Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Base Hits: Undervalued Pitchers, The Big Picture and News About Third Basemen

I wanted to highlight this article on FanGraphs.com if for no other reason that I also feel that Brad Bergesen is/was vastly undervalued and that Bryan Smith laid out his value far better than I ever have. I'm looking forward to the rest of his series on slider/sinkerball pitchers.

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Brandon Oland writes that he is skeptical (at best) about the Orioles' rebuilding process in the snarkiest tone he can muster.

But allow me to state that Brandon has no idea what he is talking about.

Example:

The players (Andy MacPhail) brought in are not improvements over the players he traded away last year.



Garrett Atkins is not half the slugger Aubrey Huff is.

Oh, he's definitely half the slugger. He'd only have to slug .200 to be half the slugger that Huff is today.

Mike Gonzalez is not an improvement over George Sherrill.

Oh, yes he is. Just wait.

Kevin Millwood is likely to be the opening day starting pitcher, which means the Orioles will be turning to a right-hander the pitching-starved Texas Rangers were eager to dump.

Well, this is kind of true but the Rangers were willing to part with Millwood because they are cash starved way more than they are pitching starved.

What Brandon fails to pick up on here is the function of these players. Atkins is a place-holder until Brandon Snyder and/or Josh Bell arrive from Norfolk. Sherrill needed to be replaced (you can argue if a free agent closer was the way to go...) because he was traded away for the aforementioned Bell. Millwood is here for one season to buy time for Jake Arrieta and Zack Britton and perhaps provide some steadiness to a rotation that will feature young hurlers Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen.

These players were not signed to compete with the Yankees in 2010; they are here to warm seats for the kids who may be able to contend.

Now, I wouldn't expect every casual fan to understand this or know Baltimore's farm system. But then there's this statement:

I’m sure Fan Fest autograph seekers will be eager to meet Orioles stars Brian Roberts, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis.

But aside from them, what’s left to be excited about? Not much.

Except for Matt Wieters. And Nolan Reimold. Or Matusz. Or Tillman. Or Bergesen or Luke Scott.

Get out to the Yard, Brandon. There's baseball stuff happening out there.

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As if in response to Brandon Oland himself, MASN's Steve Melewski reminds panicky fans to keep the big picture in mind. Then he paints it for them. Well done!

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And the Orioles' rebuilding is being noticed. The Boston Herald took an in-depth look at MacPhail's handiwork and the prospect of a bright future at Camden Yards.

Matusz will be joined by right-hander Brad Bergesen, who was having an outstanding rookie year before being felled by a line drive off the shin, as well as righty Chris Tillman. Top prospect Jake Arrieta, another righty, waits in the wings.

“They’re coming,” one rival team executive said. “And they’re legit.”...

Add it all together, and the Orioles may be competitive a lot sooner than people think.

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Phil Rogers of The Chicago Tribune says that the Orioles are talking to free agent 3B Joe Crede and that if they sign hime, it could mean that Ty Wigginton or Garrett Atkins could be moved if Crede joins the team.

Given that Josh Bell is pretty close to the majors, I like the idea of taking a chance on Crede. His defense is stellar and if he's healthy, he helps the team a lot. I can't imagine the O's would move Atkins (although stranger things have happened) so I would think that Wigginton would be shipped off to the Nationall League for some relief pitching depth.

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Dempsey's Army wishes Brooks Robinson a speedy recovery from his abdominal surgery. Get well, Brooks!

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Kudos to Miguel Tejada for helping with the relief efforts in Haiti. Whatever you have to say about Miggy's Baltimore stay, you have to admire a guy putting something on the line to help with the tragic devastation in that country.

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OK Le Batard, I get the point of your fictional steroid apology. But did you have to use Cal Ripken in it? Don't Baltimore fans suffer enough? Next time, use Tony Gwynn.

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I should mention the Oriole FanFest coming up this weekend:

Over 60 current, future and former Orioles players and coaches will participate in the team's 2010 FanFest event at the Baltimore Convention Center next Saturday, January 23. Presented by the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2010 FanFest will feature autograph sessions and question and answer forums as part of a day-long celebration of baseball that will also include clinics, exhibits and interactive games. The event will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Holders to begin at 10:00 a.m.

Current and future players scheduled to attend include MATT ALBERS, ROBERT ANDINO, GARRETT ATKINS, MICHAEL AUBREY, JOSH BELL, BRAD BERGESEN, JASON BERKEN, ALBERTO CASTILLO, BRANDON ERBE, MICHAEL GONZALEZ, JEREMY GUTHRIE, DAVID HERNANDEZ, RHYNE HUGHES, JIM JOHNSON, ADAM JONES, NICK MARKAKIS, BRIAN MATUSZ, CLA MEREDITH, KAM MICKOLIO, KEVIN MILLWOOD, LOU MONTANEZ, TROY PATTON, FELIX PIE, NOLAN REIMOLD, BRIAN ROBERTS, DENNIS SARFATE, LUKE SCOTT, BRANDON SNYDER, CHORYE SPOONE, CRAIG TATUM, CHRIS TILLMAN, JUSTIN TURNER, MATT WIETERS and TY WIGGINTON.

Orioles Manager DAVE TREMBLEY and 2010 coaches TERRY CROWLEY, JEFF DATZ, ALAN DUNN, RICK KRANITZ, JUAN SAMUEL and JOHN SHELBY will also participate.

Former Orioles PAUL BLAIR, MIKE BORDICK, DON BUFORD, AL BUMBRY, MIKE CUELLAR, RICK DEMPSEY, KEN DIXON, JOE DURHAM, TODD FROHWIRTH, DICK HALL, RON HANSEN, CHRIS HOILES, BILL HUNTER, SCOTT McGREGOR, JOHN MILLER, TIM NORDBROOK, JOE ORSULAK, JIM PALMER, BOOG POWELL, GARY ROENICKE, LARRY SHEETS, NATE SNELL, BJ SURHOFF and FRED VALENTINE and former coach JIMMY WILLIAMS are all expected to attend.

Rick Dempsey and Larry Sheets in the same room? I might faint if I was there...

Alas, I will be unable to make it living in Atlanta and all. Anyway, I've already been to one FanFest this offseason.

Go out and support the team, it sounds like fun. Say hi to Brandon Oland for me.

2 comments:

Brandon said...

This is Brandon Oland from the Carroll County Times. I'd like to thank you for reading my column. I've received lots of comments, and I appreciate and welcome them all. Good luck with your blog. I hope you find some people, aside from myself, to comment.

Sean said...

I think the biggest thing that Oland overlooks is the fact that trading away those players yielded (mostly) important prospects. Even if Garrett Atkins slugs .200, he'll still be worth his value as a free agent signing/stopgap. Even if Mike Gonzalez isn't an improvement over George Sherril, we got Josh Bell by trading away Sherril and Gonzalez - like Atkins - didn't cost anything more than cash and a roster spot.

Also, Texas isn't exactly pitching starved. Part of the reason they wanted to trade Millwood was so that they could sign Rich Harder, and the other part was to make room for Neftali Feliz.

I believe that Oland is either quite morose or just shortsighted.