Predicting the Baltimore Orioles Breakout Players of 2013
The Baltimore Orioles have had a rather quiet offseason so far. Their acquisitions this offseason have built depth, but none of their transactions have impacted the starting lineup, other than losing Mark Reynolds.
So, If the Baltimore Orioles are going to repeat last season's success in 2013, some of their young talent has to step up.
This shouldn't be an issue, as the Orioles are loaded with young, talented players that are capable of becoming a valuable asset to the team.
Here are a few Orioles that could have a breakout season in 2013.
Well, this one's obvious.
Manny Machado's early August call-up last year was at first questioned by both media and fans alike.
Was he ready? Was he needed?
Yes and yes.
Machado solidified the infield with his strong performance at third base, a position that haunted the Orioles the whole season prior to his call-up. He also provided another powerful bat in the lineup and came up with multiple clutch hits.
Sadly for the 20-year-old, he is not eligible for Rookie of the Year in 2013, as he had slightly too many at-bats last year. However, that doesn't really matter. Hopefully Machado avoids the sophomore slump and continues to improve.
Dylan Bundy rolled through the minors in his first season in professional baseball.
Starting in Single-A, Bundy went 30 innings without giving up an earned run and had an unreal 0.233 WHIP.
He was then moved to Advanced-A where he went 57 innings with a 2.84 ERA.
Bundy then had a few starts in Double-A before he got called up to the Orioles in September to make a couple cameo relief appearances.
The 20-year-old will likely start the season in Double-A Bowie, but if his progress continues into 2013, he should be a contributing factor to the Orioles rotation or bullpen sometime later in the season and could become a real game-changer if the O's are in a playoff race.
One can argue that Chris Tillman broke out last year as a major league pitcher, as he went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 major league starts last year.
But imagine if the 24-year-old pitches a full major league season. Imagine if he improves even more this offseason.
If that happens, the Orioles may have a bona fide Cy Young contender.
Tillman has tremendous stuff. His fastball is fantastic and his strikeout numbers are also impressive. If he can keep command of his pitches like he did last season, Tillman's 2013 season could be the year where he becomes a household name throughout Major League Baseball.
Ryan Flaherty is extremely versatile, as he can basically play every position on the field. The 26-year-old is even rumored (via Orioles.com) to be the emergency third catcher for the O's.
That versatility may actually hurt Flaherty's ability to break into the everyday starting lineup, as it makes him a very good player to keep on the bench.
However, if (or when) Brian Roberts gets injured, Flaherty or newly acquired Alexi Casilla will likely be the replacement second baseman. If Flaherty gets the call, he could potentially become a breakout player.
Now, it's not as if Flaherty does break into the everyday lineup, he's going put the team on his back. But he could become a solid everyday second baseman given the right opportunity.
Somehow, someway, Steve Johnson will make it into the Orioles rotation next season. Whether he makes it straight out of spring training or is put in the bullpen until somebody gets hurt, Steve Johnson will get a decent number of starts in 2013.
After a successful start to the season in Triple-A, the 25-year-old pitched fantastic, whether starting or relieving, in his first 38.1 innings in the majors. He compiled a 4-0 record with a 2.11 ERA and 46 strikeouts. The statistics are limited, but impressive nonetheless.
Johnson is just one of those pitchers who gets the job done one way or another. He doesn't have the greatest command and his fastball is only in the low 90s. But he gets outs and he doesn't give up many runs in the process. That makes him a good pitcher.
If given the opportunity to start, Johnson could have a breakout season in 2013.