Friday, April 3, 2009

2009 Baltimore Orioles Preview

The Orioles are very unfortunate.

Not only do they have to play in a division with four playoff contenders in the Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays, the Orioles are just not that good at all. They lack quality starting pitching, lack a good bullpen, and lack even a decent lineup.

The only good thing about the Orioles for 2009 is the maturation of outfielder Nick Markakis. Markakis hit .306 with 20 homers and 87 RBI in only his third season as a major leaguer. Markakis has the potential to become the next 30 home run/100 RBI player. It's a good thing that the Orioles secured him to a contract because there are going to be a lot of teams inquiring about his services come July's trade deadline.

As for the rest of the lineup, Brian Roberts can provide some pop, and he can hit for average (.284 for his career), but he is not a big bat in the lineup. Melvin Mora is not the same player he used to be, and Ty Wiggington is really just a bench player.

As for the rotation, there is nothing to get too excited about here. Jeremy Guthrie won ten games with 120 strikeouts for Baltimore. He is a de facto ace because the Orioles don't have an ace on this year's team. George Sherrill had a good season as the Oriole's closer in 2009, saving 31 ball games, good enough to qualify for the All Star game. Even though he recorded 31 saves, Sherrill did have a 4.72 ERA which is not good at all for a teams' closer.

PREDICTION: Orioles 5th place AL East, 59-103.

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