Orioles-Nation http://orioles-nation.com Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:51:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Orioles Nation delivers Orioles minor league information you can't get anywhere else. From going to games to discussions with scouts, the ON Staff brings you news, scouting reports, and more from around the Orioles minor leagues, and frequently discusses the current happenings with the big league club. Orioles-Nation no Orioles-Nation LRinker@gmail.com LRinker@gmail.com (Orioles-Nation) Orioles Nation orioles, baltimore, baseball, scouting, minor, leagues Orioles-Nation http://orioles-nation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ON-Logo.png http://orioles-nation.com Baltimore, Maryland Weekly Baltimore Orioles MLB Trade Deadline Reaction and Analysis http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/31/orioles-trade-deadline-reaction-analysis/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/31/orioles-trade-deadline-reaction-analysis/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 21:46:36 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15089 The Baltimore Orioles acquired the premium left-handed reliever they were seeking, but did they give up too much to get their man?

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The Baltimore Orioles acquired lefty reliever Andrew Miller from the Boston Red Sox for left-handed starter Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller has posted a 2.34 ERA for the Red Sox out of the bullpen this year, has a 40.6 percent strike out rate and a 7.7 percent walk rate.  Miller, a free agent after this season, was largely believed to be the best available bullpen arm on the market. According to reports from the local Orioles beat writers, the biggest asset the team was looking to acquire was a lefty that could get both left handed hitters and right handed hitters out which Miller is extremely adept at doing. Rodriguez, who has spent parts of the last two seasons at AA, currently has a 4.79 ERA with a 19.1 percent strike out rate and a 9.5 percent walk rate for the Baysox. The 21-year-old Rodriguez has been struggling all season as he has dealt with injuries and ineffective performance.

Andrew Miller is an excellent reliever and gives the Orioles a 1-2-3 punch that not many other bullpens can match with Darren O’Day and Zach Britton. His arsenal consists of a 93 MPH fast ball , an 81 MPH slider and a 84 MPH change up. He primarily throws the fast ball and slider and will mix in the change to right handed hitters. According to fWAR, Miller has been the 12th best reliever in the all of baseball this year, which is actually better than both O’Day and Britton. He has an above average ground ball rate and the 5th best strike out rate of all relievers. On top of that, unlike Brian Matusz, Miller can get both lefties and righties out as he has held both under a .200 batting average this year. Furthermore, Miller has been a quality reliever for the past three seasons and fantastic in the last two.  Buck will use both Miller and O’Day interchangeably based on rest and match-ups, he will be a great tool for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs.

Eduardo Rodriguez was largely considered the Orioles third or fourth best prospect coming into the season. With the graduation of Gausman, he was second or third. He has struggled at AA this year and has had injuries keep him sidelined. Rodriguez has a 91 to 93 MPH fast ball with a slider and  a change up that are considered average. The Venezuelan lefty was signed by the Orioles on the international market and has solidly worked his way up the minors. Still young, Rodriguez has the potential to be a mid to back-end of the rotation starter.

As far as the deal itself is concerned, Miller was the best relief pitcher on the market and the deadline always seems to increase the price of relievers. There are two reasons for this. High quality relievers are hard to find and relievers are more important in the playoffs than they are in the regular season. This is also for two reasons, as relievers will pitch a larger percentage of innings in the playoffs than they normally would in the regular season, and those playoff innings will be high leverage innings.

Rodriguez is a good prospect and a decently high price to pay for a reliever. However, the Orioles depth in the minors is in pitching, regardless of Bundy’s lackluster performance during his rehab so far or Hunter Harvey‘s strained flexor mass. The deal did not surprise me in that I assumed any deal the Orioles would make would involve Rodriguez. Yet, for solely a reliever the price seems steep, even for one of Miller’s quality. Miller certainly makes the Orioles a better team right now, but Rodriguez is a quality arm and was the 61st ranked prospect going into 2014 according to Baseball Prospectus. I would not say the Orioles outright won this trade, but I would not say they lost it either. It makes the team better now and mortgages a piece of the future.

When it comes to baseball trade deadline strategy, baseball is about winning championships. It is not prospect fantasy camp where all you do is trade away talent at the major league level for prospects in a never ending cycle of never thinking about now. In that sense, Dan Duquette is a fine General Manager. He constantly tinkers. In each and every one of his seasons the 40-man roster has been better. I would take the 40-man of this year’s Orioles over the 2012 and 2013 rosters. With that being said, Duquette seems to target the 20 to 40 roster spots, or maybe the 15 to 4o roster spots, instead of the top end of the roster. He attempts to improve the team through depth and trying to hit a home run on a cheap deal.

In the grand scheme of things, Andrew Miller does not make the Orioles world series favorites. In fact, even before and especially after the deadline, the Orioles will not be favored in a playoff series against any of the AL teams currently set to the make the playoffs. The Orioles already have a 75 percent chance to the make the playoffs and a 51.4 percent chance to win the division. Andrew Miller improves those odds marginally, if at all. The team is currently playing it’s best baseball during the hardest part of the schedule. Therefore, why trade for Andrew Miller when the playoffs are in sight and the division crown not far behind that? Why attack the minor league depth for marginal help in the regular season and and maybe a little more help in the playoffs?

That is why I have been calling for a strategy of either do nothing or do something big. Jon Lester would have made a difference for the Orioles with Lester-Gausman-Tillman making a nice 1-2-3 in a playoff series.  Maybe Gausman would have had to go in the deal to get Lester, we will never know. However, the point is that something big improves their chances to win a world series or even a playoff series. A middling move like trading for Andrew Miller does not overwhelmingly improve their chances. Therefore, doing nothing made more sense now than it has in the past for the Orioles. This would have allowed the team to continue to build depth and create a more sustainable farm system. Anything can happen in a short series in the playoffs, but having better players usually helps. The Orioles did not add much and gave up some nice upside to do it, not exactly the kind of win now move that the team needed to make and gave up too much for a move that will not help in the long run. I like the player, I do not like the move.

