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Unlikely? Yes. Implausible...?


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#1 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:50 PM

Is it likely that Britton, Matusz, Arrieta, Hunter, Chen, and Hammel each pitch towards their ceilings? Obviously it is not.

Britton's shoulder is a question. Matusz was a mess last year. Arrieta is coming off surgery. Chen will be adjusting to a new culture, and higher talent. Hammel will be adjusting back to the AL.

That said, is it completely implausible to you that the makings of a decent staff exist? Would it shock you if any of those 6 starters pitched like a league average 3rd starter? Am I alone in believing that Britton and Matusz still have the upside of being a league average 2nd starter?

#2 Can_of_corn

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 12:57 PM

I would not be surprised to see any one of them do it. I would be shocked if three or more do it and that is what the O's need to have happen. A 3 and a bunch of 4-5s doesn't do them any good.

Well I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player.


#3 homertuck

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:05 PM

I think there was a fundamental problem with how we treated our pitchers. With any other team, you have to think at least 2 or 3 of these guys are doing great at the MLB level. If none of them pan out, it's a fail of epic proportions, IMO.
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#4 Mackus

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:09 PM

I'd be shocked if any of them ever pitch like an ace.

I'd be slightly surprised if Britton develops into a #2, especially this season, but I think that's his ceiling and it isn't unreasonable. He's the only guy on the staff I'm still quite positive on, although I'm very much still interested in Matusz and Arrieta. I'd be very surprised if Matusz gets to that #2 level, but again not impossible. Absolutely shocked if any of the others ever develop into a #2 type of starter.

The rest I see as having #3 upside (except for Hunter and Wada, who are lower) but more likely to be fringe #4/5 type starters.

#5 Mackus

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:15 PM

I think there was a fundamental problem with how we treated our pitchers. With any other team, you have to think at least 2 or 3 of these guys are doing great at the MLB level. If none of them pan out, it's a fail of epic proportions, IMO.

I was thinking about this the other day.

Wouldn't it be awesome if there was like a prospect internship program? So we could pay the Twins or Braves or Athletics or whoever a couple million dollars and have them take all of our good minor league pitchers and put them through their minor league systems. Then when they are ready for the majors, they come back and get called up to the Orioles without any of the stink of our godawful development system!

Completely ridiculous, laughable, and impractical as an idea, but it highlights how terrible the Orioles are at developing talent that I'm sitting here thinking up such absurd notions.

#6 Can_of_corn

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:20 PM

I'd be shocked if any of them ever pitch like an ace.

I'd be slightly surprised if Britton develops into a #2, especially this season, but I think that's his ceiling and it isn't unreasonable. He's the only guy on the staff I'm still quite positive on, although I'm very much still interested in Matusz and Arrieta. I'd be very surprised if Matusz gets to that #2 level, but again not impossible. Absolutely shocked if any of the others ever develop into a #2 type of starter.

The rest I see as having #3 upside (except for Hunter and Wada, who are lower) but more likely to be fringe #4/5 type starters.



While I do not think he is likely to reach it, I think Britton's ceiling is a #1. If he can command that 2 seam fastball so it keeps its movement and can still get called strikes on it he will be a beast. Remember he picked up a new change up during ST last season and was throwing it in games in April.

Well I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player.


#7 NCRaven

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:24 PM

I remain quite high on Britton and Arrieta. And, I'm hopeful that both Matusz and Hunter can be productive major league starters. Chen is a big questionmark, but he certainly seems to have the quality pitches required to be successful. That has the makings of a pretty decent ML rotation. I certainly don't expect them all to reach their ceilings this year. But, if they all make progress toward that, I'd certainly be excited. Some of that progress may, at least, start at the AAA level for some of the youngsters with guys like Hammel and Eveland getting a few major league starts. But, if healthy, I expect all of those 5 younger pitchers to get significant time in Baltimore.

Other young pitching question marks -
Tillman. I just don't know what to think about him. Still young, but an exasperating lack of progress above the AA level.
Steve Johnson. No one seems to think he has ML stuff. But, he's always amongst his league's leaders in K's anyway. Also seems to take some time to adjust at each level.
Bobby Bundy. Real deal? Will command continue to be a big issue? Where does he end the season - full year in AA or another early promotion?
Dan Klein. Will he ever be healthy?

