The Baltimore Orioles will bring back most of their starting lineup in 2018, but their pitching staff will hopefully look very different. The Orioles have a lot of options this offseason with many expiring contracts and trade interest for star players like closer Zach Britton. The Orioles also have some potential contract extensions to sign with players such as Adam Jones, Darren O’Day, Manny Machado, Brad Brach, and Britton, who have contracts that expire after the 2018 season.
Fortunately, the Orioles will likely have most of their marquee names returning, and they will be some of the top contributors on the team. Given that those big names return, here are my projected statistical leaders for the 2018 Baltimore Orioles:
Batting Average (BA): Adam Jones, CF
It’s his contract year, and many players have their best seasons right before they sign their final big contract. Jones is due for another big deal, as he is a great center fielder defensively and hits the ball well. He has made All-Star rosters in the past, and he will have the highest batting average on the team next season after hitting .285 in 2017.
Home Runs (HR): Trey Mancini, LF
Mancini had a great rookie season in 2017, and an All-Star appearance would not be out of the question for this young star. Mancini hit 24 home runs in 2017, and he will easily reach 30 home runs with a full season of experience under his belt. I project that he will have 39 home runs next season to lead Baltimore in this category.
Runs Batted In (RBI): Manny Machado, 3B
Machado only trailed Jonathan Schoop for the most RBI’s this past season, but Machado should be able to overtake Schoop next year if he avoids a major hitting slump like the one he experienced at the start of the 2017 season. Machado is the most talented player on the Orioles roster, and in his contract year, Machado will have a spectacular season at third base.
Earned Runs Average (ERA): Miguel Castro, P
Castro was a reliever for the Orioles last season, but he may be moved to the starting rotation for 2018. He finished the season with a 3.53 ERA in 2017, and at only age 22, Castro will take another step forward as one of the best pitchers in Baltimore.
Wins (W): Dylan Bundy, SP
Bundy led the team in wins in 2017, and he should be able to do the same in 2018. Unless the Orioles sign a high-quality starting pitcher this offseason, Bundy is the clear ace for the Orioles.
Saves (SV): Zach Britton, CP
If Britton is not traded this offseason and does not get injured next season, then he will most certainly lead the team in saves in 2018. If Britton is traded or injured, Brad Brach will likely lead the team in saves, just as he did in 2017.
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