The Orioles vs. The AL East
Comparing the Orioles position by position with their AL East foes.
With Opening Day rapidly approaching we thought we would see how the Orioles tentative lineup will compete against the big bats of the American League East. The results might surprise you.
My crude scoring system:
1st= 5 points
2nd= 4 points
3rd= 3 points
4th= 2 points
5th= 1 point
1. Matt Wieters, Baltimore Orioles
2. Russell Martin, New York Yankees
3. Jose Molina, Tampa Bay Rays
4. Jeff Mathis, Toronto Blue Jays
5. Jason Varitek, Boston Red Sox
By far the weakest position in talent rich division. Wieters has been a bit inconsistent at the plate thus far in his career but his homers and RBI have increased every year plus he's only 25. Oh then there is his defensive skills. I think this shirt from Protect This Yard sums it up the best. After Posada retired and Varitek didn't for some reason it looks like Wieters is the best catcher in the AL East and also the one with the most potential to get even better.
1. Adrian Gonzalez, Boston Red Sox
2. Mark Teixeira, New York Yankees
3. Adam Lind, Toronto Blue Jays
4. Carlos Pena, Tampa Bay Rays
5. Chris Davis, Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles haven't had a decent 1st baseman since Palmeiro rode into the sunset on a horse made of HGH. I miss Aubrey Huff. I put Adrian Gonzalez over Teixeira because he's younger, cheaper, and had better numbers in 2011. Lind and Pena are basically the same guy. Average defensively and only there to hit a ton of homers.
1. Robinson Cano, New York Yankees
2. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
3. Ben Zobrist, Tampa Bay Rays
4. Kelly Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays
5. Robert Andino/Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles
I would rank B-Rob higher here if I was at all confident he would play in 2012. The concussion problems that have bothered him for the past two seasons will force the O's to start Robert "The Red Sox Killer" Andino on Opening Day. Cano is without a doubt the best of this bunch and maybe the best 2nd baseman in the league. Never been a fan of Pedroia but his numbers are closer to Cano than people think. Zobrist/Johnson was another toss up.
1. J.J. Hardy, Baltimore Orioles
2. Yunel Escobar, Toronto Blue Jays
3. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
4. Mike Aviles, Boston Red Sox
5. Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays
We love us some James Jerry here at IHJJR!! Hardy was a pleasant surprise for the O's in 2011 and he seems to be the best shortstop in the division by a win margin, although Yunel Escobar is a close second. Even with his declining skills Jeter gets 3rd place because of his leadership in the clubhouse and because frankly the Rays and Jays don't have much at the position.
1. Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees
2. Kevin Youkilis, Boston Red Sox
3. Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
4. Mark Reynolds, Baltimore Orioles
5. Brett Lawrie, Toronto Blue Jays
The hot corner has the deepest collection of talent by far in the AL East. I hate to say it but A-Rod is the best of the best. Youk and Longoria are also two of the best in MLB at the position. I actually like Mark Reynolds and I think his change from the National League was a big adjustment. He should be a bit sharper now that he's had a year to get comfortable.
1. Brett Gardner, New York Yankees
2. Carl Crawford, Boston Red Sox
3. Desmond Jennings, Tampa Bay Rays
4. Nolan Reimold, Baltimore Orioles
5. Eric Thames, Toronto Blue Jays
This is a make or break year for Reimold, who should FINALLY be given the starting gig in left field. I was really tempted to put Crawford at #1 but his lackluster 2011 and the fact that he could start 2012 on the DL forced me to rank Gardner above him. Desmond Jennings, who is entering his second full season, might be the biggest sleeper in this division. He has all the tools to explode and help Tampa fans forget about Crawford.
1. Curtis Granderson, New York Yankees
2. Jacoby Ellsbury, Boston Red Sox
3. Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles
4. B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay Rays
5. Colby Rasmus, Toronto Blue Jays
Another stacked position. Adam Jones has the potential to be the best on this list but he isn't there yet. I think his power numbers will get a boost in 2012 but he also needs to focus on his defensive responsibilities. Granderson had a huge 2011 and it's hard not to rank him #1. Anytime a speedy center field can hit 40 homers and league the American League in RBI you know he's a special player. Ellsbury is a legit threat for 40 homers and 40 stolen bases. Upton is gifted but he has yet to put together a complete season to get him mentioned with the league's elite center fielders.
1. Jose Bautista, Toronto Blue Jays
2. Nick Markakis, Baltimore Orioles
3. Nick Swisher, New York Yankees
4. Matt Joyce, Tampa Bay Rays
5. Cody Ross, Boston Red Sox
Markakis is the best all around player on this list so he earns a 2nd place finish despite his declining offensive production recently. Former O's prospect Jose Bautista (or Joey Bats as his friends call him) has been crushing homers left and right over the past couple seasons. Swisher is a lock for 20 homers and 80 RBI and even though it feels like he's been around forever is only 31 years old.
Yankees: 34 points
Red Sox: 25 points
Orioles: 23 points
Rays: 19 points
Blue Jays: 19 points
According to my very scientific formula the Orioles have the third best lineup in the AL East. Obviously this ranking system is skewed but with Wieters, Hardy, Jones, Markakis, and Reynolds the Orioles do have the potential to be a hard hitting lineup. There isn't enough alcohol in the world to convince me to do this same ranking system comparing the O's starting rotations with the other four teams in the division but maybe one of my fellow IHJJR bloggers will volunteer. Either way 2012 will be another rebuilding year in Charm City but the important thing to take away here is that the organization has pieces to build around. Whether they actually start building toward contention remains to be seen.