With the exception of Steve Trachsel the Orioles will be going with young pitchers in the starting rotation. The “#1″ starter will be 29-year old righty Jeremy Guthrie who was saved off the Indians junk heap in 2007. He pitched in 32 games (26 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 7-5 with a 3.70 ERA and a 1.21 WHIP. Guthrie has good stuff so he’s the Orioles starting pitcher with the best chance of having a win/loss record over .500 this season.
27-year old righty Daniel Cabrera has the most talent of anyone on the entire Orioles’ pitching staff but he has never really learned how too pitch. The Orioles should consider moving Cabrera to the bullpen where he wouldn’t have to concentrate over 5-6 innings and he could just let the ball fly for an inning. But, the Orioles don’t have that luxury this season. Cabrera started 34 games for the Orioles last season and he was 9-18 with a 5.55 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. He whiffed 166 batters and walked 108 in 204.1 innings last season. Look for more of the same in 2008.
Ancient 37-year old righty Steve Trachsel is back for a return engagement in the Orioles’ rotation. He started 29 games for the Orioles & Cubs last season and he was 7-11 with a 4.90 ERA and a 1.59 WHIP. The Orioles hope that Trachsel can pitch well enough to net them a couple of prospects at either the end of July or August like he did last season when the Orioles got Scott Moore and Rock Cherry from the Cubs for him.
24-year old lefty Adam Loewen will be the #4 starter and he has a very solid upside. He started only 6 games last season before suffering a broken elbow. He was 2-0 with a 3.56 ERA and a 1.75 WHIP last year for the Orioles. He needs to throw more strikes however as he walked 26 batters in only 30.1 innings last season.
27-year old lefty Brian Burres will be the #5 starter when the season starts. He pitched in 37 games (17 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 6-8 with a 5.95 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP. Don’t expect him to keep a starting job all season long.
24-year old lefty Garrett Olson is one of the better prospects that the Orioles have and he will be a chance in the rotation at some point this season. He looked overmatched in his first taste of the majors last season. He started 7 games for the Orioles last season and he was 1-3 with a 7.79 ERA and a 2.16 WHIP. Olson was outstanding in AAA last season however as he started 22 games and he was 9-7 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP.
23-year old Hayden Penn might also get a chance to realize his potential this season. He only started 10 games last season in Rookie+A+AAA ball last season and he was 2-2 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP.
25-year old righty Matt Albers was part of the Miguel Tejada haul from the Astros last season and he could start at some point this season but he will open the year in the bullpen. He pitched in 31 games (18 starts) for the Astros last season and he was 4-11 with a 5.86 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP.
25-year old righty Radhames Liz is another prospect with a good arm. He pitched in 9 games (4 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 0-2 with a 6.93 ERA and a 1.95 WHIP. He did pitch pretty well in AA-ball last season as he started 25 games and was 11-4 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. He also whiffed 161 batters in 137 innings which shows what kind of stuff he has.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE 2008 SEASON: D