The Orioles will tell you that the beauty of their success is that they are not dependent on one or two players; it's a full team effort. And certainly there is merit to that argument. But still some players are more important than others. Catcher Matt Wieters would be the hardest to replace if he is injured. The Orioles' catching depth is weak and what Wieters provides defensively, offensively and leadership-wise is crucial. However, if there is one player that needs to at least maintain what he did in 2012 or perhaps improve, it's first baseman Chris Davis. Davis (above) had a breakout year offensively last year, leading the team with 33 homers while batting a respectable .270. He did it while bouncing all over the place: first base, corner outfield, designated hitter, and, yes, one memorable game on the mound. He believes if he can concentrate on one position his entire game will be better. And he gets that chance this year as the starting first baseman. He had a reputation in Texas as a good defender but hasn't shown a lot in his brief stints at first in Baltimore. He's been solid at the position this spring -- he did misplay a grounder on Saturday - and there's no reason to think Davis, a very good athlete, can't handle it on a daily basis. The Orioles' defense may be the best in the American League this year, but a lot will have to do with how Davis handles first and whether he can consistently catch the rockets from third baseman Manny Machado and shortstop J.J. Hardy. If he can't, it will cause a domino effect that the Orioles don't want to consider. Davis could move back to DH, but there's no easy fill-in to play first on the current 25-man roster.
Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun