This will mark our first installment of BST&N’s American League East preview. We will start with the much improved Baltimore Orioles. Manager Buck Showalter took over a lousy Baltimore team on August 3rd of last season and led the squad to a 34-23 record to finish out the season – the best mark in the AL East over that stretch.
Buck changed the culture of the clubhouse and the organization instantly and parlayed the success into some interesting off-season moves by the usually scatter-brained Orioles brain trust:
Major Additions: Mark Reynolds, Derek Lee, J.J. Hardy, Vladimir Guerrero, Kevin Gregg, Justin Duchscherer
Major Subtractions: Ty Wigginton, Kevin Millwood
Offense: It’s pretty obvious that the additions the Orioles made far outweigh the losses they incurred. The trades and signings they made instantaneously bolster their line-up. Assuming everyone is healthy (and that’s a big assumption given some of these names), the Orioles could feature a pretty deep order:
That’s a beefy order 1-9 and not one to be taken lightly. The order features a lot of discipline (Roberts, Lee), pop (Scott, Reynolds), and room for growth (Jones, Wieters). It’s only on paper, but last year’s 27th ranked offense with 613 runs appears to be more daunting for opposing pitching staffs.