(This is a guest article by Stephen Lombardo)
A question like this has not been asked for more than a decade. They have had plenty of talent come in and out of their organization over the past few seasons. Now that we have entered a new decade, I believe that it is time to look at this team again as if they are ready to compete in the very near future. The Baltimore Orioles are starting to right the ship. They have signed a couple of veteran pitchers to help out in the bullpen and the rotation (Millwood, and Gonzalez), and they have brought back another veteran to help bring along all the young talent they have in the lineup (Tejada). From top to bottom the rotation is littered with prospects, and they arguably have the best offensive lineup that no one know about.
Their lineup starts with one of the best leadoff men in the game in Brain Roberts, who eclipsed the 50 doubles mark for the second year in a row, and is followed by what may be the best young core of outfielders baseball has right now. Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis may not be names that are too familiar with the casual baseball fan, but there is every chance in the world they could be. Reimold in 104 games last season had 15/45/49/.279 to go with 18 doubles, Markakis in 161 games had 18/101/93/.293 to go with 45 doubles, and Jones in 119 games had 19/70/83/.277 to go with 22 doubles and an All Star Game appearance, before his season was cut short due to injury. Include the very respectable designated hitter Luke Scott, who has posted consecutive 20 home runs and 20 doubles season, and throw in Baseball’s top prospect of 2009 Matt Wieters. This lineup could be extremely offensive in 2010 with a full complement of plate appearances for all of these young players.
Their pitching rotation is also full of prospects led by Brad Bergesen and Brain Matusz. All of which have very promising careers ahead of them. Kevin Millwood should help immensely shaping these starters into successful pitchers. Evidence shows that in 2009, the Texas Rangers, also anchored by Millwood came from the bottom of the list to the middle of the pack with respect to the starting pitching.
It feels as if 2010 may have some extra company in the race for the Wild Card. Although the Orioles are a very far cry away from winning this division, they seem to have more than enough ready to go for them to attack the Wild Card. Although it is a very tough mountain to climb to get into contention in the American League, their core is young, strong, and has the element of surprise in their favor. Do not be surprised to see this rejuvenated franchise back in the mix come August 2010.
Stephen Lombardo is a recent graduate of St. Johns’ University, with experience working for the Staten Island Yankees. Previous experiences also include working at CBS during the NCAA tournament in 2009 and writing for a fantasy baseball website. To learn more about Stephen connect with him on LinkedIn.