Projecting the 2012 Orioles’ Roster

Projecting the 2012 Orioles’ Roster

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The Orioles’ 2011 season seems to be yet another lost cause in a decade and a half of seasons that have been, well, lost causes.

I consider myself a “glass half full” guy, however, so I’d like to take a look into my orange and black orb and take a crack at predicting what the 2012 Orioles team will look like. As always, you can’t quite predict the activity in free agency and the offseason trade market, but I’ll do my best to try.

Now, to spare you from suffering through even more introductory fluff, let’s get down to business. Pitchers first.

PITCHING ROTATION

Starters

  1. Jake Arrieta
  2. Jim Johnson
  3. Tommy Hunter
  4. Brian Matusz
  5. Zach Britton
Bullpen
  • LRP: Steve Johnson
  • LRP: Chris Jakubauskas
  • MRP: Mark Worrell
  • MRP: Troy Patton
  • MRP: Juan Cruz
  • Set-Up: Kevin Gregg
  • Closer: Dan Klein
Analysis: As far as the starters go, I think Guthrie leaves the team, really leaving the team without a proven veteran starter. My gut feeling tells me Jake Arrieta steps up into that role, but if the starting rotation turns out this way, it’s a group of high-potential guys who could give you a shutout one start, and allow 10 runs in two innings in the next start. A dark horse candidate to come back in 2010 is Jo-Jo Reyes, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if the team went after a free agent arm for a low-risk, high-reward type deal like they did with Justin Duchscherer this season. Obviously, that one didn’t turn out so well. Keep an eye on Jim Johnson, who should return to his minor league role of a starter in 2012.
The bullpen is even more of a question mark. With Worrell, Klein, Patton, and Steve Johnson, you have a core of guys who could be successful as the years go on, establishing a solid bullpen in Baltimore. Obviously, a bullpen is extremely hard to predict because of the constant turnover (the Orioles have had 15 different pitchers appear in relief this year, with the number bound to grow), and the team will probably pick up an arm in the offseason. I included Juan Cruz, who will be a free agent this Winter, as I think he could be a realistic pick-up.
STARTING LINEUP
  1. Brian Roberts, 2B
  2. J.J. Hardy, SS
  3. Adam Jones, CF
  4. Mark Reynolds, 3B
  5. Nick Markakis, RF
  6. Matt Wieters, C
  7. Chris Davis, 1B
  8. Josh Bell, DH
  9. Nolan Reimold, LF
Bench
  • Brandon Snyder, 1B
  • Blake Davis, IF
  • Matt Angle, OF
  • Caleb Joseph, C
Analysis: Just like the pitching rotation, I’m a bit unsure about how likely this scenario is. If Roberts is back and healthy, the only questions are where Mark Reynolds hits in the lineup, and if all three of the guys in the 7-8-9 holes get starting gigs next year. Most of that is based on this season’s finish. I’d like to see a youthful bench next season, and all four of those guys are fundamentally sound, mostly reliable young guys. Ryan Adams may crack the bench at some point next season, depending on how his work in the field progresses in Triple-A.
It’s hard to think the Orioles go out and successfully get Prince Fielder. I was thinking Michael Cuddyer could be more realistic at first base, but if the team is impressed enough with Chris Davis this year, they might let him sink his teeth into a starting role.
So, we’ve come to the end, and not a lot is clear. We’ll definitely revisit these projections at several times later in this season and often in the offseason. Leave your thoughts in the comments, and I’ll expand on why I picked certain guys for certain spots.
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Edgar Walker writes stuff, and pretty much all of it is about sports. Follow him on Twitter so that you can read more stuff he writes, with pretty much all of it about sports.