With spring training underway and some young talent being showcased for the Orioles in Sarasota, Florida it looks to be a promising season in Baltimore. After seeing the success that Manny Machado has had since being called up with seven weeks left in the 2012 season, it is very possible that a few young players will be called up by the Orioles over the course of the season. These young players will be playing big roles in a roster that has suffered some losses this offseason (see Nate McLouth, Scott Feldman, Brian Roberts) so it is time to explore our options in which players to call up, here’s a look at 2 players that are primed to make a big impact in Baltimore this year.
When Brian Roberts departed for the Yankees in mid-December he left a glaring hole at the second base position that the Orioles organization has rarely had to address until now. A mainstay at second base Roberts leaves the team as the leader in stolen bases, doubles, hits, and runs so it is hard to replace a player that provided so much for the organization but the best candidate seems to be Jonathan Schoop, the second baseman from Willemstad, Curacao. From 2008 to 2013, the 22-year old infielder worked his way through the Orioles farm system and eventually was called up to the active roster when it expanded to 40 players on September 1st. He excelled in 2012 for Double-A Bowie Baysox, with a batting average of .245, 14 homeruns and 119 hits in 124 games, providing one of the most promising bats to come out of the Orioles farm system. This young man has the opportunity to make an immediate impact with his bat as the Orioles don’t seem comfortable with making Ryan Flaherty an everyday second baseman this season.
It is a well-known fact that the Baltimore Orioles have some concerns in the pitching department, the departures of Scott Feldman and Jason Hammel have left gaping holes in starting pitcher rotation. Insert 20-year old Eduardo Rodriguez, a southpaw from Venezuela, this is a guy who could potentially be joining the likes of Kevin Gausman and possibly Dylan Bundy in the starting rotation in the second half of 2014. While Rodriguez doesn’t have the name recognition that Gausman has gained the past year or the national publicity that Bundy has gotten, Rodriguez has the ability to perform up to par with pro-level pitchers. His fastball hovers in the mid-90’s ran and has shown massive strides in the movement on his slider and curveball in his time in the Orioles farm system. During his season in 2013 while with the Frederick Keys and Bowie Baysox, Rodriguez average just under 8 strikeouts per nine innings to go along with his 10-7 record. If Rodriguez shows the Orioles at the start of the season that he is ready for the “Big Time” , he may be finding himself suiting up in Orioles orange and black come July or August.
The future looks bright for the Orioles, with a plethora of pitching prospects in the farm system and the young talent that has started to step up and provide significant production, the Orioles front office can be patting themselves on the back for the job they’ve done in developing this young talent.