It's been pretty well established at this point that the 2013 Orioles will essentially be the 2012 Orioles. One of Dan Duquette's stated premises in rolling with an essentially unchanged club is that he sees a solid core of talent that will get better on its own. Operating under the assumption that last year's playoff team played above their heads, is there anything to Duquette's assertion? Will this team be able to compete just based on the natural improvements of its young core?

There are plenty of analyses out there by people smarter than me about the age progression of baseball players. You can read some good ones here and here. I'm not going to rehash their work, but I'm going to operate under the broad premise that players 26 and under should improve, players 27-31 should maintain relatively stable production, and players 32 and over should decline. I'm only going to focus on our expected starting batters and pitchers, under the assumption that reliever performance fluctuates too much for age progression to be a primary factor, and that bench players won't be the difference-makers in the success or failure of the season. I'll also break out some outliers among the starting pitchers and hitters who have not followed any kind of normal aging progression in their careers. In some cases, I'll just list the players, but where applicable I've included some notes. All ages listed are as of Opening Day.