Buster is right. The Orioles have a Yankees-type lineup. Here is how their lineup will look opening day barring no major injuries in spring training:
1. Brian Roberts (2b)
2. Nick Markakis (RF)
3. Derrek Lee (1B)
4. Vlad Guerrero (DH)
5. Luke Scott (LF)
6. Mark Reynolds (3B)
7. Adam Jones (CF)
8. Matt Wieters (C)
9. JJ Hardy (SS)
You can't argue the O's lineup has the ability to put a lot of runs on the board this season. Unlike the Yankees the Orioles aren't relying on mostly older players on the wrong side of their 30's to produce. Guys like Markakis, Reynolds, Jonesy, and Wieters could all have huge seasons with the veteran additions of Lee and Vlad for protection. With a healthy Roberts in the leadoff spot and a consistent OBP season from Markakis the two vets in Lee and Vlad will have plenty of chances to drive in runs. I would rate this lineup second only to the Red Sox in the AL East.
The pitching is what could be their downfall. The bullpen should be solid but the starters are mostly young guns who have yet to prove themselves. If they can get Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta to pitch to their hype coming out of the minor league system then the O's could make a solid run for the Wild Card.
You have to think the Rays, Blue Jays, and Yankees all took serious steps back this offseason. The Rays lost Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, Matt Garza, and the majority of their bullpen. Those are not replaceable parts. The Yankees didn't sign Cliff Lee and besides C.C. Sabathia their starting rotation is questionable at best. Plus they are not getting any younger. The Blue Jays traded away Vernon Wells and Shawn Marcum.
Here is my early AL East Prediction Finish:
1. Boston Red Sox-best team in the majors
2. Baltimore Orioles-most improved team in the majors, wins Wild Card
3. New York Yankees-age is catching up with them
4. Tampa Bay Rays-lost too many key pieces from last season
5. Toronto Blue Jays-young team that could contend in 2012