Baltimore Orioles Pitchers: 2015 Team Preview

Oct 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Zach Britton throws a pitch against the Kansas City Royals during the 8th inning in game four of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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The pitchers of the Baltimore Orioles may have less fantasy appeal than any other team in Major League Baseball.  At this point, all five starters are essentially fantasy spot starters.  No one has big strikeout potential nor do they profile as someone who will stand out in ERA and WHIP.

Out of the first four starters in the rotation, Bud Norris is probably my favorite option because he will have the best strikeout ratio.  His career 8.34 K/9 is solid, but his lifetime marks of a 4.23 ERA and a 1.38 WHIP are below league average.  However, Norris has a career 3.95 SIERA and a devastating slider.  I enjoy watching him pitch, but it seems like he has still not put it all together.

Chris Tillman’s ERA has outperformed his peripherals for three straight years.  It may be a product of luck, but it also seems like Chris Tillman does a great job of stranding runners, which could lead to a better ERA than projected.  Tanner’s projections still expect Chris Tillman to outperform his peripherals with a 3.79 ERA, and I think his projections are right in line with a fantasy spot starter.

The most intriguing fantasy option is the closer, Zach Britton.  Britton saved 37 games in 2014 even though he recorded his first save on May 15th.  Zach Britton’s 1.65 ERA, .90 WHIP, and 37 saves made him an elite closer in 2014, but he is expected to regress as you can see above in the table.

An expected 18% K% is just not very good for a closer, but his batted ball profile is fascinating.  Britton posted an incredible 75.3% GB% and a 12.9% LD%.  The fact that Zach Britton kept everything on the ground made up for the fact that he only had 62 K’s in 76.1 IP.  If he can maintain a similar batted ball profile, then Zach Britton will be an elite closer again in 2015.

Tanner Bell of Smart Fantasy Baseball has created all of the projections seen in this post.  You can read about how he develops his projections here.  His projections are invaluable to this site.  You can also visit his site at www.smartfantasybaseball.com.