Melvin Mora looking to rebound this season

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Sunday 18 February 2007 at 11:18 pm

It wasn’t as if 35 year old Melvin Mora had a poor season, but it was down compared to his production between 2003-2005.  Mora hit .274 last season, scored 96 runs, hit 16 homers, drove in 83 runs and had a .733 OPS.  Those were not bad numbers but the Orioles expected a little more from him and they hope they’ll get it this season.  Mora made 17 errors and has about average range but the Orioles can live with that if Mora hits well.  Look for him to rebound this season with a fine year with the stick.

The Orioles signed soon to be 28 year old Terry Tiffee and they will give him a chance to make the team.  He hasn’t had much success at the major league level to date and he doesn’t have the power that one wants from the hot corner.  He hit .244 with 2 homers and 6 RBIs for the Twins last season in 45 at bats.  He’s also not much of a defender as he made 2 errors in only 51 innings at 3B for the Twins last year.  He’ll be lucky to make the Orioles.

Look for Freddie Bynum and Chris Gomez to also get some playing time at third base for the Orioles this season.

The Orioles new “Iron Man” plays shortstop

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Sunday 18 February 2007 at 11:05 pm

Miguel Tejada has played in all 162 games in each of his last six seasons as he’s following in Cal Ripken Jr’s footsteps. He’s putting up much better numbers than Ripken ever did and he’s the building block of the Orioles team! Tejada hit .330 last season with 24 homers (8th straight season with at least 21 homers), 100 RBIs (achieved 100+ RBIs in 6 of his last 7 seasons) and a .878 OPS which is outstanding! Tejada has good range as a shortstop, but he makes a lot of errors (19 last season) and he needs to improve on that part of his game. Look for Tejada to continue his dominance over the American League with another huge season for the Orioles.

26 year old lefty swinging Brandon Fahey is Tejada’s main back up, but he also played a lot of 2B and in the OF. Fahey has never been much of a hitter in the minor leagues and he didn’t hit well for the Orioles either. Fahey hit .235 with 2 homers, 23 RBIs and a .614 OPS in 251 at bats as a rookie. He didn’t play too well defensively at shortstop for the Orioles as he made 3 errors in 97.1 innings there. He also didn’t show much range.

Orioles solid at 2B

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Sunday 18 February 2007 at 10:44 pm

29 year old switch hitting Brian Roberts will be the starting second baseman for the Orioles again this season and they need him to stay healthy as he makes their offense go.  Roberts hit .286 last season with 85 runs scored, 10 homers, 55 RBIs, 36 steals and a .757 OPS.  Roberts should have another very solid season for the Orioles and he will probably score over 100 runs this year as long as he stays healthy.  He doesn’t have great range on defense, but he only made 9 errors last season.

27 year old lefty swinging Freddie Bynum was acquired in a trade with the Cubs.  He can play 2B and the OF so he will be a valuable part of the Orioles bench.  He hit .257 with 4 homers, 12 RBIs, 8 steals and a .764 OPS in only 136 at bats last season for the Cubs.  Look for Bynum to get at least as much playing time as he got last year for the Cubs and he should be productive.

Chris Gomez and Brandon Fahey could also get some playing time at second base this year for the Orioles.

Jose Acevedo out for the season

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Injuries by High Heat on Saturday 17 February 2007 at 12:02 am

Non-roster invitee Jose Acevedo is out for the season after hurting himself in a motorcycle accident on Friday.  He broke 4 ribs and a collar bone.  He was going to have a hard time making the Orioles this season as he’s not been too successful in his major league career to date.  Acevedo has a career record of 18-25 with 1 save and a 5.74 ERA (1.45 WHIP).

The Orioles sign Steve Trachsel

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by High Heat on Tuesday 13 February 2007 at 1:24 am

The Orioles signed 36 year old Steve Trachsel to a 1 year contract last night.  Trachsel will take Kris Benson’s spot in the rotation for the Orioles.  He was 15-8 last season for the New York Mets with a 4.97 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.  For his career, Trachsel is 134-143 with a 4.28 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP.  Trachsel has won 15 or more games three times in his 14 year career.  His numbers should go up this season as he’s moving from a National League Pitching Park to a American League Hitters Park.  The Orioles might have been better off giving Hayden Penn a shot in the rotation.  Only time will tell.

