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Wednesday Links: Another step closer to 2015

Of all the days to record your first clunker in the Major Leagues, Anthony Ranaudo picked his 25th birthday. After allowing at least 4 runs in 5 innings in his previous 5 starts, the right-hander lasted just 3.1 innings before being lifted from Tuesday’s game. After walking the first batter of the game, Ranaudo served […]

AL East Sleepers: Baltimore Orioles

MLB 2009 - Orioles Beat Yankees 7-5

Starting this season, the Orioles will be one of the more interesting teams in the division for what should be the better part of the decade. The top of the minors are awash with upper echelon pitching prospects (Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta) to go along with plenty of reinforcements in the low minors. The lineup card is stocked with building blocks that are either locked up long-term (Nick Markakis) or have just started their arbitration clock (Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Nolan Reimold).

While the 2010 season may not be the year of the Oriole, it will be a significant landmark in the progress of the club. The team is not expected to “compete” in the classical sense, in that they will still likely finish either fourth or fifth behind the Sox, Rays, and Yanks. Yet, the team could, with a couple of breaks in the right direction, finish with a .500 record – the first time Baltimore has done so since 1997.

Now, on to the sleepers:

C Matt Wieters: This one should come as no surprise. Coming into 2009, Wieters was at the top of nearly every meaningful prospect list known to man. Switch-hitting catchers with the plate discipline, power, AND defensive capabilities of a Matt Wieters come around once in a generation. Accordingly, he was expected to perform much better than he ultimately did, .288/.340/.412. Even the perennially underwhelming and modest PECOTA projections pegged Wieters to hit 30 home runs…

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