Baltimore Orioles: Predictions that Came True in 2014!

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Oct 3, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Orioles fans cheer during game two of the 2014 ALDS playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Pitching Predictions

The Bullpen as a Whole – The Orioles bullpen will have an extremely effective year in total, and they will prove to be more like the pen of 2012 than 2013. This will be a key team strength that is managed well by Buck Showalter.

This is the predictive statement about which I’m most pleased (along with the next one). If you discern from my writing that I am a fan of the Orioles bullpen, well, you are correct. As I wrote recently on bringing back Andrew Miller over Nelson Cruz, and as I will be writing more in this offseason, I have morphed into that baseball analyst that sees a lockdown bullpen as just about the top priority for this era of baseball. And I thought this long before the annoying KC team showed up on the landscape. It’s the “Jim Johnson effect” … both positively and negatively.

The Elevation of Zach Britton to Closer – Tommy Hunter will do a decent job in the closer’s role, though Zach Britton will look so good in late innings set-up work that he will eventually flip positions with Hunter.

I really did write that before the season began … HERE is the link!  But honestly, it is not that bold of a prediction. Tommy Hunter was simply not destined to be a closer. Yes, the temperament is there for it, and there are so many positive things to say about Hunter. But his skills are better suited for nastiness in the set-up role. Britton’s stuff was, from Day 1 of the preseason, just so nasty and unhittable that he had to become the closer sooner or later.

Disappointment in Ubaldo JimenezWhereas Ubaldo Jimenez will have some good games, he may well have difficulty particularly against AL East teams – struggling there with pitch counts that work against him and an inability to finish off hitters.

I have written extensively from Day 1 of the signing of Jimenez that the Orioles were not getting what they thought they were going to get. Even at his historic best, he was not an innings-eater because of his control problems. Those problems were larger than I, or even his biggest critic, would have imagined. However, unlike many, I do think he will have many productive stretches for the Orioles over the next three years.

A Lesser Year for Chris TillmanChris Tillman will not be as good as 2013, though still a worthy part of the rotation.

On the surface of things and with a quick glance at the final numbers, the above statement is indeed true, particularly with his win/loss total.

2013 16 7 3.71 206.1 184 85 33 1.22
2014 13 6 3.34 207.1 189 77 21 1.23

Tillman had the great streak of consecutive games giving up three runs or less. But he also had the inconsistency of some terrible starts. I repeat here these bizarre numbers: Tillman’s ERA in first innings was 5.56, second innings 4.78, third innings 3.38, and combined fourth innings and after = 2.25!

The Worthless Signing of Suk-min YoonSuk-min Yoon will not prove to be particularly effective either at Norfolk or Baltimore.

Obviously I was unimpressed with the signing, and why not? His numbers from Korea were not that outstanding. And he never made it to Baltimore. Battling physical problems, he was 4-8 at Norfolk with a 5.74 ERA.

Dylan Bundy’s Recovery Year – Dylan Bundy will make progress, though not enough to help the Orioles this year.

This was indeed all true, and that is good enough for 2014. He pitched 41.1 innings of combined low-level minor league ball with a 3.27 ERA. The stats mean little. It was simply about getting him back on the mound after Tommy John surgery. He will likely be a new person in 2015.