Matt Wieters might yet be a future superstar, and opinions on Adam Jones range from 'good' to 'very good' to 'great,' but the Baltimore Orioles still aren't a good team.
Despite no one expecting much from them in 2011, it's remarkable how thoroughly they disappointed without even losing 100 games.
Jones and Wieters took steps toward the star status they will someday achieve in full, and Zach Britton had a promising rookie showing. J.J. Hardy briefly broke out as a star, then settled in as a solid, above-average shortstop. And Mark Reynolds hit 35 home runs.
Yet the systemic failure of the organization to develop good young pitching prospects into good young pitchers continued. In fact it escalated. Brian Matusz's future is on the line this season. Chris Tillman's chance of ever becoming a star are gone. Ditto for Jake Arrieta.
Meanwhile, a miserable ownership situation and the emerging popularity of the Washington Nationals have the Orioles fighting for table scraps in every way imaginable. New top baseball executive Dan Duquette was the organization's fourth choice for the job, at best.
There is hope. New management is in place, however non-elite. Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are two of the top 10 prospects in baseball, and most of the scouting and player development people who derailed so many pitchers and stunted the growth of Wieters and Jones are gone. Now, though, the Orioles need to show they know how to measure success and failure while rebuilding. This season will be all about next season, and the one after that. Here's a detailed preview.
This is the third of 30 team previews in 30 days, leading up to the start of the 2012 MLB regular season.
Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Matt Trueblood offers insight on all facets of each club, profiles their manager, raise key questions, identifies risers and fallers and lays out run matrices for each team based on his proprietary 2012 projections. Check back daily for the next team in the series, or follow Trueblood on Twitter: