Orioles awarded competitive balance pick, plus starting rotation notes

The Orioles added a pick in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft this afternoon when Major League Baseball announced the results of the third annual Competitive Balance Lottery.

The Orioles were awarded the fifth pick after the second round next June. The drawing was conducted this afternoon at Major League Baseball's New York offices.

The Competitive Balance Lottery gives clubs with the lowest revenues and in the smallest markets the opportunity to obtain additional draft picks. The 10 teams with the lowest revenues and the 10 clubs in the smallest markets were entered into a lottery for the six selections immediately following the first round of the First-Year Player Draft.

The eligible clubs that did not receive one of the six selections after the first round, were entered into a second lottery for the six picks immediately following the second round of the draft. A team's odds of winning the lottery were based on its prior season's winning percentage compared to other eligible clubs in that lottery round.

These teams are awarded picks after the first round and in this order:
1. Miami Marlins
2. Colorado Rockies
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. San Diego Padres
6. Cleveland Indians

These teams are awarded picks and in this order after the second round:
1. Cincinnati Reds
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Seattle Mariners
4. Minnesota Twins
5. Baltimore Orioles
6. Arizona Diamondbacks

These are the only draft picks that can be traded with certain restrictions. The Orioles traded their 2014 competitive balance pick, which was after the first round, last July in the deal with Houston to acquire pitcher Bud Norris.

Rotation pitching better: If you look at the Orioles' starting pitching stats for the entire season, their rotation looks pretty mediocre. But if you go back over the last six weeks, it looks a lot better.

As the Orioles get set to play their 100th game tonight, it appears their rotation is currently solid. But will it stay that way?

Over the last 38 games since June 9, the Orioles' rotation ERA is 3.28. If they had that ERA for the year, they would rank second in the American League behind Oakland (3.18).

The Orioles have gone 24-14 in those 38 games, by the way.

Their rotation ERA for the season has been improving since early in the year. It was 4.74 at the end of April, 4.43 at the end of May, 4.11 when June ended and 4.08 now.

gausman-gray-specs-sidebar.jpgOn their current road trip, the starters have pitched well for the most part, save for Kevin Gausman's outing Sunday in which he gave up five runs in four innings. In the other four games, their ERA is 2.77.

A look at the starters recently:

* Chris Tillman is 2-3 with a 2.50 ERA and seven quality starts in his last eight games.

* Wei-Yin Chen is 3-0 with an ERA of 4.32 in his last three starts.

* Gausman was 4-1 with a 2.36 ERA over his six starts before Sunday's outing.

* Bud Norris has pitched to an ERA of 2.37 over his past five starts, allowing one earned run or less four times.

* Miguel Gonzalez has pitched to an ERA of 1.90, throwing 23 2/3 innings over his past three starts. He has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last 11 starts.

For the season, the Orioles rank 10th in the AL in rotation ERA and are tied for 13th with 42 quality starts.

But the stats are much better over the last 38 games, providing hope that the Orioles may just have enough starting pitching to get through the next 63 games and beyond.

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