Baltimore’s defense may not be pretty after shifting people around to make room in the lineup for Pedro Alvarez, but the Orioles are going to hit a ton of home runs this season.
Last year the Orioles ranked third among MLB teams with 217 homers, behind only the Astros with 230 and the Blue Jays with 232. Now take a look at the power throughout the Orioles’ projected lineup following the Alvarez signing:
Catcher: Matt Wieters hit eight homers in 75 games last season after coming back from injury and has averaged 20 homers per 150 games for his career.
First base: Chris Davis led the league with 47 homers last season and led the league with 53 homers in 2013.
Second base: Jonathan Schoop hit 15 homers in just 86 games last season and has averaged 21 homers per 150 games for his brief career.
Third base: Manny Machado hit 35 homers last season at age 22.
Shortstop: J.J. Hardy hit just eight homers in 114 games last year, but has topped 20 homers in five different seasons.
Left field: This is the one spot that doesn’t have a clear-cut starter, but everyone competing for the job has some power. Hyun Soo Kim hit 28 homers in Korea last season, Nolan Reimold has averaged 20 homers per 150 games for his career, and Jimmy Paredes hit 10 homers in 363 at-bats for the Orioles last season.
Center field: Adam Jones hit 27 homers last season and has hit at least 25 homers every season since 2011.
Right field: Mark Trumbo hit 22 homers in 142 games last season and has averaged 28 homers per 150 games for his career.
Designated hitter: Pedro Alvarez hit 27 homers for the Pirates last season, led the league with 36 homers in 2013, and has averaged 27 homers per 150 games for his career.
An injury or two can change things in a hurry, but if that group stays mostly healthy this season Baltimore is going to have crazy power up and down the lineup. Here’s what seems like a reasonable and maybe even somewhat conservative home run projection for each starter based on the numbers quoted above:
LF starter: 15
Add that up and you get 215 homers, which is just two fewer than the Orioles hit in total last season. And that doesn’t include any production from bench players, which will amount to hundreds and hundreds of at-bats–last year 19 different Orioles got at least 100 plate appearances–and a minimum of, say, 20 more homers.
Baltimore adding all-or-nothing sluggers Trumbo and Alvarez to a lineup that already included Davis may not always be the prettiest thing to watch or equal the most all-around value, but the Orioles have a real chance to hit 250 homers this season and no team has done that since 2010.