Not too long ago the Orioles had a big question mark at 1B but now they boast pretty good depth there. 30-year old righty swinging Garrett Atkins will start at first base for the Orioles. He played in 126 games for the Rockies last season and he was 80 for 354 (.226 avg, .650 OPS) with 37 runs scored, 9 homers and 48 RBIs. The Orioles hope that last year was just a down one for Atkins. They are hoping they get the version of Atkins that hit .301 with a average of 87 runs scored, 36.5 doubles, 22 homers and 104.8 RBIs from the 2005 to 2008 season with the Rockies. Atkins made 1 error in 28 games (11 starts) at first base for the Orioles. They think he will be a decent 1B defensively.
If Atkins isn’t up to the task of being the everyday 1B in 2010 Ty Wigginton will be waiting to replace him on the pine. He played in 122 games for the Orioles last season and he was 112 for 410 (.273 avg, .714 OPS) with 44 runs scored, 11 homers and 41 RBIs. Wigginton made 4 errors in 40 games (38 starts) at 1B for the Orioles last season so he has to improve defensively to keep getting playing time there. Wigginton’s best asset is that he can play a lot of positions so even if he doesn’t have a set position he will still get some playing time.
27-year old lefty swinging Michael Aubrey was a nice find for the O’s last season. He played in 31 games for the Orioles last season and he was 26 for 90 (.289 avg, .826 OPS) with 12 runs scored, 4 homers and 14 RBIs. Aubrey is also pretty slick with the glove as he didn’t make any errors in 25 games (21 starts) at 1B for the Orioles last season. He was once a very highly thought of prospect in the Indians’ organization so maybe the change of scenery has given him the needed jolt to get his career back on track.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 1B IN 2010: C