The 2009 Major League Baseball season has marked a new beginning for several teams, looking to strengthen their farm system and start anew with the youngsters. In an attempt to move on, leaving the steroid era behind them in the process, many clubs have turned to small ball, relying more on getting baserunners on, and stealing bases, rather than swinging for the fences in every at bat.
The Baltimore Orioles and their deep farm system has been the prime example. Baseball America's top prospect, Matt Wieters, who was recently called up to the bigs, can do just about everything a coach could ask for: hit for power, average, and field at gold glove level, as well, standing at six foot five, 230 pounds behind the plate.
Wieters is the beginning of the new generation of baseball players. There will be no more Barry Bonds or Mark McGwires. And for the Orioles, Wieters is just the beginning of their young stars. Lou Montanez (currently on the DL) and Nolan Reimold, who were both called up this season, will accompany center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis in the outfield at Camden Yards for years to come.
Offense, as you can clearly see, is not the O's worries. Pitching has been a huge weakness of Baltimore's ever since Mike Mussina slipped from their grasp several years ago. However, Dave Trembley has appeared to hit gold with solid young arms coming up from triple-A Norfolk. Jeremy Guthrie now has a little help in the rotation with the call-ups of Brad Bergesen (4-2, 3.94 ERA) and David Hernandez (1-1, 3.95 ERA). There is still one more young starting pitcher that could be called up around July or August. In a few years, these Baltimore Orioles could very well be contenders. In fact, if they happened to be in a division other than the stacked AL East, they could be contenders this season.
MLB's Other Future Stars..
Elvis Andrus, SS, TEX: 3 HR's, 12 RBI's, .265 BA
Andrew McCutchen, OF, PIT: 1 HR, 13 RBI's, .329 BA
Tommy Hanson, SP, ATL: 2-0, 4.08 ERA
Randy Wells, SP, CHC: 1-3, 2.55 ERA
Jay Bruce, OF, CIN: 17 HR's, 34 RBI's, .214 BA
Colby Rasmus, OF, STL: 7 HR's, 28 RBI's, .279 BA
Gordon Beckham, SS, CHW: 1 HR, 8 RBI's, .167 BA