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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019 FANTASY BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING REPORT: BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Sarasota, Fla.--The Baltimore Orioles begin our tour around spring training sites in baseball as we look at pressing topics from a fantasy baseball perspective.

1.  Granted a fresh start with the Orioles and likely inheriting leadoff duties, veteran second baseman Jonathan Villar is in the running for being the top base stealer for 2019 fantasy baseball.  We already saw Villar go nuts on that front in 2016 when he burst to 62 steals with 19 homers and a .285 average in 2016.  Alas, we made it a point to not fully buy into that awesome performance as Villar is not a .285 hitter given his ongoing strikeout issues and the power was also well past previous norms.  So it went as Villar predictably bombed the following season and then wound up getting traded in 2018 to the Milwaukee Brewers after some more struggles.  Once in Baltimore, Villar was a new player as he ran wild again with 21 steals in 54 games and popped 8 home runs.  Likely manning leadoff to begin the new season, Villar is very much in play as a 40 steal guy who could even approach the 50 mark since the Orioles will rely on him to generate offense.  Capable of hitting 15 home runs to go with those steals, we could be looking at the cheapest 15/40 guy in the game.  As long as you accept a likely mediocre batting average, Villar could pay off nicely as a mid-round comeback selection.

2.  Speaking of speed, outfield prospect Cedric Mullins has plenty of it but he looks like a one-trick pony for those who are involved in AL-only or very deep leagues.  While there have been plenty of steals in his development, Mullins his jut .267 at Triple-A a year ago before struggling to just a .235 mark with the Orioles last season.  With steals in such demand, Mullins at the very least should be monitored early on to see if he can stick.

3.  Mark Trumbo will be back after an injury-marred 2017 campaign to man the DH spot and we all know there is easy 25 home run power here at the very least.  Trumbo is clearly a good fit for Camden Yards with his power and those in deeper formats surely can take on those 25 bombs.  However, Trumbo has never been a batting average asset and so he is best left as a bench bat,

4.  Boy the Baltimore rotation is hideous.  Fronted by this site's favorite punching bag Dylan Bundy, the Orioles will also trot out some very underwhelming veterans such as Andrew Cashner, Nate Karns, and Alex Cobb.  Outside of maybe Bundy, none of these guys should be owned anywhere.

5.  Mychal Givens will open up the season as the Orioles' closer but saves chances will be few and far between.  Even beyond that issue, Given was very shaky overall as a pitcher last season as he logged a 3.99 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.  The strikeout rates have always been impressive here but Givens has very poor control which will be a potential ongoing issue.  

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