The Baltimore Orioles Have a Pitching Development Issue

The Baltimore Orioles have had problems developing starting pitchers for years, but at this point, something has to be done about it.

It might be time for a little therapy for fans of the Baltimore Orioles.

As Orioles fan, how did you feel when Jake Arrieta was traded in 2013, along with Pedro Strop.

At the time, probably okay, because many recognized Arrieta was done in Baltimore and needed a change in scenery. That is until he went 4-2 in nine starts to finish the season, including a 3.66 ERA, which was lower than he ever had in Baltimore.

Then in 2014, Arrieta won 10 games with a 2.53 ERA. In 2015, well, that was where it really became offensive.

Arrieta led the National League in wins with 22, had a 1.77 ERA with four complete games and three shutouts. He also won the Cy Young and was sixth in the MVP.

The next year, he was 18-8 with a 3.10 ERA and was an All-Star. It makes Oriole fans cringe.

As many have feared, the same thing could be happening with Kevin Gausman. The former Orioles pitcher is 3-1 with a 2.00 ERA in four starts covering 27 innings for the Atlanta Braves.

These aren’t the only examples.

The Orioles pitching staff couldn’t get Zach Britton to figure it out as a starter, and it appears they can’t with Mike Wright either.

First-round draft pick Matt Hobgood flamed out well before he reached the majors. Chris Lee is no longer starting in the Orioles’ minor leagues. Then there is Hunter Harvey.

At one point, Harvey was a top prospect, drafted in 2013 at the age of 18. He was very good as an 18-year-old and 19-year-old.

Then, he got hurt. Harvey missed all of 2015. He only made five starts in 2016, but they were good. Then he made eight starts in 2017, but they were all pretty good too.

Lastly comes 2018, and he has been shut down several times and has a 5.57 ERA.

There is still time for him to get past his arm problems, get healthy and figure it out. But it isn’t looking good for the Orioles and their former first-round pick.

If you want another example, look no further than Dylan Bundy.

This was supposed to be the year he put it all together, after going 13-9 last season.

Well, Bundy leads the majors in home runs allowed at 33. He is getting hit around on a nightly basis.

Bundy was good in March and April, with a 2.97 ERA in six starts. May was terrible, with a 6.12 ERA, but it appeared he had turned it around with a 3-0 June with a 1.98 ERA.

In July, Bundy pitched in four games and had an 8.38 ERA.

In August, four games and a 9.74 ERA.

All from a guy who is supposed to be your staff ace.

I write for this site with a lot of guys who know pitching much better than I do. Some feel it is the mechanics of these pitchers that leaves them prone to injury, and ineffectiveness.

Others look the stats and blame the emphasis on pitching quickly and reducing the time to the plate, a staple of the Buck Showalter era.

The team has had four pitching coaches since Buck started. Rick Adair, who many believe did a great job, but he and Buck did not seem to agree.

Bill Castro, who was an interim coach after Adair retired who was never hired.

Dave Wallace, who also seemed to have been forced out at the end of 2016.

Roger McDowell, the team’s current pitching coach, who has led them to the worst ERA by a starting rotation in 2017, and one that isn’t much better in 2018.

Next: A Mixed Bag of Results for Former Orioles

I’m not sure it is just the pitching coach, or the manager, or the minor league managers. To me, it seems to be an organization-wide issue. And it needs to be fixed, I don’t care what it takes.

The Orioles can’t even mention competing with the Yankees and Red Sox if they cannot develop pitching. It just won’t happen.

So changes need to, so it can. Period.

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