Five Players Who Can Help the Orioles Beat the Projections

Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images North America

Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images North America

Kevin Gausman, SP
Steamer Projections: 28 starts, 10-9, 161.0 IP, 3.82 ERA, 7.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

Gausman has been on the verge of emerging as the long-awaited ace of the Baltimore Orioles. He was jerked around last season, and it showed in his performance. The Orioles entered spring training unsure of what Gausman’s role would be, and he only got a chance to start after Bud Norris turned into Dud Norris. In Gausman’s ten-best starts last year, he had an ERA below 2.00. In his seven-worst starts, however, the ERA was much closer to 9.00 than allowed by law.

Gausman’s fastball and splitter are already plus-pitches. He showed much more comfort with his changeup last season. The breaking ball remains a work in progress. Gausman has consistently turned in better starts with Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and a personal-catcher arrangement may be worth making. Regardless, Gausman’s fourth season in the big leagues needs to be a breakout one if the Orioles are to have a legitimate shot at contending. Steamer projects him to go 10-9 with a 3.82 ERA and 4.05 FIP. He was better than that in 2014, and has to be in 2016 for the Orioles to have a shot at the postseason.

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