Archive for October, 2010

2010 In Review: LH Relief Pitchers

October 29, 2010

Mark Hendrickson – 1-6, 5.26 ERA, 75.1 IP, 55 K, 20 BB, 1.55 WHIP, 6.57 K/9

The only thing Hendrickson brought to the team in 2010 was that he was able to stay healthy and log a decent amount of innings. The problem was that he wasn’t very effective in those innings and was only used in mop up duty or when a game was out of hand one way or the other. He started one game but was mostly used in two inning stints. Even when the Orioles were in need of a left handed specialist after trading Will Ohman they didn’t use him in that role. Its almost like they were scared to use him and hid him in the bullpen. I didn’t have a problem with bringing him back for another year but he just wasn’t the same pitcher that he was in 2009. At least there was a veteran in the bullpen to help with team chemistry.

2011 Prognosis: The Orioles will buy out the team option on Hendrickson’s contract for $200,000 and let him become a free agent. The only way I could see him return was if he accepted a minor league contract and battled for a bullpen spot in spring training, which isn’t likely. He’ll latch on to some teams bullpen on a one year deal around $1 million. The Orioles can use the younger Troy Patton in his role next year if they want a similar pitcher, but one with more upside.

Will Ohman – 0-0, 3.30 ERA, 30 IP, 28 K, 18 BB, 1.60 WHIP, 8.40 K/9

Ohman was signed to a minor league contract heading into spring training and it turned out to be a great move. He wasn’t anything particularly special but he did a fine job as the left handed specialist for the league minimum. He also allowed the Orioles to acquire RHP Rick VandenHurk when he was traded to the Marlins. He continued to pitch for Florida with about the same results, striking out 14 batters and walking 5 over 12 innings for a 3.00 ERA as the left handed specialist. It was a solid bounce back year for Ohman coming off of a 5.84 ERA and an arm injury in 2009.

2011 Prognosis: Ohman will be a free agent again but this time he should be able to get a guaranteed contract. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up back on the Orioles but I personally don’t think its smart to waste a roster spot on somebody that only faces a batter or two at a time. A contending team in need of left handed relief help would be a good fit, maybe even the Yankees.

Mike Gonzalez – 1-3, 4.01 ERA, 1 SV, 24.2 IP, 31 K, 14 BB, 1.30 WHIP, 11.31 K/9

Gonzalez was the Orioles biggest free agent signing last offseason and if it wasn’t for the historically bad Garrett Atkins he might’ve been the biggest bust. Signed to a two year, 12 million dollar contract with the O’s losing their second round pick in the 2010 draft he came into spring training as damaged goods. Something clearly wasn’t right since he couldn’t break 90 mph on the radar gun and after blowing two of three save chances at the start of the season he was put on the disabled list with shoulder soreness. He missed the next three and a half months and when he came back looked like a different pitcher. He lost the closers role but really thrived in the left handed set up role down the stretch, pitching to a 2.78 ERA from July 22nd to the end of the season. Hes control is still the biggest issue with him but he strikes out alot of batters with his deceptive delivery.

2011 Prognosis: Gonzalez can still make his contract worth the Orioles while if he can continue to pitch the way he did after returning from the DL next year. If Koji Uehara doesn’t return I would say hes the favorite to be the closer. If Koji does come back he can continue in his set up role unless/until Uehara gets hurt. The O’s could decide to shop Gonzalez around in the offseason but I think his value would be better in a mid-season trade before the deadline after he has more time to rebuild his reputation.

Alberto Castillo – 1-0, 10.12 ERA, 10.2 IP, 11 K, 6 BB, 2.06 WHIP, 9.28 K/9

Castillo is a guy that seems to get a chance with the Orioles at some point every season but never does anything with the opportunity. He got called up in May with our bullpen struggling through injuries to Mike Gonzalez, Koji Uehara, and Jim Johnson but was back in AAA Norfolk by the beginning of June. He wasn’t used much when he was up but when he was he was completely ineffective. Over 39.2 innings with Norfolk he was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 15 walks. Hes a great example of a AAAA player, good enough to be useful in AAA but not good enough to make it in the majors.

2011 Prognosis: I would assume Castillo will be back with the Tide in AAA Norfolk next year unless hes taken off of the 40 man roster. I think the minor league pitching is deep enough that we won’t see him again in an Oriole uniform. Hes a solid AAA reliever but I don’t ever see him making the next step.

