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Projection v. Actual: Pitchers

During spring training, we put together some community projections for several of the Orioles. I thought it'd be fun to look back and see how we did. But take heed: This part is not pretty.

Erik Bedard

 
               GS   IP      ERA   WHIP   BB   K   HR
PROJECTON      28  167     3.70   1.31   55  147  13
ACTUAL         33  196.1   3.76   1.35   69  171  16
Frankly, a very good job by us. He threw thirty more innings than we expected, and had 24 more strikeouts, 14 more walks and three more homers allowed. Bedard had his first healthy season, and showed what he can do. He was on the level of guys like Barry Zito this year, and while Wang and Mussina got props from the press for pitching well in New York, Bedard was just about as good as they were, too, and it was completely silent except for us and fantasy baseball nerds taking note.

There is no longer any question of whether or not Bedard can be a damn good major league starter. He is one. Health will be a concern, as always, but that's the only thing holding Bedard back anymore. No more guessing games. Oh yeah, the boy can play.

Kris Benson

               IP    ERA   WHIP    K   HR
PROJECTON     173   4.41   1.35   95   24
ACTUAL        183   4.82   1.40   88   33
Put simply: Benson did not reach our projection. He got close, but Benson had a tendency to be pretty good or just implode. Somewhat similar to Rodrigo Lopez's 2005 season in that regard. Any takers at $7.5 million with that comparison?

OK, so it's not entirely fair. But it is true. Lopez had the same sort of year in 2005, though his wasn't as extreme as Benson's was. I mean, take even just his last five starts from the year:

1. 7 IP, 2 ER
2. 8 IP, 2 ER
3. 8 IP, 2 ER
4. 8 IP, 3 ER
5. 2.2 IP, 8 ER

The problematic thing was this happened all year long. He was good, then bam! Right in the toilet for a start. And it's hard to rely on a guy that might be absolutely awful on any given day. His K-rate is also just not good. It's pretty awful for a righty that batters hit at a .287 clip, and it's going to become a problem. Yes, some pitchers in history have gotten away with that, but most of them don't. Look at what happened to Carlos Silva this year. Benson's 32 in November, and although he did a decent enough job, I'm still split on whether or not I want him back. I do expect he will be, though. And thanks for teaching Bedard that changeup, Kris. That was a good one.

Daniel Cabrera

               GS    IP    ERA   WHIP   BB   K   HR
PROJECTION     30   183   3.79   1.35   77  178  16
ACTUAL         26   148   4.74   1.58  104  157  11
Well, no, that didn't happen. Cabrera wound up in Ottawa this year he had such horrible control problems. It took him all of 148 innings to become the first Oriole to walk 100 batters in a season since Steve Stone in 1980, when Stone won 25 games thanks to a little bit of luck (oh, just a smidge). Cabrera did not progress, he regressed. But his K-rate did improve, and that is one thing you can point to and say, "Well, the arm is still there, so that potential is still there."

More starts like Cabrera's last one will make him one of the best pitchers in baseball. It's kind of a "no shit" statement, obviously, since anyone that throws one-hitters all the time is good, but I don't mean the one-hitter part. I mean the way he was in control, never got rattled, threw strikes and let the hitters try to beat him instead of consistently trying to beat every hitter. He only struck out five that game, he's been far nastier than that before. I've seen him more dominant. I've never seen him better and look more like a pitcher instead of a kid throwing gas that would make anyone take notice. The old Kerry Wood ordeal.

Cabrera is probably best off spending his winter developing a changeup, working on his breaking stuff, and deciding that with the way his fastball is and the fact that he's 6-foot-7, he can throw that thing 94, top out around 97, and not try to hit 101. We know he can hit 101, and it's neat, but Matt Anderson could do that, and where's he at? Cabrera has to become a pitcher, because he has the God given talent to lay off a little bit and completely take over a ballgame. Maybe I'm just setting myself up for more frustration, but I'm on the Cabrera bandwagon again.

Rodrigo Lopez

               GS    IP    ERA   WHIP    K   HR
PROJECTON      31   193   3.97   1.29   126  23
ACTUAL         29*  189   5.90   1.55   136  32
  * also made seven relief appearances
Not even goddamned close. I was low-end projecting Lopez, and I had 4.33/1.34 over 186 innings. He was awful from game one to game 36. Lopez was terrible, a full run worse than his shaky 2005. We called for a bounce-back, and we got a guy that couldn't get anyone out.

Not only that, but Lopez was a whiny pain in the ass all season, plus Perlozzo drove us crazy with his, "Gawwwww-LLY, I think he's right on the cusp of good things! Let's run him out there some more!" When Chen sucked, Chen was sent to the bullpen, and we never heard a peep from Chen the rest of the year, and past some early bullpen sessions, we never heard anything from Sam and Leo about how Chen was really looking good and doing good things and about to turn that dadgum corner, by gosh! Rodrigo Lopez sent me up a wall this season. I don't want him back next year. I know he gave us a nice season four years ago, but let's cut the shit: He's a bad pitcher. Enough loyalty to crappy veterans.

Bruce Chen

               GS    IP     ERA   WHIP    K   HR
PROJECTION     31   198    3.82   1.30   134  30
ACTUAL         12*  98.2   6.93   1.74    70  28
  * also made 28 relief appearances
I expected good things from Chen (3.56/1.22, 210 IP), and man. Man oh man. I was w-r-o-n-g.

Bruce Chen pitched in 40 games this season and never had a W next to his name in the box score. He had seven Ls, though.

Chris Ray

               IP   ERA   WHIP    K   SV
PROJECTION     73  3.34   1.28   76   30
ACTUAL         66  2.73   1.09   51   33
Ray's K-rate wasn't as good as we projected, but other than that he beat what most would have thought was very optimistic from us. This is why you don't spend money on Todd Jones when you've got someone that can do the job for peanuts in comparison. Ray has everything it takes to be a successful closer long-term. I have never once seen Chris Ray look rattled.