Zach Britton – Of all the predictions to be made today and over the next two articles, this is the one I feel the best about. Zach Britton was featured in detail in an article on The Baltimore Wire just yesterday. Check it out for the background details behind saying that he is going to have a beast of a season – one for the ages. I am predicting he will be one of (if not the very best) closer in all of baseball. Britton’s stuff is that good and is getting better and better. It’s almost unfair. The only way he really loses is when hitters get lucky by dinking stupid little infield hits or flares that can’t be defensed.
Britton will set a new Baltimore Orioles saves record well before the end of the season.
Darren O’Day – I don’t think most Baltimore Orioles fans actually realize how incredibly good O’Day has been. In three seasons he has appeared in 205 games – that’s 42% of all O’s games over that time. His ERA has been 2.05 with a 17-6 record. Of the pending free agents, he is the first I would want to seek to extend.
I would look for O’Day to have another similar year. One would expect that he has to level off at some point. So let’s expect about a 2.00 ERA and WHIP around 1.00, which is still really great stuff.
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Tommy Hunter – If only Hunter could punch out hitters one after another like he does with one-liners. But he is very good in the role that fits him, and that is set-up. Starting was not the best, closing wasn’t his thing, but set-up is perfect. Hunter’s stuff is just different than anyone else, and for a couple of innings at the most, and no more than once through the lineup, it is very, very good. Let’s look for a 2.70 ERA over 75 innings.
Brad Brach – The role that Brach plays in this bullpen is difficult to value significantly enough. Where would highways be without bridges? That is what a pitching staff would be like without guys like Brach. Having had a successful season in 2014, I will predict that the comfort of such will enable him to build off it for an even better year. Let’s call an ERA under 3.00 on about 65-70 innings.
Wesley Wright – I am going to punt on this one. I simply have not seen him pitch and don’t know what to make of this acquisition. It never made a great deal of sense to me, apart from a determined conviction to move Matusz, which may not happen. My expectations of Wright are not high.
Brian Matusz – At the focal point of trade rumors, it might be best for Matusz to stay in Baltimore at this point. If he does, I will predict this will be his best season so far – good enough to raise the question yet again about being a starter in 2016. And with no other lefties on the horizon and Chen surely gone, it might well happen. As with Brach, I’ll call for his ERA to drop under 3.0 on about 60 innings of work.
Others – At this moment of writing, the speculation is that Ryan Webb will be gone in a trade or DFA-ed. It is too bad it did not work out; I don’t think it was a bad deal. Actually, as I’ve written in the past, if you throw out his couple of worst games in 2014, his stats are quite good. And T.J. McFarland has had a spring training to forget. He’ll likely get it together again at Norfolk and contribute in some fashion before the season is over.