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Either grow up or move aside. The adding of depth means there are options if players do not perform. This is still a young team which still has some developing to do but the leashes will be shorter this year.
There is talent on the O's roster. Those that say that there is no one that is better then a fourth starter......well I can't agree. That is looking backward at young players records as they grew with ups and downs. That is not where this team is now or where it is headed. The conditioning to build stamina and confidence occurred for a reason. Now its time to perform.
Hunter looks awesome. Last year he looked like an out of shape, back on the rotation starter that was injury prone. The few chances I have had to see him this spring he looks strongly built and all business on the mound while fun loving when he is not pitching. He may be the leader on this staff.
Arrieta is healthy and bringin' it. Can he control it? is the only question. As far as stuff, he's got it.
Chen - DD has to be given a lot of credit for finding a middle of the rotation starter that the O's could afford. He looks strong and capable.
Matusz looks stronger then last year. His fastball has been marginal. But mixed with his other pitches he is mostly effective. When he doesn't have all his pitches he battles to get through five. His confidence is not the swagger that he had a the end of 2010 IMO. He has learned what the dark side looks like and doesn't want to go back there.
Hammel has surprised me so far this spring. Better fastball then I expected. Better results so far too. I expected a 4 or 5 slot pitcher. He looks better than that right now.
Lots of talent in the starting 5. Young but experienced. Add Tillman, Wada and Britton (in June) for depth and these guys are going to push each other. I think they can see the corner. Now all they have to do in turn it.
Adam Jones is three months away from $50-60M and he knows it. If he has a good first half DD is likely to make him a rich(er) man. Now that is motivation. He is a middle on the order guy and he needs to hit lefties and stop swinging at the low and away ball.
Wieters looks ready to move from defensive leader to middle of the order hitter. He continues to show power and seem to be focused on being a force in the lineup.
These are two guys to build around.
Hardy started last year as a maybe. Now he is a given. Health is his only question. He is offensively and defensively solid. Buck and Presley said do it your way and Hardy has not looked back.
Markakis can hit and is a gold glover. Looks like he will be in the 2 or 3 hole. Not leadoff. I look for a high OBP and the power to build over the season. The injury is still something that may keep his power down but Nick is valuable for singles and doubles.
There is the core. The rest of the players support them with various strengths while hopeful Buck avoids their weaknesses.
Reynolds - Tons of power.... and RBIs. And tons of strikeouts and probably more errors then we would like. He is a presences in the lineup.
Andino feels like a late bloomer. In his late twenties this is the first year he has a starting role in the majors on opening day. More then that this is the first year he doesn't have to fight to make the roster. Defensively he will do fine at 2B and as the SS backup. He hit lefties last year. He hit everyone this ST. He may grow into being the O's leadoff hitter during the year. But whether he does or not his strengths are something this team needs up the middle.
Reimold - Jury is still out. He gets his chance in Leftfield and some DH. Maybe 20 HR, maybe not. Maybe good OBP, maybe not. Chavez is a better leftfielder. Johnson and Betemit will battle for at bats. The depth is a good thing.
Davis - Has a lot to prove. He has power. OBP is a problem. Good history as a defensive 1B. But some errors this spring. Johnson and Betemit want playing time. Davis gets the first shot.
DH and Bench are one of the best in years. Chavez, though a backup, is playing well enough to start and leadoff. He will get some playing time. Nick Johnson seem healthy but never stays that way long. Good defensive first baseman with a high OBP but little power. Betemit probably DHs and plays some first. Has a decent bat. Buck needs to keep him out of the defensive skill positions as much as possible. Flaherty is a rookie and his offensive numbers are slipping as the the pitching gets better. He plays everywhere but probably needs to keep the exposure to a minimum. Paulino and Teagarden both look to be decent backup catchers.
The pen is scarying me.
Jim Johnson does not look like Jim Johnson. He is very important to the team.
Ayala has performed well this spring. I wish his history was better.
Gregg avoids bats and sometimes the strike zone. He makes me crazy. He is the backup closer if Johnson goes on the DL. That is not good.
Patton just keeps putting up zeros. But gets little praise it seems. I like him.
Lindstrom should be fine in middle relief. I don't get the feeling he would be good in late relief.
Strop - When he is on, he is lights out. Control has been his problem in the past. Looks like he has made the club.
O'Day, Phillips, Tillman and/or Wada are on the 40 man and depth for the pitching staff, which is a good thing. They all have talent.
All in all a deeper team then the O's have had in many years. And though many will not give them credit YET, some have very high ceilings and may take a big jump this year.
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