Wassup Sports!?!?!?!?

17 year old Cale's very opinionated view on everything sports.

MLB Season Preview: #28 Baltimore Orioles

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Overview: Although Baltimore finished in the cellar of the AL East again, they have made many strides to improve. Namely, much of their young talent is beginning to arrive, which gives O’s fans renewed hope for the playoffs in a treacherous division.

Offseason Moves: The Orioles made some key acquisitions this offseason, mostly adding veterans to mentor their young players, and provide a good mix of talent. Baltimore improved their bullpen by signing closer Mike Gonzalez to a three-year deal, while also acquiring reliever Cla Meredith. The O’s also added an ace to head their young rotation by trading for P Kevin Millwood. On offense, the Orioles brought in 3B Garrett Atkins for a stabilizing right-handed power bat in the middle of the lineup. Baltimore also brought back SS Miguel Tejada, who had played for the Orioles only two years before. These moves have made the team significantly better than it was last season.

Projected Lineups and Pitching Staff:

1. CF Adam Jones (.277, 19 HR, 70 RBI)

2. 2B Brian Roberts (.283, 16 HR, 79 RBI)

3. 3B Miguel Tejada (.313, 14 HR, 86 RBI)

4. RF Nick Markakis (.293, 18 HR, 101 RBI)

5. 1B Garrett Atkins (.226, 9 HR, 48 RBI)

6. C Matt Wieters (.288, 9 HR, 43 RBI)

7. LF Nolan Reimold (.279, 15 HR, 45 RBI)

8. DH Luke Scott (.258, 25 HR, 77 RBI) —- Will platoon with IF Ty Wigginton

9. SS Cesar Izturis (.256, 2 HR, 30 RBI)

Backup C: Chad Moeller (.258, 2 HR, 10 RBI)

Backup IF: Ty Wigginton (.273, 11 HR, 41 RBI)

Backup OF: Felix Pie (.266, 9 HR, 29 RBI)

1. Kevin Millwood (13-10, 3.67 ERA)

2. Jeremy Guthrie (10-17, 5.04 ERA)

3. Brad Bergensen (7-5, 3.43 ERA)

4. Brian Matusz (5-2, 4.63 ERA)

5. Chris Tillman (2-5, 5.40 ERA)

CP: Mike Gonzalez (5-4, 2.42 ERA, 10 SV)

SU: Jim Johnson (4-6, 4.11 ERA)

SU: Will Ohman (1-0, 5.84 ERA)

MR: Dennis Sarfate (0-1, 5.09 ERA)

MR: Kam Mickolio (0-2, 2.63 ERA)

MR: Cla Meredith (4-2, 3.99 ERA)

LR: Mark Hendrickson (6-5, 4.37 ERA)

LR: Koji Uehara (2-4, 4.05 ERA)

Player to watch: If the young players already on the roster continue to progress, the Orioles could make a real run this season. However, I believe the key to this team will be the production of 1B Garrett Atkins. After a mediocre ’09 campaign, Baltimore gave Atkins a chance to return to form, where he averaged 25 HR and 100 RBI for three consecutive years in Colorado. If Atkins can drive in 100 runs, look for the Orioles to hang around in the divisional race deep into the summer.

Prediction: 75 – 87, 4th in AL East

I truly believe that the Orioles could win the AL Central, or get a wild card spot if they were in the NL or the AL Central. Unfortunately, they’re not. They are in the AL East, which is currently the best division in baseball. The Orioles are making strides, and some of their young pitchers, such as P David Hernandez, are on the way to the majors. A couple of key additions to improve the bullpen, and progression of their top prospect starters, would land Baltimore in first place of the division in the coming years. Frankly, I believe that as soon as next season, the Orioles can win the AL East. However, this will be a season of learning, as the team should compete for much of the year.

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