The 2020 season is now a 60-game dash, starting on July 23 and ending, hopefully, with a full-size postseason in October. Between now and the start of the season, we’ll be giving quick capsule previews of each team, reminding you of where things stood back in Spring Training and where they stand now as we embark on what is sure to be the strangest season in baseball history. Next up: The Baltimore Orioles roster and schedule:
Orioles ROSTER (projected)
When the season opens on July 23-24, teams can sport rosters of up to 30 players, with a minimum of 25. Two weeks later, rosters must be reduced to 28 and then, two weeks after that, they must be reduced to 26. Teams will be permitted to add a 27th player for doubleheaders.
In light of that, there is a great degree of latitude for which specific players will break summer camp. For now, though, here are who we expect to be on the Orioles roster to begin the season:
Given where the Orioles are right now, a short season is an act of mercy. They have finished in last place in the American League East three seasons running, losing 115 games in 2018 and 108 last year. They will finish in last place this year and the only thing keeping them from losing 100 is that they’re only playing 60. The fact that their best player, Trey Mancini, was stricken with colon cancer makes the team’s competitive prospects even worse, but they also put the baseball side of all of this in perspective.
On offense, Mancini’s loss is incalculable. With him gone, the load falls on guys like Núñez, who hit a lot of homers but didn’t do much else and Hays who had a super duper cup of coffee late in the season. The O’s offense was 11th out of 15 in the AL last year. There’s not much reason to think it’ll be any better this year and, with the White Sox’ (13th) pretty massive improvements and the Blue Jays’ (12th) maturation, there’s a lot of reason to think the O’s will slip down a couple of slots and maybe lower.
On the pitching side of things, Means is the real deal and Hunter Harvey has stuff that shows that his future is bright, but otherwise it’s a lot of stopgap players who wouldn’t make most staffs. Cobb, who is coming back from hip and knee surgeries, could improve the staff if he’s 100%. If anyone besides Harvey shows much in the bullpen between Opening Day and the August 15 deadline, figure that they’ll be trading chits as opposed to building blocks in Baltimore.
I guess what I’m saying is, it’s bleak folks. But Orioles fans knew that already.
Every team will play 60 games. Teams will be playing 40 games against their own division rivals and 20 interleague games against the corresponding geographic division from the other league. Six of the 20 interleague games will be “rivalry” games.