It's very difficult to win baseball games without starting pitching. If there's been a more obvious and simplified statement in the game of baseball, I'd certainly like to hear it. Ultimately, it's a very basic premise: pitch well, win games.

For the Orioles, that presumption has been equal parts true and false over the course of the 2016 season, but both inflated home run numbers (compared to the rest of the league) and offensive production throughout the lineup have played a unique role in "hiding" the performances of the starting arms.

With a 4.99 ERA, the Orioles are somehow 11 games over .500 on the season, almost effortlessly contending for first place in the AL East. It's unconventional, but it works - for 2016 at-least.

But what happens when Buck Showalter's team stumbles over a hurdle for a multi-week stretch in say July, or August?

More than that, how much will the winning percentage dip in next years to come if big bats leave town and/or simply lose production? Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez and Mark Trumbo are all free agents after 2016, while contracts of Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy expire after the 2018 season.

Pair those contracts with the inevitable decline of one large piece to the home-run-hitting puzzle and you're left with one conclusion: the onus will soon fall upon the starting pitching.

For most teams in the league, over thinking what the pitching rotation will look like in a few seasons seems silly. The pro baseball system is designed to constantly stream new pitchers into the big leagues through the minor league system. For many, current three-to-four year outlooks are not a substantial concern.

Unfortunately, the same can not be said about the farm system in Baltimore. From top to bottom, the minor-league talent of the starting arms has shown to be much more than sub-par, teetering on levels of potential total panic from the front office.