Pedro Viola – 0-0, 13.53 ERA, 1.1 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, 1.50 WHIP, 20.30 K/9

Viola was claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds at the very beginning of the season and started out at AAA Norfolk in the bullpen. He struggled mightily to start the year and was demoted to AA Bowie in June after posting a 17.65 ERA over 8.2 innings with 8 strikeouts and 10 walks. He started out at AA in the bullpen but was moved to the rotation for 10 starts where he seemed to find his form before going back to the bullpen. He had a 3.59 ERA for the Baysox over 62.2 innings with 64 strikeouts and 19 walks. The Orioles gave him a September callup where he didn’t show much but to be fair he didn’t really have much of a chance to show anything. He seems like a mop up guy at best.

2011 Prognosis: My guess is the Orioles only called Viola up in September so they had more information on him for when they have to decide to keep him on the 40 man roster or not. I don’t think they will but you never know with left handed pitchers. Good ones are a rare commodity that teams try hard to find and will hold out hope that they will reach their potential. I see him as no more than a AAA bullpen arm if hes with the Orioles or any team for that matter.

Troy Patton – 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, 1 K, 1 BB, 2.99 WHIP, 13.43 K/9\

Patton was a part of the Miguel Tejada trade from two years ago when he came over with Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, and Mike Constanzo. He was once a top prospect for the Astros but labrum surgery really cut into his stock. He worked his way back into action in 2009 where he did great at AA Bowie before struggling in AAA Norfolk in the second half of the season. Back in Norfolk this year he went 8-11 with a 4.43 ERA over 136 innings with 89 strikeouts and 43 walks. Not a great season but he had a 3.46 ERA over his last 10 starts. He only got into one game for the Orioles in September despite being called up at three separate points in the season.

2011 Prognosis: Labrum injuries are hard to come back from and I think Patton has done a good job of getting to where hes at. No doubt he doesn’t have the stuff he had before the surgery but I think he can still be an effective pitcher. I think he would do well with a move to the bullpen where he could take on a Mark Hendrickson type role. He’ll compete for a spot on the Orioles pitching staff in spring training.


2010 In Review: Starting Pitchers

October 28, 2010

Jeremy Guthrie – 11-14, 3.83 ERA, 209.1 IP, 119 K, 50 BB, 1.16 WHIP, 5.12 K/9

It was a tale of two halves for Guthrie this year. Before the all-star break he looked like the same disappointing pitcher from 2009, posting a 3-10 record with a 4.77 ERA, 57 strikeouts, and 34 walks over 111.1 innings. Something must’ve clicked with the mid-season break because he was pretty dominant in the second half going 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA, 62 strikeouts, and 16 walks over 98 innings. He was getting much better velocity and movement in the second half and I’m really curious what he changed, if anything. He ended up throwing the most innings in his career, making it two years in a row that thats happened. Three out of the last four years Guthrie has had an ERA between 3.63 and 3.83 with 2009 being the exception at 5.04. At his worst hes an innings eater, at his best hes a very solid number three starter on a good team.

2011 Prognosis: Guthrie should have alot of trade value going into the offseason and I think it depends on whether the Orioles believe he can sustain his success from the second half whether they trade him or not. It might be smart to move him now if we can get a team to overpay for him. If we don’t get an offer that we like, then we’re “stuck” with an inning eating veteran who can be dominant at times. Hes still under the Orioles control for two more seasons so there will be more chances to trade him if the need arises. If he stays with the team I would expect him to post an ERA between 4.00 and 4.50 with 200+ more innings, which has alot of value.

Kevin Millwood – 4-16, 5.10 ERA, 190.2 IP, 132 K, 65 BB, 1.51 WHIP, 6.23 K/9

Millwood was acquired in the offseason from the Texas Rangers with the idea that he could be a veteran innings eater that could help out the young arms. He started off the season pitching very well but was unlucky when it came to getting decisions. He was 0-5 despite an ERA sitting at 3.89 after the first two months. He seemed to mentally give in to all the losing and got bombed over June and July (8.82 and 10.66 ERAs respectively) before missing some time with an injury. He came back right around the same time that Showalter came in, which looks like it had a positive effect for Millwood. He finished the year strong with a 3.54 ERA in August and 3.82 in September. Overall he didn’t give the Orioles what they were looking for, which was consistency. By all accounts he was good in the clubhouse but unfortunately that doesn’t show up in the standings.

2011 Prognosis: Millwood will be a free agent and I would be shocked if he came back to Baltimore. I think both him and the ballclub would prefer to go in other directions. I think he can still be an effective starter in the National League and thats where I expect him to wind up. Maybe right down the street in Washington. Three out of the last four years hes had an ERA around 5.00, which is what I would expect from him again next year.

