Duquette also strongly hinted that the O's top prospects could reach the Majors this season.
"[Jonathan] Schoop had a good winter in Arizona, and we got [Dylan] Bundy and [Kevin] Gausman knocking on the door," Duquette said.
Bundy and Gausman are ranked the club's top two prospects according to MLB.com, and the organization is hopeful they will develop into the frontline starter missing from the Orioles' current roster. Bundy was bumped up to Class A Frederick in May after an incredible start to his pro career at Class A Delmarva. The 20-year-old was promoted to Double-A Bowie in mid-August, and he earned a callup to the big leagues on Sept. 19. Gausman, who just turned 22, was the first college pitcher taken in last year's Draft and appeared in five Minor League games after signing.
The duo of young righties will have to prove they can have success at Double-A, as Duquette has said in the past, but both Bundy and Gausman could arrive in Baltimore this year. Schoop will be in Major League camp, but given the team's roster construction, it would be a reach to consider him in the running for an Opening Day spot. Still, a solid Minor League season could boost his stock, and Duquette shocked the baseball world last year when he promoted shortstop Manny Machado from Double-A to the Majors and moved him to third base.
Duquette also singled out the efforts of some of the current Orioles pitchers and has slowly accumulated enough depth in the organization to not rush Bundy or Gausman through the Minors.
"The young starting pitchers we had at the end of the year -- I'm talking specifically about [Chris] Tillman, [Miguel] Gonzalez and Steve Johnson -- they pitched as good as any three young starters in the league," Duquette said. "They've had the benefit of significant experience up here, so I think our starting rotation, in terms of depth, is in pretty good shape going forward."