The Orioles actually haven’t been that bad lately. Since hiring manager Buck Showalter, they’ve gone a very respectable 12-8. However, Showalter took over a team that was 32-73, so this obviously will not be the Orioles’ year.
That said, they’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2011. First of all, a full year under Showalter could be exactly what they need. After ranking 3rd-worst in run scoring for most of the year, the Orioles have been roughly league-average offensively since Showalter’s arrival. Showalter’s success hasn’t translated to the team’s pitching, where they’ve been one of the worst teams in baseball all year. However, help is on the way.
The Orioles have young pitching arriving to the big leagues in droves. Brian Matusz (23), Brad Bergesen (24), and Chris Tillman (22) were the first to make the bigs, in 2009. This year, Jake Arrieta was the next top pitching prospect to arrive. Zach Britton (22) is tearing up AAA and will likely get his first taste of big-league action by the end of this season. 2009 first-round draft pick Matt Hobgood (19) is still in A ball, but with his fantastic stuff he shouldn’t be far behind.
The Orioles also have promising young hitters in Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and Josh Bell. The largest level of improvement, however, should be in the starting staff. The Orioles have laid the groundwork for a very good rotation and their promising young arms should start to have an impact on the big-league level in 2011 and beyond, turning a staff that has been the worst in the league to one that could potentially be very good in the near future.
Thanks for reading! Tomorrow, we’ll talk DBacks and take a look at a young core with a ton of power potential.