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Baltimore Orioles MLB News - Orioles Baseball Blog » The Baltimore Orioles have the makings of a decent pen for 2010

The Baltimore Orioles have the makings of a decent pen for 2010

Blogged under Bloglockers, Front Page, General, Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 24 March 2010 at 12:40 pm

The Orioles went out and signed 31-year old lefty Mike Gonzalez to take over as the full-time closer this year. Gonzalez pitched in 80 games (0 starts) last season for the Braves and he was 5-4 with 10 saves, a 2.42 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. He only allowed 56 hits in 74 1/3 innings last season while whiffing 90 batters showing how nasty his stuff really is. He has now pitched in 302 games (0 starts) in his seven years in the majors and he is 14-16 with 54 saves, a 2.57 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. The Orioles really need Gonzalez to stay healthy because the back up plans are not good ones.

26-year old righty Jim Johnson will probably be the top set-up man for Gonzalez in 2010. He pitched in 64 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last season in which he was 4-6 with 10 saves, a 4.11 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP. Johnson did not pitch well when elevated to the closer job last season after the Dodgers traded George Sherrill to the Dodgers. I look for Johnson to do a solid job for the Orioles in 2010 unless they need him to close for some reason.

34-year old Koji Uehara is converting to the pen for the 2010 season. He pitched in 12 games (all starts) for the Orioles last year and he was 2-4 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP. Uehara has great control as he only walked 12 batters in 66 2/3 innings for the Orioles last season. Uehara will likely be very important for the Orioles in 2010 as he can work multiple innings at a time.

35-year old lefty Mark Hendrickson will likely have a more important role for the Orioles in 2010. He will work out of the pen full-time for the first time in his major league career. Hendrickson pitched in 53 games (11 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 6-5 with 1 save, a 4.37 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He pitched much better in relief last season so Hendrickson could have his best year in his major league career in 2010.

26-year old righty Cla Meredith will likely get some work early in ballgames for the Orioles in 2010. Meredith pitched in 29 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 0-0 with a 3.77 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He pitched in 64 games (0 starts) overall for the Padres & Orioles last season in which he was 4-2 with a 3.99 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. The Orioles didn’t seem to trust Meredith in close games so he will likely be coming in when they are losing.

27-year old righty Matt Albers needs to rebound for the Orioles in 2010. He pitched in 56 games (0 starts) for the O’s last season in which he was 3-6 with a 5.51 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP. He has now pitched in 84 games (3 starts) in his two years with the Orioles and he is 6-9 with a 4.66 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP. If he is focused and motivated Albers could be effective like he was in 2008 for the Orioles.

32-year old lefty Will Ohman will be trying to make the O’s as a lefty specialist. Ohman pitched in 21 games (0 starts) for the Dodgers last season in which he was 1-0 with 1 save, a 5.84 ERA and a 1.62 WHIP. He has now pitched in 324 games (0 starts) in his major league career and he is 11-9 with 3 saves, a 4.25 ERA and a 1.39 WHIP. Ohman was hurting last year so maybe a return to health will spark him into having a decent year for the Orioles.

34-year old lefty Alberto Castillo will also try to win a job as a lefty specialist. Castillo pitched in 20 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He has now pitched in 48 games (0 starts) in his 2 years with the Orioles and he is 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP. Castillo has looked good in his chances with the Orioles but he seems a little far down the depth chart as 2010 opens.

25-year old righty Kameron Mickolio has a huge upside and this might be the year it all comes together for him. Mickolio pitched in 11 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last year and he was 0-2 with a 2.63 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP. He whiffed 14 batters in only 13 2/3 innings for the Orioles last season showing what kind of stuff he has. Mickolio pitched in 35 games (0 starts) in AAA-ball last season and he was 3-3 with a 3.50 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP. He whiffed 52 batters in only 43 2/3 innings last season in the minors while only giving up 32 hits! Mark my words…..this will be the year that Mickolio makes an impact with the O’s.

28-year old righty Dennis Sarfate has the stuff to succeed but he just hasn’t got the job done yet for the O’s. He pitched in 20 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 0-1 with a 5.09 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. Sarfate has pitched in 77 games (4 starts) in his 2 years with the Orioles and he is 4-4 with a 4.82 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. Sarfate’s biggest issue has been his control as he has walked 76 batters in 102 2/3 innings in his two years with the Orioles. His control has wasted the fact that he has good stuff as he has only given up 83 hits with the O’s while whiffing 106 batters. If he throws strikes he can help the Orioles but that is the only way.

PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE BULLPEN IN 2010: C

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