A local magazine recently asked me to give my Orioles prediction and whether they would be .500. It’s still too early to know exactly what the rotation and roster will look like, but based on what I have seen so far this spring, I think it’s highly unlikely. Let’s face it, this Orioles team is hard to be optimistic about because there are so many question marks.
The starting rotation does not have a single pitcher–not one–that has any consistent track record of success. Jake Arrieta is coming off surgery. Zach Britton had an up and down year last season, quick start then petered out. Based on Matusz’s sophomore slump, who knows what happens with Britton. Speaking of Matusz, he is coming off one of the worst seasons ever for a starting pitcher, so he should be better, but who knows if he can be the pitcher of 2010. The two pitchers from Japan, Chen and Wada, have never pitched in the majors. The track record of pitchers from Asia has been mixed at best. Ditto on the other possible starters.The line-up has some good hitters, but some huge question marks. Will JJ Hardy be this good again? Will Markakis ever get the power that was expected? Can Reynolds hit for power and have a reasonable number of strikeouts and respectable average? Are Reimold and Davis really every day players? Can the Orioles put out a decent leadoff hitter? I hate to say it, but I think the answer to these questions is more likely no than yes. Weiters and Jones should continue to get better, but I am not sure that’s enough.My expectation for this team, unfortunately, is another 5th place finish.