Baltimore Orioles: Chat
Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2009.
Welcome to another BA prospect chat. It
has been snowing here in North Carolina today and we're wrapping up the
Prospect Handbook, so things are crazy here. But we'll try to keep
things together long enough to talk O's prospects for a little while.
So let's go...
John (Acworth,GA): What did scouts think of Pedro Florimon? Were you surprised the O's put him on their 40 man roster?
Florimon may rank as the most improved
player in the Orioles system. He has outstanding defensive tools and
started to look better at the plate last season as well. He hit .310 in
the first two months of the season and .312 in August, but fell back
into bad habits in June and July to drag his numbers down. With his
tools and him showing signs of figuring it out, it makes sense for him
to get added to the 40-man. If he puts together another strong season
he could start figuring into the big league picture.
Tim (MD): How close was Matt Angle to breaking the top ten? Where do you see his long term potential?
I like Angle in the 11-30 range but don't
see him as a top 10 guy because I just don't know how much offense he's
going to produce. His defense is good enough to play in the big leagues
now, but for me he's going to be a reserve who will offer speed and
Tom (San Diego): Why is Brad Bergeson the
forgotten pitcher? Before he got hit in the leg he was making a case
for rookie of the year. Why does BA seem to go with unproven minor
leaguers instead of guys that have shown success at the MLB level and
still very young
Because with 123 major league innings he's
no longer eligible for our prospect lists. Same goes for Jason Berken,
David Hernandez and Chris Tillman. All four players were among our
Orioles top 18 last year.
Steve (Chicago): Hey Will, It looks like Luis
Lebron and Wilfrido Perez have a shot at making the team this year.
What do you know about these two???
Perez to me is just going to be a
situational lefty. He missed a lot of time last season because he had
bone chips removed from his elbow. Lebron just missed the top 10 after
returning from an injury in 2008 and putting up great results in 2009.
With his plus fastball and slider, he has the stuff to work at the back
of a big league bullpen if he can stay healthy and throw strikes. His
.137 opponent average ranked second among all minor league relievers
last year, and his 13.6 strikeouts per nine innings ranked fifth.
Avon (Baltimore): With Matt Wieters entrenched
in Baltimore for the future, what does the future hold for Caleb
Joseph? A future backup C? Trade bait? Position switch?
It's too early to worry about those kinds
of questions. I think Joseph profiles as a major league regular for
sure—or else I wouldn't have ranked him in the top 10—but he has a
lot of development time ahead before the Orioles have to worry about
how to use him and Wieters.
Jon (Peoria): Hi Will: What can be made of the
big difference between Troy Patton's season at Bowie and Norfolk? What
is his profile? Also, where does Tim Bascom rank among O's prospects?
People thought Patton wore down a bit in
his first season back from his shoulder injury, and his command also
wasn't sharp enough to get Triple-A hitters out at Norfolk. He still
profiles as a back of the rotation starter as long as he gets his
command completely back because he has never been a big velo guy.
Bascom is more of a depth pitcher, particularly in a system with as
many arms as the Orioles have now.
Nick (Baltimore): If Ryan Berry breaks the
Rice injury curse, do you expect him to make next years list? What can
we expect from a healthy Ryan Berry or hope for in the future? Thanks!
Aside from the injury questions, which as
you show in your question will always come up with Rice pitchers,
Berry's herky-jerky delivery also concerns some people. He'll work as a
starter in 2010, but I think he'll end up as more of a middle reliever.
Ryan H. (Abingdon, MD): With the Orioles
graduating so much talent to the big leagues in 2009, how far did they
slide in the 2010 organizational rankings? If they aren't finished yet,
can you give us a ballpark?
We'll get to work on those rankings next
week, but I would guess that the Orioles would rate toward the high end
of the middle of the pack. There are always five to eight systems that
stand out as particularly strong and a similar number that are
obviously weak, and beyond that that the systems in the middle group
are very close. The Orioles have strong pitching talent and a good
depth of arms, but they're a little short of position players.
amy (boston): Ladies first! How certain are
you that Erbe will move to the 'pen? Does he have closer stuff for sure
or will he most likely top off as a set up guy?
