Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Delmarva Shorebirds @ Greensboro Grasshoppers – 4/12/2010, Part 2

More impressions of the Shorebirds form the game in Greensboro on 4/12...

LHP Tony Butler - Acquired in trade, 2007

Butler was the 5th guy acquired from Seattle for Erik Bedard. while George Sherrill, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and Kam Mickolio have all contributed to major league club, Butler has become the forgotten man. He had surgery on his labrum and missed most of the 2009 season. He is still just 22 but is back in low-A trying to work his way back to prospect status.

Butler had a rough first inning, struggling with his control but his defense did him no favors. All four runs he gave up were unearned but make no mistake, he did not pitch well that first inning. His fastball was up, he had trouble throwing his breaking ball for strikes and labored through 36 pitches to get out of the inning. However, he retired the last 10 batters he faced and only had to throw 33 pitches to get through the next three innings. (He was lifted after the 4th, I think the starters are on a pitch count early in the season.)

His fastball topped out at 86 but I don't buy that. the radar gun setup was a little cheesy on only one pitcher all night broke 90 mph. My guess is that their gun was reading 2 mph slow on average. Back when he was considered a top prospect in the Seattle system, his fastball was hitting 88-91 mph and 88 mph seemd to be what he topped out at in Greenboro (by my estimation). Supposedly, he throws a fastball, a change and a curve but his breaking ball looked more like a slider to me and he slipped over a more traditional looking curveball a couple of times. Of course, his "slider" was in there at 76 mph which seems to slow to be a slider...but what do I know? I'm not a scout.
Regardless of what you call it, his breaking ball was effective and he seemed to be pitching "backwards" at times, working of his breaking pitches and throwing the fastball to keep the hitters honest.

It would be hard to see Butler as much more than a relief prospect at this point but you never know. If he builds on this performance, his stuff, combined with the polish that he shows on the mound, could allow him to remain a starter through the high minors. And if he ever regains that low-90's fastball to go with the breaking stuff, he might just establish himself as a potential starter again.

C Justin Dalles -Drafted 2009, 6th Round

I was disappointed when I saw that C Michael Ohlman (2009 Draft, 11th round) would not play in either game I was going to attend this weekend. Not anymore. I got to see Justin Dalles play and now I am a fan.

I already told you about the home run he hit on Saturday in Greenville, the longest homer I've ever seen hit in the minors (maybe ever). On Monday, he went 2-3 with a double and a walk. On top of that, he picked a runner off at first, looked good behind the plate and acted as a vocal leader on the field. He has a good approach at the plate and is showing good power, even when he misses (like the long fly ball he hit early in Monday's game that was just a couple feet foul of being a homer).

Catcher was a desolate position in the Oriole system for years. No longer. Add Justin Dalles to the talent pool.

2B Tyler Kelly - 2009, 13th Round

Kelly made a couple of nice plays at second on Monday night, including running down a pop fly way out by the right field foul line. He's 21 and doesn't show a lot of power but looks like he's a good fielder, a good baserunner and works the count well. If he develops the ability to take a walk, he already looks to be a good candidate for a utility infielder down the line.

SS Garabez Rosa - 2006, International Free Agent

20-year-old Rosa, who is fairly slow of foot on the basepaths but is quick footed in the field, showed soft hands and an above average arm for low-A. Rosa went 3-4 with a couple doubles on Monday but thus far has been overmatched at the plate during his proessional career. More nights like this, flashing gap power, and he may evolve into a utility guy himself and maybe more. His youth leaves more room for improvement and he is the #27 prospect in the Orioles system so the scouts like the raw talent.

3B Levi Carolus - 2004, International Free Agent

Carolus caught my eye in the stat sheets for Aberdeen last year when he hit .320. He has shown some modest power and, outside of his lack of walks, looked like he could be an interesting guy to watch at third base for Delmarva. However, in addition to his hack-happy ways at the plate, he did not look good in the field either. His reactions seemd slow compared to his peers, often not even coming close to making the play on balls down the line.

I have my doubts that he'll be able to stick at third at higher levels, which takes away a bunch of his potential value. He needs to improve his glove or plate discipline dramatically this season if he hopes to be more than minor league filler.

OF Brian Conley - 2008, 17th Round

Conley is already 24 and thus far, has shown little at the plate except the abilty to draw walks. However, he already has 3 extra base hits in 14 ABs after having 9 extra base hits all of last season. If he keeps flashing some power in Delmarva and Frederick in 2010, (that's a big if) he might have something.

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