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MLB

Baltimore Orioles

Division: American League EastGM: Peter AngelosManager: Buck Showalter
2012: 93-69vs. division: 43-29Finish: 2nd in AL East - Lost in ALDS
R712 (15th)
AVG.247 (20th)
HR214 (2nd)
ERA3.90 (14th)

That was Then...

The O’s were the biggest surprise of the 2012 season, earning that much-hyped extra Wild Card spot and taking down the two-time defending AL champs in a one-game playoff.

Baltimore’s bullpen came up huge throughout the year, posting the best winning percentage of any Major League club, the fifth-best Earned-run average, second-most saves all while pitching the fourth-most innings.

The O’s went 29-9 in one-run games and 16-2 in extra-inning games, including a 16-game winning streak from mid-April on.

The attack was balanced with five hitters – Matt Wieters, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Chris Davis – hitting 20 homers or more.

What the Orioles did last season was not simply a by-product of down years from other teams. They scratched and clawed their way to a playoff spot and within two games of the Division crown while playing a complete team game under the guidance of Buck Showalter.

It will require a similar effort this season to repeat the feat. Do they have it in them?

WHO'S IN / WHO'S OUT
Additions: RP Mark Hendrickson, SP Jair Jurrjens, OF Trayvon Robinson, RP Daniel Schlereth, IF Danny Valencia
Subtractions: 2B Robert Andino, 1B Mark Reynolds, SP Joe Saunders, DH Jim Thome, SP Randy Wolf


...This is Now

Phoning it In

While the O's starting pitching was devoid of a true ace, the 'pen answered the call with a vengeance in 2012.

The workhorses of the pen – Jim Johnson, Luis Ayala, Darren O’Day, Pedro Strop and Troy Patton - are back and with all of them (save for Ayala)being in the 25-30 age bracket, they can probably be counted upon again for a heavy workload.

The starting staff, too, remains in decent shape with four pitchers with winning records returning from 2012 returning: Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman and Jason Hammel. The team also took a chance on Atlanta cast-off Jair Jurrjens and are hoping for him to return to his sub-3.00 ERA ways of 2009 and 2011.

The offence lost some pop when Reynolds signed with Cleveland, but they also got rid of one of the most prolific strikeout men in the majors.

The O’s offence though is still plenty potent and still plenty young with most of the big bats falling in between 26 and 30. The team will also hope that Manny Machado (see: YOUTH WATCH) is ready for a full season.

It is no secret that the AL East is a tough division, but the Orioles should be seen as part of the reason for that reputation instead of a team that fluked through it last year. Expect them to be competitive once again if they play as hard as they did in 2012.

Youth Watch

Every year, we look for players 26-years-old or younger that could make an impact on their team in the upcoming season. The player might have already established himself with a regular role with the team, or he could make their mark later on in the season.

MANNY MACHADO – 3B (20 YEARS OLD)

The O’s turned some heads last August when they announced the call-up of 20-year-old shortstop Manny Machado. The Dominican was viewed as one of the best prospects in all of baseball and was just over two years removed from being taken third overall by Baltimore in the 2010 Draft.

Machado was amongst the team’s leading run producers when he got the call and immediately produced in his first series, slugging three homers and hitting .375 over his first four Major League games.

He finished hitting a respectable .262 with a .739 OPS in 51 games as a rookie. Machado will get everyday work this season at third for the O’s, who may start him near the bottom of the order to adjust to a full season in the bigs. Still, if the team is a surprise contender once more, Machado could be an important injection of youth on an established Major League roster.

Last Season

TEAM G AB R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Baltimore (MLB) 51 191 24 7 26 2 .262 .294 .445
Bowie (AA) 109 402 60 11 59 13 .266 .352 .438

Past Picks: 2012 - Jake Arrieta, 2011 - Zach Britton, 2010 - Brian Matusz, 2009 - Matt Wieters, 2008 - Nick Markakis, 2007 - Adam Loewen, 2006 - Chris Ray, 2005 - Daniel Cabrera, 2004 - Matt Riley, 2003 - Jorge Julio

Depth Chart

Left Field

Nate McLouth

Centre Field

Adam Jones

Right Field

Nick Markakis

Shortstop

J.J. Hardy

Second Base

Brian Roberts

Third Base

Manny Machado

First Base

Chris Davis

Designated Hitter

Wilson Betemit

Bullpen

Jim Johnson - RHP
Darren O'Day - RHP
Pedro Strop - RHP

Catcher

Matt Wieters

Starting Pitchers

Jason Hammel - RHP
Wei-Yin Chen - LHP
Chris Tillman - RHP
Miguel Gonzalez - RHP
Jair Jurrjens - RHP

FANTASY

Power Rankings

18
After a surprise 2012 season, the O's open this year's rankings at 18.

Player Projections

CF Adam Jones is the top-ranked Oriole, at 46th overall.

While the Orioles don't have elite fantasy options, there are certainly solid citizens, whether it's CF Adam Jones, C Matt Wieters or power-hitting SS J.J. Hardy, there are quality performers. When it comes to playing for upside, highly-touted 3B Manny Machado has the potential to be a big bopper, the question is whether he'll be able to do it so soon.

Question marks abound after that. Closer Jim Johnson was surprisingly effective last season, his first as the game finisher; 1B Chris Davis has always been a masher, but strikeouts are always a concern because his average can be a real risk.

When it comes to the starting pitchers, there isn't a sure bet among them so, in deep leagues, look to Jason Hammel, Miguel Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen or Chris Tillman late, if you're really in need, but don't feel bad if you prefer to find your arms elsewhere.




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National League: East | Central | West
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Podcasts

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: April 18 - Scott MacArthur

TSN 1050 Blue Jays Reporter Scott MacArthur discussed the embarrassing loss that the Blue Jays experienced against the Twins.

TSN 690 - Melnick in the Afternoon - Orlando Cabrera - April 10th

Mitch, Rod and Gallo welcome former Montreal Expo shortstop and 2004 World Series Champion Orlando Cabrera to the show.

TSN: Blue Jays Report with Scott MacArthur: April 9 - Opening Edition

In the Opening Edition of the Podcast, Scott MacArthur, Richard Griffin (Toronto Star) and Gregor Chisholm (MLB.com) discuss Toronto Blue Jays.


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