This past decade has not been a forgiving one for Orioles fans as their team has failed to make the playoffs or even finish with a record above .500 since Bill Clinton was in office. In spite of enduring these dark times of tribulation, a collection of promising young talent and veteran kinship seemingly points the team in a promising, more sanguine direction. Remixed, retooled, reloaded and once again free of Corey Patterson, 2011 figures to be a much more promising campaign than 2010.
Regardless of the Orioles’ ongoing struggle to rekindle their winning ways, the O’s roster holsters a collection of names that should definitely be on your big-board come draft day.
In “30 Teams in 30 Days,” the Fantasy Baseball Cafe will preview each team in Major League Baseball on a daily basis. In addition to projecting starting lineups, rotations and closing situations, the Cafe will identify potential targets for 2011 fantasy baseball drafts.
|C Matt Wieters||.249||.319||.377||37||11||55||0||446|
|1B Derrek Lee||.260||.347||.428||90||19||80||1||547||w/2T|
|2B Brian Roberts||.278||.354||.391||28||4||15||12||230|
|SS J.J. Hardy||.268||.320||.394||44||6||37||1||340||w/MIN|
|3B Mark Reynolds||.198||.320||.433||79||32||85||7||499||w/ARI|
|LF Luke Scott||.284||.368||.535||70||27||72||2||447|
|CF Adam Jones||.284||.325||.442||76||19||69||7||581|
|RF Nick Markakis||.297||.370||.436||79||12||60||7||629|
|DH Vladimir Guerrero||.300||.345||.496||83||29||115||4||593||w/TEX|
Unsettled: Nick Markakis. As I’ve made abundantly clear in my 2 up, 2 down article, Nick Markakis is a player that baffles me. After his promising 2007 campaign where he hit 23 homers and stole 18 bases while posting a .300 average, Markakis had fantasy owners excited. Since then Markakis has been nothing but reliably mediocre, leaving his owners in arrears given the high price they paid for him. However, fantasy owners should not give up on Markakis just yet. Given the new additions to the Orioles lineup a 20-home run, 100-RBI season is not entirely inconceivable. While owners should consider other options instead of Markakis, he is not a player you should overlook entirely.
Target: Mark Reynolds. You probably adjusted your eyes and took a second look when you noticed Mark Reynolds batting average last season (yes, you read correctly he batted .198 last season). You should also know that he struck out an abysmal 211 times, which was surprisingly less than his 2009 total. Despite his blatantly bad plate vision, Mark Reynolds power potential is absolute and undeniable. If you’re willing to temper the prolific strikeout rate and stomach the bad average, Mark Reynolds is a viable top-100 selection on draft day.
|Jeremy Guthrie (R)||11-14||3.83||1.161||119||50||209.1|
|Brian Matusz (L)||10-12||4.30||1.343||143||63||175.2|
|Brad Bergesen (R)||8-2||4.98||1.435||81||51||170.0|
|Justin Duchscherer (R)||2-1||2.89||1.357||18||12||28.0||w/OAK|
|Jake Arrieta (R)||6-6||4.66||1.535||52||48||100.1|
Unsettled: Jake Arrieta/Chris Tillman. A battle is currently underway between a couple of prospects for the Orioles 5th rotation spot. Jake Arrieta seems to be the likely front-runner, but neither seems ready or capable of holding down a rotation spot. Both pitchers looked very shaky during their tenure with the team last season, but both retain great potential and ability. Tillman and Arrieta are names that you should keep in the back of your mind, but it’s doubtful that they’ll make any sort of significant impact in 2011.
Target: Brian Matusz. Jeremy Guthrie is a dependable starter, but Brian Matusz is truly the only member of the Orioles rotation that wields ace potential. Matusz’ true rookie season was impressive, showing great maturity and grit. Matusz looks to improve on his rookie numbers, and appears to be a player bubbling on the verge of greatness.
The 8th and 9th Innings
|Koji Uehara (R)||13||2.86||0.95||55||5||44.0|
|Kevin Gregg (R)||37||3.51||1.39||58||30||59.0||w/TOR|
Chasing Saves: As of now it’s Uehara’s job to lose, but who knows how things will shape up this spring. With Kevin Gregg and Mike Gonzalez behind him Koji’s job is anything but secure, but he’s still a worthy late round pick and could be a great cheap source of saves.
When healthy, Brian Roberts is one of the elite second basemen in the league. With all indications being that he’s 100% healthy, B-Rob should be drafted with confidence. Fantasy owners should count on him for 10 homers, a .290 average 100 runs and 30 steals. Brian Roberts is likely a top 100 value, and should be drafted respectively. Matt Wieters is another interesting option, and retains an amazing amount of potential. It’s very possible that Wieters could be a top five catcher at year end, but he should be drafted with diligence. Expectations are much lower this season, and with another year under his belt Wieters looks to surmount his sophomore blues. Even at the spry age of 36 Vladimir Guerrero remains a dependable fantasy option, but don’t expect him to recreate his 2010 numbers. 25 homers, 100 RBIs and a .290 average in Baltimore are very optimistic expectations, but not entirely improbable. Enjoy drafting him in the 10th-12th round range. Thank you 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.
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