For the first time in a long time the Baltimore Orioles have several starting pitchers with significant upside.
Jake Arrieta looks like he has figured out how to pitch effectively at the Major League level. Through three starts he has an ERA 2.66 and won ten ball games last year before having a bone spur removed in August.
Tommy Hunter and Jason Hammel don't have the same upside as other pitchers on the Orioles staff but they are innings eaters that will help give the O's a chance to win almost every game they pitch.
Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen has been decent in his first two starts for the Orioles. He posts a 3.27 ERA and held his own against the Yankees in his Major League debut. Chen is different from other Asian pitchers in that he is more of a power pitcher than a nibbler. This and his age, 26, give him a good chance to pitch well for the Orioles for years to come.
The struggles of Brian Matusz have been well documented but his talent is undeniable. Matusz has the capability of becoming a fantastic top-of-the-rotation starter for years to come and the Orioles are giving him a chance to figure things out at the Major League level.
Those five pitchers make up the Orioles current rotation but unlike years past there are several other pitchers with high upside just waiting for a chance to pitch at the highest level. This means that if someone struggles or if there are injuries there are many capable pitchers waiting in the wings.
Last season Zach Britton won 11 games as a rookie for the Orioles and was pinned as a possible ace for Baltimore this season before shoulder inflammation landed him on the DL. He is expected to be on the mound in Baltimore at some point this season.
Tsuyoshi Wada is a Japanese pitcher that GM Dan Duquette signed this past offseason. Unlike Chen, Wada is more of a finesse and control pitcher who doesn't possess electric stuff.
The Orioles want Wada to be a starter but he may have missed his chance after starting the season on the DL because of elbow discomfort. He got roughed up earlier this week in a rehab start at the Triple-A level and he may be moved to the bullpen in either a long relief role or as left-handed specialist.
Another Major League ready pitcher stuck in Triple-A is Chris Tillman. Tillman has been in the Majors off and on over the past few seasons and he has yet to string together multiple good outings, which has frustrated the Oriole faithful. Tillman is still young though, at 24 years old, and posted a 2.92 ERA this spring training. It wouldn't be surprising if Tillman pitches for the O's this season.