Brian Matusz – 10-12, 4.30 ERA, 175.2 IP, 143 K, 63 BB, 1.34 WHIP, 7.33 K/9

It was an interesting rookie season for Matusz, a bit of a roller coaster ride. He had a bit of bad luck in the first half with weakly hit balls finding holes or landing just out of a defenders reach. In May and July he looked completely lost and it showed with ERAs of 7.50 and 8.10 but those months were sandwiching June when he had a 3.69 ERA. Just like everyone else, when Showalter took over he improved dramatically. He went 6-1 over the last two months with a 2.25 ERA. Although it wasn’t the way I expected him to get there, Matusz pretty much had the numbers I expected out of him coming into the season. The good news is that he got better as the season went on and finished strong, giving the Orioles hope that he can be the staff ace.

2011 Prognosis: I’m fully expecting Matusz to take off next year and solidify himself as a top of the rotation starter. He might not reach that point but he should give us 200 innings with an ERA between 3.25 and 3.75. Hes the real deal and a big reason why I think Orioles fans can finally get excited for the future. Andy MacPhails plan has always been to grow the arms and it appears that it is finally coming to fruition.

Brad Bergesen – 8-12, 4.98 ERA, 170 IP, 81 K, 51 BB, 1.44 WHIP, 4.29 K/9

Bergesen’s year started off horribly when he injured his throwing shoulder while shooting a commercial and it lingered into spring training. He managed to avoid the disabled list but probably wishes he didn’t after getting torched in his first three starts of the season and getting sent down to AAA Norfolk. He pitched one game down there, got called back up, and bounced back with a respectable May (3-1, 4.26 ERA). Things got bad again in June when he had two horrible starts, was moved to the bullpen, and eventually sent back down to Norfolk. After two more starts down there he came back again and proceeded to go 0-5 with a 6.32 ERA in July. Things were looking very bad for Bergesen and people were wondering if 2009 was a fluke. But once Showalter took over as manager something changed. He started pitching like he did in his rookie season, going 5-2 with a 2.78 ERA over his last 10 starts in August and September.

2011 Prognosis: Next season will be very interesting for Bergesen. Does he continue pitching like he did in 2009 and the last two months of 2010? I don’t know if he’ll be that good but I see no reason why he can’t give you an ERA between 3.75 and 4.25. Theres plenty of reason to believe that his struggles for most of last year are due to the shin and shoulder injuries that he suffered. His velocity really picked up over the last two months and he actually started to strike out batters at a reasonable rate. He should be a solid third or fourth starter in 2011.

Jake Arrieta – 6-6, 4.66 ERA, 100.1 IP, 52 K, 48 BB, 1.53 WHIP, 4.66 K/9

Arrieta started out the year at AAA Norfolk where he absolutely dominated the competition through June 5th. He went 6-2 with a 1.85 ERA over 73 innings with 64 strikeouts and 34 walks. He was finally called up on June 10th against the New York Yankees where he won his MLB debut and struck out six batters. His first two starts went well but then he hit a rough patch as the league adjusted to him. He improved his ERA each month as the season went on (6.20, 5.01, 4.45, 2.60) before getting shut down in September with a bone spur in his elbow. At first he was going to have surgery to remove it but instead hes just going to rest it over the offseason. Arrieta has a bulldog mentality and hes not afraid to go right after hitters. Hes got good stuff, a mid 90’s fastball and decent secondaries, but he needs to work on his command and consistency in his mechanics.

2011 Prognosis: In 2009 Arrieta dominated AA before getting called up to AAA and struggling a bit. He came back this year and dominated AAA before getting called up to the majors and struggling a bit. Could next year see him dominate at the big league level? I doubt it but Arrieta is a guy that makes adjustments and works hard over the offseason so he should continue to improve. Hes hard to predict but I could see anywhere from a mid three ERA to a high four. Hopefully the bone spur doesn’t become an issue at some point. I wish he would’ve got that taken care of, for peace of mind that it won’t flare up at least.

Chris Tillman – 2-5, 5.87 ERA, 53.2 IP, 31 K, 31 BB, 1.53 WHIP, 5.20 K/9

Tillman has a long way to go still. He jumped up top prospect lists because he flew through the O’s minor league system dominating at every stop, striking out batters with a low 90’s fastball and knee buckling curve. The only problem is that it hasn’t translated well to the major leagues to this point. It looks like major league hitters can read the ball out of his hand and since he rarely throws his curve ball in the strike zone they just take it for a ball. He had a couple moments of brilliance, one start in Texas where he shut out the Rangers on two hits over 7.1 innings and in his last start of the season he only gave up one run over 7 innings with 7 strikeouts. In AAA Norfolk he pitched to a 11-7 record with a 3.34 ERA, 94 strikeouts, and 30 walks over 121.1 innings. The Orioles had him working on a two seam fastball to try and reduce his extreme fly ball tendencies but thats going to take time to implement.

