2015 Orioles preview: Darren O’Day

March 23, 2015 | Luke Jones

With Opening Day just two weeks away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2015 Orioles every day as they try to defend their American League East title this season.

March 9 – Adam Jones
March 10 – Chris Tillman
March 11 – J.J. Hardy
March 12 – Zach Britton
March 13 – Chris Davis
March 14 – Wei-Yin Chen
March 15 – Jonathan Schoop
March 16 – Travis Snider
March 17 – Kevin Gausman
March 18 – Alejandro De Aza
March 19 – Tommy Hunter
March 20 – Manny Machado
March 21 – Brad Brach
March 22 – Steve Pearce

RHP Darren O’Day

Opening Day age: 32

Contract status: Will become a free agent after the 2015 season

Minor-league options remaining: None

2014 stats: 5-2 with four saves, 1.70 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, 9.6 K/IP, 6 HR, 68 2/3 innings

Why to be impressed: The right-hander posted arguably the best season of his career in 2014 as he continued to be the heart and soul of what’s been a very good three-year run for the Baltimore bullpen. Right-handed hitters posted a .497 on-base plus slugging percentage while lefty batters owned a .633 OPS, making him an excellent option against just about anyone in the late innings.

Why to be concerned: O’Day has pitched 62 or more innings in each of the last three years, which is a gigantic workload for even a reliever with a submarine delivery that’s typically easier on the arm. Despite his terrific numbers in the regular season, O’Day wore down in September (7.00 ERA in nine innings) and allowed two home runs and four earned runs in 2 2/3 innings in the playoffs. Late in the season, O’Day struggled against left-handed hitters, which was reminiscent of his 2013 campaign in which lefties posted a .922 OPS against him.

2015 outlook: It was concerning to see O’Day struggle the way he did at the end of last season after performing at such an outstanding level for five months, making you wonder if manager Buck Showalter needs to monitor his workload more carefully. He figures to get the ball often again this year with Andrew Miller no longer a late-inning option. It would be tough for O’Day to match his 2014 numbers, but another ERA south of 2.40 is in order as long as the veteran reliever stays healthy.