Dylan Bundy and Must-Watch Orioles Players in Spring Training

Drew Reynolds@dreynoldsawlContributor IIIJanuary 30, 2013

Dylan Bundy and Must-Watch Orioles Players in Spring Training

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    We are roughly two weeks away from the start of the Baltimore Orioles season, as pitchers and catchers report to spring training on February 12th.

    While there is some time left in the offseason, the Orioles seem to be satisfied with the roster they currently have.

    As per usual, the O's will bring a wide variety of players to Sarasota. The regular lineup will be there to get in shape and prepare. Prospects will get some time to show off their ability, and a boatload of veterans will try to impress and steal a roster spot.

    Out of the 50-plus players that will be at camp, there are a few that coaches and fans alike will pay close attention to.

    Here are the must-watch players for the Orioles in spring training.

Dylan Bundy

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    Baseball's No. 2-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, isn't very likely to make the 25-man roster out of Spring Training.

    But that doesn't mean all eyes won't be on him.

    Dylan Bundy was exceptional in the minors in his first professional season, as he compiled a 9-3 record with a 2.08 ERA in 103.2 innings between Single-A Delmarva and Double-A Bowie. His performance even got him a sneak preview in the majors, as he made a couple of relief appearances for the O's late in September.

    In reality, it doesn't matter how well the 20-year-old pitches in spring training; he will start the season in Double-A or Triple-A regardless. He will also have an innings limit and probably won't see much action in the majors until late in the season or perhaps during a possible playoff run.

    No matter what happens, Bundy's arrival will be highly anticipated and spring training should serve as a nice preview for what is to come.

Jonathan Schoop

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    Another Orioles prospect who will be closely watched is 21-year-old infielder Jonathan Schoop.

    After a great 2011 season, split between Single-A Delmarva and High-A Frederick, Schoop struggled a bit in 2012. In 124 games in Double-A, Schoop hit .245 and hit 13 homers.

    However, he did play well in the Arizona Fall League, as he hit .270 and had a .446 on-base percentage in 21 games.

    The highly regarded prospect will not make the team out of camp, but his performance may determine where he starts the season.

    Whether it be Double-A or Triple-A, the Orioles organization expects to see Schoop in the majors at some point in the near future.

Kevin Gausman

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    Last year's fourth overall pick in the MLB draft is another top prospect who will be closely eyed in spring training.

    Kevin Gausman is currently MLB.com's 37th overall prospect. With time, the Orioles could have a mean one-two punch with Bundy and Gausman at the top of their rotation.

    The 22-year-old only pitched 15 professional innings in the minors last season, so those statistics are irrelevant. However, his college numbers from last year are very impressive, as he went 12-2 with a 2.77 ERA in 18 games, 17 of which were starts.

    Spring training for Gausman will be a good indicator of how close he is to being ready. His performance will help determine which level of the minors he starts out the season in.

Brian Roberts

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    Brian Roberts will be closely watched in Spring Training for a totally different reason than Bundy, Schoop, and Gausman.

    The 35-year-old second baseman has only played in 115 games since 2010 and was limited to just 17 games last season.

    The injury-plagued veteran just can't stay healthy. In 2010, it was a herniated disc. In 2011, it was a concussion. Last year he had a torn hip labrum.

    Even this offseason, Roberts had surgery for a sports hernia.

    Roberts is supposedly healthy and ready for spring training. If that is true, and he can make it through spring training without any more injuries, he will reprise his role as the O's starting second baseman.

Nolan Reimold

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    Nolan Reimold is in the same boat as Roberts. If he can be the same player he was before his herniated disc, the Orioles will be ecstatic.

    The now 29-year-old started 2012 aflame. Sadly, his season was limited to only 16 games.

    Those 16 games were impressive, however, as he hit .313 and belted five home runs.

    Reimold's now healthy and will be closely watched in spring training. If all is well, Reimold could easily start as the everyday DH.

    However, if he struggles, he may be used off the bench or, if someone else steals the show in spring training, even out of a roster spot.


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    Finally, there are plenty of other players who will be battling for a roster spot.

    There is a long list of contenders for the fifth rotation spot, including Rule-5 pick TJ McFarland. And with the signing of Jair Jurrjens and potential signing of Joe Saunders, the list is only growing.

    A number of veteran non-roster invitees are also looking to garner attention, including infielders Conor Jackson and Travis Ishikawa and reliever Daniel Schlereth.

    The Orioles have acquired a solid amount of depth recently. This should make spring training more entertaining, as battles for roster spots become more uncertain.