2011 Prognosis: Tillman is still only 22 years old so theres plenty of time for him to reach his potential. Hes still maturing and working on his command along with that two seamer. Hes shown what hes capable of but fans are ready to give up on him. I’ll admit if we’re going to trade one of the young starting pitchers for a big bat I’d prefer to deal Tillman since hes the farthest out from reaching his ceiling but I wouldn’t just give him away. Him and Zach Britton will probably battle it out for the 5th starters spot in spring training if things remain the same. If it was up to me I’d have him starting out at AAA Norfolk again and make him earn another shot.

2010 In Review: DH

October 21, 2010

Luke Scott – .284/.368/.535, 69 R, 29 doubles, 1 triple, 27 HR, 72 RBI, 2 SB, 517 PA

Scott had about as good of a season as you could expect out of him, despite a very slow start. In April he was held to a .638 OPS but that was about the only time during the season where he would struggle. For the first time in his career he was consistent and fortunately for Scott and the Orioles it was consistently good. In May he put up a 1.024 OPS, .915 in June, 1.018 in July despite missing half the month with an injury, .996 in August, and .780 in September. The biggest adjustment seemed to be that he wasn’t pressing when things weren’t going well. In September he didn’t have his power stroke but he was still getting on base (.407 OBP) and taking the hits he could get, even if they were only singles. He set a career high in homeruns for the 5th season in a row (10, 18, 23, 25, 27) and really seems to be coming into his own. He played some games at first base and left field but the Orioles seem to like him in the DH role despite him looking adequate in the field.

2011 Prognosis: Entering spring training Scott will 32 years old and in his prime. I don’t think you can expect him to keep improving at this point but you can hope he stays consistent and provides you with an OPS between .850 and .900. At this point hes the only true power threat in the lineup but he also probably has one of the highest trade values on the team. If the Orioles can get a great return I think they would trade him before he enters the declining phase of his career. But if they can’t get an acceptable return I think they’ll be happy to keep him as the DH and a serious 30 homerun threat in the lineup. He’d be even more dangerous with some other additions to the lineup. Should be an interesting off season for Scott.

2010 In Review: Right Field

October 21, 2010

Nick Markakis – .297/.370/.436, 77 R, 45 doubles, 3 triples, 12 HR, 60 RBI, 7 SB, 709 PA

Despite having the second best offensive numbers on the team and another season with 45 doubles I would consider 2010 a down year for Markakis. He continued to show his high contact hitting ability with another season around .300 and continued to have the best patience on the team with a great on base percentage but his power was almost non-existent. His slugging percentage has decreased consistently over the last three years (.491, .453, .436) and his homeruns have decreased over the last four years (23, 20, 18, 12). Hes still the most consistent player on the team and continued his great defense out in right field. Its a shame the guy still doesn’t have a gold glove or all-star game appearance on his resume but its clear he’ll have each one day. He has one of the most accurate arms in the majors and its strong as well. He does all the little things the right way, hustling and even starting to make his presence known in the clubhouse. Hes a fan favorite for a reason and will be an Orioles for a long time to come.

2011 Prognosis: Markakis is the one guy the Orioles don’t have to worry about and can count on to perform both offensively and defensively. You can always expect gold glove level defense and an OPS between .800 and .900. I think if the Orioles can get him some help in the lineup his power numbers will improve. It seems like hes content to just poke balls into the outfield but it would be nice to see him try to drive some pitches. Hes already talked about getting stronger over the offseason and that is the kind of thing you want out of your players, always trying to improve. Depending on what happens in the offseason Markakis could be hitting out of the two or three hole, either way you know hes going to produce.

2010 In Review: Center Field

October 21, 2010

Adam Jones – .284/.325/.442, 76 R, 25 doubles, 5 triples, 19 HR, 69 RBI, 7 SB, 621 PA

Jones had a similar season this year to 2009 overall, but he went about it in a much different way. Last year he came out of the gates scorching hot for the first two months before crashing back to earth in the second half. This year he started out ice cold (.633 OPS in April, .678 in May) but then caught fire in June (.952 OPS) and was pretty consistent after that (.691 OPS in July, .850 in August, .781 in September). His inability to recognize a slider and resist swinging at one in the dirt is the biggest obstacle to becoming a superstar. It limits his walks and increases his strikeouts. He’ll likely never completely kick the habit but he needs to focus on identifying pitches and waiting for his pitch. Hes got alot of power and if he improves his weakness it will only improve his ability to use it. Defensively he regressed after winning the gold glove in 2009. He probably didn’t deserve it last year and maybe it went to his head because he just didn’t show the range he had in 2008.