#8 Domenic

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 01:53 PM

Here's the thing; we're all but guaranteed to see the best five pitchers out of ST being the starters. In the past we've seen perhaps the 5th rotation spot up for grabs, but the rest of them have been all but set. However this year nothing seems to be guaranteed, and each of the five guys that make it into the rotation will have to earn his way there. That kind of experience might come in handy once the regular season starts.
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#9 mweb08

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:39 PM

It's certainly possible that out of all the SP options, the O's end up with a good rotation. There's lots of guys that could be at least #3 quality pitchers. I'd be shocked if the rotation turned out to be great, though, and surprised if it became even good.

#10 DJ MC

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:53 PM

It's certainly possible that out of all the SP options, the O's end up with a good rotation. There's lots of guys that could be at least #3 quality pitchers. I'd be shocked if the rotation turned out to be great, though, and surprised if it became even good.


The staff doesn't really even need to be "good". They just need to be mediocre.

Last year, the Orioles scored 708 runs and allowed 860. Allowing a hundred fewer runs still puts the pitching staff in the bottom third of the AL (last year, tied with Cleveland for fourth-worst at 760 RA), but with the same runs scored it puts the Orioles at a .468 expected winning percentage, or 76-86.

#11 Pedro Cerrano

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:12 PM

Until I see marked improvement from at least one of our pitchers, I am going to take the stance that it will be very hard for a bulk of them to increase their production.

There is baseball, and occasionally there are other things of note

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#12 SportsGuy

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

It could be a decent staff....It would lack a true #1 but could have a few #2s.

#13 mweb08

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 03:18 PM

It's certainly possible that out of all the SP options, the O's end up with a good rotation. There's lots of guys that could be at least #3 quality pitchers. I'd be shocked if the rotation turned out to be great, though, and surprised if it became even good.


The staff doesn't really even need to be "good". They just need to be mediocre.

Last year, the Orioles scored 708 runs and allowed 860. Allowing a hundred fewer runs still puts the pitching staff in the bottom third of the AL (last year, tied with Cleveland for fourth-worst at 760 RA), but with the same runs scored it puts the Orioles at a .468 expected winning percentage, or 76-86.


Sure, but in order to be very encouraged for the future, I want more than mediocre.

#14 NewMarketSean

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 04:06 PM

A rotation of Hunter, Hammel, Chen, Wada and Britton is like walking into an Applebee's and hoping for a really good meal. You know you're probably going to get crappy food that you'll eat and not really enjoy, but at least it will leave you full. But at the same time, you're thinking this just might be the time where everything comes out and actually tastes good.
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#15 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:55 AM

The staff doesn't really even need to be "good". They just need to be mediocre.

Last year, the Orioles scored 708 runs and allowed 860. Allowing a hundred fewer runs still puts the pitching staff in the bottom third of the AL (last year, tied with Cleveland for fourth-worst at 760 RA), but with the same runs scored it puts the Orioles at a .468 expected winning percentage, or 76-86.


This was my part of my thinking. If you are looking longer term, they have to be closer to 'good' vs. serviceable to think you are actually building towards anything. However, if they can just avoid being a train-wreck for one year (and the talent should exist for that to be a possibility) the O's can be a step or two better than currently expected.

#16 FlavaDave10

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 09:59 AM

Is it likely that Britton, Matusz, Arrieta, Hunter, Chen, and Hammel each pitch towards their ceilings? Obviously it is not.

Britton's shoulder is a question. Matusz was a mess last year. Arrieta is coming off surgery. Chen will be adjusting to a new culture, and higher talent. Hammel will be adjusting back to the AL.

That said, is it completely implausible to you that the makings of a decent staff exist? Would it shock you if any of those 6 starters pitched like a league average 3rd starter? Am I alone in believing that Britton and Matusz still have the upside of being a league average 2nd starter?


I would not be shocked at all if any of those 6 starters pitched like a league average 3rd starter. The league average 3rd starter has an ERA of roughly 4.10-4.50. I think all of those guys are certainly capable of doing that.

