Baseball 2000: Orioles Profiles

April 02, 2000|By Profiles by Roch Kuabtko and Joe Strauss

19 Scott Erickson P

Age: 32. Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2003.

Role: No. 2 starter.

Career year: 1991 with Minnesota, 20-8, 3.18 ERA, five complete games, three shutouts, runner-up in Cy Young voting.

What's up in 2000: Once healthy, Erickson will be expected to devour innings.

By the numbers: Won 14 of his last 18 decisions. Led the AL with three shutouts. Tied with Sidney Ponson for second in AL with six complete games. Finished second in the AL in innings pitched with 230 1/3.

X-factor: How will he avoid a repeat after missing the entire exhibition schedule because of arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow?

27 Buddy Groom P

Age: 34. Height: 6-2. Weight: 207.

Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Role: Left-handed setup/specialist.

Career year: 1996 with Oakland, 5-0 with a 3.84 ERA in 72 games.

What's up in 2000: Groom can take the place of departed reliever Jesse Orosco.

By the numbers: Tied with Minnesota's Bob Wells for most appearances in the AL at 76. Can become the first pitcher to appear in at least 70 games for five straight seasons. Averaged only 0.61 innings per outing, the lowest ratio in Oakland history. Allowed six of his last 34 inherited runners to score.

X-factor: Right-handers batted .315 against Groom last season.

60 Calvin Maduro P

Age: 25. Height: 6-0. Weight: 180.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000.

Role: Starter/long reliever.

Career year: 1999 with Triple-A Rochester, 11-11, 3.99 ERA.

What's up in 2000: Maduro pitched well enough this spring to earn the fourth starter's job.

By the numbers: Led Rochester in wins (11), innings (169), strikeouts (149), complete games (two) and starts (28). Had a 3.96 ERA on the road, 4.06 at home. Left-handers batted .270, right-handers hit .272. Made one relief appearance, in last game, and struck out the side to lower his ERA below 4.00.

X-factor: Maduro is out of options and can't be sent to the minors without clearing waivers.

47 Chuck McElroy P

Age: 32. Height: 6-0. Weight: 205.

Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

Contract status: Signed through 2000.

Role: Left-handed middle reliever/set-up.

Career year: 1991 with Chicago Cubs, 6-2, 1.95 ERA in 71 games.

What's up in 2000: McElroy can serve as a bridge to closer Mike Timlin or be used for two or three innings.

By the numbers: Retired 11 of the 15 first batters he faced with the New York Mets. Recorded his 500th career strikeout on July 28, in his final appearance with Colorado. Retired only 21 of 41 first batters he faced with the Rockies. Was 0-for-3 in save situations with Colorado.

X-factor: Opponents had a .495 slugging percentage against him last season.

54 Jose Mercedes P

Age: 29. Height: 6-1. Weight: 180.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000.

Role: Long reliever/starter.

Career year: 1997 with Milwaukee, 7-10, 3.79 ERA in 29 games, including 23 starts.

What's up in 2000: He provides the versatility to start or pitch out of the bullpen. He'll open the season as the fifth starter.

By the numbers: Didn't allow a run this spring in his first 13 innings. Went a combined 5-9 with a 3.70 ERA in 25 games among Triple-A affiliates Las Vegas, Calgary and Norfolk. Was 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA in Dominican Winter League.

X-factor: Mercedes can be used in long relief or as a spot starter, but the Orioles must clear room for him on the 40-man roster.

35 Mike Mussina P

Age: 31. Height: 6-2. Weight: 185.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000.

Role: No. 1 starter.

Career year: 1995, 19-9, 3.29 ERA, four shutouts.

What's up in 2000: As always, Mussina enters the season as a strong candidate for his first 20-win season and first Cy Young Award.

By the numbers: His .673 winning percentage is the highest ever among right-handers with at least 200 innings. Allowed only four of nine runners to steal off him, tied for the AL's best percentage (44.4). Averaged 7.61 strikeouts per nine innings. Allowed only 11.5 runners per nine innings.

X-factor: A pending free agent, Mussina has a chance to break the bank.

43 Sidney Ponson P

Age: 23. Height: 6-1. Weight: 225.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000.

Role: No. 3 starter.

Career year: 1999, 12-12, 4.71 ERA, six complete games.

What's up in 2000: Ponson will begin the season as the No. 2 starter until Scott Erickson returns. The team is banking on his development.Some club officials project him winning at least 15 games.

By the numbers: Had 19 quality starts. Tied a club record by allowing 35 homers. Was 5-7 with a 5.77 ERA in his last 16 starts. Had one victory in nine starts after Aug. 10. Struck out only 4.80 batters per nine innings, the fourth-lowest average in the AL.

X-factor: Ponson must do a better job of keeping the ball in the park.

34 Pat Rapp P

Age: 32. Height: 6-3. Weight: 215.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Role: Starter/long reliever.

Career year: 1995 with Florida, 14-7, 3.44 ERA.

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