2011 Prognosis: I would expect Jones to continue to improve next year. Hes a hard worker and it looked like he really reacted to the Buck Showalter signing in a positive way. Showalter isn’t afraid to get on players for mistakes and I think Jones respects that. Hes got all the tools he just needs to keep putting them together. I wouldn’t be surprised if he breaks out a bit next season but I’m looking for some patience at the plate and 20+ homeruns. An OPS over .800 would help the offense alot and he needs to get back to playing defense like he did the previous two years. Our hopes of contention lay in the hands of how quickly and how much our core young players develop more so than any free agent we may sign.

2010 In Review: Left Field

October 20, 2010

Corey Patterson – .269/.315/.406, 43 R, 16 doubles, 1 triple, 8 HR, 32 RBI, 21 SB, 339 PA

The Orioles signed Patterson to a minor league contract near the end of April and at the time I didn’t see the point and thought he wouldn’t see any time in the majors. I was wrong. He got called up in May, started out hot and played pretty well throughout the remainder of the season. Since last playing with the Orioles in 2007 hes bounced around a bit, not producing much at all. After signing with the Orioles he hit .368/.419/.491 with 5 doubles and a triple with AAA Norfolk before getting the promotion. The only reason he got a chance was because of Felix Pie’s injury and Nolan Reimold’s struggles at the plate but he made the most of the opportunity. Hes playing time reduced when Pie returned from the disabled list but when he did get in there he was consistent. He still doesn’t have much patience at the plate but brings some decent power for a small, speedy outfielder. His defense in left field wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, especially for a guy thats normally a center fielder.

2011 Prognosis: Patterson is a free agent but theres still a chance the Orioles bring him back. It depends on how the offseason unfolds. The Orioles could acquire another outfielder moving Felix Pie to the bench as fourth outfielder, which would make Patterson unnecessary. Or they could trade Pie or make him the everyday left fielder, in which case Patterson could be useful as a fourth outfielder. I doubt he’d accept a minor league deal with how he played this season, I’m sure plenty of teams would be willing to guarantee a spot on their bench for him. If he signs somewhere else its nothing to lose sleep over but if it works out that he returns its not the end of the world either.

Felix Pie – .274/.305/.413, 39 R, 15 doubles, 5 triples, 5 HR, 31 RBI, 5 SB, 308 PA

Pie didn’t get many at bats in the first two weeks of the season but when he did he was killing the ball. Unfortunately he tore a muscle in his back and had to miss three months of the season or he would’ve gotten a chance. When he came back he struggled to get back into it. After a cold July (.593 OPS), he had a good August (.780 OPS), but then cooled off again in September (.617 OPS). Hes still only 25 years old and an intriguing prospect with alot of potential but hes still got a ways to go. After showing signs of developing patience last year he only walked 13 times in 2010. He also didn’t show much power after returning from the DL but that may have been an issue from his back injury lingering. He seems to get minor injuries at a pretty high rate and could be labeled as injury prone if it keeps up. His defense is improving but he still makes some mental errors out there.

2011 Prognosis: This will be an interesting offseason for Pie. I could see the Orioles dangling him to other teams as a trade option to improve at another position of need. He probably has alot of value with the flashes and improvement hes shown over the last couple of season and the O’s might want to take advantage of that. Theres also a chance that the Orioles keep Pie as a fourth outfielder and get a more established player for left field. He would be a good fit there but I’m not sure we would want to limit his development at this point of his career in that role. Or theres the possibility that the Orioles go into spring training with Nolan Reimold and Pie battling it out for the job in left. 2011 could be his breakout year or it could be more of the same. I like the guy and I’m hoping he succeeds somewhere, hopefully here.

Nolan Reimold – .207/.282/.328, 9 R, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 14 RBI, 131 PA

Going into the season Reimold was being counted on to pick up where he left off in his solid rookie campaign. He had minor surgery on his heel to repair some fraying and was supposed to be ready for opening day. The foot seemed to still be bothering him through spring training and he struggled enough in the first month and a half of the season to be sent down to AAA Norfolk. Reports surfaced that he was also being bothering by some off the field issues somehow involving the birth of his first child. With the mental and physical problems he continued to struggle with the Tide, hitting .249/.364/.374 with 12 doubles, 10 homeruns, and 37 RBI. He didn’t lose his batting eye evidenced by his OBP and strikeout to walk percentage but his power and contact rate took a dive. He stole 9 bases over the last two months of the minor league season and his stats continued to improve each month so it looked like he was getting over his issues. He got called back up when the rosters expanded and hit for a .603 OPS over 30 plate appearances.

2011 Prognosis: 2011 will be a make or break year for Reimold as he tries to get over his miserable 2010 season. He’ll be 27 years old so he doesn’t have much more development. He needs to get back to what he was doing in 2009 or hes going to get passed by and become a bench player at best. I’m sure he’ll be given a good look in spring training with a chance to win the left field job unless we sign an established player there. I think theres a good chance he makes the team, for the bench to start, unless he continues his pitiful hitting from this year. He fell hard over the last year and now hes got to get back up.

