Who is the Baltimore Orioles' Best Starting Pitcher?

By Corey Righter
Miguel Gonzalez - Orioles
Kim Klement – USTODAY Sports

Twelve. That was the most wins by a starting pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. If you guessed Wei-Yin Chen as the team leader in wins, then you guessed correctly. Chen compiled a 12-11 record over the course of 32 games started. Of those 32 games he had 17 “quality starts,” or games in which Chen pitched at least six innings and did not give up more than three earned runs.

For pitchers, wins and losses may be one of the most overrated stats in baseball. A pitcher can sometimes give up two or three runs and there offense does not produce, which leads to the pitcher getting an unwarranted L next to their name. This is where the state “quality start” comes in to play.

It is easy to say who the best pitcher for the New York Yankees or the Detroit Tigers, because they have aces like C.C. Sabathia and Justin Verlander, who have the large win totals at the end of the season. The Orioles on the other hand do not have that distinct number one starter or even a rock solid five man rotation.

To figure out who is truly the Orioles best pitcher we have to dig beyond the wins and losses and focus more on the effectiveness of the starting pitchers. Going back to the concept of quality start I decided to see which starters had the highest quality start percentage.

Miguel Gonzalez ranks first on the Orioles with a 67 quality start percentage to go along with a 9-3 record in 2012. Compared to the rest of the league, Gonzalez is tied for 25th in quality start percentage. Gonzalez was called up last season to make his MLB debut on May 29.  The league average for quality start percentage is roughly 51 percent.

Next on the list is Chris Tillman who posted a 9-3 record and had nine quality starts in 15 games, which is good enough for a 60 quality start percentage. Tillman has been in the Orioles organization since 2008 when he came over in the Erik Bedard trade with the Seattle Mariners.

Rounding out the top three is Chen who was aforementioned earlier in the article. He had just a 53 percent quality start rate, which is just two percent above the league average.

The worst pitcher in terms of this state is right handed pitcher, Jake Arrieta, who had just 33 percent of starts qualify as quality starts. He also reps a 6.20 ERA paired with a disappointing 3-9 record for 2012.

To put all of this into perspective the best pitcher in terms of this statistic is Kris Medlen of the Atlanta Braves, who carries an 83 quality start percentage.

With the success the Orioles had last season, who needs an ace. Although some consistency would be appreciated especially with the lack of success the Orioles pitching staff has had historically in the past decade. A guy that may emerge as the ace hasn’t even been listed yet. That pitcher is Jason Hammel, who went down with a knee injury late in the season.


Corey Righter is a columnist/writer for RantSports, primarily covering the Baltimore Orioles. You can follow him on Twitter @Mrrighter.

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