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Break Up the Baysox: Week 5

The Nolan Reimold Award, Presented by Fremulon Insurance
Baltimore Orioles prospect Brian MatuszBrian Matusz showed off his potential this week, striking out 13 and walking just 1 against the Wilmington Blue Rocks (KC). At one point, Matusz retired 15 batters in a row, but the Keys failed to score and lost the game despite the dominating effort. This start showed that Matusz, with his 4 good or better pitches, isn’t proving anything in Frederick that he couldn’t prove in Bowie. Most of his development will be learning to rely more on his fastball than his breaking stuff (which was how he pitched in college), but the breaking stuff is so good he almost has to make Carolina League hitters look stupid.

Norfolk Tides (18-11 1st IL South)
Jason Berken (5 IP, 0 BB, 0 K) continued his scoreless streak, now at 15 innings to begin his Norfolk career despite an alarming lack of strikeouts. Chris Tillman continues to pitch well, lasting 6 innings with 6 Ks and 1 walk. Meanwhile, you knew it couldn’t be long before Matt Wieters started to heat up, and he’s coming on strong now, posting a .477 wOBA this week. He’s still sitting on 1 home run for the year, but has turned into a doubles machine (4 this week). Nolan Reimold came back to earth – a little – collecting 5 hits and 6 walks in 15 at bats (but only 2 doubles).

Bowie Baysox (11-16 4th EL Southern)
The rain-soaked Baysox saw Jake Arrieta (3.1 IP, 3 BB, 4 K) understandably struggle on 7 days rest and Brandon Erbe hit the DL this week with minor shoulder fatigue. On the bright side, Troy Patton kept on rolling (6 IP, 6 K, 1 BB) and Brandon Snyder put up a monster week (10 for 22, 3 doubles, 2 home runs).

Frederick Keys (12-18 4th CL Northern)
Nate Nery (6 IP, 1 BB, 4 K) had a successful introduction to high A ball after his strong month-plus with the Shorebirds. Bill Rowell (9 for 25 with a double and 3 homers) put up some big numbers, proving that he’s still got a lot of prospect-life left. Tyler Henson (.500 wOBA) had a strong week as well. Zach Britton made two decent enough starts (10 IP, 5 BB, 12 K) but I’d like to see the walks come down and the innings go up.

Delmarva Shorebirds (17-10 1st SAL Northern)
Xavier Avery finally had his coming out party: 10 for 21, 2 doubles, 3 triples, 2 walks, just 3 strikeouts (which is easily the most impressive feat of his this week, considering he has 29 on the year), and 3 stolen bases. Outside of Avery, pitching continues to be the strength of the shorebirds, despite Nery’s promotion. Ryan O’Shea (7 IP, 2 BB, 6 K), Rick Zagone (7.1 IP, 2 BB, 8 K), and Cole McCurry (6 IP, 1 BB, 5 K) all had excellent outings this week and are a primary reason why Delmarva occupies first place in the Sally League.

(photo via mlb.com)

20 comments to Break Up the Baysox: Week 5

  • dan the man

    Hot damn, that’s some encouraging news all around.

  • Andrew

    It really was a good week in the minors on the individual level (which is really the only level that matters), wasn’t it? I am a little bit concerned about Erbe (and Ryan Adams, who re-aggravated his groin), but the good far outweighs the bad here.

    Dan, you made a good point about Reimold and Montanez. I think that the Orioles (and me) don’t consider Montanez as a long term permanent left fielder, and that if Pie still hasn’t won his job back that Reimold will get called up either with Wieters (crushing blow to Norfolk, if that happens) or around the All Star break. I think the battle is between Pie and Reimold, and if neither of them can cut the mustard, Montanez is Plan C.

  • dan the man

    True. If you wanted, you could read into Trembley’s “We need to get a good look at Montanez now” (paraphrasing) as not necessarily an indication that he’s going to be the starting left fielder of the future. Could you see him making that comment with Reimold? Probably not. It would probably go something more like “He’s going to get every opportunity to be our starting left fielder going forward” or “He’s up here to stay and we want him to be our left fielder”.

