looking lost in July (18 runs, 40 baserunners, and five home runs over 23.1 innings).
After getting dumped back into the free-agent pool, Kremer soared over his final 12 games (2.80 ERA and 1.149 WHIP over 74 innings with 46 strikeouts). At the end of the season, his walk rate (2.4) was the best of his career as a starter. Unfortunately, Kremer’s improved command led to a sharp decline strikeout rate (6.2 – 10.9 in the minors).
His fastball came in at 93.6 MPH while relying on a changeup (.257 BAA), curveball (.288 BAA), and cutter (.268 BAA). However, his top four pitches had much more value over the final two months (four-seamer – .208, CU – .206, CB – .238, and CT – .218).
Fantasy Outlook: The change in dimensions in the Orioles’ home park helped the success of their starters (Kremer – 2.84 ERA). His peripheral stats have drafters running away from him in the early draft season in the NFBC based on his ADP (491). I expect WHIP risk if he doesn’t have a rebound in his strikeout rate. Worth a follow this spring, but any investment in him will need to be evaluated on a start-by-start basis.
SP Tyler Wells
After the 2021 season, Wells looked in a position to compete for a late-inning role based on his command and high first-pitch strike rate (67). Instead, he opened last year in the Orioles’ starting rotation. After a dull showing (four runs, five baserunners, and one home run over 1.2 innings), Wells posted a 2.68 ERA, .207 BAA, and 48 strikeouts over his next 74 innings. An oblique issue in late July led to about six weeks on the injured list. His arm lost value over his final seven appearances (7.39 ERA,1.50 WHIP, and seven home runs over 28 innings) due to battling right shoulder inflammation.
His average fastball (93.7) had less velocity than in 2021 (95.1) due to the change in roles. Wells earns his success with two plus pitches (slider – .212 BAA and changeup – .188). The most significant change from last year was with the regression of his four-seam fastball (.257 with 12 home runs over 171 at-bats ~ 2021 – .183 and six home runs over 120 at-bats).
Wells continues to be a flyball pitcher (49.7%), leading a high HR/9 rate (1.4) to start his major league career. However, the change from reliever to starter also led to a massive step back in his strikeout rate (6.6 – 10.3 in 2020). Over four seasons in the minors, Wells went 20-14 with a 2.83 ERA and 291 strikeouts over 258.0 innings). Both his walk rate (2.6) and strikeout rate (10.2) paint a higher expected picture in the majors.
Fantasy Outlook: Wells has a live arm with upside. Unfortunately, his injury risk and battles with home runs put him in the free-agent pool in all formats. However, in deep leagues, he is a player to follow as a potential matchup arm with buy-and-hold value.
SP Kyle Gibson
Gibson pitched well in 2015 (3.84 ERA), 2018 (3.62 ERA), and 2021 (3.71 ERA), but he posted a 5.19 ERA over his other 679.1 innings. Last year Gibson finished with the lowest walk rate (2.6) of his career, but he was easier to hit (.268) compared to 2021 (.234). In addition, home runs allowed (1.3 per nine) crept back into his stat line. His season ended with a disastrous September (31 runs, 57 baserunners, and seven home runs over 28.2 innings).
His average fastball (92.3) was a six-year low. Gibson continues to have a winning slider (.219 BAA) with a respectable cutter (.245 BAA). Batters drilled his sinker (.323 BAA) and curveball (.415 BAA). He struggled to keep the ball down, leading to a career-high fly ball rate (33.8 – 27.6 in his career).
Fantasy Outlook: There is absolutely no reason to draft Gibson. He can offer stretches of solid starts, but his disaster showings will outweigh any gains over time. Congrats on picking up another $10 million this year, but drafters see 184 pitchers in January worth more than him.
SP Kyle Bradish
Over three seasons in the minors, Bradish went 15-13 with a 3.66 ERA and 283 strikeouts over 229 innings. After struggling at AAA in 2021 (4.67 ERA and 1.431 WHIP over 86.2 innings), his arm moved quickly to the majors last year after three starts (1.20 ERA and 15.0 innings with 37 strikeouts).
With Baltimore, Bradish struggled in six of his first 10 starts, leading to 38 runs, 82 baserunners, and 11 home runs over 46.1 innings. A right shoulder injury pushed him to the injured list, and then he had three rehab starts in the minors in July (two runs and six baserunners over 12.2 innings with one walk and 15 strikeouts).
His arm improved over his next nine starts with the Orioles (7-2 with a 2.84 ERA and 44 strikeouts over 50.2 innings). Bradish did a better job keeping the ball in the yard (0.9 per nine innings). His final four starts came @TOR, HOU, @BOS, and @NYY, resulting in two disaster showings (10 runs and 25 baserunners over 20.2 innings).
He finished with strength in fastball (95.5 mph) while offering three plus secondary pitches (slider – .208 BAA, curveball – .237 BAA, and changeup – .205 BAA).
Fantasy Outlook: The tools are there for Bradish to be a serviceable arm in 2023. His experience with the Orioles should lead to continued growth in all areas, but he can’t reach an elite level without better command. His ADP (364) in the early drafted season in the NFBC puts Bradish in the free-agent pool in all formats. Following his spring training stats is a must to see if there are signs of a possible breakthrough season.
SP DL Hall
Baltimore drafted Hall 21st overall in 2017 in the MLB June Amateur Draft. Over his five seasons in the minors, he went 11-20 with a 3.40 ERA and 421 strikeouts over 301.1 innings. Hall has never pitched over 95 innings in a season. After missing the last three and half months of 2021 with a left elbow injury, Hall posted the worst season of his career (5.23 ERA and 1.387 WHIP over 84.1 innings). Baltimore didn’t give him his first start until April 29th at High-A.
