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The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #1 by Tucker Blair » October 10th, 2013, 10:33 am

This is a good team. I know this season was a disappointment to some, but the Orioles still have established themselves again as a winner in back to back seasons. That is a substantial improvement from the 14 years before. However, in order for them to reach that next level, I think it all still falls on the starting rotation.

-The O's Starters threw 939.0 innings in 2013, which ranked 24th in MLB.
-The A's were the lowest ranking playoff team at 976.2, which ranked 17th in MLB.
- None of the teams below the Orioles (24) made the playoffs.

We've all talked about the Orioles needing an Ace. Everyone and their mother knows that. Of course, they do not grow on trees. But it is clear that the Orioles need help in the rotation still. With the current rotation, you have a decent group but it is not great.

Chris Tillman - finally coming into his own, but he is not a shutdown guy. Good pitcher though and happy to have him
Wei-Yin Chen - Good pitcher that provides innings and looks to be a solid mid-rotation type if anything.
Miguel Gonzalez - Solid backend type, nothing special but certainly has proven that "knowing how to pitch" is sometimes better than great stuff ( See Jake Arrieta )

After that, we really have some wildcards. Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman might not be ready yet. Bud Norris may be best suited in the bullpen, where he doesn't have to face lefties. There are other options, but nothing surefire.

As a fan, what should the Orioles do? Do you sign Scott Feldman back? Bring in someone else? Make a trade? I think the rotation is easily the most crucial aspect of this team if they want to compete. (although the offense has some holes currently too)

Curious to hear the overall thoughts of everyone
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #2 by Brett » October 10th, 2013, 3:02 pm

I'm not fully convinced the Orioles are that good at developing pitchers. I doubt there's a way to make it scientific, but I'd like to see what percentage of the Oriole's "promising" pitching prospects turn out to be major-league capable pitchers compared to another organization like the Rays. I'd assume the Rays have a much higher conversion rate.

Otherwise we should buy one that comes pre-developed. Scott Feldman is an option, but I'd rather someone like Tim Hudson who won't be expecting 3 years on his contract. Plus I think it could be good for the young guys to have someone like Hudson in the clubhouse.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #3 by osforlife » October 12th, 2013, 3:45 pm

1. The Orioles are garbage at developing pitchers and everybody knows it. Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken, David Hernandez, Daniel Cabrera, Radhames Liz, Adam Loewen, and Gregg Olson are the busts that come to my mind; There are probably more. To be fair, some of these athletes never really had much of a chance to succeed as a major league starter, but low-profile minor league players sometimes click in the majors. None have for the Orioles, and neither has the high-profile pitchers. Chris Tillman and Erik Bedard are the only prospects that come to mind when I think about Baltimore's drafting and developing starting pitchers....since...Mike Mussina.? Something has to change, before the next wave of pitchers (Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Eduargo Rodriguez, Mike Wright, etc) are lumped into the group above.

2. IMO, Bud Norris would become another Tommy Hunter out of the bullpen. Baltimore grossly overpaid for him to be a starter; I can't imagne what that trade would look like if Bud Norris becomes a reliever. I'm not sure what the front office has in plan for Norris; it's a ugly situation no matter what. He'd certainly be a weak spot in the rotation.

3. Tillman, Gonzalez, and Chen are locks for the rotation. I'd say Chen and Gonzalez are both middle of the rotation starters, with Tillman being a SLIGHT TICK above them. None of them are weak spots, but none of them are aces. They provide a solid core, but Baltimore can't go into the season with four or less than four solidified rotation spots like this year. We need upgrades, whether that's from trade or free agents.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #4 by osforlife » October 12th, 2013, 3:54 pm

Baltimore's scoring ability was premier most of the season, with the exception of a dismal July. The pitching was never good, with the exception for a decent September.
Month-By-Month Offense and Defense

April
3rd in runs scored
13th in ERA

May
4th in runs scored
29th in ERA

June
4th in runs scored
27th in ERA

July
23rd in runs scored
19th in ERA

August
7th in runs scored
27th in ERA

September
11th in runs scored
14th in ERA
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #5 by LA Detective » October 13th, 2013, 4:52 pm

This is so true. If you would of told me back in mid March that Davis and Jones would combine for what they did, That every position player would be available for almost every game (except 2b), 4 offensive All Stars, Tilman becomes a very solid #2, Brian Roberts provided what he did, We lead in HRs, Manny evolved so quickly and would lead the league in DBs and among the Hit leaders, We would smash all fielding records, and JJ would lead again with 50 saves??? I would of guaranteed we won the East.

Does anyone have a stat how many games we led and/or were tied after the 5th? It wouldn't surprise me if we led the league in this stat too.

I thought in mid March our SP was deep enough that we would start a fresh, healthy, talented or deserving starter among the 12 candidates we had. This was with Bundy and Gausman being #11 and #12.

