Baltimore Orioles Dynasty Sleepers, Breakouts, and Busts
Discover a sleeper, breakout, and bust from the Baltimore Orioles for dynasty fantasy baseball both on the MLB and prospect side.
With dynasty season ramping up, I figured it was time to talk about some sleepers, breakouts, and busts for each team. You can find our rankings and reports to see how we at the Dynasty Dugout value players for your dynasty leagues, but I also feel like it’s helpful to truly identify whether I believe a player can be a breakout or not. Here is where I call my shots on players I think require a call to action in dynasty, whether it be to buy or sell that player.
Baltimore Orioles Dynasty Sleepers, Breakouts, Busts
MLB Sleeper: Colton Cowser
Cowser had an uninspiring major league debut that took the shine off his profile in a way that only a short-sample first foray into big league ball can. He managed just seven hits in 77 plate appearances and didn’t look particularly good doing it. Over a quarter of his plate appearances began 0-2 and nearly half were 1-2, which is a famously bad path to finding consistent results. Passivity would appear to be the culprit, just as it was for Gunnar Henderson in his initial stint with the O’s. There’s no reason to believe his skillset atrophied such that his .937 OPS with Norfolk would diminish to just .433 by playing against better competition alone.
He’ll have an opportunity to claim an outfield spot again in 2024 despite it being rather crowded out there, especially considering the possibility that Baltimore’s front office makes a move for pitching that thins the herd. I’m still a believer in his profile even though he’s made the slow descent into a three-true-outcome bat, and I think his price is unfairly depressed by a sporadic 26-game sample.
This is technically a prospect sleeper if we’re going by the letter of the law, but I don’t think many are sleeping on his ability to tear up Triple-A. It’s the MLB translation that most are put off by.
MLB Breakout: Jordan Westburg
It's tough to pick a breakout here, given a great many of the possible breakouts on the big league roster have already happened, so I’m placing my bets on Westburg to lock down a full-time role at second base. A few things need to break right for that to happen: Ramon Urias would need to be phased out, Jackson Holliday would have to prove that he belongs at shortstop, and Westburg would need to establish himself offensively. As far as his 2023 line is concerned, there isn’t much to suggest that he can’t improve. His plate discipline and contact figures were squarely average across the board, but he was well above average in average exit velocity, hard hit rate, and sweet spot percentage.
Westburg probably isn’t knocking anybody’s socks off but profiles as an above-average regular in an exciting young lineup and can probably be had for much less than that.
MLB Bust: Ryan Mountcastle
The youngsters are coming. Heston Kjerstad, Coby Mayo, and Samuel Basallo will all be knocking the door down for plate appearances in short order, and all of them are higher upside options at a position that demands offensive output. Mountcastle has been the picture of consistency over the last three years with wRC+ outputs between 108 and 114, but he’s a bad defender prone to coming out of the gate slowly. If it plays out that way early in 2024, there will be others ready (and deserving) to take his place.
For their parts, I trust Mayo and Kjerstad’s raw juice will play better in Baltimore’s park. The expansion of the left field wall had a noticeable impact on Mountcastle’s ability to put one in the seats. Exactly half of his 2023 home runs were classified as ‘doubters’ by Statcast, down from just one-third before the dimension change. The stadium is now considerably friendlier to lefties, a bonus for Kjerstad, and Mayo’s 107 mph 90th percentile exit velocity instills confidence that he’ll be able to yank them over the wall.
Prospect Sleeper: Chayce McDermott
The Astros used the compensatory fourth-rounder in 2021 granted to them upon George Springer’s departure to select McDermott out of Ball State. He later made his way to Baltimore as part of a three-team trade that ultimately sent Trey Mancini to Houston and spent the entirety of 2023 in the Orioles’ system, where he pitched to a 3.10 ERA and struck out 152 batters in 119 inning split between AA and AAA.
His repertoire is led by a plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and tops at 97 mph with great life at the top of the zone. He pairs it with a sweeping slider that grades as a plus and will deploy a cutter and curveball as the situation dictates. While his arsenal isn’t as deep as that of Cade Povich largely because he doesn’t have a quality off-speed offering, the quality of his two primary pitches is much better. Most evaluators prefer Povich because he’s a tad more polished and throws from the left side, but the gap between them is more negligible than the public discourse about their system would have you believe. He’ll start the year in AAA with a chance to contribute at the big league level, and if he can make strides inducing chase and cut his walk rate, his stuff is lethal enough to have real upside.
Prospect Breakout: Luis Almeyda
The Orioles signed Almeyda last winter for a club record $2.3M in the 2023 international period, shattering the previous mark of $1.3M set by Samuel Basallo just two years prior. He was initially born in New Jersey and was a highly regarded prep prospect, but he relocated to the Dominican Republic and subsequently became eligible to sign as an international free agent. This is a bit of a shot in the dark, given that Almeyda only logged 19 games in the DSL, but money talks, and he’s certainly got the build to blossom into more. He smoked two home runs in his first five games before missing about three weeks of game action and later undergoing shoulder surgery.
I probably wouldn’t jump in with two feet yet, but jot a note down and keep your eyes peeled as he returns to game action.
If you have not already, be sure to check out our Orioles Top 30 Prospects for 2024, as well as my dynasty and prospect rankings.