All teams in Major League Baseball reach a point in their season when they decide to shift their focus from the present to the future.
For most teams, this is sometime in July or August, when they have fallen far enough back in the pennant race to delay their hopes at a World Series ring.
For the Baltimore Orioles, it’s almost better to start thinking about the future now. That way you can pay less attention to the present.
That may seem harsh, but it’s a sentiment that comes with fourteen straight losing seasons, and four straight last-place finishes in the AL East.
New GM Dan Duquette has had a quiet offseason, and the only significant difference between this team and last year’s team is the departure of starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie was nothing special, but by Orioles’ standards he was an experienced and successful starter, something they still desperately need.
The division has not gotten any easier, and it seems like Duquette is allowing the minor league talent to develop before he allocates any serious resources to free agents or trades. Several young players will likely get an opportunity to play for manager Buck Showalter before this season is over, as Duquette measures what he has in place and decides what the team still needs for the future.
These are the five prospects in the Orioles’ farm system most likely to get called up at some point this season. They are not necessarily the five most promising players, just the five I think you’re most likely to see at Camden Yards in 2012.