    “Getting a look” is a little more wishy washy, so hopefully the organization feels Reimold is The Guy.

  • Andrew

    @dan the man – They should. He’s the best left fielder defensively and offensively out of the three “candidates”. If they really want to give Montanez a shot and never give Reimold fair shakes because Lou does “adequately”, I’ll be angry.

  • Greg

    There’s an outside chance that if the Orioles inherit Reimold and Wieters, the Tides may get the red hot Mr. Snyder. Of course then the question is: Where does Salazar go?

  • rick

    It’s great to know that the “problems” we’re having at the minor league level deal with too much depth at certain positions, e.g., outfield, given the amount of talent clearly there.

    Also, it seems as though are pitching depth is excellent as well, and that bodes well for the future.

    However, I’m really hoping the O’s braintrust decides to bring these young guns up sooner v. later. Let ’em cut their teeth at the big league level – certainly those guys who’ve been successful at AA and AAA levels. Yes, it ain’t the bigs, but. . . they are talented enough their respective learning curves should be steep.

  • Andrew

    @rick – I assume you’re talking about Tillman, Hernandez, Arrieta, Berken, and Patton? They all have extenuating circumstances that are keeping them in the minors (rightfully, in my opinion):

    Tillman is 21 and often struggles to get to 6 innings in a given start. His mental makeup is supposed to be pretty good, so I assume having a tough time in Baltimore won’t ruin him, but still – he’s 21 and just started AAA.

    Hernandez doesn’t have a starter’s repetoire, gives up too many home runs and also just started AAA.

    Arrieta just started AA and also has a problem with getting in his innings. He hasn’t really proved anything yet.

    Berken’s scoreless streak is deceiving, as he hasn’t been good in AAA (2 walks, 4 strikeouts in 15 innings) and he also just started AAA.

    Patton is proving his health. He doesn’t have anything to prove in terms of performance except that his arm is 100% ready to go.

    Look, being impatient is human and all that. But these guys are coming up soon enough. None of the performances are really overwhelming enough that the Orioles should feel compelled to make a change. Are they better than Adam Eaton? Sure, but that isn’t the question. The question is “Are they ready to come to Baltimore and to stay in Baltimore?” and the answer to that is a resounding “I don’t know right now”.

  • sci

    Very good arguments, Andrew. I have changed my tune from the path I advocated earlier re: the young pitchers. Let them grow this year down on the farm. They will not save the season, so no reason to rush.
    The Reimold situation is different and more complicated. I think you have to say that it’s either Reimold or Pie, and whichever one you pick has to start basically every day, or there’s no point. What they’re doing right now with playing Montanez more and having Pie play sporadically is solving nothing. Either commit completely to Pie for a few more months, or run him through waivers and bring Reimold up to be the everyday LF. Montanez is not the long-term solution, and this year should be about finding the long-term solution.
    As far as Wieters, bring him up June 1, as long as he’s still hitting in the minors and not hurt. He is basically ready, and he’s talented enough to learn on the job.

  • dan the man

    The interesting thing about this Scott DL business is that while Salazar might make the most sense right now, he is out of options. I don’t know if the O’s risk thinning their corner infield depth by losing this guy to waivers once they have to send him down.

    I’m going out on a limb here and saying a Reimold promotion is imminent.

  • dan the man

    I posed that options question in the comments in Roch’s blog and he responded saying he didn’t think it would be a factor at all, Salazar’s lack of options that is. I suppose not, because he’d likely clear waivers, but still… I sense multiple moves coming. I think Reimold and Salazar could both be called up if Pie is waived. That’d be a hell of an offensive punch added, especially with Wigginton struggling (God, is he looking awful… what gives?). Reimold would get the starting LF gig, and your bench would be Montanez, Salazar, Moeller, Andino. Too right-heavy? Not enough speed? Hmm.. maybe I’m overthinking this one and it’s just going to be Salazar after all.. haha

  • neal s

    I just can’t see it being Reimold unless it goes like this: Andy and DT sit down and say “screw it, Lou’s our fourth outfielder* and Pie hits the bricks. Nolan’s the guy and we’re building from there.” You could make a case for that approach, and I wouldn’t have any problem with it. Probably won’t happen though.

