We did it, we have outlasted a very brutal winter here in Charm City and now the Baltimore Orioles will have their first full team workout today in Sarasota to set Spring Training in "full-go" mode. Today we have reached the finale of our ten-part Orioles Spring Training preview as we give you our prediction for the Opening Day 25-man roster for the Birds.
We have written about 10-15 drafts of this article and not once has the same roster been put together twice, but we have dove deeper into the statistics and anything else that would help us reach our prediction of the Orioles 25-man roster when camp breaks. Obviously, a lot could change between now and then with injuries, signings, trades and other circumstances that could help someone make the team.
So let's get to it shall we?
First and foremost, we are doing this with the assumption that Manny Machado will be on the 15-day DL to begin the season as the team will not want to rush him back, and a 100% healthy Machado for 95% of the season is better than having him be 85% healthy on Opening Day and have him all season. We are not reporting anything here, that is simply our opinion and we believe Machado will ready to go in Mid-April.
That obviously clears up a spot for someone, albeit not for very long. So here is what our 25-man roster prediction looks like and then we will follow with our justifications.
25-Man Roster Prediction
Starting Rotation (5)
- Chris Tillman
- Ubaldo Jimenez
- Wei-Yin Chen
- Miguel Gonzalez
- Bud Norris
- Tommy Hunter
- Brian Matusz
- Darren O'Day
- Ryan Webb
- Zach Britton
- Suk-min Yoon
- Kelvin De La Cruz
- Matt Wieters
- Steve Clevenger
- Adam Jones
- Nick Markakis
- David Lough
- Henry Urrutia
- Delmon Young
- Nolan Reimold
- JJ Hardy
- Chris Davis
- Ryan Flaherty
- Michael Almanzar
- Alexi Casilla
The first thing that you will notice most likely is that we put Kelvin De La Cruz in the bullpen, and that may be the biggest surprise in our prediction but the reasoning is that the Orioles and Buck Showalter like to have three left handers in the bullpen due to a right handed heavy rotation. De La Cruz held left handed hitters to just a .217 average against in 2013 in AA and AAA and has a track record in his Minor League career of getting left handers out. This is one spot that could easily change as Alfredo Aceves could land this spot, as well as Josh Stinson or Brad Brach.
Britton gets the nod in the bullpen as this year's T.J. McFarland in that he will be the team's left handed long reliever. He has to be on the roster as he is out of options, or the Orioles would likely lose him if they try to pass him through waivers.
Another surprise is the fact that we have six outfielders making the 25-man roster, but when you look at it, Young is not going to play the outfield as he will be the team's right handed DH against left handed hitters. Don't forget that Young is a .282 career hitter in the big leagues, and his .303 average and .812 OPS against left handed pitchers shows that he can be a valuable weapon for the Orioles.
Urrutia is also not likely to play much in the field as his defense still needs some work, but he is set up to be the Birds' left handed DH against right handed pitchers. We are anxious to see how the muscle he has added this offseason, and the fact that he has had a full offseason to workout and not be worrying about Visa's or anything like that will help him this spring.
The organization has a love affair with Reimold and let's face it, if he is healthy, you know he is going to be on the 25-man roster. Of course the big question is IF he can stay healthy or not as nothing in his career would lead you to believe that he can do that and add to it that he is coming off of two spinal fusion surgeries.
Some of the notables that we left off the roster are Jemile Weeks, Johnny Monell, Steve Pearce, Alfredo Aceves, Josh Stinson, Brad Brach, Edgmer Escalona, and Troy Patton.
Weeks or Pearce would likely be the first position player in line to make the roster if someone gets injured during the spring, and Stinson, Brach or Aceves would likely be the next pitcher in line if someone were to get injured and Patton will begin the season serving a 25 game suspension due to testing positive for Adderall. Obviously, Monell would likely be the next catcher in line if Wieters or Clevenger gets hurt, or he could simply beat out Clevenger this spring.
So there you have it, that's our prediction for the Orioles 25-man roster. What do you think? Who would make your roster? Let the debate begin by posting a comment!
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