12 Responses

  1. theorioleway
    theorioleway July 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm |

    I’m extremely torn on the O’s handling of Tillman. He spent a full season (28 starts, 135.2 IP) at Bowie, and then made 18 starts (96.2 IP) in Norfolk last season before he was called up. He dominated in AAA (99 strikeouts, just 26 walks, 85 hits allowed), and I don’t think it is unreasonable to say he was ready last summer. Obviously, he pitched poorly in the Majors (the sharp drop in his K rate is most worrisome), and then when he struggled this spring I think it was entirely reasonable that he started the season back in Norfolk. He’s again dominating the International League (though, again, his K rate has fallen), and I really think that it’s time to see what he can do in Baltimore withan extended trial.

    1. Jordan
      Jordan July 8, 2010 at 7:40 pm |

      I agree, somewhat. I agree that he was ready last season after those 18 starts at Norfolk. But, if you look at what the Rays do with their pitching prospects, they have an extremely low fail rate. They leave their pitching prospects at AAA for unbelievable amounts of time (Hellickson, Davis etc.).

      It should be clear to the Orioles that they are not competing this season. There is no reason, to me, to bring Tillman up. More Triple-A time can only help him, while big league time could help, but could also hurt him.

      1. theorioleway
        theorioleway July 8, 2010 at 8:10 pm |

        That is a very good point about the Rays, but on the flip side, guys like Kershaw (0 starts), Gallardo (16 starts over two seasons), Josh Johnson (0 starts), and Brett Anderson (0 starts) are all very successful and have extremely limited experience in the AAA. There is definitely no one size fits all development path, and I think (hope?) that Matusz and Tillman are both talented enough to make the necessary adjustments and overcome their early struggles and still be successful Major Leaguers. I’m actually 100% convinced on Matusz, and I think the club just needs to let Tillman pitch and coach him on how to make the adjustments.

        1. Jordan
          Jordan July 8, 2010 at 11:16 pm |

          I agree, I think you have to go on a case-by-case basis. I agree with you on Matusz, he’s special. I think it was more clear with Matusz how polished he was. He’s smart, and really knows what he’s doing. He can command all his pitches and knows when to throw them. I don’t think that’s the case with Tillman.

      2. NYOrioleFan
        NYOrioleFan July 8, 2010 at 10:24 pm |

        Roch Kubatko is mentioning that Tillman may get a call up to start for the Orioles on Saturday. (And Josh Bell will be sent down) I guess the up-and-down for Tillman continues, and he will have to work on his two new pitches against Major League hitters. We can only hope that he has the mental make-up to deal with this challenge.

        1. Jordan
          Jordan July 8, 2010 at 11:17 pm |

          I think the mental make up part is the key. He’s going to struggle, but he needs to know he has the stuff to be an effective pitcher at the major league level.

  2. Camden Revival
    Camden Revival July 8, 2010 at 7:30 pm |

    I’ll pushback on Sickels: Four out of the last five Rookies of the Year in the AL had little to no AAA experience when they were called up (Pedroia the exception). Of all the AL MVPs in the last decade, only two played at least 100 games in AAA (Mourneau and Pedroia again). Similar evidence on the pitching side with guys like Sabathia never spending a day in AAA. And the Orioles best all-around player (Markakis) never spent a day in AAA. Some guys need it and some guys don’t and it’s up to the organization to spot the guys that do and don’t need it.

    Sickels covers himself with the “MOST”, but if these guys are truly special (and I’d put Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman in that category, but not put Cabrera, Liz, or Olson), I think you have to make the decision on whether they’ll learn best at the ML level or in AAA. Markakis had an ugly first half of 2006, but he learned a lot more than if he’d been raking at AAA. I believe Matusz will fall in the same category and so will Wieters. The rest of them? I am not really sure…

    I will agree that I don’t like the yoyoing of Tillman either. Still, he has dominated AAA. I think he failed in his earlier call up because in his rough starts, his fastball wasn’t hitting 90MPH. For whatever reason, his stuff wasn’t what it was at AAA. Injuries? Tired arm? I don’t know, but I am confident that there was a difference between the guy getting hammered against the Sox and Giants versus the guy throwing the no hitter and one hitter for the Tides.

    Here’s my question: why didn’t they spend Spring Training teaching him a cutter? Did they really JUST notice that he needed it? He had mixed success last season in his callup and it was clear then that he needed it (though it’s clearer when your straight fastball can’t top 90MPH). Shame on the Orioles for waiting till now to step up.

    1. Jordan
      Jordan July 8, 2010 at 7:44 pm |

      You are right, some players will learn better in the majors. But struggling in the majors can really hurt a player’s development, while time in the minors can only help (see my comment above).

      If I remember correctly, they were trying to teach him a cutter in spring training, and that’s part of the reason they gave Hernandez the job.

  3. Tim
    Tim July 9, 2010 at 12:34 am |

    Great for Diaz and Mahoney. Care to speculate on corresponding moves?

    1. Jordan
      Jordan July 9, 2010 at 12:40 am |

      Replacing Diaz, I’ll go with Josh Dowdy. Replacing Mahoney will be tough because I don’t think they want to promote Townsend yet. I’ll go with Kieron Pope. The outfield is crowded but he should definitely find some at-bats at DH.

      1. Tim
        Tim July 9, 2010 at 9:42 am |

        Thanks I agree with both promotions. Like to gete Shutz to replace Pope. Other Aberdeen move should be to end Keating’s rehab assignment and send him to Delmarva.

        1. Jordan
          Jordan July 9, 2010 at 10:47 pm |

          Another candidate is Brian Conley.