Orioles minor leaguers still shining

It is early May, and the Orioles are struggling. The O’s started off 6-2, but since then are just 3- 14. It has mainly been the pitching that has let down in that stretch, such as players like Hendrickson, Eaton, Albers, Sarfate, Sherrill,Bass Ray, etc. And that brings me to my next question. Why are we letting these players continue to struggle when our minor leaguers down in AAA are still ripping it up?

You saw the last call up, when Sarfate went on the 15-day DL, we called up Bob McCroy, who in 9 games and 12 innings in Norfolk, posted a 2.25 ERA. Thats only one case of it. 9 of our 13 active pitchers have a 5.00 ERA or more, and that includes staff ace Jeremy Guthrie, who should be fine. 5 of the 13 have a 6.00 ERA or more, and 3 of them have a 7.00 or more. A freakin 7.00 ERA!

Take a guy like Ross Wolf. In 17 and a third innings, he has a 2.08 ERA. Wolf is already 26, and you’re telling me he isnt better than Brian Bass, or somebody like that? The stats beg to differ. I like what we have done with Montanez and Pie, even though they are stuggling as of late, we are letting them ride it out and hopefully they will find out what the flaw is with time. A guy like Wolf, or Jim Miller, guys who are 26 or 27, how are you supposed to know what they can do if you dont call them up? You cannot know if you never give them a chance. Guys like Miller and McCroy have had little stints in september before, but you have to give them more than 1 month. Look at Jim Johnson, he sucked as a starter for 2 little call-ups in 2006 and 2007, but in 2008 we switched him to set-up and we automatically found our top set-up guy.

A year like 2009 is the perfect year to call these kids up, not just the older prospects, guys like Chris Tillman, David Hernandez, Nolan Reimold, Scott Moore, Matt Wieters, hell, even Jason Berken, who has done good in Norfolk in 2 starts, going 10 scoreless innings, allowing 4 hits and striking out 4. And then in 2010, Patton, maybe Matusz, etc will be ready. And bam! all of a sudden the Baltimore Orioles are contenders again, just they should be. It can happen, and hopefully the F.O see’s it. Andy Macphail has been talking about this for a couple years, and i think 2009 should be the testing year if we cant get back on track. Then you will see major, big results in 2010. And even bigger results in 2011. Its bound to happen, and i say right now is the time.

Check back soon for a new article tommorow

                                                                                                      Logan Quick

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Wieters should be playing

We knew the situation coming into the season. Wieters will stay down in AAA to get some at-bats, and to keep him under contract for an extra year, until May-june. But where do you say enough, and just let you top prospect play?

I say now. Vetern journeyman Gregg Zaun was signed for a 1 year deal in the winter to be a temporary stopgap until Wieters comes up, and believe me, Zaun is a stopgap at this point. But you have to ditch this whole, lets be conservative attitude with Wieters. He has proven he can hit, play defense, and do everything you could possibly ask a catcher to do in his 2nd season with the O’s organiztion. Wieters is 23 in 2009, and it is time to get him up right now.

Espically when your starting Catcher is batting .111, and its not 1 or 11. Its 6 for 54. 6 hits in 54 at-bats. Thats a little bit past slump. And right now, the Orioles bottom part of the line-up has been struggling for the most part. And you need to do someting about i. After starting 6-2, the O’s are just 3-11. Thats another reason you should take the Bergesen route with Wieters. And, just a note, Wieters has proven he can hit at all levels(only 41 in AAA, but still).

Listen, Wieters is going to be an All-star, it is 99 percent likely, and all of the MLB knows this. So wouldnt you want your future All-star to play basically a whole season, compared to calling him up at the end of May? Given Zaun is a hell of  a defensive Catcher, but when you have Wieters ready to go, you need to call him up. The Orioles have made that mistake in the past, not letting young prospects come up when they are like 15 for their last 37 in AAA? ( just a random number off the top of my head).