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Minor League Scores – 7/30/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/31/minor-league-scores-73014/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/31/minor-league-scores-73014/#comments Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:03:58 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15088 Mike Wright makes another strong start for the Tides

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Norfolk 6, Toldeo 0 Opponent Location Time Starter 53 – 59 Box Score Toldeo Mud Hens Away 7:00 PM Tyler Wilson
  • Christian Walker: 0-5, K
  • Dariel Alvarez: 1-4, 2B, BB, K
  • Steve Clevenger: 2-5, RBI, K
  • Mike Wright: 5.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K
  • Evan Meek: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Bowie 0, Akron 4 Opponent Location Time Starter
56 – 55 Box Score Binghamton Mets Away 6:35 PM TBD
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Frederick 2, Winston-Salem 12 Opponent Location Time Starter
48 – 57 Box Score Winston-Salem Dash Away 7:00 PM Parker Bridwell
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Lakewood 0, Delmarva 4 Opponent Location Time Starter
56 – 53 Box Score Lakewood Blue Claws Home 7:00 PM Mitch Horacek
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Aberdeen , State College Opponent Location Time Starter
15 – 29 POSTPONED State College Spikes Away 7:05 PM TBD
 
Notes: This game was postponed due to rain

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Minor League Scores – 7/29/2014 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/30/minor-league-scores-7292014/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/30/minor-league-scores-7292014/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:29:03 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15084 Zach Davies twirls a gem for the Baysox

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Norfolk 7, Toldeo 3 Opponent Location Time Starter 52 – 59 Box Score Toldeo Mud Hens Away 7:00 PM Mike Wright
  • Christian Walker: 0-4
  • Dariel Alvarez: 2-4, 2B
  • Henry Urrutia: 0-4, K
  • Josh Stinson: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Ramon Ramirez: 2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Bowie 5, Akron 1 Opponent Location Time Starter
56 – 54 Box Score Akron Rubber Ducks Away 12:05 PM Tim Berry
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Frederick 0, Winston-Salem 4 Opponent Location Time Starter
48 – 56 Box Score Winston-Salem Dash Away 12:00 PM Brady Wager
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Delmarva 4, Hickory 10 Opponent Location Time Starter
55 – 53 Box Score Lakewood Blue Claws Home 7:00 PM Luis Gonzalez
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
 Tri-City 0, Aberdeen 1 Opponent Location Time Starter
15 – 29 Box Score State College Spikes Away 7:05 PM TBD
  • Alex Murphy: 3-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI, BB, K
  • Hector Veloz: 2-4, K
  • Jay Gonzalez: 1-4, BB, 2 K
  • Ubaldo Jimenez: 4.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 K
  • Patrick Connaughton: 4.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Notes:

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What will Rusney Castillo cost the Baltimore Orioles? http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/29/will-rusney-castillo-cost-baltimore-orioles/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/29/will-rusney-castillo-cost-baltimore-orioles/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 16:13:17 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15086 The Baltimore Orioles may be looking to dip their toes in the Cuban talent pool once again. Rusney Castillo, an outfielder who compares closely to Brett Gardner with a bit more power according to scouts, is in the process of arranging a private workout with the Orioles after his impressive showcase on Saturday.

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The Baltimore Orioles may be looking to dip their toes in the Cuban talent pool once again. Rusney Castillo, an outfielder who compares closely to Brett Gardner with a bit more power according to scouts, is in the process of arranging a private workout with the Orioles after his impressive showcase on Saturday.

Castillo was considered to be very impressive, according to scouts, during his workout for teams Saturday, running a 60-yard dash in 6.4-6.45 seconds while showing off solid power to all fields. Some scouts seem to believe that he could possibly make an impact in the majors during the second half.

Scouts that watched Castillo workout told Walter Villa of Baseball America that Castillo has 60-80 grade speed, a 50 grade arm, but a legitimate bat that should hit in the majors. Castillo is 5-foot-9, 205 pounds (up about 20 pounds since he left Cuba), and has an aggressive hitting approach.

The Orioles’ most recent foray into the Cuban talent pool produced Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez, a pair of light-hitting outfielders that continue to develop in the organization’s minor league system.

Castillo is already 27-years-old and last played in the Cuba’s top professional league, Serie Nacional, during the 2012-2013 season. During his five-year career in Cuba he hit .319/.383/.516 with 51 home runs, 226 RBI and 76 stolen bases over 360 games. He did play for the Cuban national team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup and 2011 Pan American Games.

At the World Cup in Panama Castillo put on quite the show, hitting .512/.524/.854 in 10 games when he went 21-for-41 with two home runs, two triples, four doubles, a walk and two strikeouts. He then made the tournament’s all-star team after leading the World Cup in batting average and slugging.

In October 2011, Castillo played in the Pan American Games in Mexico, where he hit .273/.333/.318 by going 6-for-22 with a double, two walks and three strikeouts. Those numbers aren’t quite as glamorous as his World Cup performance but he didn’t completely fall apart in such a small sample size either.

Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports is representing Castillo and Houston Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow said on Monday that his club may schedule a private workout with Castillo.

“He’s definitely an interesting player,” Luhnow said.

However, Castillo will likely be priced out of the Astros comfort zone as Ken Davidoff of the New York Post reported that Castillo has “sparked speculation” that he could match Yasiel Puig’s $42 million contract.

The Orioles first scouted Castillo five months ago in the Dominican Republic shortly after his defection from Cuba in December 2013. If the organization is serious about signing Castillo, however, they are likely going to have to shell out a contract somewhere in between what the Cincinnati Reds signed Aroldis Chapman for in 2010, which was $30.25 million, and Puig’s $42 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

There will also be heavy competition for his services from division rivals such as the New York Yankees, who sent four team representatives to watch him on Saturday, and the Boston Red Sox who sent five. A bidding war could certainly ensue if both teams are serious about acquiring the Cuban outfielder’s services.

The largest contract given to a Cuban defector was first baseman José Dariel Abreu’s six-year, $68 million contract, who was signed by the Chicago White Sox. Outfielder Yasiel Puig received a $42 million contract from the Dodgers in 2012. The largest contract given to a pitcher was the $32 million the New York Yankees gave to José Contreras in 2002, while the Cincinnati Reds signed Aroldis Chapman for $30.25 million in 2010.

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Minor League Scores – 7/28/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/28/minor-league-scores-72814/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/28/minor-league-scores-72814/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 02:34:42 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15081 Glynn Davis continues his hot streak in his Eastern League debut

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Norfolk 6, Columbus 5 Opponent Location Time Starter 51 – 59 Box Score Toldeo Mud Hens Away 7:00 PM Josh Stinson
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Bowie 12, Akron 4 Opponent Location Time Starter
55 – 54 Box Score Akron Rubber Ducks Away 7:05 PM Zach Davies
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
48 – 55 Winston-Salem Dash Away 7:00 PM Dylan Bundy
 
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Delmarva 2, Hickory 3 Opponent Location Time Starter
55 – 52  Box Score Rome Braves Away 7:00 PM Nick Cunningham
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
 Tri-City 1, Aberdeen 0 Opponent Location Time Starter
14 – 29 Box Score Tri-City Dust Devils Home 7:05 PM TBD
Notes:

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Minor League Players of the Week: 7/21 – 7/27 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/28/minor-league-players-week-721-727/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/28/minor-league-players-week-721-727/#comments Mon, 28 Jul 2014 15:01:17 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15083 Mike Yastrzemski has dominated at every location this season. Bundy is turning the corner, and Alexander Santana continues to put up numbers in Delmarva.

