Player Profiles: Miguel Gonzalez

300px-Miguel_González_on_July_1,_2012The Baltimore Orioles had trouble finding starters all throughout the 2000’s, all the losing seasons could point to that.  That changed in 2012 and Miguel Gonzalez was one of the members of the Orioles rotation that really made it stable.  Gonzalez really helped the Orioles make the postseason with a 3.25 era and a nine and four record in his rookie season.   Read more about Player Profiles: Miguel Gonzalez

Player Profiles: Ryan Flaherty

500px-Ryan_Flaherty_on_April_24,_2012Every team needs a super utility player that can play just about every position well.  That is what Ryan Flaherty is for the Baltimore Orioles, Flaherty is the Orioles super utility guy.

The Chicago Cubs selected Flaherty with the 41st overall pick in the 2008 MLB draft.  The Orioles picked Flaherty up in the 2011 Rule-5 draft.

Flaherty is nicknamed “Flash” but is not a fan favorite.  Fans have been tough in Flaherty for his inconsistent bat.  Fans need to remember that Flaherty was rushed to the Majors because he was a Rule-5 draft pick and never got consistent playing time to learn the league.  Remember Rule-5 draft picks must stay with in the Majors unless their is an injury or they go back to their original team. Read more about Player Profiles: Ryan Flaherty

Player Profiles: Nelson Cruz

victory jump opening day 2014
Photo: Greg Mac

It is rare that I profile a player that will likely only be with a team for a short time, but Nelson Cruz deserves a profile.  The Baltimore Orioles signed Cruz to a short one-year deal during the 2014 spring training.  The Orioles loved the signing ever since and that signing may be one of the best signings the Orioles have ever made.

Cruz started his career with the New York Mets and played in the minors with the Oakland Athletics.   Cruz was even with the Milwaukee Brewers for a short time before joining the Texas Rangers where he spent most of his career.  How three teams passed up on Cruz is beyond me.  Read more about Player Profiles: Nelson Cruz

Player Profiles: Manny Machado

479px-Manny_Machado_8-10-2012The Baltimore Orioles have had one of the best third baseman in the history of baseball in Brooks Robinson.  Enter Manny Machado who came up to the Majors at the young age of 19.

The Orioles drafted Machado in the 2010 MLB draft, he was the third overall pick.  Machado made his Major League debut in 2012, his first full season was in 2013.  Machado is one of the reasons for the Orioles return to winning and was a major reason why the Orioles had the best defense in baseball history in 2013.

Machado never really played third base in the minors, he spent most of his time playing short stop.  With little practice at third base the Orioles brought Machado up and had him play third everyday.

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Player Profiles: Darren O'Day

300px-Darren_O'Day_on_April_24,_2012O DAY O DAY O DAY O DAY!!!! The Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher Darren O’Day has earned his own chants in Baltimore.  The Orioles aquired O’Day off waivers from the Texas Rangers during the offseason prior to the 2012 season and has become a fan favorite.

Before coming to the Orioles, O’Day was a bit of a journey man as he was with three teams, the New York Mets, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Rangers.  O’Day made his debut with the Angels in 2008.  The Mets selected O’Day in the Rule 5 draft in 2008 and the Rangers claimed O’Day off waivers in 2009.  O’Day never found a place on any of those teams.

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Player Profiles: Tommy Hunter

370px-Tommy_Hunter_on_August_10,_2011Tommy goes BOOM!!! Meet Tommy Hunter the Baltimore Orioles right-handed pitcher that knows how to light up the radar.

The Orioles acquired Hunter and Chris Davis for Koji Uehara from the Texas Rangers in 2011.  Hunter was drafted by the Rangers in the 2007 MLB draft in the supplemental first round. Hunter made his debut for the Rangers in 2008 as a starting pitcher.

Hunter had mixed success with the Rangers both as a starting pitcher and a reliever.  In 2010 Hunter had a very good season with a 13-4 record and a 3.73 era.  When the Orioles tried Hunter out as a starter he had major problems keeping the ball in the ballpark.  Hunter allowed 32 home runs in 33 games in 2012, the year in which he lost his starting pitching role.  In 2012, the term “Tommy goes Boom” was used in a negative way whenever he gave up a home run.
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Player Profiles: Matt Wieters

367px-Baltimore_Orioles_catcher_Matt_Wieters_(32)Switch hitting Jesus… that’s what they call Matt Wieters.  The Baltimore Orioles drafted Wieters in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft (fifth overall) and it did not take Wieters long to get to the Major Leagues.  Wieters was a very highly praised prospect for his ability to hit as a catcher.

Wieters is a huge switch hitting Gold Glove catcher but while he was a prospect he was known more for his bat than he was for his glove.  Wieters made his Major League debut in 2009 and he came with much fan fair.  Since Wieters debut he has been the Orioles starting catcher and has rarely come out of games.
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Player Profiles: J.J. Hardy

695px-J.J._HardyPower hitting, Gold Glove short stop, sounds like Cal Ripken Jr. but this player profile is on J.J. Hardy.  The Baltimore Orioles acquired Hardy in 2011 in a trade with the Minnesota Twins.  That trade included…. The Twins were willing to trade Hardy because he had a history of getting injured.  Hardy put his injury history behind him when he arrived in Baltimore.

Hardy is a power hitting short stop who makes plays easy.  The Orioles have had many great short stops in their long history but, since Miguel Tejada left the Orioles the short stop position was a weakness for the Orioles.  When Hardy arrived he sured up the short stop position and provided leadership for the Orioles.
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Player Profiles: Wei-Yin Chen

530px-Wei-Yin_Chen_on_May_10,_2012_(1) The first Baltimore Orioles pitcher from Taiwan, meet Wei-Yin Chen. Chen pitched in Japan before coming to the Orioles and was a great success story for Orioles scouting.

Chen came to the Orioles when he signed a three-year deal plus a team option for 2015. Chen signed the deal in the winter of 2011 and since then has been a stable member of the Orioles rotation.
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Player Profiles: Chris Davis

558px-Chris_Davis_on_August_10,_2011When you break the Baltimore Orioles franchise record for home runs… people start to notice you, meet Chris Davis.   The Orioles acquired Davis and Tommy Hunter from the Texas Rangers for Koji Uehara in 2011.  Davis is known for being called “Crush Davis” for his long towering home runs.

Davis was drafted by the Rangers in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB draft and made his Major League debut in 2008.  The Rangers had trouble finding a position for Davis at the Major League level, despite hitting 21 home runs in 2009.  Davis was a player who was up and down between the minors for the Rangers and that is why he became trade bait.
Read more about Player Profiles: Chris Davis