2024 Season Preview: Baltimore Orioles

The 2024 Baltimore Orioles have a lot of young talent ready to push for their second consecutive AL East division crown.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JULY 02: Gunnar Henderson #2 of the Baltimore Orioles and Jordan Westburg #11 chat before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on July 02, 2023 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

The 2024 Baltimore Orioles enter the season with large expectations. Last season the Orioles were able to capture their first division title since 2014.

Despite winning the most games in the American League, they were unable to win a playoff game. They were swept in three games by the eventual World Series Champion Texas Rangers. In 2024, the Baltimore Orioles look to improve upon that playoff performance.

This offseason the Orioles made their intentions this season clear. Trading for ace Corbin Burnes indicates that the Orioles believe that this is the year to compete for a World Series. They have a number of prospects looking to make impacts this season. Beyond the prospects, they also have a number of second and third year players looking to take steps forward.

The Orioles are no longer an underdog. This team has expectations. It is expected that they make the playoffs and compete for a playoff spot. It is also expected that they compete in the playoffs and make a real run at the AL Pennant. In order to find success this season the Orioles are going to have to transition from being the hunter and become comfortable being the hunted.

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Notable 2024 Departures

Most of the departures for Baltimore heading into 2024 were dead weight or prospects.

Jack Flaherty, SP – Signed with Detroit Tigers in free agency.

Adam Frazier, UTL – Signed with Kansas City Royals in free agency.

Shintaro Fujinami, RP – Signed with New York Mets in free agency.

Aaron Hicks, OF – Signed with Los Angeles Angels in free agency.

Kyle Gibson, SP – Signed with St. Louis Cardinals in free agency.

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DL Hall, SP/RP – Traded to Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes.

Joey Ortiz, SS – Traded to Milwaukee for Corbin Burnes.

Notable 2024 Additions

There were not a lot of additions made by the Orioles this offseason. Most of the production that was lost looks to be replaced internally.

Craig Kimbrel, RP – Signed a two-year (team option) deal for $13M with the Orioles.

Corbin Burnes, SP – Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for Joey Ortiz, DL Hall, and a compensation draft pick.

Projected 2024 Lineup

Projected Opening Day LineupProjected Bench
1. Cedric Mullins – CF1. James McCann – C
2. Adley Rutschman – C2. Colton Cowser – OF
3. Gunnar Henderson – SS3. Ramon Urias – UTL
4. Anthony Santander – RF4. Jorge Mateo – UTL
5. Ryan O’Hearn – 1BDepth
6. Ryan Mountcastle – DHHeston Kjerstad – OF
7. Austin Hays – LFKyle Stowers – OF
8. Jordan Westburg – 3BCoby Mayo – INF
9. Jackson Holliday – 2BConnor Norby – INF

The Orioles have a lot of routes that they can go when it comes to the construction of the lineup and bench. This appears to be the most likely variation. Unfortunately after a slow start to spring, Heston Kjerstad looks likely to start this season in Norfolk. Stowers and Mayo likely find themselves in similar situations despite torrid springs.

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I am sure that there are many Orioles fans who would like to see Kjerstad and Mayo make the roster out of camp. For those fans, there is a scenario in which that can happen. It is highlighted in this article on how all of the Orioles top prospects can make the roster.


Adley Rutschman enters this season as the best catcher in baseball. For two years now Rutschman has looked like the best player in baseball at his position. He has an MLB-best 10.5 fWAR among catchers over the last two seasons as well as an MLB-best 130 wRC+ (tied with the Contreras brothers).

Rutschman is the best position player on the Orioles and could even compete for an MVP this season. He hit .277 last year but had an expected batting average of .292, which was in the 94th percentile. There was also a 20 point differential between his wOBA and xwOBA.

Those metrics indicate that despite being the best offensive catcher in baseball over the last two seasons, he was still unlucky. All of his metrics point towards him being able to compete for a batting title.

Then there is the defense. While he is not an elite defender, he is well above average in the defensive catching metrics. He ranks in the top 15 in blocking, framing, and pop time. The defensive ability combined with his ability at the plate make him a real MVP contender.

James McCann will serve as the backup. Rutschman plays more than most catchers which offers little playing time for McCann, but he is still a solid backup.

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Corner Infield

The corner infield will likely be handled primarily by Ryan Mountcastle and Jordan Westburg. Ryan O’Hearn and Ramon Urias will provide them with days off when needed.

This season is an important one for Mountcastle. This will be his fifth MLB season and he has yet to reach his potential. This is the year that Mountcastle needs to establish himself as one of baseball’s premier power hitters. In the second half of last season Mountcastle showed just who he can be. He hit .322/.404/.489 with a 150 wRC+. That is the version of Mountcastle that the Orioles need.

While Ryan Mountcastle is likely the primary first baseman, O’Hearn is a slightly better defender so he will see decent playing time. O’Hearn crushes righties but do not expect him to see lefties very often if at all. These two will share first base and the DH spot.