But....1. Hammel did not provide the 200+ inn almost Ace performance that he showed flashes of in 2012. This killed us on a innings standpoint. 2. I wouldn't of predicted that Arrietta, Britton, Matusz (went to the pen), SJohnson, Bundy, Gausman and even Wada would combine to give us almost Zero as Starters. I am going to guess it was about 5 wins and 7 ish ERA. None of them stepped up and most regressed.

This caused the pen to break down. The pen was good in April and Sept...Why, cuz they were fresh. I even believe the offensive wore down due to playing so many close stressful games.


So, where is it going to improve for next year? Cant ask more from Tilman inninngs wise. Chen and Norris cant. We cant count on Gonzo giving more than he did. Gausman is too much of a high pitch count K pitcher. I think he will be great but he has a way to go to be a 210 inn+ guy. And we wont ask him to go 200 after only doing 130 this year. So where are we going to improve in this area to get past the 6th or to not burn out the Pen?

I believe we should focus on an innings eater that might not be a #1 type. Not sure who but I think this should be the scouting/Front office priority in the off season. An RA Dickey type, low 4 ERA and 220 innings would be huge to us. Thats 40 innings off the Pen totals. I am not saying trade for Dickey...I just believe his type of stats would take the pressure off the rest of the staff. We might have to trade a Chen and/or Norris type to get this.

Bottom line, with the exception of Tilman, everything that could go wrong just about did this year among the starters. It took a possible great year into a 85 win year.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #6 by thezeroes » October 13th, 2013, 5:38 pm

The Orioles after the fifth inning:
Ahead 54 W 27 L
Tied 10 W 9 L
Behind 21 W 41 L
By comparison the Red Sox
Ahead 70 W 15 L
Tied 13 W 11 L
Behind 14 W 39 L
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #7 by osforlife » October 13th, 2013, 6:24 pm

*I meant to say with a decent April & September.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #8 by LA Detective » October 13th, 2013, 9:22 pm

thezeroes wrote:The Orioles after the fifth inning:
Ahead 54 W 27 L


thezeroes wrote:By comparison the Red Sox
Ahead 70 W 15 L


So we led after 5 almost as much as the Sox but won 16 less times.

Kinda summed up our season. It showed the SP wasnt bad..It just exploded in the 6th or ran up too high of a pitch count. Showed how important this fact was and how it hurt the Pen.

I would of thought we were ahead approx. 100 games after 5 but 81 had to be near the top in the league. It was very noticeable as the season went on. I would bet we were near the leaders in the 27 losses when leading after 5 too.

Thanks "thezeros"...great job...
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #9 by Old Sneakers » October 14th, 2013, 12:55 am

The Real Issue

A- Starting pitching
B- Manufacturing runs

Look this is a competitive team. Not a championship team. I'm sorry it's taken so long to get to this level we are at. But if you want more it's going to take a great deal more. Bundy should no longer even be in any talks regarding contributing at all unless we are speaking of late 2015. Gausman (bless him) needs time at AAA before he's handed a shot in the rotation. I say that as we do not want him in a situation like TIllman was where it's produce now or trade away to whoever.

Tillman has become a very good #2 in any city or a sound #3 in a tough division. He's lived up to all the hype he received for the past 18 months. Sadly he's the only one that did so. Matusz and Arrieta are nothing short of busts in Baltimore. Get over it that is how it is.

We need to produce players that protect our next crop of prospects (Wright and Rodriguez) from being rushed like hot potatoes to Baltimore. This means taking fliers on players attempting to resurrect their careers. The results will be mixed at best. The salaries will be manageable. Mediocrity is a far better outcome than last place. Deal with it.

As for manufacturing runs, you have to focus on prospects with outstanding hand/eye coordination and bat speed. You want players capable of getting on base. It doesn't matter if it's a dribbler that manages it's way past the defending SS or 2B but infield singles are far better than strike outs. It also means drawing a walk. Popping out to advance a runner or having enough speed to go from first to third on a single.

The days of playing for the 2-3 run homerun must end. It's a tiresome feast or famine mentality that bores us all to tears. It leads to quick 1-2-3 innings and exposing limitations in our own starting pitching. It's a professional team. Shouldn't we expect professional results?

This team needs to make a good push at a 2-3 year deal into resigning Scott Feldman. It needs to seek and go after players attempting to bounce back after injury and inconsistency. If this means incentive laden contracts then so be it. Do not give Andy McPhail room to make moves for a losing effort when you need stop-gap players now. If the team's salary restrictions are such that you cannot afford to do so, then you absolutely do not trade away any young pitching in return for rental players now or ever. I am not interested in the economics of the game when you trade away parts (under performing or not) that were at least economical in the first place.