Lou Montanez – .140/.155/.140, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 SB, 58 PA

Montanez got called up after Felix Pie went on the disabled list and was used as a reserve outfielder. He got sparing at bats but didn’t show anything at all with the bat and also struggled in the field. He didn’t have any extra base hits and only one walk. He was barely used at all in May and June and then went on the disabled list. He never made it back to the big league club, instead bouncing around in the minors after he was healthy enough to play. He was eventually released after the minor league season ended. That makes three seasons in a row Montanez failed to impress when given an opportunity.

2011 Prognosis: Hes a free agent now and has already stated he will look for an opportunity with another organization for next season. If he couldn’t make it with the Orioles over the last three seasons I don’t see how he could make it with anyone but I’m sure he’ll get a minor league contract from some team that looks at his impressive minor league numbers.

2010 In Review: Shortstop

October 18, 2010

Cesar Izturis – .230/.277/.268, 42 R, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 1 HR, 28 RBI, 11 SB, 513 PA

Izturis continued to live up to his billing as a all field, no hit shortstop this year. His defense was great, one of the best in the league, but his hitting was atrocious. He had the worst OPS in the major leagues for players that got enough at bats to qualify for the batting title – by far. His was .545, the second worst was .609. Its the lowest OPS in the major leagues since 1994. Thats historically bad and isn’t going to cut it unless you are one of the best fielding shortstops of all time, like a Mark Belanger type. To be fair it was easily the worst year offensively in his career and while his career OPS (.619) is very low, its still .074 points above 2010. Izturis’ bat was a black hole in the Orioles lineup all year. With that terrible production he had the 5th most plate appearances on the team. Thats unacceptable if you want to be a competitive team in this league.

2011 Prognosis: If it were up to me, Izturis would be the absolute last resort to man shortstop next season. I would exhaust every opportunity to find an upgrade with the bat. There are some good options out there in free agency and on the trade market. Unfortunately there are reports that Buck Showalter likes Izturis alot and they’re going to try and re-sign him. I would sign him to be the backup shortstop/infielder since he would be great as a defensive replacement/pinch runner but theres no excuse for him to be the starting shortstop of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011. His defense will keep him in the game for a long time but I’d prefer it to be with someone else unless hes a bench player for us.

Julio Lugo – .249/.298/.282, 26 R, 4 doubles, 2 triples, 20 RBI, 5 SB, 264 PA

Lugo was acquired from St.Louis in a trade during spring training that sent cash to the Cardinals. The thought was he could provide a spark for the bench as an infielder with some pop. Unfortunately for the Orioles that pop was nowhere to be found and he looked old and pretty much finished as a player. He was another reason that shortstop was a blight on the Orioles in 2010. And while Lugo hit like Cesar Izturis, his glove was nowhere near as good. His range was terrible and his arm wasn’t much better. On top of that hes a hot head. I honestly can’t believe he made through the whole season on the Orioles roster.

2011 Prognosis: Lugo is a free agent and theres no way he re-signs with the O’s. I’m not sure he’ll sign with anyone but theres always a team thats willing to give a veteran like him a shot on a minor league deal. Maybe a trip back to the national league will help.

Robert Andino – .295/.333/.459, 6 R, 4 doubles, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 1 SB, 66 PA

Andino started the year off on a bad note when he angered Orioles coaches with his attitude in spring training. He was cut from the roster after being expected to be the backup shortstop and utility infielder coming into the season. He wound up at AAA Norfolk where he put up some respectable numbers with the bat, .268/.302/.405 with 30 doubles, 4 triples, 13 homeruns, and 76 RBI. Hes got good power for a middle infielder but no patience at the plate and his defense isn’t up to par either. He got called up in September when the rosters expanded and gave Buck Showalter a good initial reaction, at least with the bat. His defense was pretty poor but he showed off more of that power.

2011 Prognosis: At this point Andino has to be the favorite to be the backup infielder going into spring training. He won’t be the starting shortstop because of his defense but he wouldn’t be a bad option to pinch hit and play once or twice a week. If he can duplicate his AAA numbers from last year to the majors that would make him a valuable member of the team. He started off the season on a low but worked his way up all season and ended on a high note.

