Baltimore Orioles: 2014 Season Grades – Starting Pitchers

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Today is the fourth of five total posts where we look back at the 2014 season for the Baltimore Orioles and have some fun assigning final grades for the year. You can link to the catchers, infielders, and outfielders articles that have been completed earlier this week; today we will look at starting pitchers, with relief pitchers over the weekend.

As you scroll through the following pages, we will discuss and grade Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Bud Norris, Kevin Gausman, and Ubaldo Jimenez.

Before looking at and grading the six individual pitchers, here are some Baltimore Orioles starting pitching statistics and how they compare in the American League.

Wins/Losses – The Orioles starters tallied a total of 68 wins, which tied for the most in the AL with Detroit and California. With 45 losses, only the Angels had fewer – which makes sense, in that they had the best record in the league.

ERA – The O’s starters had the fifth-best ERA in the AL at 3.61. The A’s had the best at 3.37, while the Rays and Mariners were at 3.48, with the Royals at 3.60.

Innings Pitched – So much was made of the need for starters to go deep into games. With a total of 954 innings, the Orioles starters were 10th in the league. Detroit was the best at 1,007 – demonstrating again how bad the Tigers bullpen was and how wellk the O’s relievers performed.

Hits / Batting Average Against – The Birds gave up the fifth-least number of base hits and had the fifth-lowest batting average against at .251.  The three West Coast teams and the Rays were all in the upper .230s.

Home Runs Allowed – The Orioles tied for third with the most home runs allowed at 109. The Yankees allowed 110 and the Rangers the most with 114. Some of this has to do, of course, with Camden Yards and the AL East stadiums. But it remains a concern.

WHIP – I really like this statistic as a very telling one ultimately. And the Orioles starters were in the middle of the pack at 8th in the AL.

Overall it was a pretty good year for the Orioles starters. After a difficult first third of the year, the starters pitched the rest of the way at a level near the very top. Starting pitching was the biggest concern entering the season in the minds of most people. The common phrase heard over and over was, “The Orioles will go where their starting pitching takes them.” Well, yes, that is true … though the phrase hits me as about as analytical as saying, “the team who wins the most games will likely finish first.”

Certainly O’s fans can be largely pleased with the starting pitchers for 2014, as they performed overall at a level higher than most folks would have likely predicted. It could even be said that it was, in the final two-thirds of the season, a team strength.

With the last article on the outfielders, I put a tease in it at this point to get you to continue to step through the following pages … so another today… without looking it up, do you know Bud Norris’ actual name? It will be at the end of his page just ahead.