Third base offers an interesting situation. Coby Mayo has done everything to prove he should be the opening day third baseman but it appears that will not be the case. While things can still change, it appears Mayo will open the season in Triple-A. That leaves Jordan Westburg to man the hot corner.

Westburg is a good player in his own right. As a rookie last year he posted a 97 wRC+ and 1.1 fWAR in just 68 games. He would have accumulated 2.6 fWAR over 162 at that pace. On top of that he was good for three outs above average at third base. Westburg should take a step forward at the plate while continuing to play great defense this season.

Ramon Urias will serve as the backup for Westburg. He offers gold glove caliber defense at third base and a league average bat. Time will tell when we see Coby Mayo in Baltimore.

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Middle Infield

Baltimore Orioles fans have to be ecstatic to watch the middle infield this season. Gunnar Henderson and Jackson Holliday are the middle infield of the future in Baltimore.

Holliday is the number one prospect in baseball and appears to have impressed enough in spring training to crack the opening day lineup. He climbed from Low-A all the way to Triple-A last season and never slowed down. Despite posting just a 109 wRC+ in Triple-A he improved his walk rate and strikeout rate compared to his Double-A numbers.

Coming up as a shortstop, Holliday should do just fine at second base. He has a good arm but there were questions as to whether or not he would stick at short because of it. His defense should tick up playing an easier position.

Gunnar Henderson is the second half of this middle infield duo. Henderson is coming off winning AL Rookie of the Year and wants to add to his award collection this year. Bet MGM has Henderson with the eighth best odds to win AL MVP this season at +1800.

Last season Henderson got off to a slow start but once he picked it up, there was no slowing him down. Before June 1st he was barely hitting over .200 and had a 100 wRC+. After June 1st he hit .276 with a 133 wRC+. It looks like Henderson has everything figured out and should be a force offensively this season. Eutaw Street better look out!

The one thing that really stood out last season was the defense that Henderson provided at shortstop. He ranked sixth in defensive runs saved last season in just 584 innings. Him and Trevor Story were the only players in the top 10 with less than 900 innings at the position.

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With a full year at shortstop and not bouncing around the diamond, Henderson’s defense should tick up as he becomes more comfortable.

Henderson and Holliday at 22 and 20 years old respectfully are just getting started. They look to be the middle infield duo in Baltimore for a long time.


The outfield for the Baltimore Orioles could be constructed a lot of different ways this season.

With Colton Cowser, Heston Kjerstad, and Kyle Stowers all making a case to be on the roster there is a lot of unknown. For now it appears the outfield will be Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins, and Anthony Santander with Colton Cowser as the fourth outfielder.

While that configuration offers a sense of stability, it is only a matter of time before it is shaken up. Hays in particular offers stability with his familiarity of a funky left field dimension. He played great defense last season with the new wall and even started in the All-Star game.

Mullins is looking to bounce back this season and I believe he will. After battling injuries last season, he looks to be fully healthy again. When healthy, Mullins is a great defender and has the ability to steal 30 or more bases.

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Santander is one of the more underrated players in baseball and offers a lot of power potential. Over the last two seasons he is 15th in MLB with 61 home runs. He is a fan favorite in Baltimore and should man right field and see some time in the DH spot.

Colton Cowser will more than likely slot in as the fourth outfielder. He should see the DH spot too on occasion in order to get plate appearances. Cowser struggled in his brief stint in the majors last season. This spring however, he has given the Orioles no option but to put him on the roster. His 1.245 OPS this spring has been more than impressive.

The real question is if/when is space created for Kjerstad and/or Stowers. Kjerstad was brought up last season and played well in the majors. He has looked like one of the best bats in the Orioles system, which is saying something. Similar to Cowser, Kyle Stowers has struggled in the majors but played well in Triple-A and is now leading the majors in home runs this spring.

There are likely moves to be made but they will happen after opening day. Expect the Orioles to ride with a veteran outfield to start the year.


Projected Opening Day RotationProjected Rotation Depth
1. Corbin Burnes – RHP1. Kyle Bradish – RHP*
2. Grayson Rodriguez – RHP2. John Means – LHP*
3. Dean Kremer – RHP3. Julio Teheran – RHP
4. Cole Irvin – LHP4. Chayce McDermott – RHP
5. Tyler Wells – RHP5. Cade Povich – LHP
Starting the season on the injured list*

The big news of the offseason was the Orioles acquiring Corbin Burnes from the Milwaukee Brewers. The Orioles finally made their big push to get an ace to pair with two young and promising pitchers in Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez.

A theme so far this offseason among spring training camps has been injuries to starting pitching. The Orioles have not gone unscathed. Soon after bringing in Burnes, the Orioles announced that both Kyle Bradish and John Means would start the season on the injured list. That has made the Burnes acquisition that much more important.

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Since 2021, Burnes is fourth in innings pitched and should be the Orioles workhorse this season. He is a former Cy Young winner and has finished in the top eight in each of the last four seasons. He is a top five pitcher in baseball and the fans know what to expect from him.

