Baltimore OriolesOur expert from ScoutPRO.com,Shawn Childs, helps you prepare for your big fantasy baseball draft.
Baltimore Orioles Team Projection
After going through the Orioles batters yesterday, it's time to analyze their starting rotation and bullpen.
1. SP Chris Tillman
Tillman delivered a very good season for a backend starter.? His K rate (7.8) was a career high.? However, his HR/FB rate (1.4) remains too high and it will hold back his ERA until it improves.? His AFB (91.6) was slightly lower than 2012 (92.4).? He throws a curveball as his 2nd best pitch, followed by a solid changeup.? Over the 2nd half of 2013, his command (2.6) and K rate (8.6) showed more growth.? The next step in his improvement will be solving his command against LH batters.? Tillman is real close to becoming a top arm in the majors.? He pitches in a tough division, but has had success against Boston (3-1 with 2.65 ERA) and Toronto (2-1 with 3.31 ERA).? However, he was bombed by Tampa (1-3 with 5.09 ERA - 7 HR's allowed in 23 innings) and struggled against New York (2-1 with 4.42 ERA).? He allowed 19 of his 33 HR's to the AL East teams in 111.3 innings.? At the end of the day, he has upside in wins thanks to the Orioles plus offense.? 15 wins with sub 3.50 ERA potential.
2. SP Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez was dusted for 14 runs in 6 innings during his 2nd and 3rd starts of the year, which led to a 5.57 ERA at the end of May. He then allowed 2 runs or less in 16 of his last 22 starts (2.41 ERA with 141 K's in 131 innings) to save his season, pitching his best ball in September (4-0 with 1.09 ERA with 51 K's in 41.1 innings). Ubaldo was dominant against LH batters (.223 with 118 K's in 368 at bats), but his command (46 walks in 368 at bats) is still an issue against righties (.258 - BAA). His AFB (91.7) was a career low and has now declined in 3 straight years (96.1 in 2010), but it did have more value over the last 2 months of the year (92.5+ mph). His success last year was driven by the highest % of first pitch strikes (58%) and overall strikes (62%) of his career. Furthermore, his slider gained value at the expense of his curveball and changeup. His gain in K's was due to the addition of a split-finger fastball. Overall, his decline in velocity can be offset by better command. Baltimore signed him to a 4-year, $48 million contract in late February. Overall, he will be pitching in a tough division in a hitter's ballpark. His success last year will inflate his value, which will make him an easy player to avoid in 2014. I see downside risk as I don't trust his command.
3. SP Wei-Yin Chen
Chen missed two months last season with an oblique injury.? His results were very good (3.19 ERA) until late August.? He allowed 3 runs or less in 14 of his first 16 starts, but his success faded over his last 6 starts (6.62 ERA and 1.811 whip) due to a bone spur in his right knee that required surgery in the offseason.? His AFB sits at 91.4.? He throws a slider and change up equally well with a decent curveball.? Chen has more success against LH batters (.223).? Wei-Yin is expected to be ready for spring training.? He has 150 K upside, but will need to pitch close to 200 innings.? His command (2.6) is strong enough where Chen has a chance to have a sub 3.50 ERA.? He has some downside risk on the road against tough opponents.?
4. SP Bud Norris
Norris had a decent ERA (3.93) for the Astros in 21 starts, but he was drilled in his 9 starts (4.80 ERA and 1.678 WHIP) with the Orioles after a late July trade.? His K rate (7.5) was a career low, but his AFB (92.5) was stronger than 2012 (91.8).? He throws a slider as his #2 pitch.? Last year, he toyed with a cutter and an occasional curveball, in addition a changeup.? Bud was crushed by LH batters (.315 with 16 HR's allowed in about 95 innings pitched).? Norris is 38-49 in his major league career with a weak ERA (4.36).? His K rate (8.5) has flashed at times in his career, but he has too many disaster starts.? The move to the AL East hurts his value even more.? Tools wise, he could make a step forward, but he needs to find a 3rd pitch he can trust.? His high slider rate (33.8%) invites injury risk down the road.? Norris is also a dark horse to close.
5. SP Kevin Gausman
Gausman struggled in the majors last season, but there were signs he could make a step forward in 2014.? He has had solid command (2.5) in the majors and plus command in the minors (1.5).? His K rate (9.3) remained strong in the majors.? Kevin has an elite fastball (95.9), but too many of those FB's left the park at the major league level.? He throws a split-finger fastball as his 2nd best pitch, plus a slider and an occasional changeup.? Gausman has limited experience at the upper levels of the minors, so he isn't a lock to start the year in the majors.? He has an elite arm with upside once he gains experience.? I expect him to make a nice step forward this year, but his innings upside will be limited.? A player to watch in 2014.
