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The Playoff Hunt

The Fremulon Insurance Prospect of the Week

Jake Arrieta, in his last four starts, has 19 strikeouts to 6 walks in 24 innings with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. He struggled mightily at first after his promotion to AAA, but those numbers are about what I expect from the big righty with the devastating fastball. Unfortunately, he has now thrown 134.2 innings in 2009, an increase of 21.2 innings from all of 2008. Much more would be rather dangerous to the arm of the 23 year old, so it is bittersweet that I will be attending what could be Arrieta’s swan song for the year tonight in Rochester, NY. Tune in tomorrow (same bat time, same bat channel) for my view from the stands of the last member of The Big Three.

Norfolk Tides (66-61 3rd IL South)

Norfolk is beginning to slip out of contention after being one of the top AAA teams throughout much of the season. Four games out of the wild card and eight out of the division does not bode well for the Tides, but it’s hard to argue that they have had a bad season, with so many of their players now hanging around the Inner Harbor.

Justin Turner is apparently hideous

Justin Turner is apparently hideous

With Troy Patton on the DL with the same mysterious “arm fatigue” that undid Brandon Erbe’s season, the only prospect on the Tides worth a September call-up is Justin Turner. Turner suffers from the same power-outage that plagues Brandon Snyder, but he makes up for it with a 15% walk-rate and a superior 8.75% K-rate (in August..on the season his walk-rate is the inferior 8.44%).

Bowie Baysox (64-61 4th EL South)

Bowie, too is fighting for a play-off spot as the season winds down; the Sox are just 2.5 games out of position behind Reading and Erie. The loss of Brian Matusz hurts those chances considerably, but Josh Bell is doing his best MVP impression: .327/.397/.582 with 4 homers in 16 games. He has perhaps become our new top prospect (it’s either Bell or Arrieta) and it will be fun to see what he does in the International League next year.

Tim Bascom threw about as well as you’re likely to see him throw on Wednesday against the very strong Akron (CLE) team, walking none but striking out 7 in 6.2 innings. Bascom hasn’t been overwhelming, but he has been solid, with a 1.875 K/BB ratio in 64 innings at Bowie. I wouldn’t expect much out of him as a prospect, as he is already 24 and that ratio tends to go down as the competition gets fiercer.

Frederick Keys (26-30 3rd CAR North)

Chorye Spoone is back with the team that he once led to the Carolina League championship, only this time it’s personal. Recovering from the torn labrum, he has been on a limited pitch count, and shouldn’t be judged by the results he gets this year. Frankly – and I said this in the pre-season – I really don’t think we’ll be talking about Chorye Spoone much anymore, but I’ve been wrong enough in the past to know better than to say “never”.

Not wanting to be shown up by Tim Bascom, yesterday Rick Zagone went out and threw his own 7 K, 0 BB, 6 inning gem against Myrtle Beach (ATL). Zagone has been beset by that same decreasing K/BB ratio I mentioned above in moving up to Frederick, but is still getting groundballs and keeping the ball in the yard, and that’s a big part of the battle.

Brandon Waring has gotten a lot of air-time recently, belting his 24th home run on Saturday. His season OPS is now at .881, but a poor walk-rate (9.8%), a very high K-rate (22.1%), and a high age (23) in high-A ball are keeping me from really getting behind him.

Delmarva Shorebirds (26-27 5th SAL North)

Checking in with the three most known ‘Birds is going to be painful (fair warning):

  • Jerome Hoes is sporting a .177/.261/.194 line in 19 games in August. This is his nadir, having probably hit a brick wall (he is just 19) after a pretty good June (.330 OBP). Hoes also has 22 errors on the year at second, second most on the team.
  • Greg Miclat has had just a status-busting year at 22 years old. He has shown neither defensive ability (21 errors), ability to get on base (.302 OBP), power (15 XBH, 0 HR), or plate discipline (1.89 K/BB). There isn’t anything more to say about Miclat: he is a bust.
  • Xavier Avery is possibly the most exciting young player at Delmarva, but he is another 19 year old who hit a wall after a good June (.353 OBP). He is batting .231/.257/.314 since July 1. The center-fielder has 12 errors on the year.

(photo borrowed)

5 comments to The Playoff Hunt

  • Dan the Man

    I wasn’t big on many of the position players that we drafted last year. I hate high schoolers. Why draft high school kids early in the draft? I dunno.

    Waring needs to get promoted despite his K-rate. If he still hits home runs at AA while striking out a ton, then so what? Not much has changed and he’s not doing a lot of good at A-ball. Can’t keep him down there until he learns to take walks at age 25.

    I’m real interested to see Turner at the big league level. Even if he doesn’t hit for power, if he can hit for average and play a decent 3rd base, then I already like him better than Ty for next year.

  • Andrew

    @Dan the Man – To be fair, Wiggy is a) established in his ability to hit major league pitching, and b) a power-threat that Turner will never be, but Turner is certainly an interesting candidate there. A bench of Turner, Pie, Moeller, and Wigginton isn’t the worst idea in the world. We have to do something about having both Andino and Izturis on the roster next year though. There’s a wasted space between the two of them.

    With Waring, the worry is that when he gets promoted (and let’s face it, that’ll be next year at this point), there will be less of the pitches he is launching out of the yard and more of the pitches that he is whiffing on. Since he doesn’t seem to have a real strong sense of the strikezone (compared to, say, Nick Markakis), the holes in his swing will get worse as time goes on.

    Not to say he can’t make the big-leagues. That kind of power can always make a real impact. But I’m pessimistic.

  • Dan the Man

    @Andrew – Yeah I’m not on the Waring bandwagon, so to speak, but I do think there’s an outside chance he becomes one of those all-or-nothing type players that could make an impact at some point.

    I definitely want Wiggy around for next year and I’d like to see what he can do if given more at bats, but if Turner can hit regularly, take walks, and play D, then that’s huge. Agreed on Andino/Izturis. Wigginton and Turner could both be emergency short stops. The question is, do you believe in Andino enough to give him the job, or do you send him packing knowing that you might have just sent away a good young talent?

  • Andrew

    @Dan the Man – I think it’s enormously debatable, but neither of those guys are long-term answers and I would therefore stick with the better defender, which is Izturis. I’m not sure what the answer at short is, but if an upgrade on the corners isn’t going to be made this winter, I would look into trading for that long-term guy at short, which the Orioles just don’t have anywhere in the system right now.


    Vamos SanCHEZ!