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Position Player of the WeekMike Yastrzemski, OF (Double-A, Bowie)

.321/.387/.464 (9/28) with 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 RBI, 3 BB, 4 K

The tools may not be excellent, but his game has been terrific. Find me another player that hustles and grinds more during a game. While we are at it, throw every cliche about grit, hustle and whatnot in the direction of Yaz. It is hard to dislike anything from the Vandy alum, even if the tools are clearly a notch below some of the competition. Also, he’s now at his own age level in terms of competition, so we can start looking into the results more. So far, so good. I wrote about Yaz in the Ten Pack this morning at Baseball Prospectus.

Starting Pitcher of the WeekDylan Bundy, RHP (High-A, Frederick)

6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 1 K

The line is not excellent, although he did not give up a run and only allowed 5 baserunners to reach. However, Bundy is starting to regain some of his form at Frederick. I wrote a detailed scouting report on Bundy, and nothing has changed. He is still very good and is the best prospect in this organization. Relax, and let the guy work his way back. He is going to be just fine.

Relief Pitcher of the WeekAlexander Santana, RHP (Low-A, Delmarva)

2 G, 4.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Santana finally received his promotion to a full-season league and has not disappointed yet. He does not have excellent stuff, but the fastball has some explosion and deception. Hitters seem to always be a tick late on it, although that may not be the case at higher levels. We don’t know yet. Either way, Santana has been brought along slowly but has really been impressive the last two years.

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ON Mailbag: 7/21 – 7/27 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/27/mailbag-721-727/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/27/mailbag-721-727/#comments Sun, 27 Jul 2014 15:50:03 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15079 Questions submitted to Orioles Nation for the week of 7/21 - 7/27. Topics include Majors, Minors, Transactions, etc.

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Welcome to the Orioles Nation Mailbag. If you have future questions, you can submit them here:

All major league questions answered by Alex Conway.
All minor league questions answered by Tucker Blair.

Have Michael Ohlman and David Freitas hit a wall at AA?
Frietas is a non-prospect for me. I do not see anything impact. fringe to average tools across the board.
Ohlman is dealing with the wall. His bat is not this bad, but he has failed to make adjustments as quickly at AA. I just watched him hit BP this weekend. The swing is no different than last year, still showing a clean path and minimal noise. His bat speed might only be average, but the ball just is not falling in during games. He hits a lot of ground balls directly to the second basemen or shortstop. I don’t think Ohlman is an impact prospect, but I think the bat is better than currently displaying.

- Tucker Blair

With Delmon Young, Nelson Cruz, and Nick Markakis impending free agents, could Steve Pearce go into 2015 Spring Training with a starting job at one of the corner outfield positions?
Steve Pearce has been great to date this season and I wrote up him up here. He has changed his stance to fully maximize his swing. However, he has been struggling of late putting up some ugly at bats. The league is adjusting to Pearce and he will have to adjust back to be a successful major league player. Going into 2015, as you say the Orioles are losing two corner outfielders to free agency and with Pearce having one more arbitration year left, he is definitely the current favorite in the organization. There are also minor league players such as Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia that could also possibly fight for a major league spot. The last two months of the season are going to reveal a lot about Steve Pearce and whether or not he is best suited to being a bench/platoon bat or handed a full time starting job. I do not feel certain either way about it, but it is not very often that 30 year old players find the talent to transform into starters.

- Alex Conway

Wynston Sawyer took a big step back offensively in his first year with Frederick, and his playing time figures to be usurped by Chance Sisco and Austin Wynns next season. Is his time as an Oriole farmhand coming to an end? At least as a starter?
Unfortunately, I think so. Sawyer has some underlying skills, with average raw power and he calls a good game. The footwork behind the plate really never improved to the level I hoped. With no real progression now in his time with Frederick, Wynns and Sisco are breathing down his neck and are better prospects at this time. Wynns is underrated; that guy can play defense. Sisco is obviously the better prospect in the long-term, but he is someone that will obviously get the first crack at Frederick. I don’t envision them moving him to Bowie, as Ohlman likely plays another season there next year.

- Tucker Blair

Is the rumor true that if Hector Veloz goes back to Aberdeen for the fourth season next year, he will be eligible for a seat on Aberdeen’s town council? #VOTEHECTOR2016
#TeamHector
Hector has poor plate discipline and the hit tool is poor, but four years in Aberdeen is brutal. Hopefully he is with Delmarva all year next season.

- Tucker Blair

Who is better going forward? Darren O’Day or Zach Britton?
First, as most know, they have both been fantastic and are a lethal one two combo out of the bullpen. Going forward this season though I’ll take O’Day by a hair. They both have their faults but O’Day’s abilities to get strikeouts and keep the ball in the ball park are both critical talents for a reliever. Britton has both of those tools, but he has already shown that when he gets tired he can leave his sinker up and then it comes down to measuring how far the ball went. I’ll take O’Day, but both have been great and have not shown any signs of slowing down.

- Aex Conway

What the heck happened to Jimmy Yacabonis when he went to Frederick? I realize there is a talent jump but you go from basically being unhittable and impossible to score on to just throwing batting practice for the other team. I know he has some control issues, but it seems like he left his talent in Delmarva when he was packing his suitcase for Frederick.
Baseballing is hard! Seriously though, the jump from Low-A to High-A is a bastard. Yacabonis is just facing better talent and the ball flies in Harry Grove Stadium. Command issues in Delmarva do not get nearly as exposed like they do in Frederick. Yacabonis will be fine, and I think he will settle down and put up results at Frederick. However, that first initial jump to a level can be a terrifying experience.

- Tucker Blair

Carlos Villanueva was a very solid swing-man from 2011-2013. This year, he’s sporting a 5.98 ERA, thanks to a .368 BABIP/12.3 hits per 9. His peripherals suggest this is his best season of his career (3.58 FIP, 0.9 HR/9, 3.00 K/BB). Could he be a buy-low trade target for the Orioles, as a starter or reliever?
I like him as a solid buy-low guy as you say. He has been bad this year, but that is probably due to some bad luck. I would not expect much because he has also given up a nearly 23% line drive rate which is very high so he is getting barreled pretty consistently which many peripheral statistics fail to show. However, he is getting batters to swing about 3% more on his pitches in and out of the zone, but hitters are making about 3% more contact, so he isn’t missing more bats than he normally does. I would not expect much from him, but he could a bullpen arm/spot starter that can possibly give the Orioles solid value down the stretch and they would have to give up next to nothing for him.

