35-year old righty Kevin Millwood and 30-year old righty Jeremy Guthrie will be the anchors of a starting rotation featuring a bunch of young talented pitchers behind them. Millwood started 31 games for the Rangers last season and he was 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. He has produced double digit wins in 8 of his 13 years in the majors. Millwood will likely win 12-15 games for the Orioles this season working over 200 innings as long as he can stay healthy.
Jeremy Guthrie had a rough time in 2009. He started 33 games for the Orioles last season in which he was 10-17 with a 5.04 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He gave up 224 hits in 200 innings last season including 35 homers! In his first two years with the Orioles, Guthrie pitched in 62 games (56 starts) in which he was 17-17 with a 3.66 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. The Orioles really need Guthrie to return to form in 2010.
24-year old righty Brad Bergesen really pitched well for the Orioles last season before his season ended due to injury. Bergesen started 19 games as a rookie for the Orioles last season and he was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. The Orioles are hoping that Bergesen can put those numbers pitching a complete year in 2010.
23-year old lefty Brian Matusz is the Orioles’ #1 prospect according to Baseball America and he showed why last season. Matusz started 8 games for the Orioles last season in which he was 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP. Matusz also started 19 games in A+AA last year in which he was 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP. He only allowed 87 hits in 113 innings in the minors last season while whiffing 121 batters showing how nasty his stuff is. He has a huge upside and the Orioles hope he gets there soon.
21-year old righty Chris Tillman is the likely leader for the #5 spot in the rotation. Tillman started 12 games for the Orioles last season in which he was 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Tillman also started 18 in AAA-ball last season and he was 8-6 with a 2.70 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. Tillman also has a huge upside.
24-year old righty Jake Arrieta is the Orioles’ #4 rated prospect heading into 2010 according to Baseball America. Arrieta started 28 games in AA+AAA-ball last season and he was 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP. He has now pitched in 48 games (all starts) in his two years in the minors and he is 17-16 with a 3.17 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Arrieta has whiffed 268 batters in 263 2/3 innings in his minor league career while only allowing 222 hits showing what kind of stuff he has.
24-year old righty David Hernandez got his first taste of the majors in 2009 and he got beat up a bit. He pitched in 20 games (19 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 4-10 with a 5.42 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. He gave up 118 hits in only 101 1/3 innings and a stunning 27 of them left the ball park. He also walked 46 batters which is way too many. Still, Hernandez has good stuff so he might be able to turn things around for the Orioles at some point.
26-year old righty Jason Berken started 24 games as a rookie last season for the Orioles and he was 6-12 with a 6.54 ERA and a 1.74 WHIP. Berken threw a lot of extended batting practice last season as he gave up 164 hits in only 119 2/3 innings last year for the Orioles. The Orioles will be in trouble if they need him to start in 2010.
24-year old lefty Troy Patton started 20 games in AA+AAA ball last season and he was 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He is the Orioles’ #14 rated prospect coming into this season according to Baseball America. He last pitched in the majors in 2007 with the Astros working in 3 games (2 starts) in which he was 0-2 with a 3.55 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. Patton was part of the return the Orioles got when they traded Miguel Tejada to Houston.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ROTATION IN 2010: C+