2010 MLB Season Preview: Baltimore Orioles

>> Thursday, March 4, 2010

If the Baltimore Orioles played in any other division besides the American League East, the off season they just had would probably make them a contender. In the AL East they still have a lot of work to do. However they had a great off season, and nothing can take that away from them. They added four veterans, to a roster containing several in the prime of their career hitters, and they have a few ready for prime time youngsters. I am still not confident that the Baltimore Orioles can make a run at the AL wild card.

Of course we have to consider that the Orioles have had 12 consecutive losing seasons, and back to back last place finished in their division. However with the addition of Kevin Millwood they have upgraded their starting rotation. Millwood can also serve as mentor for the younger starters at the back of their starting rotation. Remember Millwood came up with the Atlanta Braves with the likes of Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Greg Maddux. He is the foundation for this pitching staff. If he is not healthy, this could be a long year for the Orioles.

The big questions surrounding this team is, can Miguel Tejada play third base? Since 2009 Oriole 3B Melvin Mora finished with the fifth best fielding percentage in the American League, the bar for Tejada is quite high. In his second stint with the Orioles, Tejada is trying to make the same transition one Cal Ripken Jr. made at the end of his career.

Another big question for this team will be whether or not Garrett Atkins can rediscover his stroke. He was primarily a third baseman in his career, but will take over fist for the Orioles in 2010. The Orioles got him for his bat, not his glove. While he his stat line with the Colorado Rockies was pretty good he slumped in 2009.

Here’s what I think the lineup may look like.

C: Matt Wieters
1B: Garrett Atkins
2B: Brian Roberts
3B: Miguel Tejada
SS Cesar Izturis
LF: Felix Pie
CF: Adam Jones
RF: Nick Markakis
DH: Nolan Reimold

SP: Kevin Millwood
SP: Jeremy Guthrie
SP: Brian Matusz
SP: Brad Bergeson
SP: Chris Tillman
CP: Mike Gonzalez

Day 2 Preview: Toronto Blue Jays