- Alex Conway

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Minor League Scores – 7/22/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/22/minor-league-scores-72214/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/22/minor-league-scores-72214/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2014 02:42:35 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15077 Dylan Bundy turns in his best start to date at Frederick

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Toldeo 4, Norfolk 12 Opponent Location Time Starter 46 – 58 Box Score Toldeo Mud Hens Home 7:05 PM Steve Johnson
  • Christian Walker: 1-4, RBI, BB
  • Dariel Alvarez: 3-4, 2 RBI
  • Ivan De Jesus: 2-4, RBI, BB, K
  • Chris Jones: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 6 K, 1 HR
  • Ramon Ramirez: 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Harrisburg 4, Bowie 2 Opponent Location Time Starter
52 – 51 Box Score Harrisburg Senators Home 11:05 AM Anthony Vasquez
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Frederick 4, Myrtle Beach 0 Opponent Location Time Starter
47 – 51 Box Score Myrtle Beach Pelicans Away 7:05 PM TBD
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
54 -47 Rome Braves Away 7:00 PM Nick Cunningham
 
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Brooklyn 6, Aberdeen 7 Opponent Location Time Starter
11 – 26 Box Score Brooklyn Cyclones Home 7:05 PM TBD
Notes:

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Minor League Scores – 7/21/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/21/minor-league-scores-72114/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/21/minor-league-scores-72114/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 02:37:09 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15076 Tyler Wilson continues his hot start at AAA Norfolk

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Toldeo 1, Norfolk 2 Opponent Location Time Starter 45 – 58  Box Score Toldeo Mud Hens Home 7:05 PM Chris Jones
  • Christian Walker: 0-3, BB, K
  • Dariel Alvarez: 0-4, K
  • Jemile Weeks: 0-2, BB
  • Tyler Wilson: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K
  • Evan Meek: 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Harrisburg 4, Bowie 3 Opponent Location Time Starter
52 – 50  Box Score Harrisburg Senators Away 7:00 PM Eduardo Rodriguez
Notes: This was a 10 inning game
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Winston – Salem 3, Frederick 6 Opponent Location Time Starter
46 – 51 Box Score Myrtle Beach Pelicans Away 7:05 PM TBD
Notes:
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Hagerstown 3, Delmarva 1 Opponent Location Time Starter
54 -47 Box Score OFF OFF OFF OFF
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Aberdeen 0, Mahoning Valley 7 Opponent Location Time Starter
10 – 26 Box Score Brooklyn Cyclones Home 7:00 PM TBD
Notes:

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Minor League Players of the Week: 7/14 – 7/20 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/21/minor-league-players-week-714-720/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/21/minor-league-players-week-714-720/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 11:00:09 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15074 Hunter Harvey dominates once again, and Christian Walker continues his surge in Norfolk.

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Position Player of the Week - Christian Walker, 1B (Triple-A, Norfolk)

.417/.588/.583 (5/12) with 2 2B, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K 

Walker was awarded with a promotion after his terrific first half at Bowie. He has not slowed down since joining Norfolk last week. I continue to say the same in regards to Walker – He is a second division type player that will need to prove himself at every level. At this rate, Walker is doing more than just prove his worth, as he is tearing the cover off the ball at every stop he makes. I am still leery of the power playing at the next level, but maybe he will prove me wrong there too.

Starting Pitcher of the Week - Hunter Harvey, RHP (Low-A, Delmarva)

5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R,  0 BB, 8 K

I was in attendance for this start, and Harvey was dominant. I believe he has a 5.0 inning cap the rest of the season (not confirmed), so this was all he was going to pitch anyways. I’ll have a full report at Baseball Prospectus on the start, but here is an excerpt of it:

Harvey has extreme confidence on the mound. He shows an innate ability to pitch, displaying extreme pitchability and cognizance of the situation surrounding him. His aggressiveness is tremendous, and he will attack hitters inside and then finish them off with the hammer CB. The FB/CB combo is one of the better duo’s in the minors, but the CH still has a long ways to go before he becomes consistent enough to start at the highest level. 

Relief Pitcher of the Week - Jason Gurka, LHP (Double-A, Bowie)

2 G, 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K

Gurka has sneakily flown under the radar this season, but he is putting together another solid year for his resume. The future projection is a LOOGY, but I think he can be very effective in that role. He has only allowed three runs in his last 11 appearances and has racked up 22 strikeouts. We may not see Gurka in a major league bullpen this year, but at some point a team (presumably the Orioles) will give Gurka a shot.

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ON Mailbag: 7/14 – 7/20 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/20/mailbag-714-720/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/20/mailbag-714-720/#comments Sun, 20 Jul 2014 16:02:57 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15072 Questions submitted to Orioles Nation for the week of 7/14 - 7/20. Topics include Majors, Minors, Transactions, etc.

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Welcome to the Orioles Nation Mailbag. If you have future questions, you can submit them here:

All major league questions answered by Alex Conway.
All minor league questions answered by Tucker Blair.

Your thoughts on Jon Keller? Does he get moved in August?
Keller was already promoted to Frederick, so that answered the second part of this question.

Keller is a power arm, and one that I have been very high on this season. He has a three pitch arsenal and can throw in the mid-to-upper 90′s with his fastball. There is a lot to like here, but it is important to remember that the Orioles brought him along slowly after missing a lot of time in the past from injury. I was told that the Orioles would stretch him out this season, either in the pen or a move to the rotation. They have kept him in the pen, which I am fine with. Check out this interview with Keller to learn a little more about him.

- Tucker Blair

Whats happened to Mike Wright, facing better hitters or, working on certain pitches?
A few things have happened. I haven’t seen much of Wright this year, as I generally do not spend time watching AAA. But here are a few things I feel are likely causes:

1. The competition is definitely better, and Wright has to make the needed adjustments. At AAA, Hitters will start picking up on the little tendencies you may have as a starter. Are you tipping pitches? Slowing down your arm/body on secondary pitches? All that really starts to be exploited in the higher levels of the minors, when in the lower minors the competition might just not have the knack for distinguishing it.

2. Wright missed time due to injury, and I do wonder if this affected him this season. I don’t have any inside info, but I can assure you he is not nearly this bad.

3. He is a power reliever down the road in my eyes. I don’t love the secondary arsenal, and I think his fastball plays up in the bullpen. His delivery is not ideal for a starter, but he gets away with it currently.

- Tucker Blair

Who are the Most impressive players at Delmarva not including our first three picks in the 2013 draft

Austin Wynns
This may seem curious to some, but I heard a scout say it perfectly this weekend. “Wynns is a catch and throw guy that could one day get a cup of coffee because of the defense”. I generally agree, as Wynns displays terrific footwork behind the plate, has a plus arm, and handles a pitching staff very well. I don’t think it is any shock that Wynns is catching Hunter Harvey over Chance Sisco. I think Wynns is the type of player that can carve out a career at AA/AAA for many years and maybe get a shot one day in the bigs.