2010 In Review: Third Base

October 18, 2010

Miguel Tejada – .269/.308/.362, 40 R, 16 doubles, 7 HR, 39 RBI, 428 PA

Tejada was signed in the offseason to be a stopgap at third base until Josh Bell was ready to take over. Unfortunately he failed to produce much, his power continuing to decline. He was never one to take many walks and with his on base percentage so reliant upon his batting average, that took a dip as well. Surprisingly his transition from shortstop to third base went pretty well. Aside from some inconsistency, his arm strength helped him out. The Orioles traded him to the San Diego Padres a couple days before the trade deadline for minor league pitcher Wynn Pelzer. Pelzer is a potential future bullpen arm while Tejada helped the Padres make a playoff push, falling just short. He hit .268/.317/.413 with 10 doubles and 8 homeruns with San Diego, slightly better than what he did with the O’s. He also returned to shortstop for a time.

2011 Prognosis: Tejada will be a free agent again this offseason. I don’t see the Orioles signing him again. That ship has sailed. He probably did enough to get a starting job at either shortstop or third base somewhere next year but it won’t be in Baltimore. Maybe the Padres will re-sign him if they liked what they saw in him enough over the last couple months.

Josh Bell – .214/.224/.302, 15 R, 5 doubles, 3 HR, 12 RBI, 161 PA

Bell entered the 2010 season as one of the Orioles top prospects but now that the seasons over hes barely hanging on to his prospect status. He started off slowly at AAA Norfolk with a .661 OPS in April and .780 OPS in May. He bounced back and posted a .840 OPS in June before getting a three week trial on the big league roster when Miguel Tejada had a minor injury. He didn’t play much and was sent back down to Norfolk for a week until the rosters expanded in September. Overall he hit .278/.328/.481 with 25 doubles, 13 homeruns, and 50 RBI in AAA. The power was ok for that park but for some reason his strikeout to walk ratio plummeted after a solid rate in 2009. That continued at an extreme rate in his time with the Orioles. He struck out 53 times over 161 plate appearances with only two walks. He had one game where he hit two homeruns but other than that he didn’t even show much power with the O’s. The only positives were that his performance against left handed pitchers, which he had struggled with previously, improved to a decent rate. Also his defense showed signs of being solid. He has a very strong arm but needs to work on the accuracy of his throws. He could also stand to lose some weigh to improve his range.

2011 Prognosis: Bell needs to use the offseason to get in shape and learn from his experiences at the major league level. He seemed nervous pretty much the whole time he was with the Orioles so maybe its just a case of getting comfortable and letting his talent take over. I still think he has potential but the Orioles can’t afford to wait for him anymore. He’ll most likely start 2011 at AAA Norfolk where he’ll need to continue his development and hope for a call up at some point. I’d like to see him be more patient at the plate and improve his strikeout rate. If his performance continues at 2010 levels next season he’ll be looking more like a AAAA player with an upside of bench player. Needless to say 2011 will be a big year for Bell.

2010 In Review: Second Base

October 17, 2010

Brian Roberts – .278/.354/.391, 27 R, 14 doubles, 4 HR, 15 RBI, 12 SB, 261 PA

Brian had a rough year with injuries. He started off the season with a herniated disk in his back and went on the disabled list after four games. He didn’t come back until July 23rd. He also had minor injuries like a bruised shin, a strained oblique, and chronic headaches at the end of the season. Hopefully it was just a fluke year and not a long term thing that will hinder his play moving forward. Hes getting older and entering the second year of a four year deal so the Orioles need him to return to form starting next year. When he finally did make it back he pretty much picked up where he left off with the exception of a little less power. But thats to be expected with the injuries he dealt with. When healthy hes still one of the best second basemen in the league.

2011 Prognosis: The main thing is to get Roberts fully healthy heading into next season. If that happens it’ll help the lineup tremendously. The team performed much better with him in the lineup this past year and hes our only real lead off option. I would expect his production to be around 2009 levels with a low .800 OPS and 25 to 35 stolen bases. If the Orioles get the offensive upgrades that we should this offseason and Brian is healthy all year I predict good things for this team.

Scott Moore – .209/.274/.337, 8 R, 2 doubles, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 3 SB, 96 PA

Moore was with the Orioles for a couple months, taking the place of Justin Turner, and was another guy given a chance to fill in for the injured Brian Roberts. He didn’t play a whole lot but when he did he didn’t do much. Hes limited defensively despite being able to play three positions (first, second, and third base). Hes got some power but he didn’t make enough contact to show it off. When Roberts came back Moore was sent back down to AAA Norfolk. He did well there this season, hitting .280/.345/.476 with 9 doubles, a triple, 11 homeruns, and 45 RBI but those numbers didn’t translate to the big leagues.

2011 Prognosis: Moore became a minor league free agent after the season ended but he could still re-sign with the Orioles. I think its a better bet that he signs somewhere else on a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Hes an infielder with some pop so he’ll get another chance somewhere. If he can perform at the big league level the way he has in the minors he’ll be a good addition for someone.

