On Tuesday, the Baltimore Orioles finally added the top-of-the-order outfield bat they’ve sought all offseason in Dexter Fowler. The switch-hitter isn’t a star, but he does add a dimension to the Orioles’ lineup that makes their offense much more dynamic.
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With Fowler added to the offense, here’s what the everyday lineup will look like:
- OF Dexter Fowler
- 3B Manny Machado
- 1B Chris Davis
- OF Adam Jones
- DH Mark Trumbo
- C Matt Wieters
- 2B Jonathan Schoop
- SS J.J. Hardy
- OF Hyun Soo Kim
That’s a very deep lineup that now has the top-of-the-order hitter it so desperately needed. With Fowler’s ability to get on base (he has posted an OBP of .346 or higher in each of his seven full major league seasons), the Orioles are going to get increased production from the top of the lineup.
Having a leadoff hitter who gets on base more means more RBI chances for elite run producers like Machado, Davis and Jones. Those three can potentially feast on opposing pitchers, who just suffered through a long sequence against Fowler. The outfielder is great at working deep counts.
With a lack of starting pitching, Baltimore is going to have to score runs in bunches to be competitive this year. Especially now that Fowler has entered the fold, they have the potential to do that.
Heading into this season, the Orioles figured to be a team that relied heavily on the long ball, but the addition of Fowler will allow them to play a little more small ball. Should Fowler reach base, he and Machado can play a little hit and run, since the young third baseman is a very good contact hitter.
If those two can move first to third with regularity, the team is looking at Davis and Jones just needing to slap a fly ball to the deep outfield and the team is scratching across a run. That option may not be sexy, but it’ll get the job done. This added aspect of the offense will make the team less dependent on the long ball, which should make the lineup more efficient.
Baltimore has its work cut out for it as the AL East, with several teams figuring to contend for a playoff spot. Ultimately, a lack of starting pitching could be the Orioles’ downfall, but the addition of Fowler makes the offense even more powerful. That could help them win some slugfests and potentially remain in the playoff race longer than people initially expected them to.