Baltimore Orioles: 6 Names O's Fans Should Know Going into Spring Training
It seems as though the Baltimore Orioles 2013 roster will be nearly identical to the roster they had to end the 2012 season with.
Orioles' brass appears to want to keep the team that won 93 games largely intact, and understandably so. With many key pieces in place, the Orioles are a team who needs only one or two additions to be pushed over the edge.
There's no sense in messing with something that worked, and though the team does have some holes to fill, they have a strong foundation for success for years to come.
With that in mind, many of these players should be in the minds of Orioles fans, either for the contributions they could make to the team at the start of the year or as late-season call-ups.
O's fans, remember these names for 2013.
Manny Machado, Third Baseman
This one is obvious. Manny Machado is an up-and-coming name for the O's, and for baseball.
Originally drafted as a shortstop, Machado moved to third after his call-up and helped solidify the Orioles' defense, a big reason why they were able to secure their playoff spot. Machado could move back to shortstop one day, but figures to stay at third since he was so good there during the 2012 season, and the O's already have Gold Glove shortstop J.J. Hardy occupying the position.
Big things are expected from Machado, and if you've seen the young man play, you'd understand why. He's got all the tools to be a superstar.
And because of that, expect him to be a major contributor for the O's in 2013.
Dylan Bundy, Starting Pitcher
Much like Manny Machado, this one should be fairly obvious as well.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy is projected as the future ace of the O's pitching staff, and that future may not be too far away.
Bundy made a couple of appearances out of the bullpen late in the season for the Birds, so he's gotten out his first-time big league jitters, and will probably be called up in either the late summer or early fall and be inserted directly into the rotation.
From then on, expect Bundy to anchor the O's rotation, providing nasty stuff and big-time numbers. He'll provide quite the boost for the team, as Machado did with his call-up.
L.J. Hoes, Outfielder
L.J. Hoes has some solid tools and has impressed enough in the minors to be given consideration for a roster spot in 2013.
The outfielder could prove to be a solid right-handed bat off the bench, or a good fourth outfielder option. Hoes is also a depth option, should another one of the team's outfielders or DH options get injured.
Orioles fans and officials seem to like Hoes, and he's expected to get every chance to prove his worth in spring training.
If he doesn't make the team once they break camp, he could easily be up soon after or at any other time during the season.
Xavier Avery, Outfielder
Speedy outfielder Xavier Avery provided solid defense in left field and some stolen bases during his two stints in the majors, and remains on the O's radar, much like L.J. Hoes does.
However, with the O's recent re-signing of outfielder Nate McLouth, it's unlikely that Avery wins a starting spot coming out of spring training unless another player is injured, but could be a fourth outfielder or a first-in-line backup at AAA.
Regardless, Avery is very much so on the minds of Orioles' management and the team's fans alike. With some more development in the way of learning to hit off-speed pitching, he could become a very solid Juan Pierre-type player.
It's safe to say that Avery will be donning an O's uniform at some point next season.
Conor Jackson, Utility Player
A very solid depth signing, Conor Jackson could very well be the O's number one option to serve a role very similar to the one that was intended for Nick Johnson in 2012: a little DH'ing, a little first base. The difference with Jackson is that he's capable of the corner outfield positions as well.
Jackson will fight for a roster spot in spring training, and could very well win one depending on other moves that may or may not be made this offseason as well as injuries, as always.
A guy with a little pop in his bat and some on-base ability, Jackson is exactly the type of depth signing GM Dan Duquette would make.
He'll prove to be a valuable asset to the team at some point this coming season.
Kevin Gausman, Starting Pitcher
Righty Kevin Gausman was the O's first-round pick this season, and because he came out of college, the team thinks he could be ready to contribute at the major-league level by August or September.
If Gausman can join Dylan Bundy in the O's rotation, the two could potentially provide a solid one-two punch for the Birds down the stretch and, if all goes according to plan, into the playoffs.
The talented pitcher could be given some innings in spring training exhibition games, just as Bundy was this past spring, so that manager Buck Showalter can get an in-game look at how Gausman handles himself against major-league talent in a low-pressure situation.
More than likely, Gausman has no chance to make the team when they break camp to head down to Tampa for Opening Day. However, he will most certainly be a factor in the O's season one way or another.