One of the things we pride ourselves on at The Baltimore Battery is the ability to interact with our readers and Birdland fans across the world.
Being fans of the Baltimore Orioles ourselves, we understand the rises and falls that come with rooting for our team in Charm City. As we head into what looks like an eventful 2023, we are opening our mailbag to answer some questions submitted by you, the fans.
So, without further hesitation, let us begin with our first 2023 edition of Battery Q&A.
1. What are the medium-term consequences of the new Camden Yards left field? Orioles’ pitchers? Left fielders? Unintended consequences? – Kevin Harris via Facebook
One of the biggest changes for the 2022 season was the new left field wall, better known as “Mount Waltimore.” One of the reasons for this change was the ease of home runs hit to left field.
From 2000 to 2021, the Orioles ranked first in home runs allowed among MLB ballparks. This was one of the most prioritized considerations when the changes were implemented.
During the 2022 season alone, the Orioles would fall to 23rd among all big league ballparks in home runs allowed. A significant increase, to say the least.
Data gathered has said there was an estimated 50 less home runs hit because of this adjustment. This is calculated to have caused the O’s just one less win than they would have had on the season.
So, the medium consequences were not enough to change the postseason situation, but it did help to make Camden Yards more friendly to pitchers while also robbing some of our hitters a few extra long balls.
As for fielding, as with any park, there will be balls that bounce differently off the wall, and the transition from left field to center field has an angle that will make for some adventures for players who don’t play in Oriole Park regularly.
The change, especially for left-handers like John Means, Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin and the newly-acquired Cole Irvin, will only benefit pitchers and make for lower scoring affairs. There is also hope that the adjustment will help lure free agent arms to the club in the coming years.
2. Is Trevor Bauer considered a possibility for the O’s? – Nathan Wagner via Facebook
Trevor Bauer was once considered one of the best pitchers in baseball. A former Cy Young Award winner, Bauer carries an 83-69 career record with a 3.79 ERA across 1297.2 innings pitched.
Bauer made a name for himself with the Cleveland Guardians (formerly the Indians) before a three-team trade sent him to the Cincinnati Reds, the organization he was a part of when he won the Cy Young.
In February of 2021, the Los Angeles Dodgers would sign Bauer to a three-year, $102 million contract. Unfortunately for them, Bauer would pitch a grand total of 17 games before everything became unraveled.
Bauer would be accused of sexual misconduct and domestic violence. The subsequent allegations would result in Bauer being suspended for a record 324 games.
After a grievance filed by the MLB Players Union, a third party arbitrator reduced the suspension to 194 games, still an MLB record, and immediately reinstated Bauer with the stipulation that he be docked the first 50-games pay as part of the consequences.
Shortly after, the Dodgers released Bauer, who will still make $22.5 million from the organization, and could sign with a new club for the league minimum, $720K.
As good as Bauer was, the soon to be 31-year-old pitcher has not pitched in the majors in a year and a half. Though he maintains he has kept himself in shape, the time away could have an impact on how effective Bauer could be.
The other issue with Bauer is the public relations backlash the club would receive. Yes, no charges were filed, but the third party arbitrator still acknowledged that there was sufficient evidence to still penalize Bauer and dock his pay for 50 games in 2023.
I think with the type of environment that O’s GM Mike Elias is building, as well as the players whom he is drafting and bringing in, Bauer would be a player the organization would steer clear of.
Most GMs who were asked agree that Bauer’s career is more than likely over, but as we have seen in many sports, all it takes is just one team to make the offer. Fortunately for the Orioles, that is more than likely not an option.
3. Who is the starter most likely to be in the bullpen for the team in 2023? – Walter Maselli via Twitter
This question took on an added twist with the recent acquisition of Cole Irvin this past week. With the influx of arms available, the Orioles currently have 11 pitchers capable of filling in the rotation. Of course, come mid-season, we will be getting ready to welcome back John Means.
Based on our roster make-up, the current projection for the starting rotation would look something like this, in no particular order:
1. Kyle Bradish
2. Cole Irvin
3. Dean Kremer
4. Kyle Gibson
5. Grayson Rodriguez
Unfortunately, that leaves talent like Tyler Wells, Austin Voth, D.L. Hall, Bruce Zimmermann, Spenser Watkins and Mike Baumann in a state of unknown heading into spring training.
The one thing to take away from this, though, is that the Birds actually have depth, and if a starter is ineffective, they have players capable of slotting into the rotation. It’s actually the first in a long time that the O’s can claim depth at the pitching position.
There’s also a strong possibility of the club going with a six-man rotation to give guys more rest and more chances.
4. What are some realistic expectations for the upcoming season? – Evan Richardson via Twitter
The 2022 season saw the Orioles take the baseball world by storm to the tune of an 83-79 record while fighting for a postseason birth until the final week of the season.
Needless to say, many expected the Orioles to dive into the free agent market and announce their arrival into contention for the 2023 season. Of course, because there were no “splashy” moves, many pundits have written the Birds off and feel they will actually regress in 2023.
The new division rules go into effect this season, so there are no longer 19 games against each divisional rival. This gives the Orioles a stronger chance to flex their muscles against the rest of the majors.
I have seen over/unders from 62.5 to 72.5 wins with Major League Baseball having a projection of 88 wins for the O’s in 2023. Honestly, with the potential of our lineup, the prospects we should see this year and the depth of pitching, realistically, I can see the Orioles winning between 85 to 90 games this season.
The Orioles should be competing for a postseason spot this season and should be the front runner for the AL Rookie of the Year Award, with Gunnar Henderson, Grayson Rodriguez, Kyle Stowers and D.L. Hall all projected to make the team.
The one constant we see from our submitted questions is the love and passion our fan base has for our beloved Birds. The one thing for sure is that it is one of the most exciting times to be a member of the Birdland community and an Orioles fan.
With spring training just around the corner, it’s just a matter of time before the 2023 season officially starts. Let’s see what unfolds going forward, and before you know it, we will have another edition of Battery Q&A.
How do you see these questions playing out in 2023? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
Like Stephen’s content? Follow him on Twitter – @SRJHeckman
4 thoughts on “Battery Q&A 2023: Edition 1”
Never once did I realize that furnitureland legend Heckman was one of the main authors of this site. Couldn’t be prouder of you man! Love the site, love the posts, keep doing what you do!
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The man himself Ben the Man cuso …..good to see you bud. Thanks so much and glad you’re a fan! We need to catch up sometime.
Laugh if you all will, but I expect over 90 wins this year, with 100 being in reach. Nothing less than the AL East championship is acceptable to this fan. So go ahead and laugh, but remember this prediction come late September.
So come read thebaltimorebattery and remember to:
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I do not believe 90+ wins is outlandish with the lineup and pitching depth we have. Generally speaking, just a 10% improvement would place them at 91 victories.