Orioles Profiles

April 02, 1993|By PROFILE COMMENTS WRITTEN BY JIM HENNEMAN

35 MIKE MUSSINA P

* He goes into his second full major-league season as the unquestioned ace of the staff, and an early Cy Young candidate. The biggest problem for the mature 24-year-old right-hander could be unrealistic expectations after his 18-5 (2.54 ERA) season last year. He's the combination of a power and finesse pitcher, with a high-strikeout, low-walk ratio. With the added knowledge of a year's experience facing major-league hitters, he should be even better this time around. But it would be foolish to expect him to duplicate last year's numbers.

* Age: 24. * Height: 6-2. * Weight: 185. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

30 GREGG OLSON P

* Despite the fact he sometimes suffers from comparisons to the standards he set as a rookie, he ranks as one of the game's most dominating closers. He has had periods of inconsistency the past two years, but his overall numbers make him one of the game's premier relievers. Has added a slider to complement his trademark pitch, a devastating curveball. He is a fierce competitor, which in the past has sometimes made him his worst enemy. But he also has the necessary reliever's mentality of wanting the ball as often as possible and has been very durable in his four major-league seasons.

* Age: 26. * Height: 6-4. * Weight: 212. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

45 JIM POOLE P

* Another of the Orioles' bargain acquisitions on the pitching staff. He was claimed on waivers from Texas two years ago and was impressive the last two months of the 1991 season (3-2, 2.00 ERA in 24 games). Sidelined most of last season with a shoulder injury, creating a void in the bullpen that was never filled. Had six effective appearances the last month of the season and threw well during spring training. He will assume a key role as the

primary left-hander in the bullpen.

* Age: 26. * Height: 6-2. * Weight: 203. * Bats: Left. * Throws: Left.

53 ARTHUR RHODES P

* He's still the jewel waiting to be fully evaluated. After an erratic minor-league career, he was a revelation over the last half of 1992 (7-5, 3.63 ERA). There is every reason to expect him to improve this year, but it's always risky to judge a player before he's played a year in the big leagues. At times, the 23-year-old left-hander can be the most overpowering pitcher on a young and still-developing staff. When his control improves to the point where it's not a source of concern, then he will be ready to step in with the big boys.

* Age: 23. * Height: 6-2. * Weight: 206. * Bats: Left. * Throws: Left.

42 SHERMAN OBANDO OF

* His potential as a power hitter gives him the opportunity to jump from Double-A (17 home runs, 56 RBI in 381 at-bats for Albany in the Eastern League) to the major leagues. A Rule V draft choice out of the Yankees' organization, the Orioles must keep him on the major-league roster or return him to the Yankees. His defensive skills are only adequate and there is a question whether he's ready to hit big-league pitching. A right-handed hitter, he would be used almost exclusively against left-handed pitchers.

* Age: 23. * Height: 6-4. * Weight: 215. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

27 MARK PARENT C

* Signed to a minor-league contract as a free agent last year, he had the best power year of his career at Triple-A Rochester, with 17 home runs and 69 RBI in 356 at-bats. Played in 17 games with the Orioles (two home runs) late in the season. He has amazing agility behind the plate for a man his size and excellent defensive skills. Has a strong and accurate throwing arm. Spent three full seasons and parts of two others with the San Diego Padres, but has a total of only 522 at-bats in the major leagues.

* Age: 32. * Height: 6-5. * Weight: 225. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

6 HAROLD REYNOLDS 2B

* The newcomer with the toughest assignment -- replacing Bill Ripken and Mark McLemore at second base -- is also the one with the makeup and personality to make the transition as easy as possible. A switch-hitter, he figures to play every day, adding speed to a team lacking in that department. A former Gold Glove winner. He is still capable of stealing bases (15 in 27 attempts last year), although the rigors of just over seven big-league seasons have diminished his skills in that area.

Age: 28. * Height: 5-11. * Weight: 165. * Bats: Both. * Throws: Right.

8 CAL RIPKEN SS

* Although he's coming off the least productive year of his career, the All-Star shortstop is still the cornerstone of the team, both offensively and defensively. Last season he had two of the longest hitting streaks of his career, for 16 and 17 games, both in the first half of the year. But his 14 home runs and 72 RBI were both career lows. If spring training is an indication, he appears set to rebound, but will need some help in the middle of the lineup.

* Age: 32. * Height: 6-4. * Weight: 220. * Bats: Right. * Throws: Right.

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