Blog Entry

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

Posted on: April 2, 2009 1:24 pm
Edited on: April 2, 2009 1:36 pm
 

I guess we'll have to take a wait and see approach with this year's pitching staff. Most experts and O's fans expect, and rightfully so, that the starting pitching will be the demise of the 2009 version of the Baltimore Orioles. But some really good things could happen along the way with this starting rotation and it doesn't necessarily mean the additions of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz or Chris Tillman.

We all know Guthrie is a number 3 pitcher at best on good staffs, but he is capable of 12 to 15 wins with the 2009 Orioles solid offense and much improved defense. We have heard that Koji Uehara would be no better than a number 3 or 4 also. But Uehara has added a pitch (changeup) to his arsenal and may be more effective than most people think. From what I saw of him this spring, he was quicker to the plate and a little more deceiving with his delivery than meets the eye. Rich Hill has some nasty stuff and if he gets physically healthy and doesn't pull a Rick Ankiel on us, he may be the biggest surprise of the staff. Adam Eaton was very good at one time in his career until injuries took their toll on him. He does have a lifetime record of 68-63. Staying healthy for an entire season and playing with less pressure to perform in Baltimore, perhaps he can find the overwhelming stuff that made him the Phillies number one pick (11th overall) in 1996. He's only 31 and can lend a veteran presence to a young staff. I'm not big on Alfredo Simon or Mark Hendrickson (although both of them are pretty big), but both will keep the seat warm for the young arms that are coming. Simon reminds me of Daniel Cabrera and his numbers miiror D-Cab's too. In 16 innings this spring, Simon struck out only 8 batters and walked 6. Hendrickson didn't give up a free pass this spring in 12 innings but struckout only 4 batters.

My guess is that the Orioles rotation will have a new look each month of the season. With an anticipated rotation of Guthrie, Uehara, Eaton, Hendrickson and Simon to start off with, it won't be long (sometime in April) that the injured Hill returns. In May, the first of the baby Birds will begin to appear beginning with Bradley Bergesen. Bergesen had a terrific spring and probably would have won a spot in the rotation if he had pitched beyond Class AA ball. In June and July there are at least three pitchers who will make their bids for prime time. First, there is Jason Berken (the 25 year old right hander) who went 12-4 for Class AA Bowie last year. He had a remarkable 2008 season in which he pitched 145.2 innings and struck out 125 batters while giving up just 38 free passes. He is 21-13 over the last two seasons. Second, there is David Hernandez (a 23 year old right hander) who will also make his bid. If David can build on a 2008 season that saw him go 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA in Class AA Bowie, then the Orioles will have to consider a promotion for this young talent as well. And third, is the 28 year old lefty, Chris Waters. Waters does not have an impressive professional resume, but showed signs of potential this spring and in his brief stay with the Orioles last season.

If the Orioles show confidence in some of these pitchers and the big three stud prospects are progressing well in the minor leagues, it would not surprise me if the O's traded Guthrie and Hendrickson among others to create roster space. With Chris Tillman all but ready now, the O's will probably give him a second half audition. Matusz may follow in August along with Arrieta, and Troy Patton could get time with the Orioles in a September call-up. And if all goes well in Bowie again this year, perhaps we can even get a glimpse of the next stud baby Bird, 21 year old, left hander, Zach Britton.

The future is bright for the Orioles rotation. We've mentioned Tillman, Arrieta, Matusz, Waters, Bergesen, Hernandez, Patton, Hill and Britton, and have two more Baseball America's previous top 100 in Brandon Erbe and Chorye Spoone who are developing a little more slowly. With this kind of pitching depth, the O's will be able to trade from their strength to fill position voids at the major league level. And with young stars already in place in all three outfield positions and catcher, a nice mixture of talented veteran players like Brian Roberts already on the roster, and a deep bullpen that will include young stars like Chris Ray, Jim Miller and Jim R. Johnson, the O's future looks bright. There is no reason to think that the Orioles can't overtake the Red Sox, Rays and the Evil Empire and reclaim the title of the "Beasts Of The East" that we once held for nearly three decades. 

 

Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Apr 3, 2009
Posted on: April 14, 2009 4:36 am
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

 

 Great stuff on the O's store of arms. As a Red Sox fan it's good to see teams in the AL East coming around on the ways of the future; youth, pitching and defense. Some would say that the O's getting better is bad for the Sox but as a fan who watches 150+ games I'm all set with doormats and I absolutely love the fact the bar has been pushed so high in "my" division. The Rays instituted the YPD philosophy to perfection last year and the Orioles seem to be well on their way towards respectibility although realistically true contention is 2-3 years off.  The trades for Adam Jones and Felix Pie were defensive-inspired moves that when combined with the presence of super-stud Nick Markakis in right field form a fabulous outfield of guys under 25. The arrival of Wieters will be national news but I think the O's would be wise to keep him with his "future staff" currently in AAA as long as they can before the fanbase inevitably is raging to see Baseball America's top prospect at Camden. The longer he works with those guys the better their coheision will be when they do get the call to the big stage. 

I agree that the O's will be making some moves this summer but I disagree about trading Guthrie. He is a solid arm that has already shown some grit and leadership with his '08 performance and his role as ace even though we both feel he has #3 stuff. All those young guys won't pan out and some range of youth and experience are key to a well-rounded staff. Hendrickson could go, he's versitile and left-handed. Other guys I would suspect in trade possibilities could be Scott, George Sherrill and maybe Melvin Mora. 

Lastly, as a shameless plug, my friend and I run a baseball website on the Washingtontimes.com called National Pasttime. It's dope, we write all full articles. Check out these first person Q&A columns of Baltimore's finest youngsters for more on these guys in their own words. Matt Wieters; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

ogs/national-pastime/2008/May/27/pr

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Jake Arrieta; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

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Brandon Erbe; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

ogs/national-pastime/2008/Jun/16/pr

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Chris Tillman; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

ogs/national-pastime/2008/Jul/13/pr

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Brad Bergeson; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

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David Hernandez; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

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Brian Matusz; http://www.washingtontimes.com/webl

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Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2009 12:19 am
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

Go O's!

I like what I'm seeing but can we keep it going all year is the question

 

 




Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: April 5, 2009 5:27 pm
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

If the strength of the 2009 Orioles is the pitching, they'll challenge the 1962 Mets for fewest wins in a season. The pitching is the Orioles' weakness.




Since: Sep 4, 2008
Posted on: April 4, 2009 11:28 pm
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

Yes pitching will be the Orioles strenght but not this season , the bullpen is a strenght as long as the starters can last at least 6 innings for a change. It will be nice too get Hill back, he will help the team alot. We will score runs thats for certin, if our starting picthing can do the job we will have a good year. Let`s hope !




Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: April 3, 2009 6:06 pm
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

Being busy with school and work ive had a hard time keeping track of the Baby Birds pitching staff so this really helped me figure out the whos who of our roster.  I hope a lot of these guys work out and can become part of the future here in Baltimore.  GO O'S!!!




Since: Dec 12, 2006
Posted on: April 3, 2009 5:54 pm
 

Orioles Pitching will Be It's Strength

Great blog man im really excited to see how all the young guys work out on this team and especially the battle for the roster spots.  Keep it up.

~Jeff



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