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2023 MLB Season Preview: Baltimore Orioles

The darlings of last summer will look to take the next step in 2023.

MLB: Spring Training-Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles, projected for one of the worst records in the league this time a year ago, stunned everyone and finished with an 83-79 mark last fall. It represented a +31 win improvement from a brutal 2021 (52-110), and it was the first time since 2016 that the club finished above .500. It was nothing short of a remarkable accomplishment for a team playing its games in an absurd AL East and a league-low payroll of just $44 million.

The big question: can they repeat?

Expectations for 2023

The projections aren’t quite as bullish on Baltimore repeating what they did in 2022, with FanGraphs predicting a 77-85 mark while PECOTA sits at 74 wins. ZiPS is probably the most optimistic system, giving them a central estimate of 80 wins. But this is largely the same roster that beat the projection models by 30 wins a year ago and has a really good farm system to help out further. Who’s to say the magic can’t continue if they catch a few breaks along the way? This is an easy group to root for in the daunting AL East.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Orioles got fairly fortunate last year, with WAR-based production sufficient to warrant about 78-79 wins, but not 83. It’s not strange that in a single season, they managed to beat their production record-wise, but it’s harder to do that two years in a row.

Projected Roster

Via Roster Resource:


  1. Cedric Mullins - CF
  2. Adley Rutschman - C
  3. Gunnar Henderson - 3B
  4. Anthony Santander - RF
  5. Ryan Mountcastle - 1B
  6. Kyle Stowers - DH
  7. Austin Hays - LF
  8. Adam Frazier - 2B
  9. Jorge Mateo - SS


James McCann (C/1B)
Ramon Urias (INF)
Terrin Vavra (UTIL)
Ryan McKenna (OF)


Kyle Gibson (RHP)
Cole Irvin (LHP)
Kyle Bradish (RHP)
Dean Kremer (RHP)
Grayson Rodriguez (RHP)


Felix Bautista (RHP)
Cionel Perez (LHP)
Bryan Baker (RHP)
Mychal Givens (RHP)
Keegan Akin (LHP)
Tyler Wells (RHP)
Andrew Politi (RHP)
Austin Voth (RHP)

Biggest Strength

One of the youngest lineups in the league should be a lot of fun to watch, headlined by former top prospects Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson. Rustchman is coming off a 133 wRC+ and 5.3 fWAR rookie campaign and ZiPS expects him to be even better as a sophomore. Cedric Mullins wasn't able to repeat his breakout 2021 season with the bat, but he's still a fine option in center field. Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle both project as above-average hitters in the middle of the order with plenty of opportunities to drive runners in. The bottom third of the lineup is a bit lacking, however.

That said, Rutschman is the real prize in this lineup and on this roster. This isn’t a team that will wow you around the diamond, but Rutschman puts them in the top tier of catching leaguewide and gives them exactly the premier player they can start to build a roster around.

Biggest Weakness

It appears to be the starting rotation, and it’s a bummer the front office didn’t decide to pour some gasoline on the rebuild fire by tapping into the free agent market this winter. To be clear, this isn’t just a case of a meh set of innings-eaters that the team didn’t upgrade — it’s one of the worst rotations in MLB, on paper. Adding one of the frontline starters available would have done wonders for this organization. ZiPS is bullish on Dean Kremer and new additions Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin should be fine as below-average innings eaters, but that’s no way to contend. The upside here resides in Grayson Rodriguez, who was dominant across 14 starts in Triple-A last year and ranks as one of the game’s better pitching prospects. John Means is also expected back during the summer months as he recovers from Tommy John Surgery. Ultimately, this is a group that lacks top-end talent and it may ultimately hold them back. Committing basically half the team’s innings to below-average options, including specifically bringing in two of them, suggests the team isn’t fully buying in to its own roster strength, which is a bummer.

Reinforcements from the Farm

The Orioles placed third in Keith Law’s recent organization rankings, bolstered by a handful of guys already named in this article (Henderson and Rodriguez) who have not officially graduated yet. 2022’s No. 1 overall pick, Jackson Holliday, has the tools to rise quickly, although his ETA is still multiple years away. DL Hall got a taste of the majors last year and could impact the rotation (or bullpen) as well in 2023. Joey Ortiz was scalding-good after a callup to Triple-A last year, and could shore up some position should injury or ineffectiveness strike. This feels like an organization on the rise, as long as ownership commits to spending.

Braves history/outlook against Baltimore

The Braves haven’t seen a ton of the Orioles over the years due to the interleague schedule, but the new balanced schedule will have the two meet every season moving forward. The Os will travel to Truist Park for a weekend series June 5-7.

The Braves swept the Orioles in 2021, but dropped a set to them in 2020.

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