Monday, April 30, 2012

Thoughts on the Season

I was planning it out in my head.  I had pored through the stats and made my conclusions about whether or not Hammel's breakthrough was real or not.  I changed my mind though.

There will be time later to address Hammel's season and whether or not it's legitimate.  Other writers have addressed the Hammel issue recently so I would search out their pieces on the matter.

I'm just going to use this space to ramble about the start, the next 14 games and what we can expect going forward.  The O's offense has been, well alright thus far.  Lots of strikeouts and lots of home runs to this point.  Timely hitting hasn't exactly been a strength to this point, and the team has difficulty manufacturing runs.  So how has the team been successful?

The pitching has been ridiculous.  We addressed the bullpen a bit in a previous post, and talked about some of the under-performing pitchers as well.  We might look at a similar post for the starting rotation in the near future, but I'd like to have a start or two more per pitcher before making any judgments.  So from a rough impression standpoint there are a few things most O's fans have noticed.

Arrieta looks like a new pitcher, showing really good stuff and locating his pitches fairly well.  Fans seemed disheartened when he had a rough inning in Los Angeles, but those kind of stumbles are to be expected.  Arrieta is still a young pitcher and needs time to develop further.  It is however, interesting to see him pitch well in terms of stuff.

Hammel and Hunter are interesting cases as well.  Hammel I think, will regress a bit but it looks like he has made some fundamental changes to his approach.  Mike Podhorzer of Fangraphs wrote up on Hammel's surging K and GB rates, both good signs for the rest of the season.  Hunter on the other hand is nowhere near this good, and will likely fall in his familiar 4 to 5 range in terms of ERA by the end of the year.  These two look like classic regression candidates, but I think one will fall while the other holds steady.

Just want to take a brief moment to mention Wei-Yin Chen's hot start.  We hear at Warehouse Worthy were high on him in the offseason, and he's making us look good by performing well.  Only time will tell how he'll do once the league adjusts to him.

Finally, the O's have a really tough schedule coming up the next 14 games.  The O's have won games they're supposed to win so far, and stealing some games against TEX, BOS and NYY will show that they are really going to compete this season.  Hopefully the next two weeks or so show us a team that can compete with the "big boys" just like how they competed tonight.

Editor's Note - I'll be travelling in China for the next 12 days, so Chad will be in charge of the site.  See you all in two weeks.

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