Projecting the Orioles 25 man Roster for 2015

orioles_logo_20122014-07-20T014514Z_1157381198_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-BALTIMORE-ORIOLES-AT-OAKLAND-ATHLETICS-2903

Spring Training is underway and the start of the 2015 MLB regular season is just over a month away. The Baltimore Orioles are coming off a 2014 campaign that saw them win the American League East for the first time since 1997 and make it all the way to the American League Championship series. The Orioles ended up getting swept by the Kansas City Royals in that series and came up short of their first World Series berth since 1983. Looking to build off their 2014 success, the past few months certainly have been interesting for the Orioles. They said goodbye to fan favorite outfielder Nick Markakis and outfielder/DH Nelson Cruz, who were crucial to the O’s success in 2014. They also lost pitcher Andrew Miller, but the Orioles knew they could not afford to pay him the big money that the Yankees gave to Miller. They did not make a lot of moves to fill those voids, only signing back OF/DH Delmon Young and trading for OF Travis Snider from the Pirates. The Orioles also signed infielder Everth Cabrera, giving them another option at second base and a possible lead-off hitter.

20140812mfbucssports05-3ECabreraphoto credit: post-gazette.com and rotoprofessor.com

Aside from getting the roster together, the Orioles have also dealt with issues from within. Rumors circulated that general manager Dan Duquette wanted to leave town to accept a team president position with the Toronto Blue Jays. The two divisional rivals were unable to make a trade, and Duquette remains in Baltimore to run the team again in 2015.

The Orioles will open up the season on Monday, April 6 in Tampa Bay. Before they start the season, however, they have a number of things they need to figure out. Who will be taking the places of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz? Will Everth Cabrera get more playing time at second base than Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop? What will be the order of the pitching rotation? Taking everything in consideration, I believe that the Orioles 25 man roster will look like at the start of the season.

 

Pitching Rotation:

Chris Tillman2014-06-14T000558Z_1767383035_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_MLB-TORONTO-BLUE-JAYS-AT-BALTIMORE-ORIOLES-2526 photo credit: csnbaltimore.com and washingtonpost.com

1. Chris Tillman, RHP

2. Kevin Gausman, RHP

3. Wei Yin Chen, LHP

4. Bud Norris, RHP

5. Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP

Batting Order:

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles - Game TwoMLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore OriolesWhite Sox vs. Oriolesphoto credit: nbchardballtalk.com, imgkid.com and  huffingtonpost.com

1. Everth Cabrera, R, 2B

2. Manny Machado, R, 3B

3. Adam Jones, R, CF

4. Chris Davis, L, 1B

5. Matt Wieters, L/R, C

6. JJ Hardy, R, SS

7. Steve Pearce, R, DH

8. Alejandro De Aza, L, LF

9. Travis Snider, L, RF

Bullpen:

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Raysphoto credit: mlbblogs.com

-Miguel Gonzalez, RHP

-Wesley Wright, LHP

-Darren O’Day, RHP

-Tommy Hunter, RHP

-Brad Brach, RHP

T.J. McFarland, LHP

Zach Britton, LHP, Closer

Bench:

Jonathan_Schoop_1280_j10hls5l_oed03txuphoto credit: mlb.com

-Jonathan Schoop, R, INF

-Delmon Young, R, OF

-Ryan Flaherty, R, INF

-Caleb Joseph, R, C

This is the 25 man roster I see the Orioles opening up the season with. There are a few notable things to be aware of. First off, Chris Davis will serve his last game of his 25 game suspension on opening day, so Pearce will most likely play first base and Delmon Young will DH. Also, there is a possibility that Jonathan Schoop could outplay Everth Cabrera to play second. I have Cabrera listed at leadoff because of his speed, but if Schoop were to play second, the lineup could be significantly different. In this instance, De Aza would most likely lead off for another speed option, and Snider would move up to #8 and Schoop would bat #9. Ryan Flaherty could also see playing time anywhere in the infield or even the corner outfield spots to give his teammates a day to rest. He would most likely be #8 or #9 in the batting order whenever he plays. I could see this lineup being different every day depending on who is playing, and it will take awhile before we start seeing a consistent batting rotation.

Also, you may notice that I have Jimenez as the #5 starter. Considering the Orioles have him locked down in the second season of a four year, $50 million dollar contract, they have to start him. If he struggles and Gonzalez pitches well in spot starts and out of the bullpen, I would not be surprised if the Orioles try to trade Jimenez or release him. Then again, considering Tillman, Chen, Gonzalez and Norris are all free agents after this season, the Orioles may be stuck.

There are a couple notable players not on this 25 man roster, including LHP Brian Matusz and OF David Lough. The only reason being, there simply is not enough room. Manager Buck Showalter will have to make constant adjustments to the 25 man roster for matchup and stability purposes, so these two could be brought up at any point during the season.

The Orioles also have some exciting prospects that could end up contributing as the season rolls on. These include:

-Dylan Bundy, RHP

-Hunter Harvey, RHP

-Jimmy Paredes, INF

-Christian Walker, INF

Dylan Bundy missed last season after recovering from Tommy John Surgery. He could be called up around midseason to contribute in the bullpen or could start some games if Jimenez struggles and the O’s need a new arm. Christian Walker and Jimmy Paredes made their MLB debuts last season and could be called up if there are injuries or suspensions. Hunter Harvey was drafted by the Orioles in 2013 and is currently 20 years old. Him getting called up this year would be a stretch, but if the Orioles have a number of injuries with their pitchers or find themselves out of the playoff race before the end of the season, they may want to call up Harvey to get him some experience. All of these players have a chance of seeing the field this season.

The 2014/2015 offseason was interesting for the Orioles and their fans. Many people do not see the Orioles repeating as AL East champs, and that could be true. But when you think about it, aside from losing Markakis, Cruz, and Andrew Miller, the Orioles roster really is not that depleted. Sure, it may not be as loaded as last season, but the Orioles still have a chance to be competitive and make a run for the playoffs. Buck Showalter’s influence will be huge just as it always is, and he will keep the Orioles in the hunt to make a splash. With only a month left until the regular season, it will be interesting to see how the Orioles 25 man roster is shaped to start off the 2015 campaign.

 

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