A Look Into the 2022 Orioles

While the MLB Postseason may be in progress right now, it’s never too early to look forward to next season, especially when you’re a young team on the come up. Here are some of the top storylines, question marks, and necessary moves for the Baltimore Orioles offseason and 2022 season.

Catcher Adley Rutschman is easily the best draft prospect in Orioles history, as he had a .899 OPS across two levels of the minor leagues last year, and before that, was Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year at Oregon State. He’s done nothing but tear up every level of the minor leagues he’s been in. Grayson Rodriguez, who has recently been named the #1 pitching prospect in baseball, has seen similar success in the minor leagues. Calling Rodriguez dominant last year would be an understatement. With this in tandem knocking on the door of the big leagues, will the Orioles call up these prospects, or try to preserve their service time?

Any rebuilding team should have one goal when it comes to trades; trade established veteran players for promising prospects. The biggest piece that the Orioles should look into moving is Tanner Scott. Scott had a fantastic first half, which made him prone to trade deadline talks.

In a controversial move, Scott was not moved then. He’s struggled ever since, posting a 9.82 ERA in the second half. Scott still has value, however, as he features one of the best fastballs in the league, consistently topping 100 mph with a spin rate in the 98th percentile. He also features an off the charts slider, which recorded 54 strikeouts in 2021 alone. The raw stuff Tanner Scott has could be of interest to contending teams like the Braves, Astros, and Rays this offseason.

Alexander Wells, Zac Lowther, and Michael Baumann are all pitchers who rank in the middle of the Orioles’ top 30 prospect list. Baumann had his struggles in September when he was called up, but Wells and Lowther showed some promising signs toward the end of the 2021 season. Can they continue their success and prove themselves in the 2022 season?

Ramon Urias impressed last year, posting a 115 WRC+, along with being a reliable defender, as he was a bit of a utility man in 2021. The Orioles have a multitude of comparable middle infielders, however, with guys like Jorge Mateo, Jahmai Jones, Rylan Bannon, and even Richie Martin who was solid ending off the 2021 season. It will be interesting to see how this logjam plays out next year.

The Orioles situation is rough, but next year could be a real stepping stone towards competing in future years.