SLEEPER This is the year Erik Bedard becomes a star. You can draft him as your second starter, but he can pitch like your No. 1.
BUST Melvin Mora's numbers are in a three-year tailspin. There's no reason to think he'll redress them at age 35.
HITTER TO WATCH: Jeff Fiorentino, OF Fiorentino is probably a fourth outfielder in the majors due to his limited power and the fact that he can't play center on a daily basis.
PITCHER TO WATCH: Garrett Olson, LHP
Olson is a command/control left-hander with average stuff and would fit nicely in the back of the Orioles' rotation after a little more time in the high minors.
MLB Preview 2007
FIXED Chris Ray's buddies kept calling him this winter with updates on Baltimore's binge on relievers. Now the AL's hot new stopper is convinced that he and his new teammates can repair MLB's worst pen (5.27 ERA). Ray on submariner Chad Bradford: "Nasty stuff. Hitters are always bailing out." On lefty Jamie Walker: "Borderline hillbilly. The most excited to get the season started." On Scott Williamson: "He says he's healthy. I know he has great stuff." On Danys BŠez: "If I've pitched a couple of days in a row, he can step in." Fewer calls? What a concept.
NEEDS FIXING After Daniel Cabrera's wild ways (75 BBs in his first 852/3 IPs) bought him a ticket to Triple-A last year, O's scout Carlos Bernhardt gave the bummed-out flamethrower new advice: "Throw your first pitch over the middle. If they hit it, they hit it. But they're not going to hit it." Cabrera began pumping strikes, and he finished '06 with a one-hitter at Yankee Stadium. "During the offseason," Cabrera says, "that was the only game on my mind." Maybe, but he walked eight in his first 14 spring IPs.
"When I'm ready, I'll be ready. They'll say when that is." -- LHP Garrett Olson, the 23-year-old overachiever who could spare O's fans a full year of Steve Trachsel.
Even with the second-cheapest suds (per ounce) in MLB, Orioles fans are flying the coop. Last September, during the fourth inning of a Detroit-Baltimore tilt, a thousand filed out of Camden Yards to protest owner Peter Angelos. For his part, Angelos -- who plunged 38 spots in our ranking -- says it's tough to field a competitive roster in the AL East. Well, tough. Since there's no point in watching a loser, fans have responded by staying home.
"As an Oriole fan for over fifty years, I would love to see them be this year's Detroit Tigers. A more realistic view is for the Birds to be a .500 ball club. I believe this is attainable with the new additions and the maturation of thier younger players."