Besides, we are in the rebuilding phase of the franchise right now, led by one of the best baseball FO execs in the bussiness, Andy Macphail. Just let all the kids play, not just Wieters. Hernandez, Arrieta, Reimold, Patton, etc. And you will be contending again in 2 or 3 years, there is no doubt in my mind.

                                                                                            Logan Quick

Should the Orioles look to the minors?

Right now, the Orioles are in a slump. They started off 6-2, but have dropped their last 5, making them 6-7 at the almost end of April. Their key players have been doing well, such as Roberts, Markakis, Jones, Huff, Scott, Guthrie, Uehara and Johnson. But they have many players who have been subpar as of late, like Matt Albers, Sarfate, Eaton, Bass and Liz along with hitters like Pie, Zaun, Freel who was just placed on the 15 day DL, and Cesar Izturis.  Gu

The question is, should they look to the minors early? They have many prospects ripping it up at their respective levels, and Brad Bergeson was just called up. Their hitters in AAA, like Lou Montanez and Nolan Reimold are hitting over .400 in the early goings, and Scott Moore is hitting .270. Also they have many pitchers doing well in AAA, such as David Pauley, David Hernandez and Chris Tillman, whom all have an ERA of 2.31 or less in April.

Now, what i want to know, is why we didnt have guys like Bergeson or Hernandez up at the beginning of the year, and you sign guys like Adam Eaton and Mark Hendrickson. Let the kids play, and then you can see how close your future winning days are instead of just estimating when we will be contenders. Montanez is 27, and he needs to come up. Given Pie is 24 and has potential, but if he is still struggling at the end of May or early June, and Lou is still tearing up Norfolk, put Pie on the bench and let Montanez start. And Ryan Freel is reportedly not happy with his situation already in Baltimore. You have places to put these guys, and you just need to step back and know that.

Its even more clear with the pitchers. You should have had Guthrie and Uehara the only 2 vets in the rotation and then have 3 kids fill out 3,4,and 5. The same goes for the bullpen, instead you have guys like Bass, who is struggling right now, and Danny Baez, who started out good but is struggling of late. Could have we done this coming out of spring training? possibly, but you need to know what you are working with before you bet it all on guys who havent seen Camden Yards yet.

On another note, we got to get healthy. We were 1st and then Mora went down, then followed Simon, Jones and Freel. Injurys are a part of baseball, but you need to know how to rebound. And we have Rich Hill hopefully coming back soon.

Anyway, we are home against the White sox for 3 games, and we have Bergeson, Guthrie and Eaton starting those games. Im just hoping we look more competitive this series as we have the homefield advantage.

UPDATE- the O’s have called up Montanez after placing Freel on the DL. This is a very good move, now lets see what he can do in the MLB when it really matters.

                                                                                                 by- Logan Quick

Wieters hits 2 HRs in Debut

(from the Baltimore Sun)

Matt Wieters had an awesome debut with the Fredick Keys last night. Wieters homered in his first two at bats and went 2-3 with 3 RBIs. I think he’ll be the starting catcher for the O’s next season. If he keeps this up, there’s going to be plenty of folks saying “what’s he’s doing he minors? He should be up here now!” Remember, he’s been a college player and as the article says he’s used to only playing 68 games a season. The minor league season is 140 and the major league season is 162. Being a catcher, he’s not playing every single game. Let’s get him a full season in the minors and get his durability up instead of rushing him up early like we do all of our prospects just to humor ourselves.

A couple of other minor league notes:

Jake Arrieta, a fifth-round pick out of Texas Christian, got the start, allowing a run on two hits and striking out nine in four innings.

Jake Arrieta had a nice start, you’d like to see him go further than 4 innings but its the first start of the year. Give him a few starts and let him get the durability back up. 9 Ks in 4 innings is pretty sweet. He could look nice in the rotation next season, if he keeps this up.

The only sour note involved Billy Rowell, who pulled up while running to first in the first inning and was removed from the game.

It was just a tweak to the ankle, so nothing major. I’m look for him to have a big year so he can be a part of the big club next season.

My two week absence happened at the same time as the O’s yearly end of season season collapse. I’m glad I missed it. The first week of my absence was my yearly Ben’s week o’ fun. It didn’t start out as fun.

