Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Crystal Ball: Penn and Loewen

A look at the Orioles’ true “Young Guns” (they are 23 and 22 respectively, Cabrera and Bedard are 26 and 28 now) is a bit difficult given the small amount of time both have logged in the majors. Penn’s peripherals in the minors are better than Loewen’s but Loewen had much more success during his opportunities in the bigs.

Loewen has always been able to strike out the opposition, posting marks of 8+ per 9 at every level save the majors where he posted a 7.85 K/9 which is still not too shabby. The problem is give out too many walks and allow too many baserunners. He has never had a full season with a WHIP under 1.45 at any level. He has walked an average of 5 BB/9 over his minor league career. His K/BB ratio over the last two months of the season was 2 to 1 but gave up more than 8 hits per 9IP. While the overall peripherals are troubling, he is trending up so maybe the light is going on.

While Loewen has duplicated his peripherals in the majors, Penn hasn’t even come close. He struck out 8+ and walked only 3 per 9 in his minor league. He posted a WHIP of 1.12 while dominating AAA hitting over 14 starts last year. He has been shelled in every appearance for the big club however. It may be that he just has a longer learning curve and needs seasoning at the major league level but some guys never translate that AAA success into getting out major league hitters.

Loewen should improve into a decent enough 4th or 5th starter this year. He would be better than any other 5th starter the O’s trotted out last year even if he make no advances at all.

Penn may start out in the bullpen and I don’t think sending him back to AAA will necessarily help him as much as testing his mettle against big league hitters, even in relief.

For these guys, the future is now!

(cheesy enough for you?)

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