Ranking MLB’s Starting Rotations: 20-16

16. Baltimore Orioles

  • 1)RHP Chris Tillman
  •  26 years old: 13-6, 3.34 ERA, 207.1 IP, 189 H, 77 ER, 21 HR, 66 BB, 150 K, 1.23 WHIP, 6.51 K/9, 2.86 BB/9, 4.20 xFIP, 2.4 WAR, 1.03 GB/FB, .267BABIP
    • 40.6 percent ground balls, 3,411 pitches, 2,151 strikes.
    • 90.7 MPH FB (64.5), 75.3 MPH CRV (17.6), 82.4 MPH CH (12.8), 85.4 MPH CUT (5.1)
    • The Erik Bedard trade could be marked as the day the Orioles franchise turned it around. In the trade, the O’s traded injury prone lefty Erik Bedard and received center fielder Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and prospects. In seven seasons in Baltimore, Jones has 166 homers, a .281 average, four All Star Game selections, four Gold Gloves, and one top six MVP finish. Tillman struggled throughout his early stints in the majors from 2009-11, with a 7-15 record, 5.58 ERA, and 29 homers in just over 180 innings. However, in the last three seasons, he’s refined his command, has a 38-16 record, 3.42 ERA, 395 strikeouts in 499 2/3 innings, and 1.19 WHIP. He’s established himself as a top-of-the-staff pitcher, which is what he was touted as when the O’s traded for him. Bedard, on the other hand, is 31-48 since leaving Baltimore.
  • 2)LHP Wei-Yin Chen
  •  29 years old: 16-6, 3.54 ERA, 185.2 IP, 193 H, 73 ER, 23 HR, 35 BB, 136 K, 1.23 WHIP, 6.59 K/9, 1.70 BB/9, 3.75 xFIP, 2.6 WAR, 1.09 GB/FB, .296BABIP
    • 41.0 percent ground balls, 2,977 pitches, 1,979 strikes.
    • 91.8 MPH FB (65.8), 82.4 MPH SL (15.5), 83.5 MPH CH (11.7), 73.9 MPH CRV (7.0)
    • Signed out of Taiwan in 2012, Chen was a huge bargain, inked to a four-year, $15.47M contract. Last year, he was excellent, with a 16-6 record, walking just 35 in 185 2/3 innings. The lefty in the staff, Chen has been steady, and with good command and poise, and he should get top dollar in free agency. The pitching market is largely inflated, as proven by guys likeUbaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana getting $13-13.5M per. Over the last three years:
      • Pitcher A: 28-35, 4.46 ERA
      • Pitcher B: 32-33, 4.06 ERA
      • Pitcher C: 35-24, 3.86 ERA

Which one do you think is Chen?

  • 3)RHP Miguel Gonzalez
  •  30 years old: 10-9, 3.23 ERA, 159 IP, 155 H, 57 ER, 25 HR, 51 BB, 111 K, 1.30 WHIP, 6.28 K/9, 2.89 BB/9, 4.46 xFIP, 0.6 WAR, 0.89 GB/FB, .273BABIP
    • 41.7 percent fly balls, 2,552 pitches, 1,640 strikes.
    • 91.0 MPH FB (57.6), 84.3 MPH SL (15.5), 83.8 MPH SPL (13.6), 76.4 MPH CRV (13.3)
    • Signed to a minor league deal in 2012, Gonzalez has continued to surprise for the Orioles. As a rookie, he won nine games, lost only four, with a solid 3.45 ERA. In the last two years, he’s taken on more of a full-time role, with a 21-17 record and 3.51 ERA. In two playoff starts, he’s 0-1 despite a 1.42 ERA. He’s really established himself as a consistent middle-of-the-rotation starter, despite being squeezed out of the rotation on several occasions by guys like Jimenez and Gausman. Despite this, he’s proven himself time and time again as a guy who belongs in the staff. Last year, he posted a 3.23 ERA, and struggles with the long ball, but you’re going to have trouble finding an AL East pitcher who doesn’t. Baltimore, Toronto, New York, Boston, and Tampa are all hitters parks.
  • 4)RHP Bud Norris
  •  29 years old: 15-8, 3.65 ERA, 165.1 IP, 149 H, 67 ER, 20 HR, 52 BB, 139 K, 1.22 WHIP, 7.57 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, 3.98 xFIP, 1.5 WAR, 1.13 GB/FB, .279BABIP
    • 42.2 percent ground balls, 2,746 pitches, 1,756 strikes.
    • 93.4 MPH FB (60.5), 86.3 MPH SL (26.1), 85.7 MPH CH (9.0), 89.3 MPH CUT (89.3), 80.5 MPH CRV (0.1)
    • Norris was traded from Houston to Baltimore in the middle of the 2013 season, and in his first full season in Baltimore last year, was excellent, with 15 wins, a 3.65 ERA, and a 1.2 WHIP. He set career bests in wins, ERA, win percentage, walks, and hits per nine innings. He’s a solid fourth starter, and next year is a big year for him, as he’s scheduled to hit free agency in 2016.
  • 5)RHP Kevin Gausman
  •  23 years old: 7-7, 3.57 ERA, 113.1 IP, 111 H, 45 ER, 7 HR, 38 BB, 88 K, 1.31 WHIP, 6.99 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, 3.93 xFIP, 2.1 WAR, 1.17 GB/FB, .304BABIP
    • 41.4 percent ground balls, 1,951 pitches, 1,201 strikes.
    • 94.8 MPH FB (70.5), 83.1 MPH SPL (18.6), 79.9 MPH SL (7.2), 84.7 MPH CH (3.7)
    • Gausman is a huge part of the O’s future. Along with Bundy and Tillman, they probably are the top three of the O’s staff in some order for the next five to ten years. Gausman was drafted fourth overall by the O’s in 2012 out of LSU, and despite a 4-10 record in the minors, he had a 3.41 ERA, and the O’s knew coming out of a college that he was a major-league ready guy. Last year, he showed flashes of dominance, and both president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter have stated they believe in his ability to break out next year. He seems primed for a big year, as next year, he won’t be bounced between Triple A and the majors, and has a spot in the staff. If anything, it wouldn’t surprise me if the O’s confidence in him allowed the O’s to feel a bit more comfortable letting a Norris or Chen walk in free agency.
  • Other possible contributors:
    • RHP Ubaldo Jimenez
    • 30 years old: 6-9, 4.81 ERA, 125.1 IP
      • If he can pitch like he did in 2013 (13-9, 3.30), the O’s might have something.
      • 91 MPH FB, 83 MPH SL, 84 MPH SPL, 82 MPH CH, 76 MPH CRV
    • RHP Dylan Bundy
    • 22 years old: 1-3, 3.27 ERA in minors in 2014
      • Top prospect dominated the minors in 2012, missed most of 2013 and ’14, but looks healthy heading into 2014. Should be a part of the ‘pen in 2015 and probably rotation in 2016.
      • 94 MPH FB, 86 MPH CH, 84 MPH CUT, 75 MPH CRV

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