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Should Brach be the man to set up Britton?


Should Brach be the man to set up Britton?

Later today, the Orioles will announce the players they’ve given qualifying offers. Darren O’Day won’t be among them, and at midnight, he’ll be free to accept offers from other teams.

O’Day may be the best reliever on the market, and when he leaves the Orioles, he’ll be hard to replace.

The Orioles will look to fortify their bullpen this offseason. Even if O’Day stays, which is rather unlikely, they’ll have to find additional help.

There are two internal candidates to replace O’Day as Zach Britton’ set-up man: Brad Brach and Mychal Givens.

Let’s take a look at Brach.

In one of Dan Duquette’s best, least talked about trades, he snatched Brach away from the San Diego Padres in Nov. 2013 for Devin Jones, a minor league pitcher who found himself back to the Orioles organization this season.

Brach was a disappointment to manager Bud Black in San Diego. He struck out more than 10 batters per nine innings, but walked five.

With the Orioles, Brach has been quietly effective. In his two years, he’s 12-4 with a 2.92 ERA. While he still walks four batters per nine innings, Brach allows just 6.7 hits per nine, and his WHIP is 1.186. Brach continues to strike out more than a batter per inning.

In his two years here, Brach has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Often, it seems that he gets the win when the team mounts an exciting comeback.

Manager Buck Showalter remarked several times that Brach had a better year in 2015 than in 2014, but looking at one key stat, it’s probably best if he stays in the sixth or seventh inning role.

In nearly a quarter of his appearances (15 of 62), Brach pitched at least two innings. He threw 79 1/3 innings, easily the most among relievers.

Brach also has a maddening tendency to allow inherited runners to score. While some fans have criticized Brian Matusz, who allowed 17 of 46 inherited runners to score, they don’t realize Brach allowed 17 of 29 to score.

In Givens’ limited chances, he allowed just two of 13 inherited runners to score.

Brach is eligible for arbitration this year. He’ll get a nice bump up from $523,000.

As the Orioles look for a new setup man, Brach will probably continue to do nicely, setting up that setup man.

MORE ORIOLES: Can the Orioles depend on Ubaldo Jimenez?

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.


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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.