Baltimore Orioles Renewed Starting Rotation Gives O’s Hope In AL East

SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner
SARASOTA, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Pitcher Andrew Cashner /
1 of 5

The Baltimore Orioles added much-needed starting pitching in veterans Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner over the offseason. Where does the Orioles rotation stack up against the rest of the American League East?

The Baltimore Orioles always have a fierce battle on their hands when competing against the exceptional collection of starting pitching in the AL East.

During the offseason, you often hear of starting pitchers not wanting to pitch in the American League East. However, if you look up and down the rotations in the division, it doesn’t appear that way.

Sure, some of the starters were acquired via trade. Many others are homegrown talent. But, there is another piece to this as well.

More from Baltimore Orioles

A handful of players want to say they are the best of the best. And, if you can pitch in the AL East, then you certainly qualify. Some, like David Price and Alex Cobb, even choose to resign in the division.

With that said, this year’s rankings are very challenging. I thought that number one was obvious, but it turns out that injuries changed my opinion entirely.

Number five is pretty easy, just too many question marks, which isn’t good when you are known for relying on your pitching.

In the middle…your view likely depends on whether you think young pitchers will continue to improve and veterans will not decline at all.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

Starting pitchers: Chris Archer, Blake Snell, Jake Faria, Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Andriese, Daniel Hudson, Austin Pruitt

I feel odd putting Tampa last, but I can’t rank them any higher than this.

The team currently doesn’t have a fifth starter, calling the spot a bullpen start to start the year. That’s not good.

Archer went 10-12  with a 4.07 ERA last season, despite being an All-Star. He led the American League in games started with 34, and his 2017 was similar to his 2016, where he went 9-19 and led the league in losses.

Archer is still a good pitcher, but I don’t think he is the ace that he was in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for the Rays. Those years, his ERA was 3.22, 3.33 and 3.23, despite a 31-29 record.

Snell has never pitched more than 130 innings in the major leagues, and while the potential is there, whether or not he is ready to be a number two starter is up in the air. Remember, last year the Rays had Alex Cobb and Jake Odorizzi.

Faria hasn’t pitched a full season in the majors. Eovaldi didn’t pitch in 2017 after Tommy John surgery.

The Rays are pitching their third game of the season as a bullpen game and reportedly haven’t found a fifth starter yet. It sounds like they want Hudson and Pruitt both to come out of the bullpen.

If this all sounds concerning, it probably should. Add in a less than compelling offense, and it may be a long year in Tampa.