On Wednesday, Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter tabbed Jason Hammel as the teams opening day starter for the 2013 season. This was probably one of the more anticipated moves the Orioles have made this preseason. Prior to Hammel’s injury in 2012, he was doing very well in his first season with the Orioles. The right-hander started last season by winning eight of his first 15 starts going 8-2.
Hammel finished 2012 with an 8-6 record through 20 games. His win-loss record may not impress you, but his number of strikeouts is awesome. In 118 innings pitched Hammel recorded 113 strikeouts. If you correlate that to an entire season of roughly 30 games that would be around 170 strikeouts in 30 starts. This spring, Hammels numbers have not been exactly opening day starter caliber, however, last season’s numbers are obviously doing the talking.
In three games pitched in Spring Training, Hammel is allowing opposing batters to hit for an average of .308. Although Hammel is still maintaining his dominance by striking out one hitter per inning on average. He has 9 K through 9 IP.
The Orioles are hoping Hammel continues the trend from last season as he previously got off to a hot start during the first few months of the 2012 season. The Orioles still have not named their fifth starter, but have demoted some potential candidates to their minor league teams. Showalter will have to make decision in the coming days as opening day is less than a week away.
Hammel and the Orioles open the 2013 season on the road vs AL East foe, Tampa Bay Rays. Following Hammel in the rotation will be Wei-Yin Chen and then Miguel Gonzalez.