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Baltimore has taken a bold step in the direction of the franchise and have decided to rebuild their team. Baltimore traded two of its biggest names in SS Miguel Tejada and ace pitcher Erik Bedard. Bedard stayed in the AL by being traded to Seattle and Tejada made the jump to the NL with the Houston Astros. Both players have left big holes at their positions and also they left a lot of questions and uncertainties. You may be asking yourself who on this team will have a significant impact on your fantasy season? Well let us have a look:
Nick Markakis, OF: Markakis followed up his impressive rookie year with a fantastic sophomore season. He had 23 HR and 112 RBI for an Oriole club that was short on offense. Heck, he even threw in 18 steals. He is still young and developing so the skills he has now are only getting better. However, with Baltimore rebuilding, I can’t expect Markakis to put up similar RBI and run numbers. He may be the only source of power and he also has the stolen base potential.
Pete’s Prediction: 90 R, .290 AVG, 28 HR, 96 RBI, 16 SB
Brian Roberts, 2B: It is a fact, after Chase Utley, the 2B department is shallow. Second base is the 2nd most shallow position after catcher. This does not mean that you cant get quality at the position. Enter Brian Roberts. Last season, Roberts set career highs in hits (180), walks (89), and stolen bases (50). The increase in walks lead to the stolen base opportunities and I honestly can’t see why Roberts can’t repeat what he did last season. If he gets on base, you can expect 40+ steals easy. In the SportsofBoston Friends and Family League where we count doubles, Roberts moves up a few notches in the rankings. In three of his past four seasons, Roberts has 40+ doubles. Batting lead-off means he will have the most chances to score runs. However, on a rebuilt team, those runs are far and few between.
Pete’s Prediction: 86 R, .285 AVG, 10 HR, 50 RBI, 41 SB
Jeremy Guthrie, SP: Wow, what happened here? Guthrie posted an ERA of 2.74 before the All Star Break including ERAs of 1.78 in May and 1.69 in June. He then proceeded to fall off the face of the earth where his ERA blew up to 5.03 post break. 2007 marked Guthrie’s first full season as a starter and he once again joins an abysmal Baltimore rotation. Considering his May and June were outstanding and never again to be duplicated, I would advise not investing in Guthrie or any starter in the rotation. Frankly speaking, Guthrie is only being written about because I would have felt bad not including at least one starting pitcher in this report.
Pete’s Prediction: 9 W, 4.40 ERA, 135 K
Adam Jones, OF: The big prize coming out of the Erik Bedard trade, Jones looks to be the everyday CF for Baltimore. The uber prospect played 101 games for AAA Tacoma in 2007 where he 25 HR and 84 RBI to go along with a .314 AVG. The majors were another story. Jones never got an everyday gig, but did manage to log 65 at bats. The problem with that was he hit .246 with only two homeruns and four RBI. Can he flourish in an environment that gives him regular playing time? I really don’t think so.
Pete’s Prediction: 62 R, .263 AVG, 17 HR, 71 RBI, 4 SB
Baltimore Relievers: It’s draft day and you need a closer. You check all your sources and try to figure out who the closer for the Orioles is. Well it is anybody’s guess at this point. Newly acquired George Sherrill seems to be the front runner. He had a good season in the Seattle bullpen going 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA. For those of you hoping for a quick recovery for Chris Ray, keep looking elsewhere. Ray is scheduled to begin a throwing program soon, but not in time to make a significant impact. The closer role seems to be by committee and that just means you should look elsewhere for saves.
Next up, the Toronto Blue Jays.