And you're not alone in believing that Britton and Matusz still have the upside of being a league average 2nd starter. Britton certainly has that potential, he could even be an ace if he could strike out a few more guys. Matusz definitely has that potential as well. Yes, he had a historically bad year last year, but guess who held the record for highest ERA before Matusz? Roy Halladay. Ironically, Halladay's bad year happened in his 3rd year in the majors, just like Matusz's. I like what I'm hearing about Matusz so far.

And the shoulder thing with Britton is no concern at all for now. It's understandable that his shoulder would be a bit tight as he strengthens his workload. He's handling it well: He's pushing it and strengthening it, while at the same time making sure that he doesn't injure it further. Exactly what he should be doing.

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#17 Luke Jackson

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 06:51 PM

Mark my words: If the rotation improves a good bit, a large part of that will be because of improvement from the dudes playing behind them. Defense matters, and the defense was atrocious last year. Mark Reynolds gets a ton of flak for his play at third last year (and deservedly so), but he was far from the only poor defender out there last year. The range in the outfield might have been even more of a detriment to the team than Reynolds was; for large portions of the year, you had Luke Scott with a bum shoulder and the .gif-tacular Felix Pie patrolling left. With Nolan Reimold in left, they won't be great defensively in left, but it should be better than the Scott/Pie/Reimold trio was last year. Reimold might be the fastest guy on the team, but he's known to take mysterious routes to fly balls and line drives, especially those over his head.

In center stands Adam Jones, who in my opinion has gotten progressively worse in center since his rookie year. I thought he played well his rookie year in center, but I feel like he's lost some range each year thereafter. This isn't about UZR numbers or defensive runs saved or anything like that, but just based solely on my eye. Players tend to peak much earlier defensively than they do offensively, and for good reason; as a player gets older, they tend to fill out and get a little bigger, which usually cuts down on range. I think this has happened to Jones to some extent. However, people like managers swear that Jones is awesome in center field. I don't know. I've watched him as closely as any fan the past four years and I think his reputation in center is bloated a bit because he has a tendency to make unbelievable catches from time to time. I thought his catch in Pittsburgh was even better than the one in Seattle.

Markakis...I feel like he loses range by the game. His mysterious decline of all parts of his game is one of the more frustrating parts of the last three years. Again, players tend to peak early defensively...maybe he just peaked early offensively too. I'll hold out hope for a bounceback at the plate this year.

Chris Davis at first...should be fine. Andino at second...should be fine. Hardy at short...should be very good. Reynolds at third...can't be any worse than last year, right? Zach Britton shudders at the thought of a groundball headed his way. Matt Wieters...will be godly behind the dish. If Betemit gets any time in the field, he will likely be counterproductive.

So one of the worst (the worst?) defensive teams in the bigs didn't do anything to improve defensively over the off-season. They're obviously banking on Wieters and Hardy to be as good as they were last year, for Reynolds to improve quite a bit, for Andino and Davis to be adequate and for a Reimold LF to be a lot better than a Reimold/Scott/Pie LF.

We shall see.
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#18 BSLZackKiesel

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:10 PM

This is the question every year. I'd like to think that we have a lot more depth this year, especially pitching-wise. It'll also be interesting to see how the next wave of young pitchers do in the minors this year (Bobby Bundy, Oliver Drake, etc.). Our offense was solid last year, the pitching killed us. Let's hope that Chen and Wada can produce some, too.
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#19 DBean

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Posted 18 February 2012 - 08:02 PM

Can't say for sure how they all are going to pan out, although I think Matusz will have improvement after getting the conditioning from Brady Anderson. Is there a chance that the Orioles could go with a 6 person starting rotation next year?
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#20 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 10:45 AM

Can't say for sure how they all are going to pan out, although I think Matusz will have improvement after getting the conditioning from Brady Anderson. Is there a chance that the Orioles could go with a 6 person starting rotation next year?


Chen and Wada would be familiar with the 6 man rotation obviously, but I don't think that is something we will see here.

I remember in '89, that sometimes Frank Robinson would use his bullpen like a ST game. Mark Thurmond you are going to pitch 3 ip, Hickey you will pitch 3, Mark Williamson, you will pitch 3.

I would not mind seeing a couple of the former starters in the pen 'paired' with one of the starters.




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