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Fangraphs has released their 2020 Steamer projections. What do they predict for the Baltimore Orioles?
Immediate Disclaimer: We’re not gathering any major takeaways from the recently released 2020 Steamer projections on Fangraphs, but that doesn’t mean we can’t utilize them for what they’re best for, giving us something to talk about during a long, likely pretty quiet offseason for the Baltimore Orioles.
Here are some of the more interesting projections, including a few that would be welcomed numbers from Orioles players and a few that have us scratching our heads a bit.
Per Steamer, only four Orioles hitters are projected to finish with an fWAR higher than 1.0, with Trey Mancini leading the way at 1.9. Jonathan Villar (1.8), Hanser Alberto (1.4), and Austin Hays (1.2) are the other three. Mancini’s 30 doubles, 29 home runs, and 113 wRC+ are all projected to be team-highs.
There isn’t much that sticks out when it comes to the offense. A .246 average with 27 home runs for Renato Nunez seems on par, as does a 22 home run season with a .261/.305/.453 slash for a full year of Anthony Santander. A -0.5 fWAR season across 56 games for Chris Davis (.196 AVG, 11 HR, 91 K in 57 games) and a projected negative -0.1 fWAR from Stevie Wilkerson are also likely.
If Austin Hays can produce close to his projected 107 games played, 41 extra-base hits (19 home runs), .257/.298/.454 slash, 93 wRC+ it will be a successful season. He may have been electric in September, but can make it through an entire season while staying healthy?
I have questions about the catching projections. Steamer has Chance Sisco playing in 77 games and putting up a .238 average, .324 OBP, and 10 home runs, with Pedro Severino seeing action in 68 games with 21 extra-base hits, a .243 average, and a wRC+ of 83. There are still major questions surrounding Sisco’s future, so I’m not opposed to seeing him get the majority of the time behind the plate.
However, his projected 5.7 Defensive Rating is mind-boggling. According to Fangraphs, he recorded a -7.5 Defensive Rating in 2019. I’m not going to pretend to know the math that goes into creating these projections, but I put more faith into Chris Davis hitting .250 with 30 home runs next season than Sisco becoming valuable behind the plate. Only two catchers in all of baseball were rated worse than Sisco defensively this past season.
Baltimore Orioles 2020 Steamer Pitching Projections.
Here’s where things get even more interesting to look at. Steamer has Dylan Bundy leading not just Orioles pitching, but the entire Orioles roster with a 2.0 fWAR. His nine projected wins are tied with John Means for the team lead while his 8.54 K/9 IP and 5.12 ERA projections lead all starting pitchers.
Steamer doesn’t see a great season from John Means. Limited time in the major leagues plays a role here, but they have him going 9-13 with a 5.41 ERA, 1.4 fWAR, and a team-leading 41 home runs allowed. He recorded a 3.60 ERA in 2019, but owned a 4.41 FIP and 5.48 xFIP and a 30.9% groundball rate. Caleb Smith of the Miami Marlins was the only pitcher with at least 150 IP to record a lower GB rate last season. These numbers don’t help his 2020 projections.
As far as rookies are concerned, Steamer believes Dean Kremer will log the fourth-most innings, throwing 129 across 23 starts. He’s projected at 6-10 with a 5.62 ERA and 111 strikeouts. Keegan Akin is listed at 4-6 with a 5.82 ERA in 15 starts with an 8.09 K/9 IP rate (second-highest among starters) and a 4.93 BB/9 IP rate.
Akin’s command struggles are well noted and will be something to watch closely in spring training/early Triple-A starts next season. I wouldn’t be mad at all if Kremer posts something similar to these projections. That’s a fairly decent major league debut on a team likely to hit 100 losses again.
You can view the full Steamer projections here on Fangraphs. Check them out and let us know what you think? Think anyone will greatly outperform their projection? Is Steamer a little too high on anyone? Let us know!