Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Training Updates: Week 2

The end of the second week of spring training games is upon us, so lets see how these position battles are shaking out.

Before the season I listed 5 things to watch:

1. Pie versus Reimold - Felix Pie is hitting .250/.250/.350 still with just the two doubles over 20 plate appearances and, characteristically, no strikeouts or walks. Nolan Reimold is hitting .308/.471/.577 with 2 homers, 7 walks and 5 strikeouts over 33 plate appearances. Reimold is not only outhitting Pie by a large margin, he's getting a longer look this spring. With Derrek Lee's injury, they may both make the Opening Day roster, at least for a while.

2. Chris Tillman versus Jake Arrieta - Arreita has a 3.60 ERA, Tillman has a 7.20 ERA. However, Tillman's peripherals are better (0 HR, 4 K, 1BB) than Arrieta's (1 HR, 2 K, 2 BB) I haven;t seen either of them to see how hard one or the other is getting hit. Zach Britton has been moved up to starter with Tillman working in relief for today's game. A sign of things to come? At the moment, it does not look good for Tillman.

3. Brian Roberts Rebound - Sidelined with neck spasms early, now he is sidelined with back spasms. Not good.

4. The Battle for the Backup Backstop - Craig Tatum got up off the mat and is hitting .300/.333/.350 after last night's game. However, Tatum only has 21 plate appearances. Jake Fox has 30 and has posted a line of .367/.367/.767 with three homers and three doubles. Fox is getting the longer looks this spring and is hitting very well. And he has not embarrassed himself behind the plate. Fox has the edge.

5. Who's the Backup Middle Infielder? - None of the candidates has hit. Cesar Izturis has been hurt but is hitting .250/.250/.357 so far and probably has the job by default at this point.

Further developments: Koji Uehara threw on flat ground yesterday...Some beat writers believe that Ryan Drese has pitched well enough this spring to insert himself into the competition for the 5th starter. Drese has not pitched in the majors since 2006 or in affiliated ball since 2008...I saw Jeremy Accardo for the first time last night. He's getting groundball, throwing strikes and has yet to allow a run this spring. If he pans out, kudos to the Oriole scouting team for rescuing him from the Toronto farm system he has been buried in for the last two seasons...Ryan Adams might be a better prospect than I thought. He has decent power and a good approach at the plate. His fielding needs some work but if he's passable, the bat might play. He should get to (if not starts in) AAA at age 24 this season. I'll be curious to see how he does...Top prospect Zach Britton is coming up on the outside in the rotation competition. He has given up no earned runs and his peripherals and ground ball rates look great...Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario has been wild and has a 9.00 ERA. The team can arrange a trade for him with the Brewers but he looks like a wasted pick at this point...Meanwhile, RHP Pedro Beato has a 1.80 ERA for the Mets but the peripherals are not so good for him. RHP Pat Egan has a 0.00 ERA but only two appearances for the Brewers. Both may be offered back to Baltimore or in Egan's case, he could be swapped for Adrian Rosario.

5 comments:

The Oriole Way said...

I have to say, it would be a real shame if Pie doesn't make the team and gets picked up by another club when exposed to waivers just so the Orioles can let Vlad Guerrero DH 140 times (at $8m)this year.

Jeff said...

Heath, call me crazy but, why don't the O's just let Tillman pitch in AAA until he FORCES a move. He's only 22, and how many 22 year olds are ready to pitch in the majors. I know he's a phenomenal talent, but give him some time.

It's like Yankees fans saying Banuelos should be their #4 guy this year. Just relax and be patient.

Heath said...

Jeff - The Banuelos comparison is a good juxtaposition actually. Banuelos has 3 starts above high-A ball. Tillman has 39 starts at AAA over the past two seasons in addition to his major league work. He needs to pitch in Baltimore if he's going to get better.

Oriole Way - Pie is probably no better than a decent 4th outfielder but that's not without some value. You know that I don't understand the Lee and Guerrero signing. But with Lee still sidelined, it could be a moot point, at least early.

Jeff said...

That's true. I guess I would just much rather have him starting at Norfolk than relieving in Baltimore.

Heath said...

Chris Tillman in AAA: 19-13, 3/06 ERA. 218 IP, 193 SO, 56 BB, 15 HR.

I'm not sure what else he needs to prove in AAA. I could make the case for Arrieta to go back to Norfolk but not Tillman.