2016 Orioles preview: Vance Worley

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With Opening Day only a few days 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
March 29 – Miguel Gonzalez (placed on release waivers on Wednesday)
March 30 – Kevin Gausman
March 31 – Joey Rickard
April 1 – Tyler Wilson

SP/RP Vance Worley

Age: 28

Contract status: Under club control through the 2018 season

2015 stats: 4-6, 4.02 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 6.2 K/IP, 2.6 BB/IP, 6 HR, 71 2/3 innings

Why to be impressed: After a disastrous 2013 campaign with Minnesota, Worley increased the use of his two-seam fastball in Pittsburgh to post a 3.31 ERA over the last two years and a ground-ball rate of 46.2 percent in 2015. He also averaged 0.7 home runs allowed per nine innings over the last two seasons, a rate that bodes well for pitching in homer-friendly Camden Yards.

Why to be concerned: Worley does not miss bats as he held the second-highest opposition contact rate in the majors in 2014 (minimum 70 innings pitched) and finished ninth last year as he relies on his defense to make plays. According to FanGraphs, 96 percent of his pitches in 2015 were either the two-seamer or the cutter, a limited repertoire better suited for a relief role pitching in the AL.

2016 outlook: Worley is an interesting pitcher in that he can’t blow you away with a fastball averaging under 90 miles per hour, but he deceives hitters with a cutter to get called strikes and owns a career 3.79 ERA and a 3.76 fielding independent pitching mark. He’s not a long-term answer and may not begin the season there, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see Worley in a rotation needing all the help it can get.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: 7-6, 3.96 ERA, 1.38 WHIP, 6.0 K/IP, 2.7 BB/IP, 9 HR, 85 innings

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.