Last week, I gave you my picks for the 2013 Major League Baseball season. If you read the blog, you now know that I like the Baltimore Orioles to win their first AL East crown since 1997.
The Orioles did make the playoffs in 2012. However, that was as a Wild Card entry.
Since I expect the Birds to be good, that means many of their players will have fine statistical seasons.
For instance, I see Miguel Gonzalez leading a balanced Orioles rotation with at least 15 wins. Gonzalez came out of nowhere to win nine games for Baltimore in ’12. He was calm, cool and collected in Yankee Stadium as he pitched a gem against New York in the ALDS. He may not be the most talented of the starters, but he’ll be the most successful.
Barring injury, Jim Johnson will lead the Orioles in saves. Can he duplicate last season’s 51 saves? That remains to be seen. If he is as effective as he was in other areas ( WHIP, HR’s allowed), the rest will take care of itself.
Chris Davis will lead the Orioles in HR’s. Davis blasted 33 in ’12. He should surpass that total in ’13. As a matter of fact, expect J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters to improve upon their offensive numbers of 2012. Full years from Nick Markakis, Nate McLouth, Manny Machado, Nolan Reimold and Brian Roberts will help, as well.
Adam Jones, already an All-Star, could blossom into a serious MVP contender. He will be the Orioles Most Valuable Player.
With five Gold Glove winners on the roster, Baltimore will be one of the best defensive teams in baseball. A far cry from where they were Opening Day a year ago.
All in all, the Orioles look strong. Sure there are some questions marks. Every team in the division has question marks.
But the Orioles may be the most balanced team in the AL East.
That’s why I’m picking them.
We’ll find out how good they are starting Tuesday in Florida against the Tampa Bay Rays.