The Power Rankings continue with the Baltimore Orioles at number 17. I apologize for the delay. Last week my internet went out and I started at a job, so I wasn’t able to post as much as I would have liked to. I’ll try my best to have them up smoothly again this week, and maybe I’ll give you a few extra’s to make up for lost time.
#17. The Baltimore Orioles
Team Ace: Jason Hammel
Most Valuable Position Player: Adam Jones
Breakout Candidate: Manny Machado
Notable Offseason Additions: Jair Jurrjens, Alexi Casilla, Brian Roberts (Injury), Nolan Reimold (Injury)
Notable Offseason Losses: Mark Reynolds
Biggest Team Weakness: Lack of an Ace
Somehow, the Baltimore Orioles made the playoffs in 2012. There isn’t a single position on the field that couldn’t use some improvements. Strikeout kings Chris Davis and J.J. Hardy, the always-injured Brian Roberts, and youngster Manny Machado make up the infield. Matt Wieters is the smartest catcher in the league but still hasn’t reached his full potential as a hitter. The outfield might be Baltimore’s only offensive strength, and even then Adam Jones slipped after getting his contract extension early last season, while Nick Markakis and Nolan Reimold spent significant time on the disabled list. This team made the playoffs.
Then there is their young, reliable, unexciting pitching rotation, made up of Wei-Yin Chen, Jason Hammel, Miguel Gonzales, and Chris Tillman. Only one member of the group (Chen) had more than 9 wins (12) in 2012. This team made the playoffs. The key was that the team had as close to a true ERA as a team could have, meaning they actually gave up 3-4 runs every night. This kept them in almost every game, and allowed their stellar bullpen and Jim Johnson to close out the game.
The team desperately needs an ace, or for one of their pitchers to take a huge leap forward. The team also needs an offensive weapon, because nobody’s scaring opponents in that lineup. Somehow everything happened to come together in 2012, and my theory is it was the work of manager Buck Showalter. After last season he looks like a poor man’s Joe Maddon, and if that’s the case this team could win games again. I don’t think it’ll happen, especially with the competition in the AL East but the Rays seem to do it every other year so why not Baltimore?