Learning To Fly Again: An AL East Preview of the Baltimore Orioles

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Learning To Fly Again: An AL East Preview of the Baltimore Orioles

After finally starting a rebuilding effort in the 2008 season, the Orioles are continuing on the path back to success. Once having one of the worst farm systems, they have managed to stock up thanks to the Miguel Tejada, Garret Olson and Erik Bedard trades.

However, they still have a long ways to go to reach the elitist status of the Yankees and Red Sox. But they are trying to get better.

 

STARTING NINE

2B Roberts

1B Huff

3B Mora

LF Pie

CF Jones

RF Markakis

C Zaun

SS Izturis

DH Scott

There is some good home run power in Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Nick Markakis and Luke Scott, which is a good sign.

However, Adam Jones still is developing, Felix Pie is unproven as a major leaguer, and Gregg Zaun is only a placeholder for developing top prospect Matt Wieters, who will likely have the starting catcher job by May, when the Orioles will likely promote him to the Show.

 

BENCH 3B Wigginton(good bench bat. Can play 1B, 2B, 3B, DH and some LF.)

OF Ryan Freel

IF Chris Gomez (or another player)

C Chad Moeller? Guillermo Quiroz? Robby Hammock? Guillermo Rodriguez?

Good versatility in Ryan Freel, which should help. The IF spot on the bench is uncertain at the moment, and it will depend what happens in Spring Training. Ty Wigginton should be good bat for the O's, but will more likely be the regular DH, causing Luke Scott to be traded. The backup catcher role is likely only for the first month, until Matt Wieters is ready in May.

 

ROTATION

SP Jeremy Guthrie

SP Rich Hill

SP Koji Uehera

 

The other two spots are uncertain, with candidates such as:

Mark Hendrickson

Radhames Liz

Danys Baez

Brad Hennessy

David Pauley

Chris Waters

Brian Bass

Matt Albers

Troy Patton

Hayden Penn

 

There is so much uncertainty, it is anybody's guess who gets the last two rotation spots.

 

BULLPEN

CP George Sherill

SU Chris Ray

RP Jim Johnson

RP Jamie Walker

RP Dennis Sarfate

Two, possibly three of these bullpen spots, including the long relief role, are up for grabs. There are too many candidates to list here, considering how many potential relievers they have in AAA.

Overall, it could be a long season in Baltimore, especially with the team's lack of depth in proven pitching. However, the offense could be exciting.

PROJECTION: 65-97, fifth place.

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