9. Brad Brach turned into a strikeout machine.
Brad Brach was solid in his first 46 games with the Orioles in 2014 after coming over from the San Diego Padres. He posted a 3.18 ERA in 62.1 innings, but struck out only 7.8 per nine, which was a career-low. This season, Brach spiked his strikeout rate back up to 10.1, in line with the number he posted in 2012 for the Padres. Brach’s splitter was his best pitch. Opponents struck out 31 times when facing it, and whiffed at 23.2-percent of Brach’s split-finger offerings. Brach did struggle with control at times this season, but showing that strikeout ability was key. The 29-year-old right-hander, who throws with a cross-body delivery, proved to be a big asset in the Orioles bullpen, especially given the struggles of the starting rotation. Having a strikeout pitch like the splitter is key to staying out of trouble in middle relief, and Brach rediscovered that ability in 2015.