What they're saying about the Orioles

February 25, 2011|By Baltimore Sun reporter

Here's what national media outlets are saying about the Orioles…

• Dan Graziano of The Sporting News wrote in his season preview that the Orioles made some good offseason moves, but are still a few years away from competing for the A.L. East crown.

Showalter, who earned a reputation for developing rookies into championship-caliber players while with the Yankees and Diamondbacks, was hired to protect the Orioles' young talent. That includes [Brian] Matusz, [Chris] Tillman, [Jake] Arrieta, [Brad] Bergesen and Zach Britton. But it could be years before these pitchers' potential is mined, meaning Orioles fans will be left to watch a painful transition that could include several more poor finishes in the A.L. East. If the budding talent is groomed correctly, however, Baltimore could challenge for a division title in the near future.

• Paul White of USA Today talked to Adam Jones about the positive effects of manager Buck Showalter, and how much work is left to be done.

Jones isn't sure what to call it, either, but he knows where it comes from.

The Orioles have been feeling something different since August, when Buck Showalter became the manager.

"He's always watching," Jones says. "It's like he's got 10 eyes. He keeps you on your toes."

Whatever the veteran manager has, it got results. The Orioles won their first four games and eight of their first nine after Showalter took over. That Baltimore was 34-23 under Showalter and still finished 30 games under .500 underscores how daunting their 2011 task is, no matter how encouraging their momentum or how positive the new vibe.

• Chris Dell of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune talked to Jones about what it will take for him to reach the level of the team's new stars.

"Vlad, DLee, Mark ... those are the new guys getting most of the media attention," Jones said. "And we'll be the regular guys in the middle of the lineup doing damage."

Jones has increased his batting average, doubles and total hits in all five of his MLB seasons. He is only the second player in big league history to hit both a triple and grand slam in the same game as a visitor at Yankee Stadium.

"I try to keep learning. I'm not that smart of a hitter, but I know what I have to do to get myself prepared," Jones said. "There are no specifics in getting better, just elevating my game overall."

• As a part of his team-by-team fantasy preview, Mike Sheets of ESPN.com looked at Brian Matusz' fantasy value for this season.

The growth he showed the final two months of the season is certainly a good sign, but expecting him to pitch at that level in 2011 without any speed bumps is probably unrealistic. After all, an extreme fly-ball pitcher like Matusz in the AL East can be a ticking time bomb if he encounters the same control issues that plagued him at times last season, and 11 starts, no matter how dominate they are -- can't simply erase last season's warts from our memories. The fact his average fastball velocity dropped from 91.5 mph in 2009 to 89.9 mph in 2010 is a mild concern, as well, and may force him to rely on it less in the future.

[Compiled by Jon Meoli]

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