The AL East has been the weakest division in the MLB with the exception of the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles will not blow you away with their pitchers or hitters, but their fundamentals are definitely the best among baseball. Buck Showalter has a strategic plan going into every game and his execution is flawless.
The Orioles will most likely make the playoffs this season (97 percent chance). However, Manny Machado’s injury will cost him the season, and possibly the Orioles as well. Their starting third baseman is above average at the plate with extraordinary defensive abilities. Chris Davis, who has played that position prior to his move over to first base, will likely replace him. The Orioles may not miss Machado now, but during the postseason they will realize how valuable his defense is.
Machado has been projected to be completely ready for spring training. With this being the second major injury of his career, the Orioles will slowly progress him into everyday action next season. What does this mean for the Orioles playoff chances this season?
Without the MVP production from Chris Davis this season, the Orioles are lucky to have acquired Nelson Cruz last offseason. Davis could provide a sudden burst that would make the Orioles a frontrunner for the World Series, but I believe Davis will hit just about .200, with power being the only reason to start him everyday. I see the Orioles winning their division, but having a hard time moving past the first round in this year’s playoffs.