Sunday, April 17, 2011

This Week in Chat - 4/17/11

Where we distill all the weekly baseball chats down to their Oriole-centric essence...

Jonah Keri, FanGraphs

12:18 [Comment From YankeesJunkie]
Would you vote for Manny to the HOF?

12:19 Jonah Keri:
Of course I would. Also Bonds, Clemens, McGwire, Sosa.

(I'm a maybe on Palmeiro, because PEDs aside, we need to adjust the offensive records of the era, and Palmeiro to me would be roughly the cut-off.)

12:58 [Comment From Dan]
How for real can Zach Britton be?

1:00 Jonah Keri:
Love him! Speaking of SOM, he was my 1st round pick this offseason. Any time you throw a mid-90s fastball that darts and sinks, you've got a chance.

I do think AL East reality will set in and cause something of a correction. But as a guideline, I like him more than Matusz or anyone else the O's have, long-term.

1:23 [Comment From Big Jgke]
Order of finish in AL east?

1:24 Jonah Keri:
Red Sox

Jerry Crasnick, ESPN

Jim (Valdosta, Ga)
If the Orioles bullpen holds up they have a legit shot at being over .500, correct?

Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Jim, I think the bigger question is how Britton, Tillman and the young kids will fare in the rotation. That AL East is a gauntlet, and it's not the easiest place to learn on the job. But the Orioles are now 40-26 under Buck Showalter, I believe, so they've clearly tapped into something good. I can see them finishing at .500, sure. But that might be the ceiling for this season.

Dave Cameron, FanGraphs

12:14 [Comment From Scott]
Matusz or Holland?

12:14 Dave Cameron:
I'm a big Holland fan, but Matusz.

12:18 [Comment From Bucky Show]
Sure, it's early, but when will people realize the O's have potential? Is a wild card really that unrealistic?

12:18 Dave Cameron:
We put them #15 in the Org Rankings, so I'd say that people have been seeing that potential for a while. But yes, a wild card is unrealistic. They're not ready to win 90+ games.

David Schoenfield, ESPN

Jack (DC)
Is the Orioles' Adam Jones going to breakout this season?

David Schoenfield (1:56 PM)
See Jonny Gomes. I don't think so. Jones is still a wild hacker at the plate. No discipline means too many easy outs for pitchers.

Ben Lindbergh, Baseball Prospectus

Tavis Bregel (Covington, KY):
Thanks Ben. Same question, another pitcher, what's the outlook for Zach Britton?

Ben Lindbergh:
Much better than Harrison's. Britton is the real deal. There will be some struggles--he's walked too many batters not to get burned at some point--but he should be fun to watch, and it's hard to imagine that he'll be sent back to Norfolk. If only I could stop calling him "Chris." Old habits die hard.

TGisriel (Baltimore):
How much of a problem is it for the Orioles to lose Matusz and Hardy to the disabled list?

Ben Lindbergh:
Given that Matusz's injury gave the Orioles an excuse to call up Zach Britton, not a huge one. Hardy's was a tough loss, plunging the O's back into the dark days of "Cesar Izturis, starting shortstop," but he'll be back in six weeks or so.

TGisriel (Baltimore):
Buck Showalter has commented recently on the number of third strike foul tips Matt Wieters has caught for a strikeout. He uses it as evidence that Wieters is a superior defensive catcher. Are you aware of any analysis of catchers and third strike foul tips? Does anyone even keep track of them? Are such plays included in ratings of catchers' defense?

Ben Lindbergh:
Hasn't been analyzed or included in any catcher defense ratings, to my knowledge, but it's an interesting question, and one well worth looking into.

Drungo (SoMd):
Chris Tillman: 88 mph buzzkill like Hughes, or kid working on his mechanics and will see his velocity return?

Ben Lindbergh:
To paraphrase Joe Morgan, I haven't seen him pitch this season, so I'll reserve judgement. I read that the velo drop was at least partially an intentional measure to increase control and movement, but I'm skeptical. Progressive velo decline is the norm for pitchers, unfortunately, but big velo drops are usually a cause for concern.

Keith Law, ESPN

Dan (DC)
I know you've advocated giving Tillman 30 starts, but he's been just hard to watch this year. He's throwing straight 88 mph fastballs. It's BP versus the AL East clubs. Do they send him down until they figure out what happened to his velocity, or do they keep throwing him out there and let him learn how to pitch at that speed?

Klaw (2:15 PM)
If a guy's stuff is down, that's another story. I have to question his health, since I have seen him throw harder than that in the past. At 88, with poor command and no sink, he's throwing BP, which means he'd only post a 3.30 ERA in Petco.

Jeff (B-More)
Hultzen or Jungmann to the O's at 4? Which has a higher ceiling/higher floor?

Klaw (2:18 PM)
I think it would go Hultzen, Bradley, Jungmann. That's also how I'd rank them in value, although Bradley has a little more ceiling than Hultzen, who is pretty close to a finished product right now.

John (Lexington, KY)
I'm not sure if your rankings deal specifically this issue, but for the short term (Next two years), do you choose Britton or Pineda?

Klaw (2:38 PM)
Neutral environment, Britton, easily. But he's in the AL East, and Pineda's in Safeco with a great defense behind him.

SportsHui (Seattle)
Weiters HR yesterday off Burnett made him look like everything we've ever hoped for, even for a brief moment. What kind of sample size does it take to convince scouts that a prospect has finally arrived?

Klaw (3:11 PM)
I think the industry never fully gives up on a guy with that kind of pedigree - once a first-rounder, always a first-rounder. And there's an old scouting cliche that catchers develop later, at least offensively, that I can't figure out how to verify, but find useful in situations like this.

Jim Callis, Baseball America

Steve (Baltimore):
To me this makes too much sense not to be considered- O's trade Jake Arrieta to the Yankees for Montero. The Yankees get a desperately needed young pitcher and the O's stick Montero at 1st and have Miguel Cabrera Jr. Moreover, the Yankees are flush with young catchers and the O's seem to have an abundance of young pitchers. Tell me this wouldn't work.

Jim Callis:
Because Montero is significantly more valuable than Arrieta. Montero (as part of a package) almost landed Cliff Lee last summer. The Yankees will use him in that type of a trade rather than for Arrieta. I do like Arrieta, but the Yankees would never make this deal.

Ken Funck, Baseball Prospectus

Rex Little (Big Bear CA):
Travis Snider and Adam Jones are piling disappointing starts on top of disappointing careers. Do you think either or both will turn it around?

Ken Funck:
Well, KG tells me Adam Jones is better than Willie Mays, so he has to turn it around, right? (Of course, that's just his standard intro into how average players today are better conditioned, better trained, etc. -- of course Willie Mays born at the same time as Adam Jones would be better than Adam Jones).

Seriously, though, I fear Adam Jones is turning into Corey Patterson, and I'm losing my optimism about him. Snider is younger and has a better chance of turning things around.

Frankie Piliere, FanGraphs

12:14 [Comment From Matt Wieters]
What's my problem?

12:15 Frankie Piliere:
Inexperience, and that most catchers take more time to develop on the job in the majors. You'll be fine.

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