Buck Showalter has a very young team that has a lot of potential but depends heavily on a few key players. Last year, the Orioles young and promising pitching staff did not pan out as they had hoped. This year, Brian Matusz is likely headed back to AAA and and Jake Arrieta is looking for a bounce back year after having shoulder surgery. Showalter has already named Arrieta as his opening day starter, so all eyes are on him. The Orioles are also going to count on Mark Reynolds to make more contact with the ball than he does with thin air since the Orioles do not have a lineup rich in offense. Another key to the offense will be Brian Roberts. Although he is currently on the disabled list with a concussion, he is the best lead-off hitter they have, and if his bat is out of the lineup it is noticeable. Matt Wieters is also crucial to the lineup, and while he is pretty solid defensively he has a hard time batting from the left side. The Orioles are still going through some growing pains, but they have a lot of potential.
(In Photo: Ricky Romero)
The Blue Jays become even more dangerous with every year, if the Blue Jays were in the AL Central, they might be division winners. This team has a lot of young talent including a strong starting rotation and two closers. Ricky Romero has turned into the ace of a young staff, who has inexplicably managed to induce ground balls at an amazing ratio but has a higher than average fly ball ratio to go with it. Somehow, he keeps batters guessing and it works for him. The bullpen is also going to be a strength for them with two potential closers Francisco Cordero and Sergio Santos both capable of shutting down the game. Offensively, the Blue Jays have a big question mark with Adam Lind who is very streaky but can hit for power. Of course, Jose Bautista knows how to hit for power. After putting up similar numbers in both 2010 and 2011 there is no reason to think his numbers will be any less impressive.
On Friday the long 162 game season starts and I can’t wait to see how the Yankees new roster stacks up against everyone else. The battle for the AL East is always exciting, but this year it is going to be even more intense. It is hard to predict anything, but you can count on one thing…..it will be a fight to the finish. PLAY BALL!
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