For most MLB teams, the focus is now officially on 2012. You can probably say the same for most fans, too. So here at MLBDD we're spending some time projecting each team's 25-man roster for Opening Day 2012. We're not projecting trades or free agent signings here, so this is purely focusing on the talent that each team already has in-house. The 2012 season may not start soon, but we can still think about what it might look like.
Starting Lineup (ages are based on April 4, 2012)
Catcher: Matt Wieters - Age 25
First Base: Mark Reynolds - Age 28
Second Base: Brian Roberts - Age 34
Third Base: Chris Davis - Age 26
Shortstop: J.J. Hardy - Age 29
Left Field: Nolan Reimold - Age 28
Center Field: Adam Jones - Age 26
Right Field: Nick Markakis - Age 28
Designated Hitter: Luke Scott - Age 31
1. 2B Roberts 2. SS Hardy 3. RF Markakis 4. C Wieters 5. CF Jones 6. 1B Reynolds 7. DH Scott 8. 3B Davis 9. LF Reimold
C Craig Tatum, IF Robert Andino, IF Ryan Adams, OF Matt Angle
1. RHP Jeremy Guthrie - Age 33 (as of 4/8/12)
2. LHP Zach Britton - Age 24
3. RHP Jake Arrieta - Age 26
4. LHP Brian Matusz - Age 25
5. RHP Chris Tillman - Age 24 (as of 4/15/12)
Closer: RHP Jim Johnson - Age 28
Others: RHP Kevin Gregg, RHP Alfredo Simon, LHP Troy Patton, RHP Pedro Strop, RHP Chris Jakubauskas, RHP Tommy Hunter
Some Quick Thoughts
- This could be a pretty deep offense. It's awfully unusual to see the final four hitters in a team's batting order be the first baseman, third baseman, designated hitter and left fielder, but offense up the middle is actually one of this team's strengths.
- I'm going with Brian Roberts here, but we're all aware of the concussion issues that he's battled all year. There hasn't been any definitive word on his long-term prognosis, yet, but there's a chance that the O's have to go with Andino as their primary second baseman again next season.
- I expect the Orioles to tender a contract to Scott despite his limited 2011 season. He's arbitration-eligible for the final time next season and should make around $7 million, which is solid value assuming that he's healthy. This is a close one, but I think he'll be back.
- You could mix up the back of that rotation if you want. Guthrie and Britton are absolute locks, while I think this is the most likely scenario. If Tillman or Arrieta struggles, though, they could easily slot Tommy Hunter or even Brad Bergesen into the rotation.
- There's been talk about the team moving reliever Jim Johnson to the rotation next season. It's still a possibility, but the Orioles don't have a ton of depth in the bullpen and should use him there next season unless they really believe that he can succeed in a starting role.