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Players To Watch: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles players we'll be keeping an eye on for mixed leagues in 2011...

  • Nick Markakis, OF.  Drafted in the fifth round on average before the 2010 season, Markakis should slip several rounds in 2011 after his power continued to fade.  He batted third 64% of the time but drove in only 60 runs.  He might be able to bounce back to his 20 home run, 100 RBI ways.
  • Adam Jones, OF.  He's seemingly settled into the 20 home run, 10 steal range, less than was expected of him.  He did have eight home runs in June.  Only 25, Jones' breakout could still be in the offing.
  • Luke Scott, DH.  Scott played 19 games at first base and 14 in the outfield, so he may only qualify at DH if your league requires 20 games.  His power has risen for three straight seasons and he slugged over .600 in three separate months this year.  Maybe he takes one more jump up to 30 home runs.
  • Matt Wieters, C.  Wieters' sophomore season did not bring improvement.  An eighth rounder before the season, he'll be later than the tenth this time.  I'm reaching here, but it's mildly interesting that Wieters slugged .416 over the season's final three months.  Hmm...actually, that's not interesting.  Nick Hundley can do that.  I still like Wieters if he becomes unpopular enough in drafts.
  • Brian Roberts, 2B.  He won't go in the fourth round this time, as he was plagued by back pain all season.  He's 33 now and these things usually don't just go away, but if he slips to the ninth or tenth consider him.
  • Jeremy Guthrie, SP.  His 3.83 ERA and 1.16 WHIP screams fluke.  In the unlikely event he's traded to an NL club, he might get on my radar.
  • Brian Matusz, SP.  He should be a popular sleeper again after posting a 4.30 ERA and matching SIERA.  Over the last two months: 2.18 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 2.3 BB/9, 0.73 HR/9 in 62 innings.
  • Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, SP.  Highly regarded, but disappointing in the bigs this year.  Both had promising Triple A numbers, especially Tillman, but I'd probably avoid them.
  • David Hernandez, RP.  As a reliever this year: 3.16 ERA, 10.9 K/9, 3.4 BB/9, 0.97 HR/9 in 37 innings.  Maybe Buck Showalter won't designate a closer right away, but Hernandez should be in the mix.  I certainly like him more than Alfredo Simon.  If Koji Uehara doesn't return and the O's don't sign a veteran, speculate on Hernandez.
  • Mike Gonzalez, RP.  He may get first dibs at closing due to his salary, though maybe Showalter won't stand for that.  He tossed 22.6 innings from July forward, posting a 2.78 ERA, 11.1 K/9, and 4.0 BB/9.  He missed a bunch of time earlier with shoulder problems.
  • Zach Britton, SP.  Well-regarded prospect could help the Orioles, but probably not your fantasy team as a rookie.

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