6. SP Miguel Gonzalez
Overall, Gonzalez has done a very good job in his 43 starts in the majors over the last 2 seasons.? He missed a couple of weeks in May last due to a thumb injury.? Miguel allowed 3 runs or less in 24 of his 30 starts.? His AFB (91.4) isn't anything special, and he relies on a developing split-finger fastball as his 2nd best pitch (plus a slider and curveball).? In 2012, he threw a slider as his 2nd best pitch.? His K rate (6.3) isn't elite and he tends to struggle with long balls to RH batters.? Career minor leaguer who reinvented himself at age 28.? Low upside player that will have value in some matchups this year.?
7. RP Brian Matusz
After struggling for 3 straight seasons, Matusz made a nice step forward as a reliever.? He had excellent command (2.8) with career high K rate (8.8).? For the first time in his career, he was able to limit HR's (0.5).? As good as it may look on the surface, he wasn't impressive against RH batters (.302).? His success was driven by dominating lefties (.168).? His past resume is consistent with his 2013 results (RH batters - .305 and LH batters (.208).? His AFB (91.5) was a career high and he threw a career high 27% sliders.? Furthermore, he continues to throw a change up as his 3rd pitch and the value of his curveball is fading.? Tough to believe he is ready to make a step forward into the starting rotation without finding some magic to get righties out.?
8. RP Dylan Bundy
Bundy missed all of 2013 after blowing out his elbow in March last season.? He tried platelet-rich plasma injections in late April, but ended up needing Tommy John surgery in late June.? He has no value in 2014 and fantasy players will have to wait another year before the great Bundy makes an impact in the majors.
9. CL Tommy Hunter
The Orioles lead the majors in saves (112) over the last 2 seasons, but they will no longer have the services of Jim Johnson.? Baltimore was expected to sign Grant Balfour to close in December, but the deal fell though when the Orioles took a look at his medical report.? For now, Hunter has the inside track for the job.? His command (1.5) has been solid over the last 3 seasons, but his K rate (5.4) has been weak during his major league career.? Last year, his K rate (7.1) was a career high, but HR's have been his Achilles heel (1.5 HR/9 - 1.1 in 2013).? In 2013, he pitched great against RH batters (.141) and only allowed 2 extra base hits in 149 at bats.? His struggles against lefties (.294 and 11 HR's in 170 at bats) will certainly hurt his chances of pitching in the 9th.? For now, he is listed as the closer due to a lack of other options.? His AFB (96.2) was surprisingly stronger as a reliever.? He throws a cutter as his 2nd best pitch followed by a curveball.? His fastball says maybe, but his resume says no way.?
10. RP Suk-Min Yoon
Baltimore signed Yoon to a 3-year, $5.75 million contract in February. During his 9-year career in Korea, Suk-min has been used as a starter and closer. He has 44 career saves and a 17-5 season as starter in 2011 with 178 K's in 172.3 innings. Yoon throws a low 90's fastball, a plus slider, and an average changeup. He is 73-59 in his Korean career with a 3.19 ERA and 949 K's (7.6 K rate) in 1,129 innings, and his walk rate was 2.8. I see Yoon more as a possible closer than a starter, but his fastball would need to have more life.
11. RP Darren O'Day
O'Day's stats suggest his resume is stronger than Hunter's to close, but his fastball limps its way to the plate at 85.1 mph.? His only other pitch is a slider.? His command (2.3) has been solid during his major league career and he has a strong enough K rate (8.0) to get the job done if needed.? In today's game, teams are reluctant to throw soft tossing side armers in the 9th.? They are looking for an arm with plus gas and upside in K's.? Just like Hunter, O'Day dominates righties (.154), but struggles with lefties (.309).? Maybe a short term answer, but he lacks the pedigree to pitch in the 9th.
12. RP Ryan Webb
Baltimore signed Webb in the offseason for bullpen depth.? He is a fastball/slider pitcher with less than stellar command (3.0) and a weak K rate (6.3).? His AFB sits at 92.3, but his velocity was the lowest in his major league career.? In 2009, his slider was quicker with more bite.? He doesn't dominate RH batters (.254) and lacks command against lefties.? Webb looks like a situational arm with poor command.? He has no chance of closing.