    I’m really excited about what Troy Patton might be able to do come midseason or so if he stays healthy.

    By the way, @Tomas: that Mencken video was awesome.

    *Lou probably isn’t suited to that role yet. My main point is that I think they’d keep him over Pie.

  • Andrew

    I don’t get sitting Pie, either. What’s the advantage gained by sitting Pie 3 out of every 4 days? Either give up on him or play him.

    I don’t think Lou is a fourth outfielder, either, Neal. As far as I know, he can’t play center field, and your fourth outfielder needs to be able to play a decent enough defensive center field. Which of course makes Felix Pie perfect for that role. But that leaves the bench weak on the hitting side and makes Montanez completely extraneous, which isn’t fair.

    But then, maybe he can play center. I don’t know for sure that he can’t. But yeah, anyway, the O’s either gotta play Pie or bring up Reimold, and that’s just the way it is.

  • Tomás

    Thanks Neal! I actually just came across another Mencken tidbit, along with other unique Ballymorean traditions/events in this article.

    Not sure if anyone else has seen it yet.

  • dan the man

    @Andrew – Yeah, thia whole thing feels like “let’s buy some time and let things shake out” – I’m flip flopping and saying Oscar again now. And I wouldn’t be knocking that decision. He’s freaking tearing it up down there – hit his 6th home run tonight.

  • Tomás

    Oh

    and CAPS up against the wall tonight, trying to eek out a chance for Game 7 with the Pens. It’s halftime, 2 all.

  • Andrew

    I’ll be traveling to see the Tides play the Syracuse Sky Chiefs (WAS) on Friday – I think Berken is pitching that night. Hopefully that trip goes better than my Buffalo field trip last Friday (the moral of the story is never, ever go to Buffalo*). I am looking way forward to seeing one less Tide than I saw last week, and a real pitching prospect instead of Chris Waters. Also, I love going to new stadiums (although I’ve passed right by the Syracuse stadium on the Amtrak from Rochester to New York and it looks fairly nice from the outside).

    *Remember when Willis McGahee made a big huff over how much he didn’t like Buffalo? He said:

    “Coming from Miami, I was used to partying, going out, just having something to do every night. Restaurants, whatever. Going to Buffalo, it was like hitting a brick wall. Like, ‘Damn!’ Can’t go out, can’t do nothing. There’s an Applebee’s, a TGI Friday’s, and they just got a Dave & Busters. They got that, and I’m like, ‘What the?’ And, you know, the women …

    “You see, when I was in college that’s what I used to thrive off of,” the 25-year-old says. “The better you do, the more fame you get. So you know, it was like, I was used to that. And then you get to Buffalo and no matter how you do, it’s the same. It’s no big city. You know what I did every day? I came home and played video games.”

    Yeah, he was right and a half. He might be my favorite Raven now that I know what he went through.

  • Andrew

    Oh, and Dan – I was thinking some more about this Montanez/Pie/Reimold thing and something else struck me earlier this evening: The Orioles are going to have a similar issue (although potentially of less consequence) with either the shortstop or backup infielder position when Izturis moves on in 2011, because we have three guys with similar skill sets in Andino, Turner, and Davis. I have no idea who is the best of that trio, but we absolutely can’t have two of that type of player on a 25 man roster and hope to be any good. Just looking ahead…

  • neal s

    @Andrew – If none of those three steps out between now and then, I’d have no problem extending Izturis for another year or two. He just turned 29 in February and I’m happy with his work so far. It’d be nice to have a bona fide prospect by then (Greg Miclat?) but, if not, no reason Izturis can’t stick around a bit.

  • dan the man

    Yeah, if your lineup includes Wieters and Reimold and possibly Snyder by ’11, having Izturis do his thing in the 9 slot wouldn’t be too bad.

  • Andrew

    It might be possible that one of those three, even without breaking out, could be a good, cost-effective replacement of Izturis without losing anything on the field. Maybe.