A look at the Orioles locks for Opening Day
With a little over one week away from Opening Day 2019, the Orioles still do not know who will make up their 25-man roster. It has been known this spring that every position is up for grabs. While some players are pretty much a lock, some are still fighting for a spot on the major league roster. Let’s take a look at some locks for Opening Day.
Chris Davis- With a contract that has you under control until 2023 and is set to pay you $21 million a year, it is easy to say that Davis will be on the 25-man roster. Davis is looking to bounce back from a historically bad season in which he batted just .168 and only hit 16 home runs. His record-breaking contract keeps Davis’ presence on the club almost certain.
Jonathan Villar- The speedy 27-year old veteran is going to be the Orioles starting second baseman. Villar played only 54 games with Baltimore last season after being traded from the Milwaukee Brewers for Jonathan Schoop. Villar brought something fairly different to Baltimore; the ability to steal bases, 21 of them to be exact. He will bring a leadership presence to a club full of youth, and lead the Orioles into a new “small ball” playing style.
Renato Nunez- The power bat of Nunez will make the club this season. Nunez was claimed off of waivers by the Orioles last season and played 60 games with the club. In those games, Nunez hit .275 with 7 home runs and 20 RBIs. Defense is not a strong suit for Nunez, but he has been trying his foot at first base this spring. There is no set position for him, but it looks like we will be seeing Nunez primarily at third base.
Trey Mancini- For the second straight season, “Boom-Boom” Mancini will make the major league club. Coming off a frustrating season, Mancini looks to get back to his old form. Mancini missed a few games due to injuries, and it affected his bat. He hit just .242 in 156 games with Baltimore. As of right now, Mancini will be the everyday left fielder, but do not be surprised if you see him get some time at first base.
Cedric Mullins- It was only a matter of time when Mullins would take over the center field duties. Mullins played in 45 games in the majors, after tearing it up in Triple-A Norfolk the first half of the year. Although he only hit .235, Mullins showed signs of great potential defensively and running the bases. Struggling at the plate this spring, he will try to get his bat going from both sides and become the Orioles leadoff man.
Joey Rickard– Tearing up the ball in spring training, Rickard will most likely be the starting right fielder on Opening Day. In a crowded outfield, Rickard made his presence known, currently batting over .380 in spring training. He was up and down between the majors and Norfolk last season, but with Adam Jones gone, it opens a spot on the roster for Rickard.
Chance Sisco- It is looking more and more likely that the young 24-year old will start behind the plate on Opening Day. Like Joey Rickard, Sisco is showing off this spring. He is currently batting over .320 with 4 home runs and 11 RBIs. Sisco did not see much time in the big leagues last season, only appearing in 63 games. That is due to change with Caleb Joseph leaving and Austin Wynns dealing with injuries.
Richie Martin/Drew Jackson- These two are guaranteed to make the 25-man roster because of their Rule-5 status, but they are also showing up this spring. Martin is fighting for the starting shortstop job, while Jackson is going to be a super-utility man. Although Martin is known for his defense, his bat has been consistent. Jackson is tearing the cover off the ball, currently batting over .330. These two bring a new, young presence to a rebuilding Orioles team and are likely to get a lot of playing time this season.
Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner, Dylan Bundy, David Hess, and Mike Wright- This is the most obvious starting rotation the Orioles could throw out there and is the most probable. It is obvious the top three spots are taken with Alex Cobb leading the charge and starting Opening Day with Cashner and Bundy to follow. The last two spots were wide open this spring. But after the recent roster cuts, it is more certain that Hess and Wright will fill those slots.
Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier, Nate Karns, and Miguel Castro- With most of the familiar faces gone from the Orioles bullpen, there are spots open now more than ever. The obvious choice for closer is Mychal Givens and set-up man is Richard Bleier, but the rest is to be determined. Karns and Castro will be the two long relievers in the bullpen. Names like Tanner Scott and Paul Fry are expected to be a part of the pen, but still are not guaranteed anything.