Well we’re only a few hours away from the new season starting. I personally can’t wait because as of right now, the O’s are 0-0 with hope. Now we can’t expect playoffs or maybe even a .500 season….but optimism is always at it’s highest in early April. I want to lay down 10 of my personal predictions for the Orioles though.
1) Brian Roberts will steal at least 55 bases. Higher OBP% leads to him having a great year on the basepaths.
2) Koji Uehera wins 10 games. Many aren’t giving him much of a chance to stand up but I think he wins enough to stay in the rotation.
3) Chris Ray gets 10 more saves than George Sherrill. I think he assumes the job at some point and keeps it. Sherrill was inconsistent for most of the last four months of last season and hasn’t proven to be a reliable closer.
4) Here’s my token Matt Wieters prediction: 420 AB’s, .288 batting average, 15 HR’s, 70 RBI’s. The kid is a stud and it’s only a matter of time before he finds himself in the everyday lineup. If we had a pool going, I’d take May 11 as the date of call-up.
5) Alfredo Simon and Mark Hendrickson make a combined 30 starts at most. Neither lasts the full season in the rotation and if they do, the O’s will win 50 games.
6) Adam Jones takes the next big step in his ascent to be a Major League star as he will be a name everyone knows by the end of the season. Let’s just say…. .285 BA, 30 HR’s and 95 RBI’s.
7) Jeremy Guthrie gets off to a terrible start this season but rebounds nicely to win 12 games and have a below 3.60 ERA. The guy has to come through for us just about every 5th day to give this shaky rotation some stability. He has a lot on his shoulders but he will be able to deal with it.
8) Jim Johnson is the star of the bullpen, even with Chris Ray being back as closer (see #3). He fortifies games in the 7th and 8th innings, keeps us out of trouble and is the best pitcher in the bullpen…if he stays healthy. He was shut down for awhile in Spring Training but he should be ready to improve on a solid year.
9) Ryan Freel = Super Sub. Caesar Izturis = Finally a good defensive SS. Gregg Zaun = Better than Ramon Hernandez was the past few years.
10) The Orioles win 75 games. Doesn’t seem like much but it’s a step in the right direction as we wait for our pitching of the future to arrive at the big league level.
I’ll update again tomorrow during the game. Go O’s…we need Guthrie to come out and give us 6 innings. Hopefully we can hit C.C. who tends to be less effective early in the season. This is a chance (maybe our only one on national tv) to prove to the doubters that this team can compete at a higher level than in the past season. I know I’ll be watching.