Oct 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Wei-Yin Chen throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning in game three of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
1. Baltimore Orioles – Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez, Kevin Gausman, Ubaldo Jimenez.
Some may call this a homer pick. So let’s have the stats do the talking.
In the AL in 2014, the Orioles used the fewest number of pitchers (20, tied with Seattle), allowed the 3rd fewest runs per game (behind Seattle and Oakland), had the second most saves (behind Kansas City), and were second in the division in strikeouts / walks ratio (behind Toronto).
And, the Orioles return the exact same players. Last year, the team used a total of seven starters, and T.J. McFarland only started one game. Sure, some of that is luck and a lack of injuries. But, Buck Showalter maneuvers his roster like none other. Ubaldo Jimenez had what in many regards was an awful year in 2014. Kevin Gausman was able to get more time under his belt in the majors, and he figured out how to be a pitcher, not just a thrower.
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Some people don’t think Tillman is an ace, because he doesn’t win enough games and he doesn’t go deep enough in games. But if you look at his stats over the past three years, he certainly is the Orioles’ ace. Chen is in a contract year and has continued to be a left-handed asset for the team. Bud Norris had his best year of his career in 2014, pitching to a 15-8 record with an ERA of 3.63. Then there is Miguel Gonzalez, who actually had the best ERA of the rotation at 3.23.
One of these six players isn’t going to make the rotation. My money is on it being Gonzalez to start out, if a trade does not occur.
Next: Just a bunch of kids in Tampa