The team's roster has landmines at LF, 2B and DH just waiting to be stepped on. This is where you go looking for your next Chris Davis like find. I do not care about power. I want OBP. I want players capable of inflating opposing starting pitchers pitch counts and staying alive at the plate. Certainly that is better that the level of play this team saw at 2B and DH the past few years. Outfielders are not that difficult to find. So I really do not want to hear there wasn't anyone exciting.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #10 by osforlife » October 14th, 2013, 5:08 pm

I agree with almost everything you said Old Sneakers. However, I feel like some users on this site feel like our offense wasn't productive this year. So Baltimore didn't play small ball very well or had a very pretty offense, but our offense was very effective. The Orioles were one of the best offensive teams in 2013, finishing in the top half of the league in five of six months. I honestly expect a similar offensive year next year too. Although I expect Chris Davis to either be traded of regress substantially, I predict much better years for Markakis & Wieters, with increased DH production with an outside acquisition.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #11 by dan72 » October 15th, 2013, 12:32 am

While I'm not exactly happy with our starting pitching I have to disagree slightly. I think the real issue is one stat that everyone here so far has missed. The Orioles led the world in blown saves.......
2012: 2013
k/bb-2.45 2.43
k/9-7.14 7.18
blsv-18 25
era-3.90 4.17
whip-1.29 1.30
I hang some of that on Buck's misuse of Jim Johnson and also partially on Jim Johnson for failing to perform. I agree that the Orioles can't develop pitching. I am in the camp that we should trade for pitching.
From the splits above all things are basically identical except for blown saves.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #12 by Old Sneakers » October 15th, 2013, 3:03 am

Honestly as for the 2013 offense Davis, Jones and Machado were nothing short of brilliant. You can not take anything away from those three. But it's completely unrealistic to think these three can come close to duplicating their success. This is why I think manufacturing runs is the way to go.

As for blown saves. Well, I do not know what causes it other than to say Jim Johnson becomes over used and some things get out of whack come July. I would like to see Tommy Hunter wheeled out once a week in save type scenario and try to see if that keeps JJ from wear or over exposure.

Another thought on SP: This team isn't going to wake up one day with our own version of Justin Verlander, Felix Hernandez or whoever. We can however, develope big workhorse type pitchers that are durable and rack up innings pitched. More often than not these types have a 2-4 season of 4.00-4.50 ERA results and then suddenly they just get better. Then the team has the envious task of deciding are they durable enough to resign at a higher salary or let them go as a free agent. What I know is that all talk of Detroit or whatever team being really aggressive when it comes to promoting and hurrying prospects needs to stop. Your Baltimore Orioles are as horrendous as anyone with this practice.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #13 by osforlife » October 17th, 2013, 4:37 pm

Manny Machado is a very, very, very good player who was arguably our best player in 2013. He's madly talented and has a very bright future. That being said, offensively, he wasn't very good. Yes, he led the league in doubles, but he only hit .283/.314/.432. He didn't hit for any kind of special power, and didn't get on base very effectively. Delmon Young has a career batting line .282/.316/.423, and everybody is always saying how terrible he is, even at hitting. Don't get caught up in Machado's offensive skills; the majority of his value lied in his defense. I'm not saying he wasn't good offensively, or that he doesn't have a chance to be, but his offensive value was no where near Davis & Jones IMO.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #14 by Seafordeagles » October 17th, 2013, 10:14 pm

osforlife wrote:Manny Machado is a very, very, very good player who was arguably our best player in 2013. He's madly talented and has a very bright future. That being said, offensively, he wasn't very good. Yes, he led the league in doubles, but he only hit .283/.314/.432. He didn't hit for any kind of special power, and didn't get on base very effectively. Delmon Young has a career batting line .282/.316/.423, and everybody is always saying how terrible he is, even at hitting. Don't get caught up in Machado's offensive skills; the majority of his value lied in his defense. I'm not saying he wasn't good offensively, or that he doesn't have a chance to be, but his offensive value was no where near Davis & Jones IMO.


I'm confused, in your 2nd line you said this:

"That being said, offensively, he wasn't very good."

Then at the end of the paragraph you said this:

"I'm not saying he wasn't good offensively,"

I can't figure out what your point was but you're being very wishy-washy. To bring up Manny in the same sentence with Delmon Young is absolutely ridiculous.
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Re: The Real Issue: Starting Pitching

PostPost #15 by osforlife » October 18th, 2013, 2:47 pm

Seafordeagles wrote:
I'm confused, in your 2nd line you said this:

"That being said, offensively, he wasn't very good."

Then at the end of the paragraph you said this:

"I'm not saying he wasn't good offensively,"

I can't figure out what your point was but you're being very wishy-washy. To bring up Manny in the same sentence with Delmon Young is absolutely ridiculous.

Thank you for bringing up my mistake. I totally botched what I was trying to say. Okay, let me start over. Manny Machado is a very good player, and it is truly amazing how valuable he was able to be at age twenty. It will be a joke if he doesn't win a gold glove. But, in 2013, he was really only fairly productive at the plate. He was Baltimore's third best offensive player, but was no where near the offensive caliber that Adam Jones and Chris Davis produced at. Machado didn't get on-base at a very effective rate, and didn't hit for an excessive amount of power.

Offensive Comparison

Player A's 2013: .283/.314/.432
Player B's Career: .282/.316/.423

Player A is Manny Machado; Player B is Delmon Young. Tell me again why it is so ridiculous to compare a .746 OPS to a .739 OPS?
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