Monday, August 2, 2010

The Norfolk Shuffle

Saw this in the Baltimore Sun's Orioles Insider blog from Jeff Zrebiec this morning:

It was pretty obvious watching Josh Bell the past two games that the young third baseman is really pressing in an effort to make a good impression. He was tentative defensively and too anxious offensively, and he’s clearly putting a lot of pressure on himself. After Sunday’s game, in which he hit into a double play with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth, Bell sat in front of his locker with his head down. Bell has made a really good impression in the clubhouse because he listens and observes, keeps largely to himself and goes about his business. The veterans have noticed. Now, hopefully they can get him to relax and not play every night like it’s a tryout and he needs to prove his status as the everyday third baseman.

Gee, I wonder why Bell might feel like every game is a tryout?

You may as well paint Hwy. 17 orange and black with all the movement between Baltimore and Norfolk with young players this season. Bell has made the trip 5 times in a little over a month all by himself. Brad Bergesen has made 4 trips. Chris Tillman has made 6.

My gut has told me that yanking these guys back and forth due to performance has to be messing with their confidence a bit. Bell's mindset certainly supports that theory. I mean, if you can't start for the Orioles, how good are you really? It's got to be messing with these guys' heads, even if they are just reacting to what happens to their teammates.

You could make the argument that Bell wasn't totally ready for the callup. (Although, on a team as brutally bad as Baltimore, the argument could be made that you aren't worried about "wasting:" AB's on a kid who may struggle's not going to matter in the standings.) But Tillman? He's done everything he needs to in AAA. The O's sent the kid down to work on a pitch at the beginning of the season. Fine. But he's been jerked around ever since. At some point, you have to let the guy take his lumps and try to get better. Again, it's not as if Baltimore will be frittering away a playoff run with Tillman on the mound.

The lack of development from the prospects at the Major League level has been very disturbing. Hopefully, with Buck Showalter at the helm, the kids will be given instruction and patience instead of quick hooks, shifting roles and Greyhound ticket to Harbor Park.


Steve G. said...

The O's should remember their own history - Wasn't Earl Weaver a big proponent of just giving the guy the job for the year, half the year, and making sure he knew it was his no matter? Just leave Tillman and Bell in the rotation and lineup respectively, and let them take their lumps.

Heath said...

I agree. I doubt that Showalter will have such a quick hook, has said that players need to know their roles and he has a history of picking a lineup and sticking with it.