With the Orioles’ season opener under a week away, it’s time to unveil my 2020 predictions, which of course I was hoping to release around mid-March. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in my – and everyone’s – plans, and here we are.
The MLB will have a 60-game season now, which should make for an extremely intriguing year, even for a Baltimore squad that appears unlikely to make any waves. However, given the shortened campaign, if the Birds get off to a hot start, you never know!
I’ll save the suspense, though – my predictions won’t see the O’s anywhere near the postseason. In this article I’ll predict the Opening Day starting lineup and rotation, the team MVP, CY Young, and Rookie of the Year, as well as its final record, with explanations for each. Without further ado, here’s how the 2020 shortened MLB season will look for Baltimore.
Opening Day Starting Lineup
- CF – Austin Hays
- 2B – Hanser Alberto
- LF – Anthony Santander
- DH – Renato Nunez
- 1B – Chris Davis
- SS – Jose Iglesias
- 3B – Rio Ruiz
- C – Pedro Severino
- RF – DJ Stewart
I don’t see this being too contentious, though the main differences could lie at catcher, where Chance Sisco will surely see a good deal of time, and at right field, where Dwight Smith Jr. could push Stewart. In the end, though, I believe Severino gets the nod to guide the rotation and Stewart gets the RF position due to his youth.
Opening Day Starting Rotation
The first three names here are pretty surefire, though there is a lot of question around how they’ll perform. The Orioles will likely see a lot of change throughout the rotation, especially behind Means, as pitchers like Dean Kremer, Keegan Akin, and even Bruce Zimmermann could get a crack on the mound.
Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports
Orioles Cy Young: Hunter Harvey
I know, usually this award goes to a starting pitcher, but in my opinion, the shortened season and weird offseason will make things difficult for guys such as Means. Though he would have been the favorite, Means may struggle at the beginning of the year. Harvey may, too, but I see him as a breakout star in the bullpen this year.
Craig Landfeld/GulfBird Sports
Orioles Rookie of the Year: Ryan Mountcastle
Mountcastle has been on the cusp of the majors for a while now, and it is all-but-guaranteed that he gets a chance to shine in Baltimore this year. His bat is incredible and MLB-ready, but it’s the glove that could hold him back. I expect him to play some outfield from the get-go but ultimately find a home at 1B or DH. Regardless, once an everyday player, Mountcastle may end up being the O’s best hitter – that’s enough to get him this award.
Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports
Orioles MVP: Austin Hays
In the leadoff and CF role, Hays will be a cornerstone of the Orioles team and hopefully its rebuild. He has a great blend of speed, fielding ability, contact and power that should make him a consistent player – something I expect to be a rare sight in Baltimore this year. I actually think Mountcastle could make a push for this honor but because Hays will be consistently solid from Opening Day, it’s his to lose.
Orioles Final Record: 18-42
Oof. I hope I’m happily surprised with a few more wins here and there, but the Orioles are not going to be good this season. They’ll be giving young players a chance and likely losing some toss-up games because of it, and they’ll be dramatically worse than other opponents like the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Nationals, and Braves. In the end, it’s a poor season in Baltimore, but at least we’ll get to watch some baseball.