Too much chocolate, too much fun, too much starting pitching depth; honestly, I could think of worse problems to have. That being said, Buck and Co. are in an interesting position. Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen will begin the year in the rotation. After that, every spot is up for grabs. Assuming that Miguel Gonzalez and Chris Tillman will lock in the three and four spots, that leaves one spot for almost a dozen guys. This position battle has drawn national coverage. Jayson Stark, Senior Writer for ESPN, covered this “issue” with an article last week. Buck loves competition and will ultimately choose the right guys for the job. With so many question marks surrounding the Orioles and their young arms, who are some of the candidates fighting for a spot?
Jake Arrieta, RHP. Positives: Last year’s Opening Day starter, a few years of experience. Negatives: 6.20 ERA in 2012
Zach Britton, LHP. Positives: Left handed sinker ball pitcher will force ground balls. Negatives: Was inconsistent due to injury in beginning of last season
Tommy Hunter, RHP. Positives: Flame throwing righty with rotation experience. Negatives: Susceptible to giving up home runs
Steve Johnson, RHP. Positives: 2.11 ERA, local boy playing for hometown team. Negatives: Minimal experience starting on the road
Jair Jurrjens, RHP. Positives: 2010 All Star. Negatives: Couldn’t find consistency and lost rotation spot in Atlanta
Brian Matusz, LHP. Positives: Pitched well against lefties, and found form late in 2012. Negatives: He found that form while working from the bullpen.
Dylan Bundy, RHP. Positives: Top prospect has a plus fastball, excellent control and was dominant in the minor leagues. Negatives: O’s have a bad history when rushing young pitchers to the big leagues.
Kevin Gausman, RHP. Positives: Last year’s number one pick hits between 96-98 on the gun. Negatives: Hasn’t pitched a full minor league season.
TJ McFarland, LHP. Positives: Good sinking action on his fastball and pitched with success in Indians’ system. Negatives: Rule 5 selection, meaning he must make the roster..
Tsuyoshi Wada, LHP. Positives: Displays wonderful control as a finesse lefty. Negatives: Missed entire 2012 season with injury, and he’s never pitched an inning in the Major Leagues.
Who do YOU think deserves the job? Answer our poll and leave a comment, and we may use it on the next Protect This Yard Podcast!
2012 was arguably one of the greatest years in the history of Baltimore sports. The Ravens finally got over the hump by claiming their second Super Bowl title. The Orioles returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Michael Phelps helped Team USA capture the most gold and overall medals in the London Summer Games. Each of these teams were able to overcome obstacles, shatter expectations and deliver on their sport’s grand stages. All of these teams had multiple contributors, but a few names stand out more than others. Which individual played the biggest roll in their team’s success?
Michael Phelps, USA Men’s Swimming
Phelps ended the 2012 Olympics as the most decorated athlete of all time. In a year in which he was expected to relinquish his stranglehold on the sport to Ryan Lochte, the Baltimore native once again flaunted his unparalleled competitiveness. In his final Olympics, Phelps finished with a “modest” 4 gold medals and 2 silver medals. That brought his total medal count to an unprecedented 22. His 18 gold medals is now the “gold standard” for individual Olympic achievement.
Adam Jones, CF Baltimore Orioles
In 2012, the Orioles were decimated by injuries to team leaders Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. The team needed a new leader to step up and carry the ball club. Adam Jones played in every regular season and postseason game for the team. Jones bashed 32 home runs and 39 doubles, sported a .287 batting average, swiped a career high 16 stolen bases and won the American League Gold Glove Award. For his contributions, the team offered him a longterm extension to assure that he will remain in Baltimore for a long time. @SimplyAJ10 was able to #StayHungry, and he helped the team reach the playoffs for the first time since he was 12 years old.
