Early Predictions: MVO

Spring training hasn’t even started yet, but it’s never too soon to start making predictions. So, I will ask Orioles fans who they think will be the Most Valuable Oriole for the 2011 season. I realize this is a better question to ask in September when fans can debate over which player was the most valuable to the Orioles success that season, but why not see who fans think will play well this season.

Luke Scott was named the Most Valuable Oriole last season after hitting .284 with 27 home runs and 72 RBI’s. My guess is most fans would not have predicted Luke Scott would be the Most Valuable Oriole in 2010. So who will win the award this season?

The Orioles are a team without a superstar player, which means most of their team could step up and have a great season. Ty Wiggington garnered a lot of consideration for being the Orioles most valuable player and he wasn’t even supposed to be a starter last year.

Without a true ace, really any of the Orioles starters could have a break out year. Additionally, I could see Kevin Gregg or Koji Uehara racking up the saves and being the team’s most valuable player as well. As an Orioles fan my hope is that Jason Berken, Jim Johnson, or another Orioles reliever isn’t up for consideration for MVO come September. If your team has a middle reliever who is being considered one of your most valuable players then you’re probably not winning many games.

If you look at the Orioles projected opening day lineup really any of the Orioles potential starters could have that big year. Even though there isn’t one superstar player, the Orioles will have 9 players in their Opening Day lineup that could have a big year and turn out to be the Most Valuable Oriole.

I am going to predict that Brian Matusz will be the Orioles most valuable player for the 2011 season. He is the most polished of the Orioles young starters and he clearly is the closest to reaching his full potential. He ended the 2010 season on a high note and if he reaches his potential, he could become one of the best starters in baseball.

I expect (or maybe I’m just hoping) the Orioles to have numerous position players who will put up strong offensive years. However, with a rotation that is expected to be occupied by young starters who will likely go through their rough patches, Matusz can step up this year and anchor the rotation.

So who do you think will be the Most Valuable Oriole when 2011 is finished? Will it be one of the Orioles young players who fans are hoping will finally have that breakout year? Maybe it will be one of their offseason pickups. Or maybe it will end up being a surprise player who isn’t even on the roster yet. I’m marking it down; Brian Matusz will be the 2011 MVO.

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