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Don’t Expect Much From Orioles in 2016

Machado Orioles

After being a surprise division winning 96-win team in 2014, the Baltimore Orioles fell back down to earth in 2015 with 81 wins and a third place division finish. Expectations weren’t exactly high entering 2015 with +3300 odds to win the World Series, and they’re even lower this season.

It was a quiet offseason for the Orioles. Besides re-signing Chris Davis, they added Yovani Gallardo who instantly becomes the club’s best starter — not exactly a thrill considering the top offenses they’ll be competing with in the AL East. Last year’s record combined with a lack of difference making offseason acquisitions has online shop Bovada pegging the O’s at +4000 to win the World Series — tied for third worst among AL teams. The book also has them as long shots to win the AL Pennant at +2000, ahead of just the Twins and Athletics.

Regarding Baltimore’s third place finish last year, teams have moved from third place to first within their division 21 times over the last twenty years, meaning it happens on average about once each season. It’s happened five times in the AL East in that span, including last season when the Blue Jays accomplished the feat. If you like the O’s to defy the odds and win the division, you can get them at +750.

Perhaps the one area where you can make some money off the Orioles this season is by wagering on their OVER/UNDER win total of 79.5. The books aren’t giving the O’s much respect with that number, as they’ve topped it in four straight seasons, averaging 88.75 wins during that span. Baltimore actually had a winning record vs divisional opponents in 2015, but were ultimately done in by an abysmal 34-50 road record. They won’t be helped in interleague play, however, as teams from the AL East are lined up with what should be a tough NL West division.

One Oriole to watch (and target in your fantasy draft), is 23-year-old Manny Machado. The third baseman has developed into one of the game’s best overall players, and given his age, he should only get better. After an injury filled 2014, Machado finished 2015 with 35 home runs, 20 stolen bases and a .286 batting average. His plate discipline might be the biggest improvement in his game though. Machado has seen his walk rate jump from 4.1% in 2013 to 9.9% last season. Expect to see his name on a lot of MVP ballots come the end of the season.

The Orioles feature some talented hitters and golden glove quality talent, but are projected to field a starting rotation that only features one pitcher who had an ERA below 3.86 last season. Combining that with the teams ahead of them in the talent rich AL East means you shouldn’t expect to see the Orioles in the playoff race come September.

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2016 Baltimore Orioles Futures Odds
World Series+4000
American League Pennant+2000
American League East+750
Win Totals79.5

Odds as of April 1 at Bovada