Sunday, March 1, 2015

Orioles Face Tough Task Of Repeating In American League East

As far as surprises go, the Baltimore Orioles probably had the most impressive season in baseball in 2014. The team was able to run away with the American League East title, and they also had a little bit of success in the postseason. With that being said, there are going to be quite a few changes surrounding the roster as spring training starts up. Can they repeat as champions in a tougher division in 2015?

The Orioles lost 3 key pieces to their team from 2014, as Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis and Andrew Miller all left as free agents. It is impossible to get mad with individual players in baseball looking to get paid, but some fans were a little frustrated that Baltimore did not make a better effort to keep at least one of those guys around. Cruz was a standout in fantasy baseball leagues last year, and Markakis had been with the team for close to a decade. Miller emerged as a guy who kept the bullpen together down the stretch in 2014, as he was one of the most effective left-handed relievers in the game.

Coming in, the team only has 2 significant signings right now. Travis Snider still has some value as an outfielder, and Wesley Wright will try to do his best Andrew Miller impersonation.

In order to make up for the lost lineup talent, many fans are expecting healthier seasons for Matt Wieters and Manny Machado. Baltimore was able to survive without them being healthy last year, but that just won’t work in 2015. Not only will those 2 players need to play well, but veterans like Chris Davis and JJ Hardy need to be a little bit more productive in fantasy baseball leagues as well. They both suffered from down seasons in 2014.

The Boston Red Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays improved their roster over the winter, but the American League East is still not as tough as it used to be just a few years ago. Baltimore is going to be right there in the mix, especially if the pitching staff holds up. They had one of the best team ERAs last year, and if they can do that again, everything will be going very well.