Thursday, September 10, 2009

Oriole Cavalry Slowling Comes Marching In

We posted about the small army of Oriole pitching prospects a few months ago, and are finally ready for an update. The reason for the delay is that Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz made Christmas come a little early for Birds fans by being called-up to the big leagues, so tracking their stats seemed like stating the obvious.

That said, the Oriole pitching army goes beyond Tillman and Matusz, so here is a quick glance at each prospect's stats at his current level (note that the minor league season has ended, so all non-MLB stats are final, and this does not include Tillman's 27 k's perfect game that will happen tomorrow night). For the non-Sabermatricians, ERA and Wins are excluded because they are not the most performance indicators, the best indicators are Ks, BBs, and HRs allowed:

The quick notes:
  • The golden arm, Tillman, has had a rough start, but is still only 21 and is considered less polished than Matusz, so I wouldn't worry too much about his MLB stats so far. BTW, his triple-A stats were phenomenal and he probably still has 'the force'.
  • Matusz has been great after a rocky start to his MLB career, but you probably already knew that.
  • Hernandez has had a rough time, and continues to look like a bullpen guy long-term. On the bright side, he has inspired all non-steroid abusers that they have HR power.
  • Bergesen was not included in the first article, but has been the surprise this year. His K/BB ratio and HR-allowed rate are solid, but his K/IP isn't great so his upside is still much lower than that of Tillman or Matusz, despite already having a solid MLB season under his belt.
  • Arrieta hasn't exactly dominated triple-A, but has done well and is in line to be with the O's in 2010. His ceiling has dropped a little, but his performance has not been a huge concern, just a little slower than I had hoped.
  • Troy Patton is struggling mightily in triple-A, so much so that I'm leaning towards nicknaming him TP. His chances of being the 5th starter are all-but gone, maybe a bullpen role could work.
  • Erbe overcame an early season arm injury and has pitched well. He hasn't been overwhelming, but very good, and should be a strong performer in double-A at age 22.
  • Zach Britton has steadily become perhaps our most promising prospect outside of the majors. Still only in single-A, but his numbers have been great, and at age 21 has at least caught Erbe in terms of prospect status.

I know pitching prospects are like lottery tickets, but it is not hard to see Tillman, Matusz, Arrieta, and Bergeson being future rotation pitchers. Tillman and Matusz have the chance to be special, and Hernandez, Patton, and Erbe, haven't set the world on fire, but could certainly be great relievers. As we said a few months ago, the O's have some depth in arms, so our chances of filling a good and cheap rotation are very high; this is not like the Nats pinning their hopes on 1-2 guys. Yeah, I'm optimistic, but this is the most promise we've had in the gonorrhea capital since Brady Anderson's timed his steroid cycle perfectly and that fat yutz Maier ripped our season from Tony Tarasco's glove.

In other news, the O's are a tidy 34 games out of first place and the sun set in the West tonight.

(Stats courtesy of the Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox, Norfold Tides, and

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