It’s still way too early to make real predictions for the Baltimore Orioles 2010 season. The first spring training game isn’t for another week, but it’s hard as a die hard fan not to begin to speculate.
You’ve got to wonder how good this rotation is going to be with a veteran as the number one starter. Not only does Kevin Millwood take the weight off Guthrie’s shoulders, but he provides a few more wins and goes later into games than anyone the O’s had in 2009.
The line up was solid last season, but they have improved with Miguel Tejada, who will likely hit clean up after hitting .313 with 14 homers and 46 doubles last season. You’d like to think that Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold, and Matt Wieters will continue to grow at the plate. If you get the same numbers from Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis you’ve got to be happy. Luke Scott will provide some homers, but he’s streaky, and honestly, who knows what you’ll get from Garrett Atkins.
I’m sure as an O’s fan you’ve already thought about all of the facts that I listed about the club above. What I’m wondering is how the Orioles will size up in the AL East. The big goal for Baltimore is to get back to .500 after 12 below .500 seasons. Rightfully so. But, what about finishing in third in 2010?
How good are the Blue Jays going to be with out Roy Halladay? Baltimore was 9-9 against them last season, 1-2 vs. Doc.
The Rays were in the running for a Wild Card in 2009, but in September they were pretty far out of it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them blow up that team if they aren’t doing well at the All Star break. Guys like Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, and Carl Crawford could be up for grabs. While their rotation is still pretty good, I think the O’s size up well against them if they decide to begin to rebuild again halfway through the season. Yes, they have young talent like Evan Longoria and the highly touted prospect, Desmond Jennings, who is ranked 6th in the Baseball America Top 100. But Tampa Bay builds teams that have a chance to win one to three years every six or seven years, like the Florida Marlins.
I’m antsy to see the progression of the young talent on this team. Baltimore has an arsenal of prospects and continues to grow it with a strong minor league system. Is this season the year they get over the hump? Can they edge Toronto and Tampa for third in the AL East? I don’t know the answers, but I’m ready for Opening Day so I can begin to find out.