Just real quick, I noticed Nick Adenhart (of the Angels) on the main page of MLBlogs.com, I just wanted to note that I played against Nick at Halfway Little League in Hagerstown, MD as a kid. Even then he blew away every youngster he faced. My Dad remembers finding it hard to call balls and strikes while working as a volunteer umpire, the kid throws hard. I wish Nick all the luck in the world and hope to see him on a big league hill one day.
As for the Orioles, I think the the spring training games so far speak to what this team is going to be, a decent offensive club, an upgrade from last year if you can believe it, with a pitching staff that will be inconsistent at the very best. I think growing pains is what we all expect and that is what we are going to get.
The Staring Rotation:
Jeremy Guthrie- I like his attitude, on the mound and off. Although it isn’t his second year in the majors look out for the sophomore slump. With no offense behind him and the pressure of a top of the rotation option, we will definitely find out whether Jeremy is up to the task. If he is all the better for the birds, if not, the stable of young arms in Norfolk should yield a replacement in the years to come. If he can lower that ERA from the 3.70 he put up last year he could get 10 wins or more. He certainly has the command, only 47 walks in 170 plus innings last year. Lets just hope he stays consistent and healthy and works with Kranitz well.
Adam Loewen- The key for Adam is the elbow, he has a top flight arm and the talent to stand out, we got to see some of that early last season. His first spring outing was a disaster but I would guess he was overthrowing and so would the Orioles coaches. Loewen was consistently missing up in the strike zone, and he said the root of that error was a minor mechanical flaw that he can easily fix. For me Loewen is the key piece to the puzzle for the O’s. Can he anchor the staff for years to come? Baltimore needs to believe he can, we have lost faith in D-Cab and Guthrie is just to old to be the future. Loewen is the guy on the roster right now that needs to make it happen, lets hope he stays healthy and makes a huge leap in 08.
Daniel Cabrera-He came to camp all business this year, which is what I think he needed to do. He didn’t gel with Mazzone and now has to work with yet another pitching guru, hopes this one can curtail Cabrera. The man with a million dollar arm and a ten cent head can go one of two ways this season. He can become the pride of the organization, a guy they stuck with, or an embarrassment, all the promise in the world gone to waste. By now we know what he can do, he needs to make everyone in charm city believe.
Steve Traschel- Just go out there and eat those innings Steve. Be a mentor as best you can and provide that stop gap that the Orioles will most likely be in need of come July. For his sake I hope his does well in the first half, so the O’s can flip him to a contender at the deadline. Steve would get a chance at the playoffs and the O’s could get some more youngsters.
My projection (Garrett Olson)-I know this one is up in the air but I would go with Olson here. He showed signs of being major league ready and I think can be a 4th or 5th starter for this team in the future. Lets just face facts on this one though, whoever starts here when the season begins most likely won’t make the entire season in the starting rotation, whatever the reason might be. So lets just hope that all of the candidates, (Liz, Burres, Albers, Penn, Olson) show signs of improvement throughout the year and each get a chance to cement their position in the big leagues.
All in all probably the worst rotation in the American League, with some competition from the royals of course. But we all knew what we were getting into when MacPhail started this project. So we might see a few long painful nights at the yard but it is to be expected, something I think B-more has come to embrace, the Andy MacPhail hoe down, one step forward and two steps backs.
I will take look at the starting line up next week, hope everyone is enjoying spring training…..