Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 7/24/12

To be completely honest his is most likely not the Orioles year. They are a young and talented squad but there is too much competition in the AL to realistically hope for the playoffs. The real promise lies in the future.

Whether it’s next season or in 5 years the Orioles are on their way back. This return of the once great franchise can be attributed to a strong group of players at the center of Baltimore’s success.

But who is the most important going ahead. Is it the young superstar pitcher? Or will the gold glove catcher prove most valuable?

Here are my top 5 Oriole’s players of the future.

5. Dylan Bundy/Manny Machado- I had to cope out a little bit here. When you have two young prospects at the level of these guys choosing one doesn’t seem fair. If they aren’t rushed through the minor leagues Machado and Bundy could be some of the best players in the league. Machado has drawn comparisons to Alex Rodriguez, while Dylan Bundy may be on par with some of the great pitchers of this generation. If either can live up to their expectations they are going to be phenomenal, but for now they remain in the developmental stage, so they can go no higher than number 5.

4. Jim Johnson- There is something to be said about the value of a great closer. For years Mariano Rivera has been one of the most important players to the Yankees considerable success. Jim Johnson has that kind of talent. Having only blown 2 saves this whole season, he makes any 9th inning lead insurmountable. Although older than the rest of the players on the list he is still only 29 years old. With potentially another 10 years in his career Johnson could be the difference for the Orioles as they climb the ladder towards the playoffs.

3. Wei Yin Chen- The offseason acquisition has had the most surprising year of any Oriole so far. While Jason Hammel has been the standout pitcher in Baltimore, Chen has not been too far behind. First in wins and second in ERA among the starters, Chen has proven himself as a top level starter. At only 27 years old a long career in the majors awaits the Taiwanese pitcher. For years Baltimore has been looking for a legit pitcher, and it seems they have finally found him. If he can continue this season’s success he will be the top pitcher in Baltimore in no time.

2. Matt Wieters- I will say this right now, Matt Wieters is the best defensive catcher in the major leagues. His gold glove last year is a glowing example of the young stars true ability. Although his hitting numbers haven’t been as impressive this past season, there is something to say for defense. As long as Wieters is behind the plate, don’t expect to see many stolen bases against Baltimore. If his batting can improve expect Wieters to, one day, challenge Adam Jones for the top spot on this list.

1. Adam Jones- The numbers speak for themselves though, with Jones leading the Orioles in every major hitting category. But it’s just the bat that makes him the top player looking ahead. It’s the face that he puts on the franchise. For the first time since Ripken retired, the team has a bona fide superstar. A face to put on the franchise is more valuable than any statistic another player can give the team. And that is why he is number 1.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Gerald McCoy keeps the Jameis Winston hype in check

Gronkowski family to appear on 'Family Feud'

WATCH: Lloyd McClendon has all-time meltdown

Drew Bledsoe defends Tom Brady over Deflategate

Did Heat offer Dwyane Wade less than $10 million per season?

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

David Ortiz brushes aside talk of being 'washed up'

USA Women’s World Cup roster verdict: No excuse not to win

UCF had no idea UConn was creating a rivalry trophy

Cam Newton signs five-year, $103M extension with Panthers

Devils introduce new head coach John Hynes

Report: Heat could make a run at Kevin Durant

Russell Wilson on future with Seahawks: 'We'll see what happens'

QB Blake Sims misses playing for Alabama

WATCH: Joc Pederson hits longest home run of the season

WATCH: Joey Gallo homers in first career game

Former Mississippi State cheerleader suing ESPN after hit by golf cart

Jackson says Bills plan to give McCoy 300-plus carries

McCoy not happy Perryman played dodgeball while injured

College football playoff schedule for 2015: New Year's Eve?

How the Chicago Blackhawks are thriving in salary cap era

Report: Klay Thompson cleared for Game 1 of NBA Finals

Pettine views latest Manziel incident as a ‘non-story’

Nationals need Taylor to produce in Werth’s absence

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

USA Women’s World Cup: No excuse not to win

Projecting rosters for the 2015 MLB All-Star Game

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

UAB fans celebrate football reinstatement

Sanchez backs off dismissal of Tebow

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.