• Feb

    Is Guthrie part of the future here in Baltimore?

    After posting his worse numbers ever in the major leagues, Jeremy Guthrie received a 462% pay raise by agreeing to a one-year $3 million contract with the Orioles yesterday thus avoiding arbitration.

    You have to love baseball’s financial system.

    Regardless of the financials, the real question becomes, what kind of pitcher will he be in 2010 and beyond? With young pitchers like Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, and Brad Bergesen already in the rotation and Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton and Brandon Erbe on the cusp, does Guthrie have future in Baltimore?

    Most of Guthrie’s peripherals fell off last year and he was never a strong peripheral pitcher to start off with. His strike out per nine has fallen from 6.31 in 2007, 5.66 in 2008, to a disturbing 4.95 last year. It’s disturbing because at the same time he allowed a career low 34.7% groundball rate and a career high 46.5% FB%. Less strike outs and more flyballs is not a good sign.

    His velocity was down about one MPH across the board but the main problem seemed to be batters to made better contact against his stuff in 2009. After posting 83.7% and 83.1% contact rates in 2007 and 2008, hitters connected for a 87.2% last year, 5th worse among major leaguer starters. In fact, none of his pitches were very good last year if you go by pitch values as he and Arizona’s Doug Davis were the only two major league starters with negative pitch values for every one of their pitches in 2009.

    So what does this all mean? It means the obvious; Guthrie was not very good last year.

    The good news in all of this is Guthrie pitched 200 innings last year and all of his projections from Bill James, to CHONE to Marcel show him bouncing back to a 4.50-ish type guy this year.

    The other good news with the addition of Kevin Millwood and the expected improvements from the Orioles young hurlers, Guthrie can relax and be the 4th/5th starter that his stuff suggests he is at this stage of his career.

    Whether he has a future past 2010 with the Orioles remains to be seen. His performance as well as the performance of the young guns coming up will dictate whether Guthrie will be back in 2011.

    How do you see Guthrie stacking up to the competition? Do you see a comeback, or will his slide continue in 2010?


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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.