Kris Benson to miss entire 2007 season

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Injuries by High Heat on Monday 12 February 2007 at 4:03 pm

32 year old right handed starting pitcher Kris Benson will miss the entire 2007 season with a partially torn rotator cuff.  This is a big blow for the Orioles who were depending on him to give them quality innings and a chance to win every time he goes out to the mound.  He made 30 starts last season, pitched 183 innings and finished the season with a 11-12 record with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.  This tragedy will probably solidify lefty Adam Loewen as the #4 starter on the Orioles unless they sign Steve Trachsel or Mark Redman to take over that spot in the rotation.  It also gives Hayden Penn and Jeremy Guthrie a chance to keep for the #5 job in the rotation if the Orioles don’t sign a veteran free-agent.

Designated Hitter should be a strength for the Orioles this season

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Sunday 11 February 2007 at 3:44 pm

The Orioles will likely start 30 year old Jay Gibbons at DH this season.  He hit .277 with a .799 OPS, 13 homers and 46 RBIs in 343 at bats last season.  The Orioles are trying to keep Gibbons healthy this season and that’s why they aren’t letting him play in the field.  He has only played in more than 100 games three times in his six year career.  He does struggle against left handed pitching so he might sit against some of them.  In the three seasons that Gibbons has played in at least 100 games, he has averaged 25.7 homers, 82.7 RBIs and 74.3 runs scored so he should be productive if the Orioles can keep him healthy.

Look for Kevin Millar to get a lot of at bats against left handed starting pitchers.  He still swings a pretty good bat.  Gibbons/Millar will put up good numbers at the DH position for the Orioles.

The Orioles look good at first base

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Wednesday 7 February 2007 at 12:08 pm

The Orioles will more than likely start 30 year old, lefty swinging Aubrey Huff at first base.  Huff is a versatile player in the field, but first base would be the best place for the Orioles to play him.  He had an off-season last year as he hit .267 with 21 homers and 66 RBIs in 454 at bats with an .813 OPS.  The Orioles are hoping that Huff returns to his 2004-2005 form with the bat as he averaged .279, 81 runs scored, 25.5 homers and 98 RBIs per season.  Huff only played 3 games and first base last season and he didn’t make an error.  He should be an average defensive first baseman.

35 year old Kevin Millar will be the back up at first base and the outfield corners for the Orioles.  He hit decent for the Orioles last season as he had a .272 average, .811 OPS, and hit 15 homers and knocked in 64 runs.  Millar probably won’t get as many at bats as he had last season for the Orioles but he will get his fair share of playing time all over the field.  Even though he doesn’t have much range in the field, he only made 4 errors in 98 games there so he won’t be a libaility there.

36 year old Chris Comez played 27 games at first base and made no errors.  He will be #3 in line at this position, but he plays all over the place so he’ll get playing time.  He hit .341 last season for the Orioles with a .826 OPS in 132 at bats.

Orioles catchers

Blogged under Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by High Heat on Monday 5 February 2007 at 1:34 am

Ramon Hernandez will be the starting catcher this season for the Orioles.  Hernandez is a good hitter with power.  He hit .275 with an OPS of .822 last season.  He did wear down a little bit last season so the Orioles brought in defensive minded Paul Bako to back him up.  Hernandez hit 23 homers last season and knocked in 91 runs and he should be able to come close to those numbers again as long as he can stay healthy.  He does need to tighten up his defense as he made 13 errors and had 13 passed balls.  Those numbers must improve because he’s a better catcher than that.  Hernandez does have a good throwing arm as he nailed 39% of the base stealers that challenged him.

Paul Bako will be the backup for the Orioles.  He’s a lefty swinger but he’s not known much for his bat.  Bako only hit .209 with a .490 OPS for the Royals last season so don’t expect miracles with a bat in his hands.  Bako only made 2 errors in 53 games last season and threw out 29% of the base stealers that tried him out.

J.R. House will challenge Bako for the backup job.  He hit .345 in the minors last season with 83 runs, 15 homers and 105 RBIs.  But House has never converted his solid hitting in the minors to major league success.  He’s only 2 for 19 (.105 avg) in his major league career.  He is a longshot to make the team, but he does have a chance.

Rule 5 Draftee Adam Donachie will be given a chance to make the team, but he’s a very long shot to stick.  He only hit .247 in the low minors with 8 homers and 31 RBIs.

The Orioles sign reliever Paul Shuey

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Front Page by High Heat on Sunday 4 February 2007 at 3:11 pm

The Orioles have signed Paul Shuey to a minor league contract and having invited him to Spring Training.  Shuey is 36 years old and hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since 2003.  He retired after that season because of a bad hip, but he’s says that he’s feeling better and he’s ready to pitch.  He might be a longshot to make the team, but if he’s healthy I wouldn’t bet against him because he was a good pitcher.  Shuey has a career record of 45-27 with 22 saves.  His career ERA is 3.57 with a WHIP of 1.376.

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