The Orioles will open 2010 with a much-needed and well deserved sense of optimism after ending last year on a 4-0 run. Baltimore has struggled mightily for much of the past 10 seasons, but a core of young position players and a stable of young pitchers gives fans reason to be enthusiastic entering 2010. The Orioles are still a team a few steps away from grasping a spot in the playoffs, but a strong 2010 could set the tone for a strong run at legitimate contention in 2011.
The most pressing issue for the Orioles will no doubt be pitching. The Orioles pitching staff has potential to emerge as one of the best young rotations in the game or to fail mightily and leave the Orioles in the bottom rung of pitching statistics for yet another year. 2010 also looks to be a year of emerging stars in Baltimore. Matt Weiters will get a chance to earn his spot as the Orioles “face of the franchise”, Adam Jones will build on his first all-star campaign, and future ace Brian Matusz will likely be in the AL Rookie of the Year race.
Overall, the Orioles appear to be a much stronger team this year, but expectations should always be tempered with a team that is as reliant on unproven players as the O’s are. The Orioles will improve and their lineup has potential to be substantially better, but the scope of this improvement has yet to be determined. The questions facing the Orioles are not unlike many teams: pitching troubles, managerial job security, and the balance between youth and experience will all weigh heavily on the Orioles in 2010. The Orioles will be a team that needs everything to go perfectly in order to have a successful year, but the pieces are finally coming into place. That being said there are 10 issues most pivotal to the rise or fall of the 2010 Orioles.