It’s not a question whether or not Norfolk will have a strong team, it will be how strong they will be. This team will have 4 legitimate prospects and several others with major league experience. The team dominated the International League last season before suffering a late season crash. Part of that was due to the O’s raiding the team as they dealt with a plethora of injuries.
The starting pitching will stacked be with talent. We know that Chris Tillman, Troy Patton and Jake Arrieta will start the season in Norfolk.
There is a strong chance that Jason Berken will be back in Norfolk to start the season. The 5th starter should still be up for grabs. The likely candidates are Chris Lambert, Chris George, Alfredo Simon and Brandon Erbe. This just in….. the O’s have announced that the final 2 slots will go to Erbe and Simon.
The infield is still taking shape. Josh Bell will be the starting at 3rd. Brandon Snyder and Michael Aubrey will be sharing time at 1st and DH. Blake Davis will return as the team’s starting SS. I’m guessing that Miguel Abreu’s play this spring, may have earned him a shot as the starting 2b; however, it will most likely be Justin Turnere once again. The outfield will most likely be the transplanted Rhyne Hughes, Lou Montanez, Jonathan Tucker and Joey Gathright. Craig Tatum will likely remain with the big club. That means we have no idea who will handle the majority of the catching duties- possibly Adam Donachie.
The bullpen should be interesting. Josh Perrault, Jim Miller, and Alberto Castillo return from last season. It remains to be seen if Kam Mickolio or Dennis Sarafate will make the big club. I imagine that Ryohei Tanaka will make it up to Norfolk at some point this season.
The O’s seem to be a bit more solidified this season. Unless they are plagued with injuries, I would imagine that most of the players will spend the majority of the season at AAA. That means Norfolk can expect to have a successful season.
Which prospect(s) do you see making the big club this season?