It's about 19 hours before the first pitch of the Baltimore Orioles
2010 season. Baltimore
made some key stopgap acquisitions as I profiled previously this past offseason. With some key position prospects emerging and potentially ready to fill in for 2011, the Orioles have mixed in some veteran leadership with the youth already in the majors. Kevin Millwood got the nod to start opening day this year, and should provide some stability to the rotation while taking pressure off last year's ace, Jeremy Guthrie.
As much as I root for them to, the Orioles will not be claiming the AL East crown this season. This is a good chance to get more seasoning and growth from the young core group that the team possesses including Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters, Felix Pie, and Nick Markakis. I would say that Baltimore has the talent to finish very close to, if not right at .500 for the season. My prediction will be 79-82 wins. The Orioles can play spoiler to the East powers such as the Red Sox
, and Rays
when not in contention at the end of the season. One thing that is important every year is staying healthy. Health questions already surround Brian Roberts, who is in the first year of his big extension, as well as whether Nolan Reimold is fully recovered from offseason surgery.
I think with the opportunity for maturation and growth, the Orioles can make some noise, even in the very talented American League East, a la the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, in years to come.