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Community Projection Pitching

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Since we're done with the community projections stuff, which was fun and I thank everyone who participated, I wanted to look back over the one thing that surprised me: We expect the pitching to be good. Not just better, but good.

Here is what the O's starters did in 2005:

        IP    ERA   WHIP    K    BB   HR
CHEN        197   3.83   1.27   133   63   28
CABRERA     161   4.52   1.43   157   87   14
BEDARD      142   4.00   1.38   125   57   10
R. LOPEZ    209   4.90   1.41   118   63   28
PONSON      130   6.21   1.73    68   48   16
MAINE        40   6.30   1.58    24   24    8
PENN         38   6.34   1.75    18   21    6

And here's what we as a community project from our likely rotation in 2006:

        IP    ERA   WHIP    K    BB   HR
CABRERA     183   3.79   1.35   178   77   16
CHEN        198   3.82   1.30   134   --   30
BEDARD      167   3.70   1.31   147   55   13
R. LOPEZ    193   3.97   1.29   126   --   23
BENSON      173   4.41   1.35    95   --   24

That's a big difference. In 2005, one starter (Chen) put up an ERA below 4. We project Chen to repeat his performance, with improvement from Cabrera and Bedard and almost a full run shaved off of Rodrigo Lopez's ERA.

Now, I'll say this. It's not that I am arguing or that I don't think it can happen, but improvement straight across the board (except Chen) isn't common, Leo Mazzone or not. Bedard and Cabrera are both decent enough bets to put it together under Mazzone's watch, and Lopez has been inconsistent for his career and is an even years pitcher, so why not? Benson is the new guy, and we expect him to be the worst of the five anyway, though a huge step up in quality over the Ponson/Maine/Penn trio of '05, which is fair because the three of them were hideous.

Looking back over our numbers now, how likely do you think it is that our starting staff meets these projections? And if you think they will, why? Mazzone? Simple maturity? A little luck? Frankly, if our staff meets these projections, they'll be one of the best in the league.