As the Orioles approach the second half of the 2009 season, many questions remain. Questions are common for last place teams and the O's currently stand at 40-48 in last place in the American League East.
The questions surrounding the Orioles, though, are different. Different because there is finally a blueprint the team will follow in hopes of success down the road.
The following questions will be addressed in the following months. All will have a significant impact on the future of this team.
Which American League slugger led the league in RBI after the break in 2008? If you answered Melvin Mora, then you would be correct. Melvin was making a mockery of opposing pitching, as he hit .376 with 12 HR and 56 RBI in 48 games.
Unfortunately for Mora and the Orioles, that success didn't carry over in 2009. In an injury plagued first half, Mora hit .259 with a mere three HR and 24 RBI.
With the Orioles holding an $8 million dollar club option for 2010, these could be the last few months for Mora after a decade spent with the club.
The No. 2 hitter in lineup, Adam "don't call me Pac Man" Jones, has twelve home runs. Only one of those has been hit since May 27.
The No. 3 hitter in the lineup, Nick "the stick" Markakis, has eight home runs. Nick the Stick has only hit one home run since May 22.
The No. 4 hitter in the lineup, Aubrey Huff, has hit 11 home runs this season. In the 2008 first half, Huff hit 18 home runs.
The Orioles are dead last in the American League with only 43 stolen bases. This isn't a lineup built for small ball, so the meat of the order better start delivering soon.
He was called up on April 21 to make his major league debut. Now Bergesen, the '08 Minor League Pitcher of the Year in the Orioles organization, is a very pleasant surprise.
The best part of Bergesen's success has been his consistency. Bergs has gone at least six innings in his last nine starts, with eight qualifying as quality starts.
Nolan Reimold has cooled off after the torrid June that saw him win the Rookie of the Month award. Though his average is down to .257, the talk in the organization is that this guy has a very hard work ethic and there's no reason he shouldn't be swinging a hot stick again soon.
Bergesen and Reimold give the Orioles their best shot at an American League Rookie of the Year winner since Gregg Olson won it in 1989.
The Orioles' President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail, has recently said that the O's will consider trades that are offered to them, but that they aren't the farm system for 29 other teams.
There are talks of several players possibly being on the move as the Orioles try to build a postseason caliber club.
Felix Pie could very likely be heading out of Baltimore now that the team has plenty of outfield depth. Danys Baez is another guy also likely leaving Charm City. Baez is having a terrific '09 season after missing all of 2008 with Tommy John surgery.
Veteran first base man Aubrey Huff could leave town if the right deal were offered, as Huff is a free agent next season and very unlikely to return.
All-Star closer George Sherrill and DH/OF Luuuuuke Scott have been mentioned as trade targets of other teams. The deal for those two would have to overwhelm MacPhail though as both are solid veterans that are under contractual obligation for the 2010 season.
The Orioles know better than any team how beneficial trades can be, so don't be surprised to see one or two occur.
The 2009 Orioles became the first team in the modern era to have four rookie pitchers win their big league debut. Koji Uehara, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez, and Jason Berken, all won their debuts at Camden Yards in front of the home faithful.
Chris Tillman (pictured) could very well see a call up to the bigs soon as current starter Rich Hill has been having control problems.
The 21 year old right hander from Anaheim, Ca. recently participated in the Futures All-Star Game in St. Louis. Tillman has a 2.50 ERA and a 4/1 K/BB ratio this season at AAA Norfolk.
Jake Arrieta is another RHP that could make his debut this season. Arrieta was named the No. 36 overall prospect by MLB.com before the 2009 season. Arrieta posted a ridiculous .199 batting average against last season with Single A Frederick.
Top prospect Brian Matusz will be shut down once the minor league season ends as the organization wants to allow Matusz to be able to adjust to the rigors of a professional season. It is more likely than not that he will be in Baltimore's starting rotation early in the 2010 season.
Luke made the mullet look better than even Michael Bolton could. If he does bring it back, I suggest a Luke Scott mullet night at Camden Yards.
All fans 21 and older (responsible mullet wearing age) would receive a replica Luke Scott mullet.