Over the next few weeks, Camden Chat writers will be looking at the projected performance for most of the expected regulars on the Orioles roster. We’ll be sizing up what would have to go right for players to beat the projections, or go wrong for players to fail to live up to them, and polling readers for each player.
Now that they are coming out of the rebuild, the Orioles finally traded their first prospect for an established player. It wasn’t very splashy. They didn’t trade one of the big-name prospects and didn’t get back a big-name major leaguer, but they did get a player who could contribute for a number of years.
That player? Cole Irvin. Traded for Darell Hernaiz, the 29-year-old lefty was a stalwart in the Oakland Athletics’ starting rotation for the past two seasons. A late bloomer, he won’t be a free agent until after the 2026 season, so if he is a positive force on the team he could be a part of it for a long time.
It wasn’t an exciting trade, to be sure. And at this point in his career, one of the bigger compliments you can say about him is that he’s been about average. There is value in average! And on a team with a lot of question marks in the rotation, having a player like that could come in handy.
That of course begs the question, WILL he be average? To the projections!
Let’s cut to the chase: the projections for the new Orioles’ starter are not what you want to see. They peg him to be worse across the board this year than he was in 2022, significantly so in the ZiPS and Steamer projections. Here you go:
- 2022: 181 IP, 3.98 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
- ZiPS: 158 IP, 4.78 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
- Steamer: 169 IP, 4.54 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
- Marcel: 168 IP, 4.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Since Steamer’s ERA is midway between the other two, let’s focus on that for our over/under look. Will Irvin pitch to an ERA over or under 4.54?
The case for the over
One thing Irvin has had going for him the past two seasons is staying fully healthy both years. He made 30 starts in 2021 and 32 starts in 2022. The combined 62 starts are just three fewer than the leader over the same period (Sandy Alcantara - 65).
It’s incredibly difficult for a pitcher to stay healthy long-term. Even if there are no big injuries, little things come up all the time. If it’s something big enough to send Irvin to the injured list, there goes his high innings pitched. If there is something nagging that could make him less effective, there goes the just-barely-league-average ERA.
It’s very hard being a pitcher!
The case for the under
The biggest case for the under is the simple fact that the projections are quite poor. Since becoming a full-time starting pitcher in the majors in 2021, Irvin has had better numbers than both the ZiPS and Steamer predict. Yes, those numbers came in the cavernous stadium in Oakland, but this year Irvin gets to pitch in front of Mount Walltimore. Seems like a decent trade-off to me.
Another case for the under is just a matter of me being hopeful. If Irvin pitches to an ERA north of 4.50 and can’t rack up at least 175 innings pitched, that is going to be bad news for the Orioles. Very bad news.
How are you feeling about Cole Irvin? Vote in the poll and let us know in the comments.
Will Cole Irvin go over or under his Steamer projected ERA of 4.54?
This poll is closed
Tomorrow: Ryan Mountcastle