Thursday, June 10, 2010

Oriole Arms: The Next Wave

With the debut of Jake Arrieta tonight, the most recent wave of top young arms are all in Baltimore. Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz and Arrieta lead the way and, to a lesser extent, Brad Bergesen and David Hernandez are now in Baltimore to stay.

But there's still more reason to be optimistic about the Orioles rotation of the future. There are still quality arms in the minor leagues and they should be coming to Baltimore as soon as 2011-2013.

Here are some highlights:

Zach Britton - 3rd Rd, 2006

             IP    K   BB   HR   ERA   WHIP
Britton AA  67.0  49   23    4  2.96   1.29

The 22-year-old lefty is probably the top prospect left in the minors and could be in Baltimore as soon as 2011. He has picked up where he left off in 2009 for Frederick by inducing groundballs at a 65.7% rate in AA Bowie. His K rate has dropped but then so has the walk rate. A lefty sinkerballer in orange and black? We could use him against the Yankees right now.

Tim Bascom - 4th Rd, 2007

              IP    K   BB   HR   ERA   WHIP
Bascom - AA  63.0  41   10    6  3.43   1.28

While Arrieta makes his MLB debut, Bascom makes his AAA debut for Norfolk tonight. The 25-year-old righty is kind of a flyball pitcher but the split is not extreme. He has improved his control a lot this season and I suppose that will be the factor that decides how successful he will be going forward. Bascom could force his way to Baltimore in mid-summer 2011.

Cole McCurry - 43rd Rd, 2007
Nathan Nery - 18th Rd, 2006
Richard Zagone - 6th Rd, 2008

               IP    K   BB   HR   ERA   WHIP
McCurry - A+  48.2  48   18    6  3.51   1.29
Nery - A+     66.1  38   12    8  3.53   1.14
Zagone - A+   64.1  45   20    4  3.36   1.27

There are an interesting trio of lefties having success in Frederick this season. They are all between 23 and 24 years old, none were high draft picks and none were considered top prospects coming in to this season.

McCurry has the best stuff as he is striking out nearly a batter per inning. Both Nery and Zagone get by with inducing grounders and (especially Nery) limiting the free passes.

At least one of these guys should be up in Bowie pretty soon and you have to think that one of these three emerges as a serious prospect by year's end.

Ryan Berry - 9th Rd, 2009

               IP    K   BB   HR   ERA   WHIP
Berry - A/A+  65.1  57   17    6  3.17   1.27

Berry was on his way to being a first round selection in 2009 when he hurt his shoulder during his senior season at Rice. Berry has dominated the lower levels and looks to move quickly through the organization. Still just 21, I wouldn't be surprised if he's pitching in Bowie by season's end and be in Baltimore by 2013.

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