Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday at Orioles FanFest, a fan quoted manager Buck Showalter and said, “Never overlook an orchid when you’re looking for a rose.” That same fan then asked Showalter, “What ‘orchids’ are we overlooking on the roster right now, Skip?”
Whether the national media gives Baltimore recognition or not, the Orioles have a lot of talent on their team. Most notably, the organization has players like Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, and Chris Davis who get most of the national baseball media’s attention.
While these three make up the core of the team, more players who dawn the orange and black are ready to break out this season and grab the attention of the baseball world.
Manny Machado is gearing up for his fourth year in the major leagues. Hopefully, this will be the year for Machado where he goes a full season without being sidelined from injury.
Last season, Machado batted .278/.324/.431 with 14 doubles, 12 home runs and 32 RBI. In games played at Camden Yards, Machado batted .299/.357/.522 with nine home runs and 16 RBI in 2014.
Since debuting in Baltimore back in 2012, Orioles fans have gotten a taste of what kind of impact Machado can have on the team. With stellar defense and an ability to drive the ball into the gaps, some have compared Machado to Hall of Famer and Orioles legend, Brooks Robinson.
In 2013, Machado was recognized for his play in the field by being awarded his first career Gold Glove Award and Platinum Glove Award.
No. 13 is a professional at making difficult defensive plays with ease. These plays have turned a few heads in the baseball world. Now, with two good knees, Machado is ready to show the entire country what he can do on a baseball diamond.
Jonathan Schoop is a player fans should look out for to make a splash in 2015. Last season, Schoop’s reliable defense at second base is what kept him in the lineup night in and night out. Like Showalter says, Schoop can turn a double player better than anyone in the American League with his cannon for an arm.
Although he batted just .209/.244/.354 with 16 home runs and 45 RBI, people must remember that Schoop is still very young.
At 23-years-old, Schoop still has much development to undergo. Last season was a learning experience for him. Now with a full season of major league baseball under his belt, look for Schoop and his batting numbers to better in 2015.
Zach Britton came on in 2014 and not only filled the need for a closer, but also thrived in his new position. Before 2014, Britton was a starting pitcher. After beginning the season as a middle reliever, Britton was became the team’s closer.
Britton stifled batters all season long, and with a 1.65 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 76 1/3 innings pitched, that fact is easy to see. With 37 saves in 41 save opportunities, Britton had the fourth-most saves in the American League and the 11th-most saves in the entire MLB.
Britton did not get his first save opportunity last season until May 15th against the Kansas City Royals. This upcoming season, with his role on the team locked up, Britton may become one of the more formidable closers in the entire American League.