Sure, we all know that the Orioles need starting pitching, but I don’t think we truly appreciate how dire the situation actually is. The stat I keep using to prove my point is that O’s starters pitched to a 4.57 ERA last season, which is 27th in baseball. They’re down around the Philadelphia Phillies (73-89), Colorado Rockies (74-88), Houston Astros (51-111), Toronto Blue Jays (74-88) and Minnesota Twins (66-96). It’s nothing short of a miracle that the Birds managed the win 85 games with a staff that bad.

Sometimes ERA doesn’t tell the whole story, so I examined the O’s rotation’s FIP, a statistic that measures what a player’s (or starting staff’s in this case) ERA should have been assuming that performance on balls in play and timing were league average. Last season the Orioles rotation posted a 4.64 FIP, 29th in baseball.

What about their xFIP, a stat that calculates the rotation’s FIP, but replaces their home run total with an estimate of how many home runs they should have allowed? 4.21 xFIP for the O’s staff, 27th in baseball.

Seeing a trend?

Here are a few other rankings for you:

  • 6.80 K/9 – 22nd in MLB
  • 3.04 BB/9 – 10th most in MLB
  • 1.39 HR/9 – Most in MLB
  • 939.0 IP – 22nd fewest in MLB
  • 13.4% HR/FB – Highest in MLB
  • 7.4 WAR – 24th in MLB

Based on these numbers the Orioles have a long way to go to even be considered an average starting staff. The good news is they were still competitive in the AL East with a rotation this poor. Maybe the Birds don’t need a top five rotation, maybe they just need to be in the middle of the pack.

Image Credit: Keith Allison

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