Me and my now former roommate Chris met up in Asheville for an Asheville Tourist game. Chris goes to grad school now in NC, so it was a good spot to meet up. If you ever have the chance to go to a Tourist game, do it. The ballpark is a great little park. Anyways, we got to the game late. The reason for this was I-26 was backed up like any other interstate on a Friday should be. Once I hit I-40, it was marginally better. But that was 40 minutes I lost. I met up with Chris and we rode to the park. We got near the park and the park looked more like a major league park inside of a single A park. Cars were parked on the streets for a mile or two. There’s not a real parking lot for the park, so you have to fend for yourself. We made the mile, maybe two, walk to the park from where I parked only to find they were sold out. I bought the first scalped tickets of my life at this point. They were face value, it wasn’t like I paid 20 bucks for a minor league game. It seems unfathomable that I bought a scalped ticket for a low A game. It turns out that this was the final game of the season AND fireworks night, thus the crowd.

We got into the park and the seating is about 80% general admission. Our hot tickets were general. In the Greenville park, you can always find somewhere to catch the game even if there’s no seats. You can sit on the grass, in the Spinx club, or stand around. It wasn’t like this in Asheville. It was the packed and nowhere to sit or stand. After about 15 minutes, we decided to cut our losses and split. On the hike back to car, a gnat flew directly into my eyeball. This would plague me the rest of the night. 

Since baseball wasn’t in the cards, we went and grabbed a couple of drinks before we split our seperate ways back to Greenville. When I hit the interstate, my car’s thermostat needle went straight to hot. Since my car is a mobile indian burial ground, I was very concerned. I stopped and put some anti-freeze in it. Ten minutes later, it was hot again. I stopped at a gas station and bought more anti-freeze. Seven minutes later, it was hot again. I was hoping to inch my way back to Greenville. Two minutes, it was hot again. Lucky, I managed to get a rest area. I called Chris and he met me there. Then after getting arrangements made for a wrecker, it was an hour and half wait for the wrecker. Needless to say, it was one of the worst nights in awhile. I have the car back sans the old raditor and I’m sans some money.

The rest of the week o’ fun went better. Labor Day I went down to Clemson with a few friends and met up with some friends down there for the FSU/Clemson game. Death Valley is an awesome place. The tickets I ordered were from the FSU website since I couldn’t get any from the Tiger site. I didn’t make any new FSU friends that night. Clemson got out to big start and in usual fashion, hung onto a close win.

The following Saturday, I took my Mom down to Atlanta to our yearly trip to a Braves game. This year it was the Nats playing the Braves. The Braves rolled 9-2, but it was still a fun game. Washington looks as bad as their record. Still though, going to a baseball is great.

It was a busy week. I’m going to Charlotte a week from Sunday to catch the Panthers play. So I’ll manage to catch all my teams play this year except the O’s.

As for the O’s, I missed a lot.

-Danys Baez going out for the season and likely all of next.

-Victor Zambrano signing

-Daniel Cabrera taking over the role of this season’s Rodrigo Lopez.

-Nick Markakis hitting 20 HR and 100 RBIs

and every thing I mentioned last post.

O’s draft Wieters

With the fifth overall pick in yesterday’s draft, the O’s drafted Georgia Tech Cather Matt Wieters.

I checked around on some of the ESPN, SI, and all those sites and some of their experts have compared Wieters to Twins Catcher Joe Mauer, only with more power. Stuff like that gets my hopes up. The draft can be a crapshoot. Sometimes they pan out, sometimes they don’t. Apparently the thought is that Wieters can be major league ready in 2 years. That’d be great.

The thing I like most of this pick is that the organization isn’t running away from Scott Boras anymore. If the O’s want to be winners, you’re going to have to do business with Boras.

The O’ s also picked:

4th round: Central Florida pitcher Tim Bascom, who was picked by the Padres last year but wasn’t signed after injuring his knee late in the season.

5th round: TCU righthander  Jacob Arrieta