Justin Turner – .000/.000/.000, 9 PA

Turner was given a very brief look in the beginning of the season with the absence of Brian Roberts. He mostly sat on the bench but went hitless in the 9 at bats he got. He hit .250/.319/.381 with AAA Norfolk before being claimed off waivers by the New York Mets. He spent a couple days with them before being sent down to AAA Buffalo and hitting .333/.390/.516 with 22 doubles, a triple, and 11 homeruns.

2011 Prognosis: I’m sure he’ll get a chance to make the Mets in spring training. He could be a decent player for a national league team with his ability to play second and third base. He could also be used as a pinch hitter. Best of luck to him. He was a decent minor league player after being acquired in the Ramon Hernandez trade after the 2008 season.

2010 In Review: First Base

October 14, 2010

Ty Wigginton – .248/.312/.415, 63 R, 29 doubles, 1 triple, 22 HR, 76 RBI, 649 PA

Going into the season Wigginton was supposed to be a utility bench player, filling in for Miguel Tejada at third, Garrett Atkins at first, Brian Roberts at second, and Luke Scott at DH but he was thrust into everyday duty after Roberts went down with his back injury. He played mostly second base in the beginning of the year and hit so well (1.026 OPS in April, .877 OPS in May) that he ended up being the Orioles only representative at the MLB all-star game. After the Orioles finally gave up on Atkins and released him, Wigginton moved over to first base full time. That also coincided with a crash in his production (.594 OPS in June, .662 in July, .672 in August, and .686 in September). Overall despite his hot start to the season he had a bad year at the plate and ended up with a stat line pretty much in line with 2009 (.727 OPS compared to .714).

2011 Prognosis: I don’t think Wigginton will be back with the Orioles next year unless hes willing to sign on as a bench player at a cheap rate, which I don’t think he’ll do. Despite his struggles at the plate in the latter half of the season, he probably thinks he deserves to start somewhere because of his all-star selection. Maybe some mid level team can promise him enough at bats and he can be productive. Hes a good clubhouse guy with some power so I’m sure he’ll be alright.

Garrett Atkins – .214/.276/.286, 5 R, 7 doubles, 1 HR, 9 RBI, 152 PA

Atkins might go down as one of the worst free agent signings in Orioles history. Not many people liked it at the time, including myself, and the critics turned out to be right on the money as he looked absolutely clueless at the plate. The way he looked its hard to believe he was ever as productive as he was in Colorado. He went from 30 homerun power to Cesar Izturis esque power. It seemed like the O’s were never going to give up on him but thankfully he was released in June. First base was a black hole in the lineup all year and it all comes down to the Orioles not doing what was necessary to take care of the issue before the season started.

2011 Prognosis: Atkins might have played his last innings of major league baseball with the Orioles this year. Maybe he’ll get a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training from someone but theres no way he gets any guaranteed money.

Rhyne Hughes – .213/.275/.255, 3 R, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 51 PA

Hughes was the first player to cut into Atkins’ playing time, getting the call from AAA Norfolk in late April after a hot start to the year with the Tide. He started off great with the O’s, going 4-9 with some key hits against the Red Sox in Boston but the league quickly figured him out and he showed no power despite hitting 25 homeruns in the minors in 2009. He was sent back to Norfolk in the middle of May and never made his way back up. Down there he hit .258/.314/.410 with 25 doubles, 2 triples, 10 homeruns, and 39 RBI, firmly placing the AAAA label on himself.

2011 Prognosis: He might get an invitation to spring training next year but I think its more likely that hes removed from the 40 man roster. We’re most likely going to sign or trade for a new first baseman and we still have Brandon Snyder on the 40. Hughes will play in AAA for somewhere next season, whether its with the Orioles or some other team.

Brandon Snyder – .300/.300/.400, R, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 20 PA

It was another disappointing season for Snyder at AAA Norfolk. After hitting his way into serious prospect status in AA and below he stalled out at AAA in the second half of 2009 and it continued this year. The ballpark adjustment excuse just doesn’t seem to hold up as well after a second go round. He hit .257/.324/.407 with 22 doubles, a triple, 9 homeruns, and 43 RBI for Norfolk but missed a chunk of time in June/July with an injury. He got better as the year went on and looked pretty solid at the plate in the short time he spent with the Orioles in September, but his patience and power don’t seem to be good enough to be an everyday player.

2011 Prognosis: Snyder will go into spring training next year looking to either make the team as a bench player or at least get Buck Showalter’s attention so he can come up at some point during the year. More seasoning at AAA Norfolk is the most likely scenerio barring injury or a significant improvement in his performance. The prospect status has diminished but there is still a glimmer of hope left.