February 27, 2013 in Baltimore Orioles Offseason
By Staff Writer John Manuel:
Here are five Orioles players that could have a breakout season in 2013. Do you agree?
1. Manny Machado:
I think Manny is the most obvious choice as many believe it’s not "if" he will become a superstar but when. Could it be this season? That is a lot to ask, but he could be on his way. The telling tale will be his power numbers. Although he showed some signs in his short season in 2012, the power numbers were not consistent. Once Machado is able to show that, you could be looking at an Evan Longoria type for many years in Birdland.
2. Matt Wieters:
It is hard to list a 2 time All Star and Gold Glover as a potential breakout guy, but Wieters should be on this list. So far Wieters has made more of an impression as maybe baseball's best defensive catcher more than his bat. But if Wieters can raise his batting average and drive in more runs he can become as good as any catcher out there. Wieters came to Baltimore with very high expectations and has been a bright spot but everyone feels there is more to come. Also, getting another year to work with this pitching staff should be a huge bonus for the starters.
3. Tommy Hunter:
Yes, Big Game Tommy Hunter makes my list because I think he could be a huge factor this season out of the bullpen. Hunter could become a dominant setup man for the O's making their bullpen potentially the best in the American League. Moving Hunter to the bullpen along with possibly Brian Matusz should make the O's solid from the 7th on all season. Matusz may still end up the 5th starter but if he doesn't the additions of Hunter and Matusz should add to a strong O's pen.
4. Chris Tillman:
After a few far from consistent seasons Tillman rolled to an impressive 9-3 and sub three ERA last season. Tillman will be looking to show that is no fluke as he tries to lockdown a starting spot for 2013. Tillman came to the Orioles as the big pitching piece in the Eric Bedard trade and just as O's fans were starting to give up on him he showed what the organization had hoped for. Now it is time to show he can stay at this level and be a reliable starter. I am not calling him out as a 17 game winner but if Tillman can get close to 15 building off last season this team should be in good shape.
5. Nolan Reimold:
The Orioles failed to add a major bat in the off season and after last season’s lack of playoff scoring Buck is going to be looking for more offense from what he has already has. Reimold is someone who could change the fate of this ball club. He started out real strong last season before suffering a season ending injury but now is back. Reimold and Nate McLouth must bring some offense to this lineup from left field that also still had questions at DH. The O's could make a move in the spring or by mid-season to add some punch but if they are going to be successful early on Reimold must hit like he started 2012.