Next up in 30 in 30, we take a look at the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s have been a non factor in recent years, but with an eager crop of young talent they seem optimistic about their chances to climb out of the cellar and make a run at the playoffs (a feat they have not achieved since 1997). As unlikely as that may seem, this Orioles roster holds a few fantasy gems that you will definitely be salivating over come draft day.
|C Matt Wieters||.288||.340||.412||35||9||43||0||354|
|1B Garrett Atkins||.226||.308||.342||37||9||48||0||354||w/COL|
|2B Brian Roberts||.283||.356||.451||110||16||79||30||632|
|SS Cesar Izturis||.256||.292||.328||34||2||30||4||387|
|3B Miguel Tejada||.313||.340||.455||83||14||86||5||635|| w/HOU|
|LF Nolan Reimold||.279||.365||.466||49||15||45||8||358|
|CF Adam Jones||.277||.335||.457||83||19||70||10||473|
|RF Nick Markakis||.293||.347||.453||94||18||101||6||642|
|DH Luke Scott||.258||.340||.488||61||25||77||0||449|
Unsettled: Garrett Atkins. Atkins was horrendous last season for the Rockies, eventually losing his job to the younger Ian Stewart. If Atkins fails to produce this year, you could see a similar scenario with young players Josh Bell, Brandon Waring and Brandon Snyder looking to crack the Orioles 25 man roster at some point this season. However, Garrett Atkins is also a strong bounce back candidate and could be a great late round selection.
Target: Matt Wieters. Catcher is by far the shallowest position this season, making it hard to pass up the hype machine that is Matt Wieters. However, Wieters is a top 4 catcher making him a hot commodity come draft day and is also a strong “reach” candidate. He should be drafted somewhere around the 9th round but I’ve seen him taken as early as the 6th round, so be weary. If you can get him in the 8th round, then it’s a good value for a catcher of his ability.
|Kevin Millwood (R)||13-10||3.67||1.34||123||71||198.2||w/TEX|
|Jeremy Guthrie (R)||10-17||5.04||1.42||110||60||200.0|
|Brian Matusz (L)||11-2||1.91||1.05||121||32||113.0||in A/AA|
|Brad Bergesen (R)||7-5||3.43||1.28||65||32||123.1|
|Chris Tillman (R)||8-6||2.70||1.15||99||26||96.2||in AAA|
Unsettled: Chris Tillman. The Orioles seem unwilling to commit to Chris Tillman as their 5th starter, claiming he needs more time in the minors making it unlikely he starts the year in the majors. Even though he was shaky during his time in the majors, Tillman is a talent and a guy worth monitoring if and when he does claim a rotation spot. Jason Berkan, Troy Patton or David Hernandez will likely start in his place until the Orioles gain confidence in him.
Target: Brian Matusz. Matusz is one of the hottest pitching prospects in baseball, and absolutely dominated minor league hitting last year. It’s unknown if he’s ready to contribute at the major league level, but his potential and upside make him a worthy late round flier.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Mike Gonzalez (R)||1o||2.42||1.19||90||33||74.1||w/ATL|
|Jim Johnson (R)||10||4.11||1.37||49||23||64.0|
Chasing Saves: Mike Gonzalez lost his job to Rafael Soriano last season, but was still a reliable relief pitcher. He’s a great option as your 3rd closer, but the AL East can be a violent place for relief pitchers. If Gonzalez struggles, Jim Johnson will likely take over saves despite his troubles with the role last season after Sherrill was dealt.
Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts are the bright spots of the Orioles lineup, and are both top 50 selections. Markakis has plenty of ability and has still yet to have his break out year. He also once hit three home runs in a game, so he’s pretty much a hall of famer already. Brian Roberts is one of the more reliable fantasy players, and can be counted on to score 100 runs, hit .300, steal 30 bags or so and hit around 15 homers again. Wieters has been spoken of, and is a promising young catcher you definitely want on your team. Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold are both good outfielders who can be counted on to hit around .300, hit 20 homers and steal 10 bases or so. Adam Jones in particular has great ability, and wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he put together a 30/20 season. Nolan Reimold holds great promise as well and has been taken as late as the 16th round, so great value there as well. Miguel Tejada can’t hit the long ball quite like he used to but you should be happy if you can draft him in the 12th round, great value for a guy with dual eligibility at third base and short stop who will likely hit .300 and drive in 70 runs. Garrett Atkins isn’t someone I would draft, but is a good bounce back candidate. Orioles’ pitching isn’t very sexy but Kevin Millwood is a cheap reliable starter, Matusz could be a good low risk high reward pick later in drafts and Mike Gonzalez could end up being a cheap source of saves. Thanks for reading and happy drafting!
Bryan Williams is one of a growing number of fantasy experts who write for the Cafe. You can catch up with Bryan in the Cafe's forums where he posts under the name of MasterX1918.
Want to write for the Cafe? Check out the Cafe's Pencil & Paper section!