Hope springs eternal! Anything is possible! You never know!
After all the cliches are written and spoken over the next twenty-four hours, it will be time for baseball. If you are heading to Camden Yards tomorrow or watching on television, you will be introduced to the 2012 Baltimore Orioles. The outlook for the group is meek, but the individuals that make up the group are interesting.
Yesterday, Luke Jones unveiled the final roster heading north from Sarasota. Here is something about each player to keep in mind as you watch Buck Showalter attempt to mold the group into a decent outfit.
Jake Arrieta: The Opening Day starter grew up idolizing Nolan Ryan. He’s now eight Opening Day assignments from tying Ryan on the all-time list.
Tommy Hunter: According to baseball-reference.com, Chris Carpenter is the 4th most similar pitcher to Tommy Hunter through their respective age-24 seasons.
Jason Hammel: Made is major league debut against the Orioles in April of 2006. Just how long ago was that? Manager Sam Perlozzo filled out a lineup card with the names Mora-Tejada-Gibbons in the 3-4-5 holes and Kris Benson on the mound.
Wei-Yin Chen: Won the 2009 Central League ERA title with the lowest ERA (1.54) since the 1968 season in Nippon Professional Baseball.
Brian Matusz: Coming off a season where he went 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA, the highest ERA in major-league history for a pitcher making at least 10 starts. The previous holder of that dubious distinction? Roy Halladay.
Matt Lindstrom: Saved 23 games in 2010 for Houston.
Luis Ayala: Has played for nine teams since coming out of the Mexican League in 2002.
Troy Patton: Came to Baltimore as part of the trade package with Houston in exchange for Miguel Tejada in 2007.
Kevin Gregg: His career mark of 8.3 K/9 is higher than Mariano Rivera’s 8.2.
Pedro Strop: The player to be named later in last summer’s Mike Gonzalez deal.
Darren O’Day: Posted a 1.94 ERA and sub-1.00 WHIP in 2009-10 for the Mets and Rangers before tearing his left hip in Texas last season. Claimed off waivers in November.
Jim Johnson: Has dominated Yankee left fielder Brett Gardner (0-8 head-to-head) in the AL East over the past few seasons.
Matt Wieters: Earned a Fielding Bible Award to go along with his 2011 Gold Glove.
Ronny Paulino: .338 career hitter against left-handed pitching.
Chris Davis: Has struck out 341 times in his first 297 big league games. It took Albert Pujols over 700 games to reach that number.
Robert Andino: Making first career Opening Day start on Friday.
J.J. Hardy: His .491 slugging percentage in 2011 was higher than Ryan Howard, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Dan Uggla.
Mark Reynolds: 630 strikeouts over the last three seasons lead baseball.
Nick Johnson: Injuries have derailed what looked to be a promising offensive career for the 1B/DH. His career .401 on-base percentage ranks higher than Larry Walker, Joe DiMaggio, Miguel Cabrera, and Joe Morgan.
Wilson Betemit: Signed out of the Domincan Republic by the Braves when he was just 14 years old.
Ryan Flaherty: The former first-round pick of the Cubs was a December Rule 5 pick by new Oriole general manager Dan Duquette. He must remain on the roster all season or be offered back to Chicago.
Nick Markakis: All-time hit king Pete Rose only had 36 more hits through his age 27 season than Markakis does right now.
Adam Jones: Through his age 25 season, Jones has compiled a .275/.319/.437 stat line. Torii Hunter through that same juncture: .264/.310/.429
Nolan Reimold: Part of the great 2005 MLB Draft class that included Ryan Braun, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, and Troy Tulowitzki.
Endy Chavez: Made one of the most famous catches in postseason history to rob Yadier Molina of a home run in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.