Joe Flacco, QB Baltimore Ravens
Joe Flacco was crucified in the media for referring to himself as an “elite” quarterback. Now, those people are eating crow. In 2012, Flacco improved in every statistical category from the previous season. Oh yeah, he also outplayed Peyton Manning and Tom Brady en route to winning Super Bowl MVP. Number Five has provided consistency at the a position where the Ravens have struggled to find continuity. His ability to limit turnovers and make smart decisions with the football have made him an invaluable asset to the organization.
Buck Showalter, Manager Baltimore Orioles
He didn’t play in a single game in 2012, due to a nagging knee issue. However, Buck continued his winning ways by coaching circles around his competitors. The 2012 Orioles were projected to win anywhere between 3 and 75 games depending on the pundit. Showalter took that team, without Brian Roberts, without a traditional “ace” pitcher and a negative run differential (for most of the season), to the playoffs. Not only were the Orioles able to reach the postseason, but they defeated the defending American League Champions IN TEXAS. The team won the season series against every American League East team, except for the Yankees (they split 9-9). They went 29-9 in one run games and 16-2 in extra inning games. THEY ALSO MADE THE FREAKING PLAYOFFS.
Ray Lewis, MLB Baltimore Ravens
The greatest defensive player of the generation played in his final game earlier this month. Ray’s Last Ride ended with a parade around the city that grew to love him over the last 17 seasons. When football returned to Baltimore after over a decade, they needed a player to step in and be the face of the franchise. What Johnny Unitas was for the Colts fans of yesteryear, Ray Lewis became a symbol of success and winning for Ravens fans. Despite missing most of the regular season, Lewis was able to rehab intensely to be ready to play in the postseason. In his first game back after a torn triceps injury, the future Hall of Fame linebacker recorded double digit tackles. His retirement became the rally cry for a reeling 10-6 team, and his motivation and leadership propelled the team to an improbable Super Bowl championship.
Those are the facts, what do YOU think? Vote now, and leave a comment. We’ll read a few on next week’s podcast!
Orioles’ pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Training today. The team is coming off of its finest season since 1997, and hopes to build on that success this year. Before the season gets underway, let’s reminisce about some past players. The Orioles are considering a few names for induction into the team’s Hall of Fame. Please vote for YOUR choice, and we’ll discuss the results in our upcoming podcast. Feel free to leave comments, and we’ll read the best on the next episode.
The inaugural episode covers the hot topics of the Super Bowl and the victory parade. Cal pitches Fox their newest sitcom idea, Sal gets charged a dollar for saying “elite” and Joe Pa reveals his deepest, darkest secret.
From Flacco, to Beyonce, to “Top Gun” and “The Godfather”, this installment is certainly “elite”.
As, founder/designer for Protect This Yard Clothing, Cal is undoubtedly one of the most passionate sports fans in the city limits. The “quarterback” of the podcast keeps everyone on the same page, while interjecting insightful information pertaining to the topics. His true love is baseball, but he supports all local teams. Like the other guys, his opinions are unbiased and honest. Everyone knows that only great things can come from a man named “Cal” from Baltimore.
The word “elite” gets thrown around loosely these days, but if anybody in this crew deserves the title, it’s Joe. His alter ego, Nostra Joe Pa, makes the most accurate predictions around Baltimore. He’s not afraid to call out players or coaches for making the wrong call, and his commentary is always refreshing and original. His predictions are as strong as his opinions. He’s knowledgable about all sports, and he’s the only guy to support Caps hockey. Just remember, JOE IS ELITE.
Sal is the youngest of the group, and offers an “outsider” opinion. You see, Sal is a Patriots fan. His love for the Pats is only exceeded by his love for the Orioles. When he’s not in school, he’s probably at Camden Yards. He’s also the biggest basketball (college and NBA) fan on the podcast. His pop culture comparisons and metaphors bring a comedic quality to the show. Sal certainly is passionate; his Rhino’s Rampage segment is strongly opinionated and straight to the point.
Follow the guys on twitter for witty and original sports commentary.