The Orioles are riding high with a new ace in Corbin Burnes, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year in Gunnar Henderson and a strong core of young talent.

So how will the season turn out? Here’s how The Baltimore Banner’s experts see it.

Record and playoff finish

Danielle Allentuck, Orioles beat writer: 90-72. The Orioles will not win as many games as last year (101) but will make it to the American League Championship Series.

Andy Kostka, Orioles beat writer: 95-67. The bullpen is the lone question mark. The Orioles don’t have closer Félix Bautista, who is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery, and Bautista held on to many tight games last year. Still, there’s a new ace, a loaded lineup and ample depth to handle slumps or injuries. The Orioles have all the makings of a World Series run.

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Jon Meoli, Orioles columnist: 89-71. I believe this team is going to be more talented than last year’s, but baseball is baseball. It’ll be a good team that grinds into the playoffs and wins at least one playoff series, maybe two.

Most valuable Oriole

Danielle Allentuck: Henderson. His 6.2 WAR was the highest on the team last year by a wide margin. The first two months of his 2023 campaign were slow, but he rebounded to hit .276 the rest of the season. His 28 home runs were tied for most on the team with Anthony Santander, and Henderson can provide above-average defense at shortstop and third base, and second in a pinch.

Kostka: Should Burnes be healthy throughout the season, a pitcher capable of starting 30 or more games, logging nearly 200 innings and starting Game 1 of the postseason is invaluable. The Orioles made a splash by trading for Burnes, and it could pay off in a huge way.

Catcher Adley Rutschman should not be overlooked for his consistent greatness, columnist Jon Meoli says. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Jon Meoli: Just because Adley Rutschman is expected to be consistently great doesn’t mean we can’t recognize it as such. There’s a lot of emerging star power on this team, but I think it will be Rutschman — whose incredible responsibilities at the plate and behind it — who means the most to the 2024 Orioles’ success.

Breakout star

Danielle Allentuck: Grayson Rodriguez. Look, he may not qualify as a breakout candidate. He was, after all, a top pitching prospect and has already pitched in a playoff game. But Rodriguez has yet to prove he can make it through a major league season — he debuted in April 2023, was optioned after 10 starts and returned in July. His second stint in the majors was much better — he had a 2.41 ERA in his last 10 starts — and I’m predicting this season he’ll cement himself as one of the best pitchers in the league.

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Kostka: Jordan Westburg could have the opportunity to play nearly every day this season, and if he does, he can show the consistency that drove him rapidly through the minors. He’s capable of playing second, short and third base. Although he may move about, the regular at-bats will help him build on his .260 average from last year with more power involved, too.

Jon Meoli: Dean Kremer doesn’t need a breakout to be a meaningful contributor to this team, but I think he takes the next step in the potential absence of his pal Kyle Bradish and ends up pitching well enough to earn down-ballot Cy Young votes. That would take a combination of durability, increased strikeouts and consistent performance. I think Kremer is going to bring all three.

The top rookie

Danielle Allentuck: Jackson Holliday. The 20-year-old phenom has spent his entire life in major league stadiums. Now, after skyrocketing through the minor league system in less than two years, he’s poised to start leaving his own mark. He won’t begin the season in the majors, but I expect him to get the call early.

Kostka: Predicting anyone besides Holliday is difficult because of his pedigree, hype and skill, but here goes: Coby Mayo. The third baseman has shown vastly improved defense this spring, and his bat has never been in question. Should a midseason call-up occur, Mayo could arrive at just the right time to help power a late-season push into the postseason.

Jon Meoli: I think Colton Cowser is going to make a tremendous impact on this team this year. He’s still going to have to prove this spring isn’t a mirage, but if he can defend at a level that makes Brandon Hyde comfortable with him in left and center field and continues to add the power component to his game, this is a player with a lot of different ways to impact games.

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Infielder Coby Mayo will begin the season in the minor leagues, but that does not mean he is not capable of making contributions in the major leagues. (Ulysses Muñoz/The Baltimore Banner)

Danielle Allentuck covers the Orioles for The Baltimore Banner. She previously reported on the Rockies for the Denver Gazette and general sports assignments for The New York Times as part of its fellowship program. A Maryland native, Danielle grew up in Montgomery County and graduated from Ithaca College.

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