Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Out of Commission

I've been laid out by a fairly serious infection for most of the last few weeks but decided now is the time to get back to blogging.

The fall leagues are wrapping up and since I haven't seen it talked about anywhere else, I thought I'd highlight the Oriole prospects in Arizona and Hawaii.

Arizona Fall League

The O's prospects helped the Phoenix Desertdogs to the AFL title as they beat the Surprise Rafters in the championship game 7-2. OF Nolan Reimold went 2-5 and scored a run while RP Bob McCrory struck out two as he pitched a scoreless 9th.

But the real story for the O's is Arizona was the debut of Jake Arrietta as he dominated the cream of the crop of minor league batters in his first professional games. Check this out: 14 games, 16 IP, 16K, 7 BB, 0.94 WHIP and a record of 1-0. Oh, let's not forget the 0.00 ERA. That's an impressive start for Arrieta against professionals of any level but he did it against the best minor league hitters in baseball. You still have to think he'll start in Bowie this spring but he might rise a lot faster than anyone imagined.

RP Bob McCrory led the league in saves with 5 and posted a 1.50 ERA while striking out 11 in 12 IP.

Every other player of note was a good news/bad news situation.

Hayden Penn

Good News: He led the league in strikeouts with 27 in only 21.1 innings

Bad News: He also posted a 6.45 ERA with only one win

Nolan Reimold

Good News: He led the league in homers (6) and RBI (23)

Bad News: He only hit .245 and struck out 33 times in 29 games.

Look for Penn and Reimold to both start in AAA and spend most of the season there.

When I actually watch the championship game I may have a couple more observations.

Hawaii Winter League

The Honolulu Sharks lost the division race on the last day of the regular schedule and will not be playing in today's championship game.

What the Sharks were able to do is to showcase some Oriole prospects who can flat out hit.

IF Brandon Snyder took the league batting title hitting .378 and slugging .544. Snyder hit 2 hoeruns but showed he can rack up all kinds of basehits including two triples. C Matt Wieters had a successful professional debut hitting .284 with 9 doubles and a homerun in 30 games played. Almost as impressive was the fact that he struck out only 15 times and walked 12 times. That's pretty good control of the strike zone for a green player like Wieters. Coming on strong later in the season, 2B Miguel Abreu posted very impressive power/speed numbers, hitting .297 hitting 2 homers and stealing 8 SB in 34 games. He's not too patient (only 1 walk) but I'd keep an eye on him at high A Frederick next season.

Chad Thall and Brett Bordes pitched well out of the bullpen, both striking out around a batter an inning.

More to come, lots to catch up on!

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