With Opening Day just days away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2017 Orioles every day as they try to return to the postseason for the fourth time in six years.
Hyun Soo Kim
RP Vidal Nuno
Opening Day age: 29
Contract status: Under club control through the 2019 season
2016 stats (with Seattle): 1-1, 3.53 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 7.8 K/9, 1.7 BB/9, 11 HR, 58 2/3 innings
Why to be impressed: The left-hander has posted solid numbers since being traded by the New York Yankees midway through the 2014 season, pitching to a 3.69 ERA over his last 231 1/3 major league innings. His walk rate reflects his ability to pound the zone, but he has manages to hold respectable strikeout totals despite a fastball that averages less than 90 miles per hour.
Why to be concerned: Nuno allowed 1.7 home runs per nine innings pitched over his two years in Seattle, a trend that doesn’t figure to be helped by pitching half of his games at Camden Yards. He also registered the 28th-highest contact rate in the majors among pitchers with at least 50 innings last year and doesn’t induce a great number of grounders, which could put pressure on a suspect outfield defense.
2017 outlook: It isn’t difficult envisioning Nuno stepping into Vance Worley’s old role as both pitch to contact and have starting experience, but the former has better control and strikes out more hitters. Manager Buck Showalter prefers having a lefty long man to back up a rotation of mostly right-handers, so Nuno should spend a bulk of his time in Baltimore this year despite having a minor-league option.
2017 not-so-scientific projections: 4-4, 3.68 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 7.4 K/9, 2.0 BB/9, 12 HR, 75 1/3 innings