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Thursday, February 18, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL AROUND THE CAMPS: BALTIMORE ORIOLES

By Michael Wong

Sarasota, Fla.--While the Baltimore Orioles took a decent step back last season in ceding the AL East to the Toronto Blue Jays, the organization was very active in free agency and also on the trade front.  Not only did the Orioles retain Darren O'Day, Matt Wieters, and most significantly Chris Davis on the free agent front, the team also pulled off an interesting trade for slugging first baseman Mark Trumbo that has some buzz attached to it.  In our second stop among all the respective spring training sites, let's take a closer look at some of the fantasy baseball themes surrounding the 2016 Baltimore Orioles. 

1.  Speaking of Trumbo, how intrigued should we be with his re-location to Camden Yards?  The answer is "more than a little" as Trumbo get rescued from power hell in Seattle's Safeco Field which was the main reason he slumped to just 22 home runs.  Keep in mind that from 2011 through 2013, Trumbo hit 29,. 32, and 34 home runs respectively and now he gets to operate in one of the best power parks in baseball in Camden Yards.  There is a very good chance Trumbo gets himself close to the 30 home run mark and even a shot he goes beyond that as he stands as the team's everyday DH.  The average is never great here due to the fact Trumbo strikes out a ton but his draft price has dropped so much that he could supply some of the cheapest "big power" seasons of any player in 2016.

2.  Shortstop eligibility for Manny Machado?  Really?  For those who use five games started at a position to gain eligibility, the answer is a resounding "Yes!"  Gaining precious shortstop eligibility is the icing on the cake for what was a ridiculously great season from Machado in 2015 as he put all of his past immense hype together in one monster package of numbers.  Keep in mind that The Fantasy Sports Boss staff compared Machado's pure hitting to that of a young Miguel Cabrera and he made us look prophetic by smashing 35 home runs with 86 RBI and 102 runs scored while manning the leadoff spot for the O's.  Machado even showed his surgically repaired knee was sound as he stole 20 bases (albeit getting caught 8 times).  Simply put, Machado is a top 5-7 overall fantasy baseball stud no matter where he plays and he still actually has a few years of ceiling left which is scary.  What a stud. 

3.  Can Chris Davis hold the .262 average from last season with all that power?  There is no debating the fact that Chris Davis is quite possibly the single most potent power hitter in all of fantasy baseball.  The guy has now hit 53 and 47 home runs in two of the last three seasons and his 117 RBI in 2015 were another monster number.  Perhaps what was most surprisingly good about Davis last season was the fact he managed to hit a decent for him .262.  Anyone who owned Davis during his .199 horror show in 2014 knows how much of a batting average liability he can be due to annually having some of the worst strikeout totals in the game.  Any Davis owner for 2016 wouild gladly sign off on a .262 average but that number looks like a long shot to be repeated.  Davis did have a lucky .319 BABIP last season which will likely come down in 2016, thus pushing down the average.  Also a crazy 31 percent K rate like Davis had a year ago is also as bad a number as one can get in that category which makes even .250 a shaky proposition.  Either way, Davis remains a quite flawed player whose extreme power gets a bit dimmed due to the hurt he puts on your team average. 

4.  Why doesn't Zach Britton get mentioned as one of the best closers in fantasy baseball?  The fact of the matter is that Britton IS one of the best closers in fantasy baseball as the numbers have been astoundingly great since he moved out of the starting rotation and into the ninth inning.  Over the last two seasons as the Orioles' closer, Britton has registered ERA's of 1.65 and 1.92 while also boosting his K Rate in 2015.  Simply put, Britton should be one of the top 5-7 closers off the board and is as safe a bet as a guy can be in the always volatile ninth inning. 

5.  Is Adam Jones changing a bit before our eyes?  Yes and no.  Jones remains a top tier fantasy baseball outfielder who is capable of 25-30 home runs with 90-plus RBI and a .280-ish average.  However Jones is aging a bit as he enters into his 30's and with that comes the loss of his stolen bases.  Once an annual 15-steal guy, Jones took only two bags in 2015 and looks like he is finished helping his owners there.  That take a bit of shine off of Jones' bottom line value but he remains firmly in his prime and capable of another anchor season from your outfield. 

 

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