The Baltimore Orioles’ big 2015 addition may already be on their roster.


Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As we approach the new year, the Baltimore Orioles find themselves in an awkward spot halfway through the 2014-15 off-season.

The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays, and New York Yankees have attacked the trade and free-agent market to strengthen their teams, while the Orioles have watched their 2014 home run leader, longest tenured player, and crucial trade-deadline acquisition all sign with other teams. Making matters worse, their brilliant general manager who won the 2014 Executive of the Year award has been rumored to be more interested in working with a division rival.

It would appear to the naked eye that the Orioles are a worse team on paper heading into the upcoming season. Fans will remind you that the Orioles stand to lose even more in next season’s free-agent class (Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, Bud Norris, Wei-Yin Chen) and that Baltimore’s window to win a World Series may be closing..

With all of the negativity that has plagued this winter (even if it’s justified), the Orioles have an ace up their sleeve. Except, this ace isn’t really up their sleeve. This ace is right in our face.

During the Orioles’ dark ages from 1998 through 2011, the one thing that kept fans optimistic heading into each spring training were the “top prospects” who were due to break out.

Guess what, the Orioles still have that element to complement a defending AL East Championship roster.

Starting pitchers like Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy are ready to produce for a whole season in the Major Leagues, and Hitters like Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez may not be far behind.

Jonathan Schoop is coming off an inconsistent, yet promising rookie campaign that showed flashes of what he might become.

Manny Machado is ready to put a full season in for the Orioles, who continue to look for stability at third base (though his knees will have to stay healthy).

Probability has the 2015 Orioles with Gausman, Bundy, Schoop and Machado all on the Major League Roster, with a chance of seeing Walker and Alvarez at some point in the summer. They are not Baltimore’s anchor, though. They are the next class of Orioles.

Some day when Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and Chris Tillman have moved on, it is very possible that these younger players have eclipsed the current class of Orioles stars.

It is only a matter of time before one of those “prospects” takes off and becomes one of the team’s new anchors, and who’s to say it isn’t  going to be in 2015 during a division title race?

Which of these players do you think will make the biggest impact for the 2015 Orioles? What do you think it will take with the current roster to get into the playoffs again? Leave your comments below.