May 7, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Chris Tillman (30) heads to the dugout after being relieved during the sixth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
The Bad (in terms of predictions)
Chris Tillman – This may be the biggest disappointment of them all. Tillman turned around some early season woes in 2014 to finally look like a top half of the rotation sort of starter. I think everyone expected a very fine 2015 from him. I wrote, “I do not see any reason for Chris Tillman to not continue with his consistent top-of-the-rotation performance. He lives on the corners with his pitches and is a continual learner. Look for him to improve and ratchet up his game one more click. Let’s say he’ll have some better W/L success at 16-7 with an ERA in the vicinity of 3.25 and WHIP under 1.200.”
But then he ran into the Toronto Blue Jays who just spanked him game after game like I’ve seen few pitchers get trashed. Against the Jays his ERA was 11.72 in six starts. Against everyone else it was 3.84
Overall, Tillman was 11-11 with a 4.99 ERA … I still can’t believe this happened.
Miguel Gonzalez – I admit that I got a bit euphoric with Gonzo after his excellent 2014 season. Noting his winter workouts with Brady Anderson, I wrote, “I look for him to continue with an ERA in the 3.20 to 3.30 range, while also adding more innings pitched. He posted 159 last year, and I will put him down for 180+ this year, along with 15 or more wins.” And that did not work out at all, tailing off at the end to an ERA of 4.91 in 145 innings.
Kevin Gausman – It has been difficult to predict much about Gausman because of the way the Orioles have brought him up and down — certain to skew statistics. It was also difficult for Gausman because of the absolutely horrid run support he got this year. I wrote of him, “It is impossible to predict a record for the young man. But let’s posit that he lowers his 4.19 ERA from 2014 to the 3.80 to 3.85 range for innings pitched in 2015.” His ERA was 4.25. He did get his innings pitched as predicted to build up his arm for the regular rotation in 2016, where I will already say it will be a rather good breakout year for him.
Tommy Hunter – After talking about how Hunter had come to excel in the role of a set-up man, being effective no more than once through the lineup, I was expecting him to have a decent full season with the O’s … saying, “Let’s look for a 2.70 ERA over 75 innings.” He pitched in 39 games, 44.1 innings with a 3.63 ERA before being released. It was not awful, but neither was it good.
Brian Matusz – Looking back, I am actually surprised at myself for being so positive in early April about Matusz — a guy whom I’ve never been totally sold on. He is a pitcher whose stats always look better on paper than he does to the eye. I said, “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. I’ll call for his ERA to drop under 3.0 on about 60 innings of work.” It was 2.94 over 49 innings. So I was not off that much, but I won’t claim this as a good prediction because, again, it was not as good as those numbers appear. And I don’t see him as a viable starter candidate for next year.
Next: There is one total miss … can you guess it? …