Sunday, March 10, 2013

MAKING THE PITCH: Baltimore Orioles

Buck Showalter will have to dig deep into his bag of tricks to get the Orioles
to repeat their unforeseen performance from last season.
(photo courtesy of Mike McCann's Field of Fotos)

Felipe M

We take a look at the projected starting rotations and closer situations of every MLB team.  Of course, this will come from a fantasy perspective.  All cited stats are based on 2013 projections. 

The Baltimore Orioles are next.

  1. Jason Hammel
    • Good: Shows a good knack for strikeouts (6.95 K/9) and can limit his walks and homer runs to respectable, low levels.
    • Bad: WHIP of 1.27 makes him a pitcher not worth grabbing too early.  He's also the "ace" of an Orioles' team that might not be able to repeat what they did in 2012 so wins might be harder to come by.
  2. Wei-Yin Chen
    • Good: Respectable 2.71 K/BB.  Finesse pitcher that won't hurt himself with too many walks.
    • Bad: Can be very hittable, but worst of all, playing in Baltimore, his 1.20 HR/9 will drive you crazy.
  3. Chris Tillman
    • Good: Had a solid year in 2012 and adequate K/BB of 2.18 shows potential to repeat similar performance.   
    • Bad: 8.84 H/9 is similar to Chen's H/9 of 8.81 and boosts WHIP to 1.34.  Just like Chen,  HR/9 of 1.14 shows his issues with the long ball, especially at Camden Yards.
  4. Miguel Gonzalez
    • Good: Has similar numbers as his teammates.  2.21 K/BB might make him an adequate pitcher in any league.  
    • Bad: Despite having a relatively low H/9 of 8.36, his WHIP is still at 1.27, damaged by a BB/9 of 3.05.  It's not too high, but when you add his 8+ H/9, that made his WHIP too high.  HR/9 of 1.18 is not too high, but considering where he pitches his home games, that number might prove to be higher.
  5. Dylan Bundy
    • Good: #1 Orioles' prospect.  May not get the job out of spring training, but is worth monitoring, especially when you consider the other pitchers vying for that #5 spot: Bundy is simply the most intriguing.  7.53 K/9 makes him an attractive option.
    • Bad: Control, just like many young pitchers, will be a major issue (3.49 BB/9).  Might not start right away in the Majors and judging by his age, 20, might not be called up this season either.  But potential is very intriguing and the Orioles have proven to bring up prospects if they believe they can help them win games now.
  1. Jim Johnson
    • Good: Very good control (1.93 BB/9).  WHIP of 1.10 and HR/9 of .51 indicates that he won't hurt himself too much despite being more of a finesse closer.  
    • Bad: 5.79 K/9 is what keeps him from being an elite closer despite showing that he can rack up saves.  You don't have to be on a winning team to be an effective fantasy closer, but to save 50+ saves again, the Orioles have to repeat their lucky, late-inning heroics again.

It's really interesting how teams somehow find similar pitchers to fill out their starting rotation.  So far, the Braves rotation has looked the best in this review.  The Orioles rotation is nowhere near the Braves.  What they lack in skill and dominance, they make up by having four starters that are not ashamed to be finesse pitchers that do a good job in limiting their walks and strikeout enough batters to be somewhat relevant in fantasy leagues.  

However, because of their pitching styles, some hit balls might fall for base-hits.  But the big concern with this club is a propensity to give up homeruns, especially when one considers that they play at Camden.  Only Hammel would be considered someone you can plug into your middle rotation.  The other starters might be good to fill out the rest of your backend. 

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