Well, I'm going to play teacher this morning and assign grades the best I can to the Oriole players on the squad.
Some are going to like what I have said, and the grades I have issued, some are not.
That being said, let's begin.
We all know that the Orioles have more or less sucked this season, and this winter will be nothing short of critical in charting the course of the franchise in the future.
Today, I'll be doing the starting pitching...
Erik Bedard, LHP
2007 Numbers: 13-5, 3.16 ERA, 182 IP, 1.088 WHIP, 221 K’s
No doubt, one of the best starters in baseball of 2007, Erik has gone from a guy with a world of potential to one of premier left-handed pitchers in baseball. Until his injury that sidelined him in September and left him out for the rest of the season, he was one of the most reliable arms in baseball.
Until his injury, Erik led the league in strikeouts, and was probably the most dominant pitcher in baseball for a while. With an assortment of pitches at his disposal, along with several different fastballs and breaking balls, he was un-hittable at times.
Bedard’s stats in 2007 were exceptional, and he could have had several more wins with ample run support and a better bullpen.
Well, his fatal flaw right now is his personality and his relationship with the media. Does it matter to me? No.
To some yes, and that may come into play in future; however, for now most fans would just love him to keep dominating and sign an extension with the Orioles.
I was real disappointed with Erik towards the end, as he decided to leave the team and not stick around for the rest of the season. In light of it all, he was given permission to leave the team, and we cannot begrudge him for that; however, Jeremy Guthrie toughed it out and came to pitch in the closing week of the season.
Will he stay in Baltimore for the long-term? It remains to be seen.
Overall, if not for his injury, he’d be the team MVP.
Steve Trachsel, RHP
2007 Numbers: 6-8, 25 GS, 140.7 IP,
Steve Trachsel left the team in latter stages of 2007; however, during his time as an Oriole, he was one of the more productive pitchers despite his career numbers. He was able to keep the team in games more often than not, and could have had a few more wins if he had run support.
Although he is nothing great and pretty much depends on his breaking stuff and location to get him by, he was a god send for the early part of the Oriole season.
He regressed somewhat after the first few months of season, but overall, he helped out the team more than was realized.
Jeremy Guthrie, RHP
2007 Numbers: 7-5, 3.70 ERA, 175.1 IP, 123 K’s
Plucked off the waiver wire for a Toyota Camry, Jeremy Guthrie emerged as not only a surprise for Baltimore, but a reliable pitcher with good stuff, and a positive attitude.
No doubt a team player, he started 26 games, but he only mustered seven wins due to poor run support and a very, very shaky bullpen. He started off the season strong and there was talk of him appearing on the All-Star team and possibly Rookie of the Year; however, it looked like he got tired and the grind of the season got to him.
Never one to complain, he did his job and came back to pitch in the last week from an oblique injury after being sidelined for roughly two weeks.
He’s a lock to be on the team next year, and hopefully he can build upon his successful 2007. In my opinion, we have a great guy on this team, as he’s beyond mature in his years and is genuinely thankful to be in a major league uniform.
Daniel Cabrera, RHP
2007 Numbers: 9-18, 5.55 ERA, 204.1 IP, 166 K’s, 108 BB’s, 207 H
It’s hard to write this about Cabrera, but the numbers don’t lie and what I have seen in person supports it – he’s still learning on the job and he needs to be attentive, along with more mature.
Although he’s been an innings eater, with 204 plus innings thrown, he gave up 207 hits in 2007 and you have to question has this guy really improved?
The question is no. In fact, he’s regressed.
He lost 18 games this season, and at times showed flashes of brilliance, but most of the time it’s been one inconsistent outing after the other. Quite frankly, the problem is in his head, with basic fundamentals and ability to focus on the mound.
Daniel’s got an amazing fastball, but it does no good if can’t locate it. As well, he needs to learn another pitch, and mix up his arsenal a lot more.
There has been a lot of talk as to whether he should be dealt, or sent to the minors. I saw his last start of 2006 in person, and he looked like a Cy Young Award candidate, as well he was an anchor in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
I am sure fans, pundits and the media alike are curious as to why he cannot turn a corner? He’s good person, and stays in shape; however, sports are results driven – for now, it looks like he’ll stay with the organization, but when does the patience on part of the Orioles run out?
Garrett Olson, RHP
2007 Numbers: 1-3, 7.79 ERA, 32.1 IP, 28 S0, 28 BB
He dominated in the minors, and seemingly was ready for the big club; however, at the moment does not seem ready for prime time. I think he needs to gain confidence, and get his command of the plate back. Olson will not ever be a Cy Young candidate unless he’s better than see, but he could be a decent 4th, 5th starter.
Brian Buress, RHP
2007 Numbers: 6-8, 5.95 ERA, 121 IP, 96 SO, 66 BB, 140 H, 17 GS, 37 G
He’s a gutsy pitcher despite his stature, and I like that about him. However, his numbers indicate he’s a mediocre pitcher, but at times, he was a savior of the team. Early in the season, Burres, delivered quality start after start as the Orioles tried to keep their heads above water. Although his stuff is fairly unremarkable, he was able to get hitters out thanks to an assortment of pitches.
As the season wore down, it looked he wilted. In addition, he got shuffled up and down between starting and the bullpen, thus I think that played a role.
It looked like appearance after appearance from August into fall, he got hit – hard.
In the end, I think he’ll be on the team in 2008, but most likely in long relief unless a severe emergency comes about.
Jon Leicester, RHP
2007 Numbers: 2-3, 7.59 ERA, 32.0 IP
Looks like he’s got promise, but I was not impressed with him. Looking at him, you’d think he’d be a fireballer; however, he’s a finesse guy and needs to have his command on. There were times this season (like the Texas game in September), where he had flashes of brilliance, but most of the time, it looked like the cards were stacked against him.
He may perhaps need some more seasoning in the minors.
Radhames Liz, RHP
2007 Numbers: 0-2, 6.93 ERA, 4 GS, 9 APPS, 23 BB, 24 SO
Looks like a good pitcher who can light up the radar gun; however, it looks like he is not ready for prime-time. He’s got a fastball with life, and great breaking stuff, but what matters is getting your pitches over every time, in his short time in the majors, it was not done enough.
He’s got the tools, but he needs to be more consistent. However, if he has a good spring training, he very well might make the team in ’08.
No Grades: Adam Loewen, Kris Benson, Jaret Wright