Baltimore Orioles Last Year: 68-93 5th in AL East This Year: 5th in AL East
Baltimore may not be the second worst team in the MLB. Don't get me wrong they are terrible. The reason why they are the second worst team is because the have the advantage of being terrible and having to play the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays 54 times. That is a punishment that no team deserves. The team is in year 2 of a full rebuilding mode that will take years and may never happen. They have some pieces (Roberts and Markakis) but not nearly enough to be even remotely competitive this year.
Opening Day Lineup w/Projections: 2B Brian Roberts .297 9 HR 56 RBI 37 SB 3B Melvin Mora .277 18 HR 78 RBI RF Nick Markakis .304 22 HR 97 RBI 1B Aubrey Huff .285 24 HR 93 RBI CF Adam Jones .278 15 HR 83 RBI 20 SB DH Luke Scott .261 23 HR 67 RBI C Greg Zaun .240 5 HR 33 RBI SS Cesar Izturis .263 2 HR 25 RBI LF Felix Pie .245 6 HR 23 RBI 25 SB
Rotation RHP Jeremy Guthrie 9-12 3.54 ERA 123 K RHP Koji Uehara 7-12 4.43 ERA 129 K LHP Rich Hill 6-12 4.11 ERA 176 K LHP Mark Hendrickson 5-12 5.11 ERA 97 K LHP Radhames Liz 4-9 5.45 ERA 97 K
CP LHP George Sherrill 3.78 ERA 27 SV 57 K
Best Case Scenario: Matt Wieters (#1 prospect according to Baseball America) comes up in May and immediately delivers on his potential and wins the Rookie of the Year. Rich Hill stays healthy and effectively uses his devastating curveball. Koji Uehara transitions well from Japan and is a solid starter. Everyone in the AL East gets injured. This team plays hard and competes with Toronto to not be the worst team in the AL East.
Worst Case Scenario: Matt Wieters struggles to adjust to the majors. Rich Hill gets injured. Koji Uehara is more Kei Igawa than Dice-K. Adam Jones and Felix Pie still can't hit a lick and follow the career path of Corey Patterson. This team gets completely beat down by the East and quits struggling to win 60 games and losses over 100.
Player Most Important to Success: Matt Wieters. Last year he hit .355 with 27 HR in only 437 at-bats. He has huge potential. If he comes up and makes a Evan Longoria and Ryan Braun like entrance he can hit clean-up and give some protection to Nick Markakis. It will also give hope to the beleaguered Oriole fans. If he starts off slow like Jeff Clement(big catching prospect for Seattle who hit .227 with 5 HR after hitting 20 in the minors the previous year) this team will derail and there will be no reason for fans to stick around come June and July.
Outlook: This team has some decent players with Roberts and Markakis potential All-Stars but this team for a third of the year will go against the likes of Sabathia, Beckett, Longoria, Ortiz, A-Rod, Teixeira, Pedroia, Upton. If this team was in the NL West they could possibly get close to 80 wins but instead they will struggle to lose less than 100. This team is trying to rebuild from within with some possible success considering they have 3 prospects in the top 25. Adam Jones, Felix Pie and Rich Hill also have potential to be All-Stars in the future. The question is can they come to fruition in the ultra-competitive AL East. This team is 3-5 years away from fighting to be .500 and even longer from fighting for a division tittle which they have not won since 1997.