2016 Orioles preview: Miguel Gonzalez

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With Opening Day less than a week 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
March 16 – Darren O’Day
March 18 – Pedro Alvarez
March 19 – Oliver Drake
March 20 – Mike Wright
March 21 – Zach Britton
March 22 – Caleb Joseph
March 23 – Dylan Bundy
March 24 – Christian Walker
March 25 – Chaz Roe
March 27 – Manny Machado
March 28 – Chris Davis

SP Miguel Gonzalez

Age: 31

Contract status: Under club control through the 2017 season

2015 stats: 9-12, 4.91 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 6.8 K/IP, 3.2 BB/IP, 24 HR, 144 2/3 innings

Why to be impressed: The right-hander posted a 3.45 ERA in his first three years with the Orioles and pitched to a 3.33 mark in his first 12 starts last season before landing on the disabled list with a groin issue. Despite his struggles, Gonzalez posted a career-high strikeout rate of 6.8 per nine innings in 2015.

Why to be concerned: Gonzalez was never the same after returning from his first DL stint, posting a 6.53 ERA in his last 71 2/3 innings of 2015 and making you wonder if he was healthy the rest of the way. However, after an offseason to get healthy, his fastball was only sitting at 87 to 88 miles per hour in his final two spring starts after it averaged roughly 91 mph in each of the previous four seasons.

2016 outlook: The Orioles would love to give Gonzalez the benefit of the doubt based on his impressive track record, but a 9.76 spring ERA and diminished velocity aren’t what they were looking for after his poor second half. Gonzalez has a minor-league option, but a decline in stuff will make it difficult for a pitcher who didn’t have overwhelming stuff to begin with to compete as a major league starter.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: 4-8, 4.97 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 5.9 K/IP, 3.5 BB/IP, 16 HR, 95 innings

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