2016 Orioles preview: T.J. McFarland

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With Opening Day less than a month 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

RP T.J. McFarland

Age: 26

Contract status: Under club control through the 2019 season

2015 stats: 2-2, 4.91 ERA, 1.74 WHIP, 5.8 K/IP, 4.0 BB/IP, 4 HR, 40 1/3 innings

Why to be impressed: The lefty pitched well away from Camden Yards in 2015, posting a tiny 1.69 ERA in 21 1/3 road innings. McFarland was also exceptional against left-handed hitters last season as they hit only .232 with a .585 on-base plus slugging percentage.

Why to be concerned: After serving as a reliable long reliever in 2014, McFarland’s control problems and overall ineffectiveness led to longer stays at Triple-A Norfolk in 2015 and right-handers posted a 1.018 OPS against him. The southpaw posted a strong 2.70 ERA in the first half, but his ERA was 6.00 after the All-Star break and he pitched progressively worse from August through early October.

2016 outlook: McFarland can be useful when he’s commanding his sinker, but he has never taken the step forward that the organization hoped he would as a former Rule 5 pick a few years ago. His extreme splits indicate he might be a solid situational lefty, but he’s in line to be more of a mop-up long man who will likely see a number of trips between Triple-A Norfolk and Baltimore in 2016.

2016 not-so-scientific projections: 3-3, 4.26 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, 6.2 K/IP, 3.2 BB/IP, 5 HR, 46 innings

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