The 2014 Baltimore Orioles‘ roster is far and away the most talented roster the Orioles have fielded in well over a decade and they’re yet to really hit their peak. Many of the teams around them in the American League have arguably reached their ceiling, but the same can’t be said about Buck Showalter and his Orioles.
Playing in the AL East may actually be an advantage for the Orioles come September. Baltimore will be tested early and often playing teams like the defending champion Boston Red Sox, perennial powerhouse New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, who just keep finding ways to win. If the Orioles can make it through those teams and win the division or clinch a Wild Card berth, they’ll have the confidence to beat anybody in baseball.
Baltimore’s roster is very, very skilled. They have a prolific offense with a real chance to set records in 2014, a solid pitching rotation and retain most of a 2013 defense that shattered multiple records. Maintaining most of their players from 2013 and adding guys like Ubaldo Jimenez, Nelson Cruz and David Lough, the Orioles are ready to reach their ultimate goal, a World Series championship. The core group of this team has spent years together, they’ve experienced misery and moments of sheer joy together; don’t underestimate what that could mean over the course of a MLB season.
“Ever since I’ve been here, we’ve had a lot of guys at the same stage of their careers, the same age, and we’ve been able to keep a lot of us together,” Matt Wieters said to the NY Times. “It’s very rare to have so many guys from 25 to 31 on the team. More than anything, it’s nice for all the players because we’ve been through very similar stages in our career.”
A lot of people don’t believe in the Orioles because they believe Baltimore’s pitching isn’t strong enough, but the Orioles’ starting rotation is very underrated. Chris Tillman will continue his success from 2012 and 2013 and the acquisition of Jimenez will take pressure off of guys like Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez, as well as eating innings to keep the bullpen rested. The only real question mark about this group of pitchers is who’s going to close games. A Baltimore team flying under the radar is nothing new, though, and the players like it.
“I really think we got the mix this year, I think we kinda like that nobody talks about us. It’s our M.O, we fly under the radar,” Chris Davis told MLB.com.
The Orioles are going to surprise a lot of people in 2014, but don’t take my word for it, opening day is tomorrow and the Orioles will begin their quest for their first World Series title since 1983.