Steven Brault and Mitch Horacek are the two starters I am intrigued by, but I want to see them in Frederick before coming to any large conclusions on their future.

- Tucker Blair

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ON The Farm Podcast: Episode 3 “Jersey Punk” http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/18/farm-podcast-episode-3-jersey-punk/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/18/farm-podcast-episode-3-jersey-punk/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15068 Tucker and Luke discuss the Aberdeen Roster and bring on CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospectus to talk Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey

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ON The Farm Podcast: Episode 3 - “Jersey Punk”

Topics of Discussion:

-  Aberdeen Ironbirds

- GUEST: CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospectus

- Aberdeen Ironbirds

Other Prospects mentioned in the podcast: Lucas Giolito, Parker Bridwell, Mike Yastrzemski, Sebastian Vader, Mychal Givens, Matt Hobgood, Jon Keller, Danny Hultzen, Tyler Wilson, Brian Gonzalez, Chance Sisco

Words mispronounced: Pat Connaughton, Batavia

 

Follow us on twitter dot com:

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http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/18/farm-podcast-episode-3-jersey-punk/feed/ 0 Danny Hultzen,Dylan Bundy,Matt Hobgood,Mychal Givens,Parker Bridwell,Sebastian Vader,Tyler Wilson Tucker and Luke discuss the Aberdeen Roster and bring on CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospectus to talk Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey Tucker and Luke discuss the Aberdeen Roster and bring on CJ Wittmann of Baseball Prospectus to talk Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey Orioles-Nation no 1:24:38
Minor League Scores – 7/16/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/16/minor-league-scores-71614/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/16/minor-league-scores-71614/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 02:32:18 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15067 Dylan Bundy makes his second start for the Frederick Keys

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Today’s Result Tomorrow OFF Opponent Location Time Starter 41 – 57 Rochester Red Wings Home 7:05 PM Miguel Gonzalez  
Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
50 - 47 Altoona Curve Away 7:00 PM TBD
 
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Frederick 5, Salem 8 Opponent Location Time Starter
42 – 50 Box Score Salem Red Sox Away 7:05 PM Brady Wager
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Delmarva 1, Greensboro 5 Opponent Location Time Starter
52 – 44 Box Score Greensboro Grasshoppers Away 7:00 PM Luis Gonzalez
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Today’s Result Tomorrow
Aberdeen 3, Tri-City 5 Opponent Location Time Starter
10 – 21 Box Score Tri-City Dust Devils Away 7:00 PM TBD
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Bold Predictions for the Second Half http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/16/second-half-bold-predictions/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/16/second-half-bold-predictions/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 12:00:32 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15063 Staff Writer Alex Conway goes over some of his bold predictions for the Orioles in the second half of the season.

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I typically try  to stay away from making bold predictions or speculative claims (except that Chris Tillman thing, guess that shoulder is fine). I do not particularly like trade speculation articles because the players and teams involved never seem to be correct or really be helpful in any discussion. Teams value players differently than fans and assessing deals after the fact brings more value to the conversation. I usually do not enjoy prediction articles as well because baseball can be so hard to predict and predictions—most of the time—seem so worthless after the fact. With all that being said, here are some random predictions and outlandish speculations about the Orioles in the (nominal) second half.

Chris Davis will end the season with 30 or more home runs

He currently sits at 15 home runs and the orioles have 68 games left to play, so he does have to pick the pace to reach 30 home runs. However, Davis looked much better going into the all star break. There were at least three occasions in which he hit the ball in the air to the opposite field including one sacrifice fly and one home run in the rain shortened win against the Yankees. This is the key for Davis moving forward. He has prodigious power, but his ability to lift and pull the ball lacks severely. He rushes his top half and either swings and misses or tops off a ball on the ground to the right side into the shift. The last week or so going into the break he started clearing his hips earlier, dragging the bat behind him, and lifting the ball in the air to left field where his power is unreal. His brute strength and massive leverage allow him to push fly balls over the short left porch in Camden Yards. Therefore, I believe Chris Davis is going to finish with 30 or more home runs. (Expect the batting average to come up as well, even with the shift issues)

Adam Jones will finish with a .300 BA, 200 hits, and 30 home runs, he will also receive MVP Votes.

Adam Jones has been great and is easily on pace to put up the most productive season of his career. A little secret about Jones to date this season, he is seeing 3.70 pitches per plate appearance which would be his highest rate since 2009. Since June 1st he has been walking slightly higher than his season to date number (3.5 % compared to 2.7%, which is still abysmally low) however he has only been striking out 12.3% of the time since June 1st. He is making better contact, taking more pitches, and adapting his style of game to be more productive. He is already on pace for 30 home runs and 200 hits so he will have to keep up his exact pace in the second half. Also, if the Orioles win the AL East, he will easily receive top 5 AL MVP votes (He currently has the 6th best fWAR in the AL, by the way). If the Orioles fall out of the race, he still has a chance to receive some top 10 votes, he has been that good.  That would be four straight All Star Games, including two consecutive years starting, and three straight seasons receiving MVP votes. But he swings a lot and doesn’t walk so I guess he’s not any good….

Nelson Cruz will not reach 40 home runs

Nelson Cruz is good and he has been great for the Orioles thus far. However, I see him slowing down, even though he has yet to truly take advantage of Camden Yards short left porch hitting more home runs on the road than at home. He is way above his career HR/FB rate and I expect him to slow down post All Star break. He is walking more and striking out less than he has in his last couple of seasons, so I would not say the overall production is going to drop significantly, but the home run rate will.

The Orioles will not trade for a second baseman

Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter have had all season to remedy their atrocious offensive output at second base. Jemile Weeks, Ivan De Jesus Jr. and even Steve Lombardozzi have all put up numbers at AAA that would warrant a possible move from within to at the very least attempt to improve the production from second base. However, they have yet to take advantage of that internal depth. This leads me to believe that the defense provided by Schoop and Flaherty make the front office content to stick with them and hope one steals the job from the other. Both of their defensive skills are impressive and above average to me, however, I hate the complacency that Buck and Duquette have shown in their offensive output. The only move that I believe will be made for the offense is going to be acquiring a left handed bench bat.

The Orioles will trade for a starting pitcher

The starting rotation is crowded, but it is not crowded with quality. Kevin Gausman stands out among the rest, he has been and will be the best starting pitcher for the Orioles going into the second half. He has the best stuff and is learning more and more about how to finish at bats and get big league hitters out. Tillman and Jimenez figure to stay in the rotation as well, for stature and salary reasons, even if they try to hide Ubaldo (who I think will be critical part to any second half success the team has) on the DL. That leaves Norris, Gonzalez, and Chen. One could be put in the bullpen and one could be traded. I think this makes the most sense. I think Norris should probably stay, even if he is not terribly good, he has been the most consistent to date. Chen and Gonzalez both tend to struggle late in games and lose their command and stuff after about 75 to 80 pitches. One would move to the bullpen and the other would be included in a trade for either another starter along with prospects or for a left handed bench bat. I do not think any pitcher acquired will be a top of the line starter, but will add some stability to the rotation.

