O’s Primed for a Playoff Run in 2018?

empty baseball field with postseason 2014 written on field
photo: MASN

What if I told you… that the 2018 Baltimore Orioles are primed for a playoff run?

If you haven’t already clicked off this article in disgust, thanks for staying.

After one of the most disappointing seasons of Orioles baseball in my lifetime, and their first losing record since 2011, it may seem a bit facetious to feel confident about a bounce back year in 2018. However, when you delve into the numbers, it all becomes a bit clearer.

The 2017 squad had a historically (embarrassingly) bad starting rotation. Buckle up your chinstraps because it is about to get ugly. The combination of Wade Miley, Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson started 53% (86 games) for the O’s. This band of brothers amassed a combined 17-39 record, with a 6.80 ERA.

How can a team win with a near 7 ERA put up by their starters in over half of the games played? Well, 2017 taught us that it can’t. Truthfully though, it’s even worse than the 17-39 record would indicate.

Ubaldo and Miley combined for 14 wins, meaning that 29 starts from “ace” Tillman and playoff push acquisition Hellickson combined for 3 wins and an ERA near 7.50.

It’s honestly a bit laughable how bad the rotation was in 2017.

Okay, I’ve taken a shower to wash the stench of those numbers off.  Let’s try to be positive for a moment.

Despite one of the most disgusting pitching staffs ever assembled, the O’s did win 75 games, as the makeup of this lineup and bullpen has remained largely unchanged since 2012. There were stretches where they made us believe, if only for a moment, that they were playoff bound.

So how do we eclipse 85 wins next year and make a playoff push? Thankfully, none of the aforementioned starters are under contract for 2018.  nd, a quick glance at the available free agent pitchers produces hope: Alex Cobb, Jhoulys Chacin, Andrew Cashner, and Lance Lynn would all look good in black and orange, and although they would obviously have other suitors besides the O’s, wouldn’t be outrageously expensive as will Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish.

Could the Orioles take a look at a vet like CC Sabathia or R.A. Dickey? “Why not?” would be my answer, because we aren’t talking about signing aces here, just improving upon the unsightly 6.80 ERA that was produced in 53% of games by starting pitchers (if you scoffed at the mention of Sabathia or Dickey, Sabathia would have had the best ERA on the O’s by almost a full run, and Dickey would have been second just behind Dylan Bundy).

Regardless of who they sign (which presumably will be 2-3 guys), if they can just move the 17-39 mark to 28-28, which is not being outrageous in expectation, it immediately puts them in the playoff picture.

Add a high OBP corner OFer that can lead off, and I’ll see you at the yard in October. First round on me.

One Cheer about “O’s Primed for a Playoff Run in 2018?

  1. avatarTommy the Cat on said:

    I love your enthusiasm and I see the reasoning behind it. Ultimately this will boil down to who they sign. I would love to see Cobb and Lynn here, let Tillman have another shot, but have viable insurance in case he truly is done. Thanks for being an optimist! I too am in the same camp.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Hot off the street

Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop?
Manny Machado or Jonathan Schoop?

The hot stove has been heating up the past couple of weeks with some minor O’s chatter about the likes of Jason Vargas, Tyler Chatwood and Andrew Cashner. Those acquisitions would do very little to ...read more

Do Andrew Cashner and/or Eduardo Nunez Excite You?
Do Andrew Cashner and/or Eduardo Nunez Excite You?

We're into mid-November now, and after one of the most exciting World Series in memory (maybe ever), we've been without baseball for what feels like eons. However, the Hot Stove season has yet to real...read more

Trey Mancini Named Rookie of the Year Finalist
Trey Mancini Named Rookie of the Year Finalist

O's rookie Trey Mancini got some good news tonight, as he was named a finalist for the BBWAA Rookie of the Year award. https://twitter.com/Orioles/status/927672846381387777 Mancini was a revelat...read more

In Addition to Pitching, O’s Must Address OBP Woes
In Addition to Pitching, O’s Must Address OBP Woes

https://twitter.com/idresurgence/status/679413880091762690?lang=en The Orioles' ongoing goal of finding a high-On Base Percentage corner outfielder continues as we officially enter the 2017-2018 of...read more

This Family Dressed as the Crab Shuffle for Halloween
This Family Dressed as the Crab Shuffle for Halloween

This family of O's fans has one of the most creative costumes I've ever seen come out of Birdland - they dressed as the Oriole Park at Camden Yards favorite, "The Crab Shuffle." Watch them go: h...read more

View More