2001 Orioles

Mike Hargrove enters his second year as Baltimore's manager with a new mix of players


April 01, 2001|By Profiles by Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko

John Bale

Left-hander (39)

Hgt.: 6-4. Wgt.: 205. Age: 26.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected roles: Left-handed long relief/spot starter.

Career year: Rookie with three appearances in majors.

By the numbers: Appeared in two games with Blue Jays last season, allowing six earned runs in 3 2/3 innings. ... Pitched five shutout innings as Opening Day starter at Triple-A Syracuse, his only win until late August. ... Made two stops on DL, with pulled groin muscle and left elbow strain.

X-factor: Orioles must decide whether he's better suited to start or pitch out of bullpen, where he could eat up innings. The latter seems more likely. But what about that shaky spring?

Chuck McElroy

Left-hander (47)

Hgt.: 6-0. Wgt.: 205. Age: 33.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected roles: No. 5 starter/left-handed middle relief.

Career year: 1991. Was 6-2 for Cubs with 1.95 ERA and three saves in 71 games.

By the numbers: Made his first two career starts last September after 603 relief appearances. Allowed one run in 11 innings in his two starts. ... Had 8.31 ERA in 21 relief appearances when issuing walk, 2.54 ERA in 20 other relief outings.

X-factor: Is he the guy who finished with burst in September and put thoughts into Orioles' heads of making him full-time starter, or are 603 relief appearances truer indication of his role?

Ryan Kohlmeier

Right-hander (30)

Hgt.: 6-2. Wgt.: 223. Age: 23.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: Closer.

Career year: 2000. Saved 13 games in 14 chances and posted 2.39 ERA in 25 games.

By the numbers: Rookie didn't allow earned run in his first 10 appearances. ... Recorded saves in his first 11 outings, second-best start by an Orioles rookie. ... Combined for 23 saves in 26 chances with Orioles and Triple-A Rochester. ... Gave up 30 hits in 26 1/3 major-league innings, walking 15 and striking out 17.

X-factor: Must prove 2000 wasn't fluke and that other, less flattering numbers weren't truer indication of his ability. Could become setup man if he struggles as closer.

Willis Roberts

Right-hander (79)

Hgt.: 6-3. Wgt.: 175. Age: 25.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected roles: No. 5 starter/long relief.

Career year: Rookie with only one appearance in majors.

By the numbers: Went 6-1 with 1.66 ERA in 48 2/3 innings with Estrellas of most recent season in Dominican Winter League. ... Was combined 11-8 with 5.12 ERA with two minor-league teams in Reds' system last season after being claimed off waivers from Tigers in February 2000.

X-factor: Must prove that his impressive winter league and spring training numbers are for real and that he has risen above his unimpressive status as six-year minor-league free agent.

Pat Hentgen

Right-hander (41)

Hgt.: 6-2. Wgt.: 195. Age: 32.

Contract status: Signed through 2002, plus one-year club option.

Projected role: No. 1 starter.

Career year: 1996. Won AL Cy Young Award after going 20-10 with 3.22 ERA and 10 complete games in 35 starts for Blue Jays.

By the numbers: Is among five active pitchers with eight consecutive 10-victory seasons, joining Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Mike Mussina and Pedro Martinez. ... Won at least 15 games last season for fourth time in career. ... Is 67-39 lifetime on road.

X-factor: Middle-of-rotation pitcher on many staffs, he now must look part of ace while softening blow from Mussina's defection to Yankees. His right shoulder must remain sound.

Sidney Ponson

Right-hander (43)

Hgt.: 6-1. Wgt.: 225. Age: 24.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: No. 2 starter.

Career year: 1999. Was 12-12 with 4.71 ERA and six complete games in 32 starts.

By the numbers: Pitched career-high 222 innings in 2000. ... Has posted six complete games for two straight years. ... His home runs allowed dropped from 35 to 30 but still was tied for seventh most in AL. ... Had 3.71 ERA during last 10 starts. ... Was one of seven AL pitchers with 30 or more fielding chances and no errors.

X-factor: Can he persuade Orioles to give him multi-year deal after season? A 14-15 win year and proof he's continuing to mature would help.

Jason Johnson

Right-hander (16)

Hgt.: 6-6. Wgt.: 235. Age: 27.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: No. 3 starter, though Jose Mercedes eventually should move ahead of him.

Career year: 1999. Was 8-7 with 5.46 ERA in 22 appearances with Orioles, including 21 starts.

By the numbers: Lost his first eight decisions of last season, tying club record. ... Had 1.47 ERA in eight starts at Triple-A Rochester. ... Allowed 17 steals, tying him with Sidney Ponson for most on club.

X-factor: Johnson's head must keep up with his tremendous arm, which happened this spring. Lapses in concentration and confidence might finally be thing of past. If not, he has run out of chances here.

Jose Mercedes

Right-hander (31)

Hgt.: 6-1. Wgt.: 180. Age: 30.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: No. 4 starter, though he's expected to move ahead of Jason Johnson.

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