Sunday, March 4, 2012

2012 MLB Preview #10: Baltimore Orioles

Greetings everyone... this is a much more negative preview than Detroit...


C - Matt Wieters
1B - Chris Davis/Nick Johnson
2B - Brian Roberts
SS - JJ Hardy
3B - Mark Reynolds
LF - Nolan Reimold/Endy Chavez
CF - Adam Jones
RF - Nick Markakis
DH - Wilson Betemit/Nolan Reimold/Nick Johnson

This isn't the problem in my estimation. Matt Wieters began to (finally) emerge as an elite catcher last year, when he posted 22 homers, scored 78 runs and had a near .800 OPS while playing elite-level defense. That's about as good as you can ever ask for from the catcher spot, and he needs to anchor the squad. Markakis, Jones, and Hardy are all above-average players at their positions, and while each has shortcomings (power for Markakis, on-base for Jones, and health for Hardy), I like each player. Oh, and Mark Reynolds? Well, he's Mark Reynolds. He hit 37 homers and posted an OPS of over .800 despite hitting .227 last year, and that's just about what he is. After that? Questions. Brian Roberts can't stay on the field and visions of his all-star days may be over. Nolan Reimold finally hit a little bit down the stretch last year, finishing with 13 homers, but the once-elite prospect is now 28 years old and hasn't done it for any length of time. And finally, the first-base/DH spot has some serious questions. Chris Davis, the former Texas Rangers' uber-prospect, is expected to get the job at 1st, but this may be his last chance to prove he can hit major-league pitching, and while he was okay last year in limited time, he's got to provide power to stay in the lineup. After that? Nick Johnson is his backup, and even though we can remember the days when he always posted great walk rates, nice power, and good numbers, he's always hurt, and missed all of 2011, so anything productive would be a straight bonus. At DH, you'll likely see a revolving door. Betemit can't field anywhere, but he's mashed in 2 straight seasons (limited ABs) in KC and could get the first nod, while Reimold could be stashed there to get Endy Chavez's glove into the lineup, or if Johnson is healthy, he could land there. This isn't a bad unit when healthy (I'm looking at you JJ Hardy and Brian Roberts).

Starting Rotation

1 - Jake Arrieta
2 - Tommy Hunter
3 - Wei-Yin Chen
4 - Zach Britton
5 - Jason Hammel
6 - Brian Matusz

I have no idea. At all. Basically, the best starting pitcher on the staff last year was Jeremy Guthrie (now gone), and he posted an ERA of 4.33. The best returning starter's numbers? That of Zach Britton, who was dominant early, but finished with an ERA of 4.61 and a terrible WHIP of 1.45. Ladies and gentlemen, your Baltimore Orioles! There is significant young talent in Arrieta, Britton, and Matusz, and with the influx of a decent guy like Tommy Hunter, this could be okay if everything comes together, but I'm certainly not a believer.


Jim Johnson looks to finally get a closer nod entering the season, after putting up pretty dominant numbers in 91 bullpen innings in 2011. After that, it's kind of ugly. Kevin Gregg will "push" Johnson, but he's a guy with bad stuff and bat ratios that gets the nod because he's "done it before" and isn't a great pitcher by any stretch. Alfredo Simon, Pedro Strop, Zach Phillips, Troy Patton... Stop me whenever you want.


67-95, 5th in AL East

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