The Orioles will win the AL East

The Orioles are four games up on the Blue Jays and five games on the Yankees with 68 games left to play. I think that 88 wins will win the division and the Orioles have to go a mere 36-33 to finish with 88 (I predicted 88 to in my season preview…okay I guess I do like predictions sometimes). The rest of the teams in the division have less games left on their schedule and would have to go on some serious runs to get to 88 wins. Much has been made about the Orioles second half schedule and it starts off brutally with a 10 game west coast road trip, 26 consecutive against teams at or above .500, including 16 straight against the vaunted AL West. However, after that, the schedule lightens up considerably with 23 of the next 26 against teams at or below .500 currently. The only series with a winning team in that stretch is against the Reds at home. After that it is seven against the Yankees, six against the Blue Jays, and three against the Red Sox. If the Orioles can weather the storm admirably in the first 26 games to start the second half, say 13-13 or even 11-15, they have the time and the weak schedule to make up some wins. My prediction is the Orioles will be raising another banner at Camden Yards next year, I just hope its better than AL East champs.

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Minor League Scores – 7/15/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/15/minor-league-scores-71514/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/15/minor-league-scores-71514/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 02:54:48 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15064 Chance Sisco adds to his 15 game hitting streak

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Today’s Result Tomorrow OFF Opponent Location Time Starter 41 – 57 OFF OFF OFF OFF  
Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
50 - 47 OFF OFF OFF OFF
 
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OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
42 – 49 Salem Red Sox Away 7:05 PM TBD
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Delmarva 0, Greensboro 4 Opponent Location Time Starter
52 – 43  Box Score Greensboro Grasshoppers Away 7:00 PM Nick Cunningham
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
10 – 20 Tri-City Dust Devils Away 7:00 PM TBD
 
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Minor League Scores – 7/14/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/15/minor-league-scores-71414/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/15/minor-league-scores-71414/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:38:10 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15062 Bud Norris pitches in his rehab start for the only affiliate to play yesterday

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Today’s Result Tomorrow OFF Opponent Location Time Starter 41 – 57 OFF OFF OFF OFF  
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Bowie 5, Harrisburg 0 Opponent Location Time Starter
50 - 47 Box Score OFF OFF OFF OFF
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Potomac , Frederick Opponent Location Time Starter
42 – 49 POSTPONED OFF OFF OFF OFF
  • This game was postponed due to rain
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Today’s Result Tomorrow
OFF Opponent Location Time Starter
52 – 42 Greensboro Grasshoppers Away 7:00 PM Steven Brault
 
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Today’s Result Tomorrow
Auburn , Aberdeen Opponent Location Time Starter
10 – 20 POSTPONED OFF OFF OFF OFF
  • This game was postponed due to rain
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Minor League Players of the Week: 7/7 – 7/13 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/14/minor-league-players-week-77-713/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/14/minor-league-players-week-77-713/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 11:00:16 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15061 Chance Sisco is currently leading the SALLY in batting average.

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Position Player of the Week - Chance Sisco, C (Low-A, Delmarva)

.419/.455/.548 (13/31) with 4 2B, 9 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K Chance Sisco

Sisco could win this award every week. Once again, he has put together another week with double digit hits. Sisco is currently first in average and has the fourth highest OBP in the entire SALLY. He has driven in a run in his last six games. The hit tool is a legitimate tool, and Sisco is the best position prospect in the Orioles’ system at this point. The defense is still a work-in-progress, but he has improved since the beginning of the year from those that have laid eyes on him throughout the season. I’ll be seeing him again next weekend when I head down to Delmarva.

Starting Pitcher of the Week - Tim Berry, RHP (Double-A, Bowie)

6.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K Tim Berry

The lefty is on the 40-man roster, so there is always an intrigue when a rostered player is putting up fairly successful numbers at the higher levels. Berry has erratic command of his three-pitch arsenal at times, but he is a productive pitcher when the command is evident. The fastball has enough on it to throw the timing of hitters off, and the changeup and curveball are decent secondary offerings. Berry could see time with the Orioles out of the pen in September, and he could fill the role of a LOOGY if Brian Matusz continues to struggle.

Relief Pitcher of the Week - Ivan Hernandez, RHP (SS-A, Aberdeen)

3 G, 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 KIvan Hernandez

Do you like velocity? Well, Hernandez has touched 97 mph on multiple occasions. Hernandez has a power arm and looks to be on a different tier in terms of NYPL talent. I would like to see him face better competition, as my recent scouting report at Baseball Prospectus might have been too judgmental at the time. Reports are always a snapshot of a player at the current time, and I was more intrigued by the big-framed righty on Friday when I saw him command 94-95 mph. He’s one to keep an eye on, but probably not a player you want to vault onto any top prospect lists.

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ON Mailbag: 7/7 – 7/13 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/13/mailbag-77-713/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/13/mailbag-77-713/#comments Sun, 13 Jul 2014 15:53:18 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15054 Questions submitted to Orioles Nation for the week of 7/7 - 7/13. Topics include Majors, Minors, Transactions, etc.

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Welcome to the Orioles Nation Mailbag. If you have future questions, you can submit them here:

All major league questions answered by Alex Conway.
All minor league questions answered by Tucker Blair.

I know the O’s didn’t have first 3 picks of there draft, But in years past there were players taken in 3rd-10th round that I was excited about. Not this year, seems like a group of lackluster players. Am I way off the mark with this assessment?
I would not say way off the mark, but there are certainly a few intriguing guys within rounds 3-10.
Brian Gonzalez is a young, LHP that has reportedly already touched 93 mph down in the GCL. He’s a pitcher worth keeping an eye on and signed for $700,000. I know a few scouts have said to me they were intrigued by Gonzalez.
Pat Connaughton displayed an impressive arsenal on Friday when I saw him. This was my second time viewing Connaughton, as I saw him pitch against Maryland when he was with Notre Dame. On Friday, Connaughton’s Fastball was touching 92-96 mph. He was hit around some, but his arm is no joke. I’ll have more on him at Baseball Prospectus on Monday.
David Hess and Tanner Scott are also players to keep an eye on.

David Hess:
Build/Mechanics: Thick lower half; excellent push and drive off back leg; exerted delivery; nearly max effort; high 3/4th arm slot; good arm speed; ball explodes from downward plane.
FB: 92-94 mph; mild armside run; able to command and spot ball low in zone.
SL: 76-78 mph; good tilt with a tight spin; casted a few; one displayed more depth than tilt, almost like a CB.

