Joe Strauss' skinny on the Orioles

Spring Training 2000

February 16, 2000

40-man roster and other key players invited to camp

Pitchers

Juan Aracena, RHP: Acquired last August from Cleveland, he'll close at Double-A Bowie but may move to the rotation as his assortment expands. Control a plus.

Radhames Dykhoff, LHP: A starter in winter ball, he'll vie for a spot in the Orioles' bullpen. A likely fit at Triple-A Rochester.

Buddy Groom, LHP: Inherits Jesse Orosco's role. Can become first pitcher with 70 appearances in five straight seasons.

Juan Guzman, RHP: Former catcher won nine games and struck out 134 in 124 innings last season at Single-A Delmarva.

Scott Erickson, RHP: Innings monster almost became a Met in December. He has to do better than last season's 0-5 April. Can veto any trade as of July.

Brian Falkenborg, RHP: Worked just 173 innings the past two years but could move fast if over elbow woes. Throws strikes.

Jason Johnson, RHP: Won five of last seven starts but now must continue to develop as a No. 4 starter.

*Rick Krivda, LHP: Back for another tour after being waived in March '98 and spending '99 with Royals' Triple-A team.

Calvin Maduro, RHP: Two-time Oriole out of options after ranking second in strikeouts in Triple-A International League.

Chuck McElroy, LHP: Durable fly-ball pitcher surrendered .495 slugging average. Wants ball and will likely get his wish.

Jose Mercedes, RHP: Once projected as the favorite for fifth starter, he now must scramble for a bullpen berth.

Gabe Molina, RHP: Converted last 14 save chances at Rochester while receiving three tours with Orioles. Chances for promotion appear limited this year.

Mike Mussina, RHP: On disabled list three times the past two seasons. Give him 35 starts and a decent bullpen (plus a contract extension), then count to 20 wins.

Richard Negrette, RHP: Middle reliever (23) was out of options when acquired from Cubs for infielder Augie Ojeda. Last year was his first above Single-A.

Sidney Ponson, RHP: A leading candidate to become this year's AL breakout pitcher. Better conditioning might prevent a repeat of stretch fade.

*Pat Rapp, RHP: February acquisition ($750,000) provides a veteran presence as fifth starter. Could challenge Jason Johnson as fourth starter with strong camp.

Al Reyes, RHP: The underrated dividend for Rocky Coppinger is projected for long relief. His AL ERA (4.85) more than doubled after Sept. 1.

Matt Riley, LHP: Orioles rushed their No. 1 prospect last September. Still 20, he will spend the summer refining his off-speed assortment at Rochester.

B. J. Ryan, LHP: Acquired last July for veteran Juan Guzman, he inherits the setup role vacated by Arthur Rhodes. Power arm makes him a closer-in-waiting.

Mike Timlin, RHP: Converted 18 of 19 save tries after the All-Star break. As long as he's closing, there will be no more eighth-inning entrances under Mike Hargrove.

Mike Trombley, RHP: Was a poor man's closer with Twins. Projected as a wealthy team's bridge to Mike Timlin. Durability is a huge plus.

*Tim Worrell, RHP: Projected as seventh reliever and possible swing man within reconfigured bullpen.

Catchers

Charles Johnson, C: Fatigue cost him a career offensive year. Hit only six of 16 home runs after May 23 and had just six extra-base hits after Aug. 5.

Greg Myers, C: Is competent backup and left-handed hitter. Has caught Kevin Brown and the Braves' dominant staff the past two seasons.

Position players

Rich Amaral, OF-IF: Versatility was never fully exploited under previous regime. Batted .323 after May 21 but had only 1 RBI after June 26.

Brady Anderson, OF: Coming off outstanding offensive year (.404 OBP, 24 HRs, 109 runs). At 36 -- yes, 36 -- he's the league's oldest center fielder.

*Billy Ashley, OF: Bounced from Tampa Bay to independent Northern League to Triple-A Toledo in past year. A challenge to Rich Amaral, but more likely part of Rochester outfield.

Harold Baines, DH: Is the Fountain of Youth in St. Michael's? 40-year-old third-time Oriole coming off best season (25 HRs, 103 RBIs) since 1985. Needs 217 hits for 3,000, 27 home runs for 400.

Albert Belle, OF: His frustrating first season with the Orioles resembled his first with the White Sox. Now if he can give the Orioles the MVP-type numbers he brought to Chicago in '98

Mike Bordick, SS: Played a Gold Glove shortstop while his numbers vs. left-handers represented one of the game's most remarkable offensive reversals.

Carlos Casimiro, 2B: Second base prospect appears blocked by Jerry Hairston and big-swinging tendencies.

Will Clark, 1B: Coming off elbow surgery, will likely platoon with Jeff Conine. Has hit .302 or better five of past six seasons but played more than 125 games just once.

Ivanon Coffie, 3B-SS: Infielder stalled at Bowie last summer (.185) but produced 53 RBIs in 73 games at Single-A Frederick. Projected at shortstop this year.

Jeff Conine, 1B-OF: Excelled with regular playing time, but how will he find it given a healthy Will Clark and fit outfield? Could third base be in his future?

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