Baltimore Orioles: 4 Things We Learned About the O's During Spring Training
With spring training coming to a close, teams across MLB should have a better understanding of who they are, where they need to improve and what they need to do to win ballgames.
And though it's true that you can't place much in spring statistics, there are always some crucial points learned during the spring about any team. Baseball is baseball, and even though the games don't count, the competition is still there.
The Baltimore Orioles are a team that didn't feature as many question marks headed into spring training as they usually do.
The good thing is that makes for less complications going into the regular season, or so one would assume.
The bad thing is those question marks have yet to be answered.
While there wasn't much to answer about the team this spring, there wasn't a whole lot to be learned about them, either. The O's are a fairly well-known entity.
However, there's always something. Let's take a lot at what we now know about the 2013 Baltimore Orioles.
Thank the Baseball Gods for Pitching Depth
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You can never have too much pitching.
The Orioles seemed to be over loaded with capable starters this spring and only one rotation spot up for grabs, but now they're patting themselves on the back for stockpiling so many arms.
Chris Tillman (pictured) is questionable for a projected start on game four of the regular season.
Steve Johnson has been day-to-day for a while now.
Jair Jurrjens was hit in the chest by a comeback liner during his start Wednesday night and is also day-to-day.
A seemingly set pitching plan is now a mess with just a few days before the beginning of the season.
Don't fret though—I'm sure manager Buck Showalter will figure something out. I mean, he did it pretty much all of the 2012 season.
First 3 Starters in the Rotation
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With the mess that the last two rotation spots are right now, the first three have been named.
Jason Hammel (pictured) gets the nod on Opening Day to oppose the Rays in Tampa Bay this coming Tuesday.
Lefty Wei-Yin Chen will take the ball in game two, looking to build upon a very successful rookie campaign.
And in game three, Miguel Gonzalez will make the start, a surprise contributor last season who has most certainly earned another look in the starting rotation.
Beyond that, though, nothing has been decided. So keep an eye out on any announcements regarding that in the coming days. Should be interesting.
Reimold Can Still Hit the Ball
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Nolan Reimold was on fire early in 2012 before an injury ended his season prematurely. He's again looking to prove he's healthy and can still play so that he can make the team as a primary DH/ left fielder.
This spring, Reimold is batting .256 with four homers, nine RBI, four walks and a .319 OBP.
Those are by no means stunning numbers, but they're certainly respectable, and the four home runs is a pretty good amount for a spring total. As the season begins, I expect that Reimold will only improve as his timing gets more on point and more consistent playing time.
Reimold still has that strong right-handed bat he's always possessed. Now it's time for him to stay healthy and prove he's a legitimate power threat over the course of a full season.
He'll be 30 years old this fall, so for Reimold, it's now or never.
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If the spring training standings are any indication of the regular-season standings (and granted, they usually aren't), then the O's are the team to beat in the AL East.
They're the only team in the AL East with a record over .500, and they lead the second-place Boston Red Sox by five games.
Spring training is very different from regular season baseball, however, so it'd be foolish to bet the house on those numbers. Still though, the O's have put up a strong showing this spring, and are definitely primed to keep it going once the season starts next week.
The AL East looks to be a very balanced and tough division, so it's not going to be easy for the Birds to replicate what they did last season. But they're setting up to do so very nicely.