Predicting the Orioles 25 man roster

orioles_logo_2012With opening day less than two weeks away, it will soon be time for the Orioles to decide who will be on their roster to start the season. Before Buck Showalter and the coaches make their decisions, I want to give my take on who I think is going to make the roster, and what I think the lineup, rotation and bullpen will look like.

Pitchers:

Starters:Chris+Tillman+Baltimore+Orioles+v+Boston+Red+yQaX8jOUWccl

  1. Chris Tillman
  2. Yovani Gallardo
  3. Kevin Gausman
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez
  5. Miguel Gonzalez

Bullpen:

darren-oday.jpg

  1. Britton
  2. O’Day
  3. Matusz
  4. Brach
  5. Bundy
  6. McFarland
  7. Givens

Starting Lineup:

mlb_u_machado_1296x729

  1. Manny Machado – 3B
  2. Pedro Alvarez – DH
  3. Adam Jones – CF
  4. Chris Davis – 1B
  5.  Mark Trumbo – RF
  6. Matt Wieters – C
  7. Hyun-Soo Kim – LF
  8. JJ Hardy – SS
  9. Jonathan Schoop – 2B

Bench:bal-flaherty-starting-at-second-base-orioles-lineup-20150711

  1. Caleb Joseph – C
  2. Ryan Flaherty – UTIL
  3. Joey Rickard – OF
  4. Christian Walker – INF / Nolan Reimold – OF

 

Of course, there are some situations that still need to play out before the roster takes shape. Here are they key ones:

  1. Will Matt Wieters be ready for opening day? Wieters has not played in a spring training game since March 12th. Wieters left the game on the 12th early with right elbow soreness, which is a huge concern after the catcher underwent Tommy John surgery on the same arm in 2014. This past weekend Wieters apparently threw from 25 feet and took batting practice, so it appears that the O’s are being cautious and easing him into his potential return. If Wieters begins the season on the disabled list, Caleb Joseph becomes the starting catcher and Francisco Pena will likely make the team as the backup catcher.
  2. Will Kevin Gausman be ready for opening day? Over the weekend Kevin Gausman was given a cortisone injection for shoulder tendinitis. Gausman had the same injury last May, so this repeating injury is a big concern for the young right-hander. According to a report, Gausman hopes to be ready by the first two weeks of the season. If Gausman is not ready for opening day, either Mike Wright or Tyler Wilson will likely make the team as the last starter until Gausman returns from injury.
  3. Will Miguel Gonzalez start the season in the minors? Another question facing the rotation is whether or not Gonzalez can return to form after a disappointing 2015 season. Gonzo struggled in his first three spring training starts with an ERA over 22, but rebounded in his latest start when he went four innings and lowered his ERA to 14.90. Gonzo has proven to be a consistent starter in the past, but if he continues to struggle the Orioles may want to consider letting Gonzo figure out his issues in the minors to start the season. If this move occurs, either Wilson or Wright will certainly make the team as the #5 starter, but again if Gausman begins the season on the DL the O’s will likely have to give Gonzalez a spot on the opening day roster.

These are the three biggest questions surrounding Baltimore to this point. Sure, there are other questions about players like Hyun-Soo Kim and Joey Rickard, but I think both of these guys will get spots on the roster with Kim improving as Spring Training goes on and Rickard proving that he deserves a spot on this team through his play this spring. As for the last spot, the Orioles will have to decide on whether they would rather have a veteran like Reimold that they are used to, or if they would rather give a young and up-and-coming guy like Christian Walker a chance. It will be hard to get guys like Walker, Reimold and Rickard consistent playing time with all of the free agent acquisitions the O’s made getting a bulk of the starts, but the Orioles should be excited about some of the performances these young players are putting on in Spring Training.

How do you think the Orioles opening day roster will look? Be sure to comment with your thoughts and let me know if you agree or disagree with my predictions.

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