The Baltimore Orioles have become the old folks home of the American League at this point, especially with Vladimir Guerrero, Brian Roberts, and Derrek Lee. Still you could do worse and have Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez on your team, I suppose.
2B - Brian Roberts - B-Rob as his friends call him, and since we are friends, I'll call him that, is coming off of an injury plagued year that saw him miss basically the first half of the season. When he did get in there, he wasn't that relevant, hitting under .280 for the first time in his career and only netting 12 steals in 59 games, which translates into less than 30 over a full season. 2nd base is a thin position and included in B-Robs potential is the high risk of injury (especially since the most recent one is based on headaches). I have him projected between 11-15 for 2nd basemen, he'll get on someone's team.
RF - Nick Markakis - The opposite of Roberts in durability, Markakis is about as consistent as they come. This means that when he has a down year, it's not really that down in the fantasy realm, and when he has a great year, it's really not that great, it's just really good. I have him projected to be a top 30 outfielder at this point, but right now, he's just a poor man's Shin-Shoo Choo.
DH - Vladimir Guererro - Vlady is coming off a resurrection of sorts while playing in the Texas heat. Those that followed his statistical prowess know that he had a great 1st half and saw a significant drop off in the second half. The question then becomes can he put it together for a full season? If he can again, then he becomes really relevant, if he can't then it most likely be because of the nagging injuries that seem to plague him at this stage year in and year out. I have ranked between 30-40 for outfielders.
1B - Derrek Lee - Lee saw his production dip significantly in all power categories and with his batting average as well. Traditionally a very disciplined hitter, his glaucoma must have gotten the best of him (he doesn't really have glaucome, just an old reference). The change of scenery and the comfortable confines of Camden Yards, will likely give a slight boost to his productivity, but nothing that warrants a starting 1st base gig on your fantasy team. I have ranked between 21st and 25th for 1st baseman.
CF- Adam Jones - The one fantasy knock on Jones is that he still strikes out too much for the below average power and speed that he produces. Jones has a ton of potential, even with the Albert Belle hip issue (which most people probably forgot about), and with the additions of professional hitters Lee and Guererro, they might be able to mentor his talent better than Markakis and Roberts have. I have ranked outside of the top 50 for outfielders. Someone will take him, just hopefully not as a starter.
3B - Mark Reynolds - The worst fantasy player in the history of fantasy sports. So many reasons to hate this player, the biggest is how many times he'll strikeout. Don't get me wrong, for 1 or 2 weeks a year, he'll streak through to 40 fantasy points in a week, but for the rest of the weeks, he cancels out his power with his whiffs. Reynolds shouldn't be drafted, in the event that he is, it should only be as a back-up. I have him ranked between 26th and 30th.
C - Matt Wieters - He was a tweener, in between the wave of catchers that brought about the likes of Mauer and McCann, and a year or two ahead of the Poseys and Santanas. In Oriole lore, they say that at one time he was being compared to Mauer as the next great catcher. So much so that three years ago, everyone clammered for him when he was called up. While he's been okay, he hasn't been great. Catcher is a thin position, so he'll have a spot on a team somewhere, I have him ranked right around 10th.
SS - JJ Hardy - Where did his power go? They say that it left with a wrist injury that plagued him all season, to the point where he only played 101 games last season. Not sure if I believe that more than I believe that the Brewers saw this coming and were glad to cast off dead weight. Hardy could warrant a starting gig on someone's team, I have him ranked between 16th and 20th.
LF - Felix Pie - Pie has a ton of talent, but a poor attitude, at least according to the Sports Xchange could limit his outfield time and this slot might go to Luke Scott. Either way, Pie shouldn't be on your radar as a starting outfielder as I have him ranked outside of 75th at this point, and he could drop even further if Luke Scott earns more playing time.
1 - Jeremy Guthrie - I hope that I'm not the only one that feels bad for Guthrie. He's been such a trooper, sticking it out all these years with the the O-Birds. The bad news is that he's the #1, the good news is that he anchors an increasingly talented staff. If he comes close the 11 wins, sub 4 ERA, and 120 K's he had last year in over 200 IPs, achieving 325-350 FPTS is a no-brainer.
2 - Brian Matusz - Matusz is a front-of-the-line starter in the making and he made a name for himself, especially with how young he is. He exhibits decent control and has penchant for strikeouts. You have to like him a lot for those two categories. I think he'll be the highest scoring Orioles starting pitcher and could push for 400, but I think he'll fall to the 350-375 range.
3 - Brad Bergeron - In the world of fantasy a pitch-to-contact pitcher for the Orioles isn't going to win you too many titles. Especially one that has a 3.0 BBs per 9 IP average. While he might mature into a solid #3 option, right now he should be at the back of a rotation, not the middle. I have him projected right around 300 points.
4 - Chris Tillman - He has the talent to join Matusz at the top of this rotation some day. His minor league numbers are pretty phenomenal. If those numbers can translate into Major League success, then this soon-to-be 23 year old will have a long and fruitfull career on fantasy rosters everywhere. I have him projected right around 250, but a 300+ season is entirely possible.
5 - Jake Arrieta - The options for the Orioles at this point would be to go with Arrieta who has elbow issues or Justin Duscherer who is always injured and hasn't pitched more than 140 innings in his career. It doesnt matter either way, if you draft Arrieta or Duscherer you should probably have your head examined. Neither have any fantasy relevance at this point in the season.
Closer: Koji Uehara - Uehara will close to start, but with Kevin Gregg and Mike Gonzalez on stand-bye, drafting any Oriole closer would be doing an injustice to your team. Chances are that Showalter will opt for a closer by committee until one of them shows that they are the real deal. Stay away from Uehara, Gregg and Gonzalez on draft day.
Prospects: With so many pitching prospects coming to the majors over the last year and half, the farm has been mostly depleted. For 2011, they do have a couple of prospects waiting in the wings and with another unproductive season by Hardy, Manny Machado may make it the show, Zach Britton could challenge for a starting gig out of spring training, it is more likely that he'll join the big club at some point over the summer after Arrietta and/or Duscherer go down.
Next Team: Boston Red Sox