- Tucker Blair

Martin Prado could be a fit for the Orioles don’t you think? Schoop and Flaherty have consistently showed they are not the answer at second base. I normally don’t like trading prospects, but Prado is a very good fit. For 2015, he could slide over to the hot corner if/when Machado transitions to shortstop.
Prado is a decent fit. He plays solid defense and while his bat has been mediocre over the past couple of seasons, he has out hit the Schoop/Flaherty tandem. I would worry about a transition from the NL to the AL and what if any drop off would ocurr in his production. He is signed through 2016 making $11 million a year which is not ridiculous and his positional versatility does add some value and protection for when/if Hardy leaves. I do not think it would take all that much to pry him away from Arizona. Also, it has been reported recently that Prado will be available. If the Orioles could avoid flipping one of their top three guys to get Prado, it would certainly make the team better and be a good deal for the Orioles.

- Alex Conway

Do any of the glut of middle infielders in Bowie/Norfolk hold any trade value at all? Alexi Casilla, Ivan De Jesus, Jemile Weeks, Niuman Romero, and Buck Britton have all at least performed reasonably well. David Adams, Cord Phelps, and Steve Lombardozzi have performed well in the past.
No, they do not. Most of them were minor league contract guys signed solely for depth. Weeks and Lombardozzi were brought in on trades, so they might have the most value. However, Weeks was a part of the Jim Johnson salary dump and Lombardozzi was traded for a non-roster invitee. One of them could potentially be a throw in for a deal for middle infielder so the team that Orioles traded with could plug a hole with a guy, but that cavalcade of middle infielders has little to no value.

- Alex Conway

This is getting a bit ridiculous. Jonathan Schoop is hitting .223/.263/.330/.592 and has options. Jemile Weeks is hitting .287/.406/.407/.813 in the minors, and is on the 40-man roster. Why haven’t the Orioles made the switch?
This is a question that I have been asking myself for a while now. Weeks solves multiple problems for the Orioles. He fills the offensive hole at second base and he comes with a solid OBP even if his average does not maintain at the major league level. Not to mention he does have some raw talent and has had success at the major league level. I would have liked to have seen him promoted a couple of weeks ago at the latest. There are two reasons I can think of, one more likelier than the other. The first being that Buck does not like Weeks at second base defensively and that is fair. Schoop has been good at second and fantastic at turning double plays. Schoop and Hardy are arguably the best double play tandem in the league right now. Buck has shown in the past that if he has to choose between an average bat and an average glove guy and a poor bat and above average glove guy he’s going to choose the latter (Steve Clevenger being another example of this). The hole that Schoop/Flaherty (and Caleb Joseph) cause in the lineup is detrimental. The only other reason I can think of is a trade showcase for Schoop as the Orioles may be looking to move him in a deal for a middle infielder or a pitcher. However, he has preformed so poorly at the plate and Buck has stuck with him so long that I doubt this is the case.

- Alex Conway

Who do you want the team to target in a trade(if anyone) and what would your offer for them be?
I am not usually one for outright trade speculation because the rumors tend to be spurious at best and teams value players way differently than fans do. However, I think the Orioles are in a position this year to be bold. As of this writing, they have a three game lead in the AL East and will have no worse than a two game lead going into the All Star Break. They have key players entering free agency after this season. I think now is a time to make a bold move and go after some of the top players available. Obviously, second base or starting pitching is where the glaring needs are. I think the Orioles should be bold. If they don’t do that, I would prefer they do nothing. The current players they are rumored to be interested in will not improve the team enough to make them world series contenders, they will marginally improve the team while continuing to deplete any depth the system has. Regardless, the next two weeks are going to be very interesting.

- Alex Conway

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Scouting VS Statistics in the Minors http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/11/scouting-vs-statistics-minors/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/11/scouting-vs-statistics-minors/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15052 Tucker and Alex discuss the correlation and difference of scouting and statistics in the minors.

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Tucker Blair:

Evaluating talent in the minors may be one of the toughest tasks in professional sports. There are a multitude of variables that scouts and evaluators must decipher and decode, whether it is projecting growth or looking at the current tools of a player. In the minors, statistics are further from relevancy, as many of the situations and scenarios that a player is placed in often skew the numbers.

A pitcher may face an entire lineup full of org hitters, or guys that never make the majors. A hitter might face an entire staff full of org pitchers. Can we correlate these statistical success rates into meaningful data? To an extent, but many teams likely do not care what Player X hit against Org Pitcher Y. At the end of the day, the correlation between statistics and scouting in the minors is a difficult task. As we head into the mid-section of July, the Orioles have a few players that are hitting very well. The question is, are these players simply a creation of poor minor league competition?

Alex Conway:

I have always been interested in the interplay between statistics in the minor leagues and scouting. So much of major league evaluation is statistically based, that intuitively (to some/many) minor league statistics should play a role in player evaluation. I would include an earlier version of myself in that camp. With little to no information about players, an untrained scouting eye, and the only readily accessible information being statisitics, it was the easiest way for me to learn as much as I could about the minors. However, as you say, the minors brings along a multitude of different variables that the major leagues just don’t ever have to deal with. Bad fields, bad defense, odd parks, all of these are magnified in the minor leagues. Also, much like Spring Training (and nearly everyone ignores those stats) players can be working on a particular aspect of their game to the detriment of their overall statistical performance but critical to their development. So the quandary that always plays out in my mind is how to look at the statistics and how to evaluate a player with an untrained scouting eye.

To answer your question I guess I have a question for a scout. Why does a player like Christian Walker seemingly get little to no credit from you and others about his increase in power production this year? Or why does a player like Buck Britton, a guy who crushed AA and is holding his own in AAA, (alongside his positional versatility which I adore to no end) essentially get tabbed as an org guy? And on the flip side why does a guy like Parker Bridwell continually get love when he basically has never strung together a statistically successful season? Where is the disconnect occurring between the statistical evaluation for those guys and the scouting evaluation for those guys?

Tucker:

I’ll answer each player separately, as Walker, Britton and Bridwell have vastly different cases here.Christian Walker

Christian Walker has always shown an ability to make contact and get on base, dating back to his days at SC. The question has always been whether the power would correlate to major league pitching. I think there has been a common misconception on my general thoughts regarding Walker, seemingly because I have not vaulted him into discussion this season with other Orioles’ prospects. However, Walker has certainly improved in some aspects this season, mainly in fitness and shape. He is in better shape this season, and the bat speed has very slightly improved. This is usually rare in a player, but it can happen. He is a better hitter now, but I still do not believe he is an impact player. I have seen nearly half of Walker’s home runs this season, and most of them have come against pitchers I would tag as an organization player. These are pitchers either with poor stuff, or their skill set will not correlate to the highest level. Against some of the toughest competition thrown at Walker (Corey Knebel, for example), he has not shown the same skill-set. Now, a player can grow and refine once they start facing that better competition on a consistent basis, but for now I do not see it. I also believe Walker is a first base prospect only, which means he will certainly need to hit and hit for power (to be anything more than a second division type). Walker could improve more, but I think this is a bench bat with the potential to turn into a second division player. Valuable, but not an impact guy.