After making his major league debut in mid-August (five runs and eight baserunners over 3.2 innings), the Orioles shifted him to the bullpen over the final six weeks of the season (AAA – 4.05 ERA over 6.2 innings and 11 strikeouts and Baltimore – 3.60 ERA and 13 strikeouts over 10 innings).
Hall has yet to figure out his command, leading to a high BB/9 rate (5.1 in the minors and 4.0 in the majors). His ceiling in strikeouts will increase once he throws more strikes. In his limited action with the Orioles, he offered a plus fastball (96.9 mph) with only league-average success (.265 BAA). His changeup (.235 BAA) had the most success while needing better location of his slider (.381 BAA) and curveball (.333 BAA).
Fantasy Outlook: Early in his major league career, Hall will bring plenty of WHIP risk, leading to inconsistencies in his starts, along with many short outings. I have no interest in his arm until he shows more depth in games and better command.
SP Bruce Zimmermann
Despite a disaster ERA (5.54) and WHIP (1.492) with the Orioles, Zimmerman allowed three runs or fewer in 17 of his 26 starts. He pitched well over his first 36.1 innings last season, leading to a 2.72 ERA and 32 strikeouts. He crushed anyone supporting him over his next six starts (33 runs, 66 baserunners, and 15 home runs over 30.1 innings with 14 strikeouts). Zimmermann saw most of his remaining action in 2022 at AAA (5-2 with a 3.77 ERA and 74 strikeouts over 76.1 innings).
Over five seasons in the minors, he went 24-18 with a 3.32 ERA and 400 strikeouts over 395.2 innings.
His average fastball (90.9) ranks below the league average. Zimmerman lost the feel for his slider (.275 AAA) and changeup (.284 BAA) while batters teed off on his four-seamer (.444 BAA) and sinker (.316 BAA). His curveball (.151 BAA) has been his only asset in his short career.
Fantasy Outlook: With 37 home runs allowed over 145 innings with Baltimore, Zimmerman has the makings of a DFS goldmine if starting in the majors. He has no fantasy value until Zimmermann figures out to pitch at the bottom of the strike zone.
RP Felix Bautista
In his first season in the majors, Bautista has more success than expected based on his slow path to the majors at age 26. He went 7-18 with a 3.23 ERA in the minors over seven seasons with 258 strikeouts over 222.2 innings. Heading into 2022, Bautista had only 31.2 innings of experience between AA (13.1 – 0.68 ERA) and AAA (18.1 – 2.45 ERA). His command (5.1 walks per nine) held back his development and opportunities to close games (18 saves in the minors).
With Baltimore, batters only hit .167 against him, thanks to an electric fastball (99.2 mph) and unhittable split-finger pitch (.086 BAA with 60 strikeouts and one walk over 93 at-bats). His sinker (.222 BAA) and four-seam fastball (.150 BAA) also created an edge. Bautista showed growth in his walk rate (3.2) with strength in his strikeout rate (12.1).
The Orioles handed him the closing job at the trade deadline, leading to 13 saves in 14 chances with a 3.24 ERA and 36 strikeouts over 25 innings. His worst showing came in his second to last outings of the season (four runs and six baserunners over 1.1 innings).
Fantasy Outlook: In early January in the NFBC, Bautista is the 21st pitcher and eighth closer selected with an ADP of 64. I understand the attraction, but I can’t invest in him based on his short resume. His arm projects well if his command holds up. With that said, 35+ saves with 100+ strikeouts are within reach, with 70 innings pitched.
RP Dillon Tate
Baltimore acquired Tate in the middle of 2018 in a deal with the Yankees. The following season, they transitioned him to the bullpen in the minors, leading to a 3.25 ERA, 40 strikeouts, and seven saves over 44.1 innings. Over his first 90 games with the Orioles, he went 1-9 with a 4.61 ERA and 83 strikeouts over 105.1 innings. Tate struggled to strikeout batters (7.1 per nine) with questionable command (BB/9 – 3.2).
Last year his arm became relevant in Baltimore’s bullpen (3.05 ERA over 73.2 innings) with improvement in his WHIP (0.991). Tate finished with the lowest walk rate (2.0) of his career, with a minimal change in his strikeout rate (7.3). He dominated right-hand batters (.190 BAA and .283 SLG) while failing to make an impact vs. lefties (.265 BAA) with a poor strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.56).
His changeup (.175 BAA) and slider (.193 BAA) graded well over the past two seasons. Tate’s step forward in 2022 was directly tied to better location and success with his sinker (.216 BAA – .289 in 2020).
Fantasy Outlook: With a short resume of success and no elite swing-and-miss pitch, Tate doesn’t appear to have the arm to close games long-term. He is a former first-round draft pick (2015 by the Rangers), so Tate may continue to improve.
RP Mychal Givens
Givens returns to Baltimore after spending the past two seasons with the Rockies, Mets, and Cubs. Over his eight years in the majors, he went 32-23 with a 3.40 ERA, 31 saves, and 537 strikeouts over 457.2 innings. However, his battle with home runs (1.5 per nine) and walks (4.0 per nine) over the past four seasons highlights why Givens can’t have success closing games over an extended period.
In 2022, he was a losing option vs. lefties (.273 BAA with 12 walks and 23 strikeouts over 89 plate appearances). In addition, Givens struggled on the road (4.68 ERA, 1.360 WHIP, and six home runs over 25 innings).
His average fastball (93.6) came more than one mph lower than the previous two years and well off his peak in 2017 (95.6). Givens still offers a winning slider (.211 BAA) and changeup (.222 BAA), but he can’t push higher in the relief rankings without better command.
Fantasy Outlook: Based on his progression in WHIP in 2021 (1.373) and 2022 (1.321), Givens is an avoid this season. His days of earning saves look to be over. His decline in velocity is a bridge to mediocrity.
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