2016 Orioles preview: Darren O’Day

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With Opening Day less than three weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2016 Orioles every day as they try to return to the playoffs for the third time in five years this season.

March 1 – Adam Jones
March 2 – Chris Tillman
March 3 – Jonathan Schoop
March 4 – Brad Brach
March 5 – Nolan Reimold
March 6 – Yovani Gallardo
March 7 – Matt Wieters
March 8 – T.J. McFarland
March 9 – Dariel Alvarez
March 10 – Brian Matusz
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Mychal Givens
March 13 – Ryan Flaherty
March 14 – Ubaldo Jimenez
March 15 – Mark Trumbo

RP Darren O’Day

Age: 33

Contract status: Under contract through the 2019 season

2015 stats: 6-2, 6 saves, 1.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 11.3 K/IP, 1.9 BB/IP, 5 HR, 65 1/3 innings

Why to be impressed: The 2015 All-Star selection posted career bests in ERA, strikeout rate, and walk rate last year and has pitched 62 or more innings in each of his four seasons in Baltimore. Making it more impressive was the fact that opponents posted a .278 batting average on balls in play, which is higher than his .256 career mark and indicates his career year came without the benefit of much luck.

Why to be concerned: It’s remarkable that O’Day set a career high in strikeouts at age 32, so one would reasonably expect his strikeout rate to regress closer to the 9.2 per nine innings he averaged from 2012-2014. The Orioles made a four-year, $31 million commitment to O’Day, but he’s approaching his mid-30s and manager Buck Showalter may need to monitor his workload a bit more moving forward.

2016 outlook: Every year you wonder if O’Day can continue to be so dominant and he only managed to get better in his contract season that resulted in a big payday this winter. It would be a lot to ask the right-hander to be as superb as he was in 2015, but there’s little reason to think he won’t continue to be the backbone of the Baltimore bullpen like he has been for the last four years.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: 5-3, 5 saves, 1.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 9.6 K/IP, 2.3 BB/IP, 6 HR, 64 innings

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