Buck Britton is an intriguing player. Like you said, he has versatility and can play all around the diamond. I like that in a player, but being a jack of all trades and master of none can be a detriment as well. Britton is an average defender overall but below-average on the left side from my experiences watching him. The swing is short and compact, but the bat is also hollow. What I mean by that is there is not a lot of pop or impact in the swing. He’s mostly a singles and doubles hitter that will occasionally run into one. Also, at 28 years old, Britton is at the point where he has an adept knowledge of the competition level at AA and AAA. Some may rolls their eyes at that, but it matters and does make a difference. It’s also the reason why we aren’t discussing Michael Burgess and his terrific season at High-A Frederick. Burgess is 25.Parker Bridwell

Parker Bridwell is the most interesting case of all. I have scouted Bridwell multiple times this season, including reports at Baseball Prospectus from 5/30/2014 and 6/9/2014. The growth I have seen from Bridwell this season has been substantial, with the changeup really turning the corner and becoming a formidable offering. With Bridwell, it has always been a battle for consistency. When at his best, Bridwell has filthy stuff that could match up against many other top-end arms. However, with the good comes the bad and ugly. Bridwell will throw some duds throughout the season as well, and has generally lacked the consistency necessary to put up solid numbers in the minors. This is why I am still high on Bridwell, even if the numbers are mediocre at best.

In reality, statistics at the minor league level are largely dependent on how you use them. Certain statistics work, but does it really help to evaluate a player based on how many strikeouts they racked up against a lineup consisting fully of organizational talent? Does it really make sense to judge a hitter that just received 20 AB over a series against 8 org arms? The answer is no, and this is why statistics in the minors need to be carefully used. Certain aspects can be applied to the overall picture, but there is a lot of noise in the statistics in general.

Alex:

Yeah, my mindset these days more is to read scouting reports and look at certain statistics to determine some level of confidence in a player. The statistics I focus on for hitters are strike outs, walks, and sometimes power numbers. I think those can give you an idea of what type of hitter a player is regardless of level. They tell you something about a hitter’s approach, contact skills, and power ability. For pitchers, I again focus on strike outs and walks. I think this tells you how a pitcher is able to command and control his pitches and to an extent how his stuff plays.

However, as clearly stated by you, each player is almost a case by case basis. I think this why comps can be frustrating for some in the scouting community, because they can often be too lazy and hastily made. The minors have such a wide variety of variables and outcomes that certain players may stick out at a level because they have a certain skill set. Yet, that skill set will never play at the major league level where the variables and outcomes are pressed inward and the players that had success in the minors, but do not have the tools for the majors, get left at the margins.

Walker has AA power, but he will have to prove he even has AAA power and then MLB power. The power is not evident when scouting him and the statistical noise that even AA can produce make his minor league statistics–even power ones–less helpful than power numbers at the higher levels. Buck Britton is old for the minors, as you stated, and if you want to be a successful major league player you better get there young. It is a simple, yet frustrating and depressing, fact about baseball that age matters. Young players that make the majors are simply more likely to become valuable productive players. The more one toils in the minors, the less likely they are to be of any impact. As Luke and you discussed on one of the pod casts, age may be the most important number for any minor leaguer. And lastly Bridwell, he is a player that I have always found frustrating. I get the org guys that can post numbers and be successful because they can do one thing really well that simply will not play at the higher level. What I cannot seem to wrap my head around is why guys like Bridwell, who post mediocre numbers continually get high accolades in scouting reports. He is now 23 in High-A, he is reaching a point where his age is going to hinder him as a prospect. The tools are there and even the development seems like it is there, but at what point do results matter? Never? Should he keep being mentioned in the upper echelon of Orioles prospects if he has not been able to post an ERA under 4 in four seasons?

Tucker:

I think the most important aspect of scouting the minors is the fact that development is never linear. When I first started evaluating talent, a scout that I trust greatly said that to me. He mentioned how a player can go through rough patches and they often need to fail before reaching their OFP. I think Bridwell is the best case of this. I don’t think the Orioles have another player in their system that has failed so much, yet still gains accolades across the scouting community. I have been a big fan of Bridwell for a long time, even with the knowledge that the inherent risk is high. The numbers begin to matter eventually, but with Bridwell, we need to remember he has not always been completely focused on pitching until his time with the Orioles. His career path has not been the linear progression that we typically see out of prospects. He could still end up flaming out and never reaching the majors, but the projection is evident and if he can continue refinement it will be a solid arm.

Scouting is very difficult, and it is the reason why the men in the shadows doing the dirty work deserve more credit than anyone. Scouts do not get the credit they deserve, and they deal with such an unknown industry, where all they can trust are their eyes. The statistics can often deceive us, and I generally think this is why we see players that did not perform well in the minors end up performing in the majors. Remember, Manny Machado‘s stats in the minors were actually not ridiculously impressive. I don’t think we will find many people that would argue he is not a talented player.

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Minor League Scores – 7/9/14 http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/09/minor-league-scores-7914/ http://orioles-nation.com/2014/07/09/minor-league-scores-7914/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 02:18:56 +0000 http://orioles-nation.com/?p=15050 Eduardo Rodriguez continues to toil in his return to the rotation

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Today’s Result Tomorrow Durham , Norfolk Opponent Location Time Starter 37 – 56 POSTPONDED Gwinnett Braves Home 7:05 PM Nick Additon
  • This game was Postponed due to Rain
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Bowie 0, Harrisburg 2 Opponent Location Time Starter
48 – 44 Box Score Harrisburg Senators Away 7:00 PM Anthony Vasquez
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Today’s Result Tomorrow
Frederick 8, Salem 1 Opponent Location Time Starter
41 – 46 Box Score Salem Red Sox Away 7:05 PM Dylan Bundy
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Today’s Result Tomorrow
West Virginia 2, Delmarva 3 Opponent Location Time Starter
49 – 41 Box Score Lakewood Blue Claws Away 7:05 PM Nick Cunningham
Notes:
 
Today’s Result Tomorrow
Batavia 1, Aberdeen 2 Opponent Location Time Starter
7 – 19 Box Score Batavia Muckdogs Home 7:05 PM TBD
Notes:

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