Tommy Hunter - Baltimore Orioles RP

I feel like I’m doing a lot of complaining for a fan whose team just won five of their last six games. Losing to the Astros sort of feels like four losses though.

Despite their record last week, Tommy Hunter‘s performance in the ninth inning was a bit of a concern. Not enough of a concern for me to start looking at other options at closer, but enough to spend some time digging into the numbers and blogging about it.

You figure out where that ranks on the Concern-O-Meter.

Hunter appeared in four games over the past seven days, opponents were slashing .471/.550/.647 against him over that span. He walked three and struck out four.

The knock on hitter has been that he can’t get lefties out. However, if you look at his splits, you may be surprised to see that right handed batters are hitting better off him than lefties. I know I was.

vs. RHB: .375/.412/.531
vs. LHB: .308/.367/.500

Two stats contradict those slashlines though:

vs. RHB: 9.00 K/BB, .522 BABIP
vs. LHB: 1.67 K/BB, .333 BABIP

Against righties, he’s had a bit of tough luck with over half the balls in play finding gaps. He’s managed to struck out them out at higher rate though. Lefties are still a concern, the .333 BABIP likely won’t dip much over the course of the season and he hasn’t found a way to strike them out.

About The Author

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of and host of the BSR Podcast. He's a loyal Orioles, Ravens and Capitals fan who is obsessed with baseball, loves traveling, In-N-Out Burger and Walt Disney World.


  1. I really want Hunter to succeed as closer. But the Orioles just can’t go into every game hoping they have at least a 2 run lead, because he is more than likely going to give up 1. Of the 5 games they won this week, he could have cost them 3. I’m ok with sticking with him for maybe a couple more weeks, but he has got to avoid the heart attack innings.

    • Agreed, Stephen. This next week will be huge for me. If Hunter can bounce back against the Tigers and Royals then I think faith can be restored in him.

  2. Hunter at $3M per year with Jimenez and Cruz on your roster or Jim Johnson at $11M a year and Jimenez and Cruz NOT on your roster?

    • Hunter at $3M, AND Johnson at $11M, AND Cruz AND Jimenez on the roster. Tell me with multi-billion lawsuits for the asking and MASN dollars hemorrhaging into the Oriole coffers why you’re shilling for poor, poor “Small-MArket Peter”?

      • Hey Phil, maybe you should be worried about your own “Small-MArket Peter”. Had to go over and service your Misses again last night.

  3. It’s his control that’s the problem. His stuff has closer written all over it. It has really great movement. But without control, he’s going to keep missing when it’s really critical and before we know it, the balls are going to be flying into the next area code. He has two of the three things now, velocity and movement. Unfortunately, the one that he doesn’t have, control, is the hardest to get, especially for a power pitcher. He needs to keep working with Dave Wallace, which I know he’s doing every day. Give it time, but I do agree that if these jams keep happening, especially if he has to face Hunter and Cabrera at any point over the next few days, we need to find a replacement pronto.

    • Nostradamus’d that one Sean! Hunter has been my closer in fantasy but I’m thinking O’day is going to get a turn after Hunter got pummeled by Cabrera and Martinez.

  4. Why is everybody negative on Tommy Hunter? Before last nights game, the O’s won all 13 games that he appeared in. Isn’t that what a closer is suppose to do? Perhaps rather than point fingers at Hunter, we need to figure out what happened to the O’s offense. One run in today’s game doesn’t win too many ball games!

  5. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Buck’s exactly what the Birds need to run the team BUT he’s a conventional BB guy who follows the crowd. Buck believes in the closer role, just like everyone else. The problem is that closer role is just bogus idea based on a bogus stat (the Save). The ‘Save’ the Tigers got last night was not the formal, statistical one Nathan got, it was Smylie’s earlier effort pitching out of a bases loaded situation un-scored upon.

    Anyway, why not just use who ever is in in the 8th inning if they are effective, if they are not, then gamble on the next guy. It’s just totally backwards to go with match ups (lefty/righty) the entire game, then go with just one person to “close” the game.

    The bottom line is that are not more than say a half dozen humans on the planet to be 100% perfect closers, so why force it because some stat genius dreamed up a stat that’s really a non sequitor?

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