2015 Orioles preview: Wesley Wright

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With Opening Day just two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.

March 9 – Adam Jones
March 10 – Chris Tillman
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Zach Britton
March 13 – Chris Davis
March 14 – Wei-Yin Chen
March 15 – Jonathan Schoop
March 16 – Travis Snider
March 17 – Kevin Gausman
March 18 – Alejandro De Aza
March 19 – Tommy Hunter
March 20 – Manny Machado
March 21 – Brad Brach
March 22 – Steve Pearce
March 23 – Darren O’Day
March 24 – Caleb Joseph

LHP Wesley Wright

Opening Day age: 30

Contract status: Will become a free agent after the 2015 season

Minor-league options remaining: None

2014 stats (with Chicago): 0-3, 3.17 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.9 K/IP, 2 HR, 48 1/3 innings


Why to be impressed: The former Cubs pitcher has posted an ERA below 3.70 in each of the last four seasons and has averaged 8.7 strikeouts per nine innings over the course of his seven-year major league career. The southpaw held right-handed hitters to a .719 on-base plus slugging percentage last season while lefties posted an anemic .594 OPS.

Why to be concerned: Though he had no apparent drop in velocity in 2014, Wright struck out a career-low 6.9 per nine innings a year ago while his walk rate was his highest since 2011. His career 1.40 WHIP becomes even more concerning if he once again fails to strike out hitters like he did last year.

2015 outlook: The acquisition of Wright appears to have made Brian Matusz expendable in the right trade as he has enjoyed plenty of success against left-handed hitters in his career. However, Wright doesn’t have the repertoire to be able to trust him for much more than a situational role in the later innings. An ERA around 3.60 appears to be a fair target if manager Buck Showalter can be selective in using Wright mostly against lefty batters.

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