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Analyzing the Baltimore Orioles’ 2014 Opening Day Lineup

Analyzing the Baltimore Orioles' Opening Day Lineup

Orioles Lineup Card
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have one of the most dangerous lineups in MLB; there’s no doubt about that. But what is each individual hitter’s situation coming into the 2014 season? This is what my lineup would look like on Opening Day if my name was Buck Showalter.

1. Nick Markakis, RF

Nick Markakis
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

1. Nick Markakis, RF

Nick Markakis
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Markakis has been a staple in the Orioles' lineup for years. But he's coming off his worst career year, and with his contract set to expire after the season, Markakis has a lot to prove. Expect a big year from Markakis. He’s worked very hard this offseason and he’ll reap the benefits with one of his better years at the plate in 2014.

2. Manny Machado, 3B

Manny Machado
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

2. Manny Machado, 3B

Manny Machado
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Manny Machado is rehabbing a gruesome knee injury he suffered late last season in Tampa Bay, but when he comes back the pressure to build off what he accomplished last season will be huge. Machado is one of the game’s brightest stars, and while he may start the year off slowly you can expect him to be putting up good numbers again this season.

3. Adam Jones, CF

Adam Jones
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

3. Adam Jones, CF

Adam Jones
Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Jones is the face of the franchise, and the pressure will be on to continue his success. He’s coming off the best year of his career at the plate, and to keep fans happy he’ll have to put up similar numbers in 2014. Jones has gotten off to a slow start in Spring Training, but he won’t miss a beat come Opening Day.

4. Chris Davis, 1B

Chris Davis
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

4. Chris Davis, 1B

Chris Davis
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Davis is one of the league’s prolific power hitters, and he’s coming off one of the best seasons any Oriole has ever had at the plate. Davis is off to a good start in Spring Training, and he’ll prove 2013 wasn't a fluke by blasting 40+ home runs in 2014 and competing for an MVP trophy.

5. Nelson Cruz, DH

Nelson Cruz
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

5. Nelson Cruz, DH

Nelson Cruz
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Nelson Cruz came to Baltimore on a one-year contract with a lot to prove. After being suspended 50 games for his connection with the Biogensis PED Scandal, he has to win over the fans in Baltimore and prove he can still be a legitimate threat in the middle of the order. Cruz has the support of his teammates, and he’ll quickly win the support of the fans with a big 2014 campaign.

6. J.J. Hardy, SS

JJ Hardy
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

6. J.J. Hardy, SS

JJ Hardy
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Over the past few seasons, J.J. Hardy has made a name for himself with his stellar defense and power at the plate. Those trends will continue in 2014. While Hardy may never hit .300, you can pencil him in for another 20 home run season in 2014.

7. Matt Wieters, C

Matt Wieters
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

7. Matt Wieters, C

Matt Wieters
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Wieters has consistently disappointed fans at the plate after being one of the game’s most highly-touted prospects, but that’s not because Wieters isn't a good player. Wieters was over-hyped when he came into the league, and in reality he may never be more than a guy who hits 20+ home runs and plays fantastic defense. But what’s wrong with that? Expect Wieters to raise his average a little bit over his .239 mark last season, though.

8. Jonathan Schoop, 2B

Jonathan Schoop
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

8. Jonathan Schoop, 2B

Jonathan Schoop
Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Schoop won't be an instant superstar like Manny Machado was; that's very rare. In his first full season Schoop will have his ups and downs like any rookie. Expect more ups for Schoop as he's very talented and very strong. I wouldn't be surprised if he hits 20 home runs too.

9. David Lough, LF

David Lough
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

9. David Lough, LF

David Lough
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

David Lough is Nate McLouth's replacement, and while he may not have the power that McLouth did he's still very capable at the plate. Expect him to get on base a lot and steal some bases.

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