Predicting the Baltimore Orioles’ 2014 Starting Rotation
Predicting the Baltimore Orioles' 2014 Starting Rotation
It could be argued that the Baltimore Orioles of 2013 could have been competitors for the lead in the American League East if their pitching staff had been just a little bit better. The offense was one of the best in MLB last season but they still fell short. Chances are the reason for that is not only the pitching staff but more specifically the starting rotation. For a while this offseason, that looked to be something that would be even worse in 2014.
As the Spring Training time of the baseball year rolled around however the Orioles made a move that improved everything. Last season their starting staff combined to post a 4.75 ERA which ranked 12th out of 15 A.L. teams. Now consider that they lost the man some believed was their ace in Jason Hammel. How could they be better?
The short answer is the move they made to bring in Ubaldo Jimenez. Hammel was good for only seven wins last season and his ERA was 5.14. We will look at Jimenez's numbers later but suffice it to say that exchanging Hammel for a newly signed Jimenez is a plus move for the staff. This is one reason they could be better in 2014.
What follows is the projected starting rotation for Opening Day 2014. It should be mentioned that they could add prospect Dylan Bundy around mid-season. If they do, that could improve the rotation even more. Take a look at the likely starting rotation for the Orioles. Feel free to leave a comment below.
5 - Wei-Yin Chen
Last season Chen was only able to bring in 7 wins but his ERA was decent for a fifth starter at 4.07. For 2014, Chen needs to be able to shoot for double digit wins. Run support should not be a problem so if he keeps the other team down, he will be in good shape.
4 - Bud Norris
Norris was okay when he was with the Astros but his numbers really ballooned when he was traded to the Orioles at mid-season. This season he has said plainly that he wants to prove to the coaching staff what he can really do. Norris at his best should be able to bring in a dozen wins and an ERA well below 4.00.
3 - Chris Tillman
Tillman emerged as the best on the pitching staff last season. His 16 wins led the entire staff and the 3.71 ERA was extremely decent. If he takes another step in the right direction in 2014, he could possibly emerge as the first or second ace on this staff.
2 - Miguel Gonzalez
The 11 wins and 3.78 ERA Gonzalez put up last season just scratch the surface of his potential. He should be able to up his numbers this year and if he does, it will certainly give the O's starting rotation a strong top end.
1 - Ubaldo Jimenez
Jimenez had 13 wins and a 3.30 ERA for the Indians last season. That would be huge for this team. Just consider that last season the Orioles finished six games behind the Rays for the final Wild Card spot. If the Orioles had gotten Jimenez's 13 wins instead of Hammel's seven, they clearly would have been much closer. That should be the case this season as well.