The 3-0 start is both unexpected and exciting. Hopefully the starters can keep it going (along with Buck’s BABIP magic) while the offense picks it up a bit.
Their two and three hitters are still sporting zero lines, and a pair of hitters have higher batting averages than OBPs. Miguel Cabrera makes any middle of the order formidable though.
Rick Porcello (2010):
The good control and groundball rates allowed Porcello to be a solid starter despite a well below average number of strike-outs. If he adds the K’s, he could be one of the better pitchers in the league.
Porcello’s two-seamer has a lot of movement on it, which is what helps him generate all those grounders. His slider and change got some whiffs last year, so he has weapons to go for the strike-out if need be (if not completely overpowering ones). It might actually be to the O’s benefit to put him into those situations, since beating sinker after sinker into the dirt is unlikely to get them too far. IE, work the count (which is a good rule in general for when you want to score runs and stuff).
You can see the excellent influence Vlad has had on Adam Jones. The team has just 4 walks on the year, tied for the lower mark in the league. That also ties them with Jose Bautista, Bobby Abreu, Justin Smoak, Brandon Belt (in his first four ML games), Logan Morrison, and Kila Ka’aihue, with Jonny Gomes one ahead at 5. Luckily only one major leaguer has more runs created (wRC) than the O’s – Howie Kendrick (6.2 vs. 6.1).
Jake Arrieta (2010):
When he was called up, I expected Arrieta to struggle to get his K/BB ratio above one, and it took almost to the end of the season for it to happen. He really needs to step up all facets of his game this year.
Arrieta throws hard enough, but his fastball appears to be more solid than a particularly outstanding offering. I like the use of the two-seamer to maybe generate some extra groundballs, but he still gave up his fair share of flyballs last year. His curve and slider both have some break to them, but that didn’t seem to make them all that hard to hit. Though, of course, that might have had something to do with batters being willing to let them go by (given Arrieta’s control issues often put him in unfavorable counts) unless they’re meat-balls.
Stats: UZR, WAR, ERA, FIP, xFIP, K/9 & BB/9, GB%, HR/FB%, BABIP, PitchFX