Grayson Rodriguez and Dean Kremer are very important in determining this teams success. Rodriguez was terrible in the first half of last season but sensational in the second half. He looks to build off that strong second half where he finished fifth in ERA.

Dean Kremer is the most important pitcher in this rotation. For the most part we know what to expect from the other four. Kremer however is a question mark.

In 2022 Kremer threw 125 innings with a 3.23 ERA. In 2023 it was 172 innings with a 4.12 ERA. The peripherals in both seasons were bad and he out performed them. Despite that, ZiPS likes Kremer a lot this season. He is projected for a 3.86 ERA in 156 innings.

With the injuries they have suffered, the Orioles need Kremer to be a solid number three in the rotation.

Cole Irvin and Tyler Wells bring up the rear in the rotation. They both had their issues last season. For Irvin, he got off to a really slow start but after being sent to Triple-A he seemed to right the ship. His Spring has been impressive and it looks like he has worked on his velocity as well as a cutter over the offseason.

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Wells on the other hand started really strong but ran out of gas as the season wore on. He was the MLB leader in WHIP for most of the time he was active and should be good for close to 120 innings this year.


Projected BullpenProjected Depth
1. Craig Kimbrel – RHP1. Jonathan Heasley – RHP
2. Yennier Cano – RHP2. Tucker Davidson – LHP
3. Danny Coulombe – LHP3. Albert Suarez – RHP
4. Dillon Tate – RHP4. Bryan Baker – RHP
5. Cionel Perez – LHP5. Nick Vespi – LHP
6. Jacob Webb – RHP6. Wandisson Charles – RHP
7. Mike Baumann – RHP
8. Keegan Akin – LHP

The bullpen for the Orioles has taken a significant hit for 2024. The loss of superstar closer Felix Bautista is one that cannot be understated. However, if there is a team that can shoulder that loss it is the Baltimore Orioles.

Recently the Orioles have been able to churn out good relief pitchers better than anyone else. Most recently they were able to strike gold with Yennier Cano. Cano really struggled in the Twins system before coming over to the Orioles and becoming one of the best set-up men in baseball.

The Orioles also added Craig Kimbrel in free agency to take over as the closer for the season. Kimbrel did not look great in Philly last season. A 3.26 ERA was stomach-able but Orioles fans are going to struggle to palate that considering they are used to Bautista.

He is still striking out hitters at a high clip, which is promising. The Orioles are going to try and get everything out of Kimbrel this season.

The middle of the bullpen looks really solid. Danny Coulombe, Cionel Perez, Jacob Webb and a healthy Dillon Tate is one of the deeper bullpens you will find. Coulombe was third on the team in appearances last season and was incredible. He finished with a 2.81 ERA and was especially tough on lefties with 1.28 ERA.

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A healthy Dillon Tate would be huge for this bullpen after the loss of Bautista. Tate was one of this teams best relievers in 2022 but lost the 2023 season to injury. In 2022, Tate’s sinker was one of the best pitches in baseball. Using Baseball Savant’s run value metric, that pitch accumulated a value of 21. The only pitch by a reliever that was better over the course of that season was Edwin Diaz’s slider.

There are two depth arms that are worth mentioning as well. First, Albert Suarez who has caught fans attention this spring. He has generated a lot of swing and miss on his four-seam so far this spring. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2017, spending the last handful of seasons in the NPB or KBO. The Orioles could have unlocked something here with Suarez.

Finally, if you could place a bet for this years Yennier Cano it should be on Wandisson Charles. Similar to Cano, he is an older failed prospect from another system that the Orioles picked up. He stands 6’4″ and weighs 250 pounds with a 70 grade fastball. He had a 5.70 ERA last season in Triple-A, but that was due to walking over eight per nine. If he can find any semblance of control he could play a factor this season.

Final Thoughts

Once again this Orioles team is going to be a really fun watch. Holliday, Cowser, and Kjerstad all have a reasonable chance at Rookie of the Year. Burnes and Rodriguez could both be Cy Young candidates. Henderson and Rutschman look to compete for the AL MVP as well.

There are going to be a lot of reasons to tune into Orioles games this year.

The clear strength of this team looks to be the organizational depth. I would wager that there is not a single team in the majors as deep as the Orioles are and it is in every unit.

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Not only do they have prospect depth but there are even experienced big leaguers waiting in the minors to contribute when needed.

Keep an eye on the Orioles for when they promote their big name prospects. If players like Mayo, Kjerstad, Stowers and others come up and find success this team is going to turn into a juggernaut. If I had to guess, they will be up sooner rather than later.

While depth is important, it is not the end all be all. The Orioles managed to win 101 games last season by out-performing their projections. It is going to be hard to do that again.

Their offense ranked in the middle of the pack in numerous statistics. The rotation was significantly better than anyone expected. They are going to have to out-perform their projections again if they want to secure their second division crown in a row.