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Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Team Preview - Baltimore Orioles

Jason's Fantasy Baseball Analysis: Team Preview - Baltimore Orioles

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Team Preview - Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are coming off a big fantasy year in which they led the majors in home runs, and that is a statistic that gets the attention of fantasy owners. There is no doubt that the Orioles have a very good offense, but their pitching has not held up their end of the bargain. The Orioles made a few moves to improve their pitching and that means there is the potential for some valuable pitching sleepers to emerge from this roster because of the strong offensive support they will get throughout the season.

Can't Miss Picks: Adam Jones has quietly emerged as one of the best players in the game, but he does not get a lot of media attention. Jones is right in the prime of his career and his number have been improving every season until he finally had his monster breakout last year. Jones should be a lock for 30+ home runs, 100+ RBI, .280+ batting average, to go along with double digit steals. Jones is well worth a first round pick, and fantasy owners should not be hesitant to draft this slugger very early on draft day.

Fantasy Baseball Draft 2014: Team Preview - Baltimore Orioles

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Sleepers and Value Picks: The Orioles are actually loaded with value picks this year and three names to mention here are: J.J. Hardy, Manny Machado, and Chris Tillman. Hardy alway seems to fall on draft day and perhaps that is because many fantasy owners like to get speed from their shortshop and Hardy does not offer that. What Hardy does offer is a lot of power from a positon that is not known to produce many power hitters. Hardy has led all shortstops in home runs for two of the last three seasons, and he will be out to make it three out of four since he is entering a contract year. Machado's value has dropped strictly due to injuries, and fantasy owners should take advantage of his low value if his recovery progresses well. Chris Tillman is on pace to be the Orioles opening day starter yet he is going mostly undrafted this spring. Tillman was a very good pitcher last year, and fantasy owners should expect a similar season and that is great value to get with the last pick in the draft.

Breakouts: Tommy Hunter and Darren O'Day represent the best breakout candidates on this team full of veterans. One of them will win the closers role and that player will be given the chance to prove themselves under the pressure of closing out games. Fantasy owners should monitor this situation and draft the player that wins the closers job.

Busts: Chris Davis had a monster season last year, and now many fantasy owners are drafting him early in the first round. While his performance last year was definitly first round worthy, there are several reasons to expect a regression in 2014. Davis will still hit a ton of home runs this year, but he will not have the same monster numbers at the end of the season. The biggest evidance to support this claim comes from Davis's split last year. Davis had a .315 batting average with a .392 OBP before the all-star break and a .245 batting average with a .339 OBP after tje break. Davis also went from hitting a home run every 9.3 at bats before the break to hitting one home run in every 15 at bats after the break. Fantasy owners need to examine Davis's splits before spending a first round pick on the Orioles slugger.

Bounce Back Candidates: Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis are two players that appear to be motivated to get their careers back on track. Both Cruz and Markakis are entering contract years, and both players have a chip on their shoulders. Cruz is out to overcome the PED shadow that surrounds him, and Markakis is out to rebound from the worst season of his career. Markakis is projected to be the Orioles leadoff hitter and that means he will have ample opportunities to score runs with such a powerful lineup behind him. Markakis has the potential to produce numbers similar to Matt Carpenter's breakout season last year. Cruz on the other hand has gone from one hitter friendly park to another and he should be able to produce some good power numbers.

For Fantasy Baseball Updates and Insights follow Jason on Twitter @TheSuperCommish



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