Sorry you weren't first Amy, but glad to
get to your question. I don't think it's certain that Erbe will move to
the pen, and the Orioles won't make that move until they have to, but
if you ask me my gut feel then I do think he will end up as a reliever.
I don't think we can ever say with certainty that a guy will be a
closer until we see him pitch in the late innings in the big leagues,
but he as the pure stuff that would allow him to fill that role.
Obviously it would be safer to just project him as a set-up guy.
Teddy (Georgia): I was wondering what your
thoughts are on Xavier Avery? Do you see him in High A this season? I
understand he is a raw ahtlete and I wonder if he can develop those
athletic skills he has. What are your thoughts?
I like Xavier Avery a lot, but he just
hasn't performed well enough to justify a spot in the top 10 yet. The
fact that he held his own in low A in his first full season was a good
sign, but he still needs to refine his hitting to justify the Carl
Crawford and Kenny Lofton comparisons he gets. You'll find him in the
10-15 range in the Prospect Handbook.
John (Acworth,GA): Let me take a guess at
numbers 11-15:Brandon Waring, L. J. Hoes, Luis Lebron, Jesse Beal and
Xavier Avery. How close did I come?
Fun game, John! You got just two guys
right, and you could probably figure out from previous answers that
those players are Lebron and Avery. Waring and Hoes are down the list a
little bit more, and Beal further back still. His velocity ranged from
84-92 last year and in an organization with so much pitching it was
easy to find guys to put ahead of him. Which is a great sign for the
Orioles, by the way, because Beal is definitely not a stiff.
Kevin (DC): What does a first year like Greg
Miclat had for Delmarva (.228 with 25 errors) mean for a college level
5th round pick like him? Will he be automatically promoted to the next
level or will he have to repeat Delmarva?
I think Orioles officials know Miclat can
play much better than he did last season, and he really didn't swing
the bat well in his first full season. But he's one of the smartest
players in the organization and has a chance to be a big leaguer just
because of his intangibles. He's more of a utility player than a
regular. I would expect the Orioles to advance him to Frederick in
spite of his poor performance last year, but it may depend on how he
looks in spring training.
MJ (Valpo): So, has Bill(y) Rowell finally
bottomed-out within the O's organization? How disappointed is the front
office with their selection of him? And is there any glimpse of hope
for him to turn things around, and get back to his once prominent
A lot of Billy Rowell questions, as you
might expect given the disappointing performances he's given since he
was the ninth overall pick in 2006. He slides way down the Orioles list
this year after another uninspiring season and a move to the outfield.
I think it's clear that Rowell, for whatever reason, just isn't as good
as scouts thought when he was coming out of high school. If you're
looking for glimmers of hope, it would be that he has finally struggled
so much that he has become more receptive to taking instruction and
making adjustments offensively. Whether that will result in improved
performance, we'll have to see. I would guess the Orioles will move him
up to Double-A in 2010 just to give him a change of scenery from
Jed (Bmore): I see that you guys projected
Tillman to be the No. 1 guy in 2013...from what I saw last year, I feel
like Matusz will be the No. 1 guy...granted, I'm not a scout so why do
you guys think Tillman will be better than Matusz? Or was it just a
coin flip because they are both very good?
I think it is a very close call, but
Tillman has done more at a younger age and his stuff is just a shade
better. Matusz's tremendous feel for pitching could eventually move him
ahead of Tillman, though. Nice problem to have.
@jpstarkey (Manchester, CT): How close was Brandon Waring to making the top 10, and why didn't he? Lots of K's? Age for his level?
Waring is in the 11-20 range, and he
definitely needs to improve his pitch selection and understand game
situations and counts better to avoid being an all-or-nothing hitter. I
also don't think he can play third base in the big leagues. If he can't
handle advanced pitching better, he'll end up as a power bat off the
LOREN NODOLF (Fillmore,CA): Who is coming up in the system to handle ss/2b in the future?
At shortstop I think Givens could be the
long-term answer, while Pedro Florimon could help sooner if he puts
together a strong year in Double-A. L.J. Hoes is the top second-base
prospect in the organization, but he's still a few years away and needs
a lot of repetitions on both offense and defense to refine his package.
A second baseman who could emerge in 2010 if he stays healthy is Ryan
Ben (Leland Grove): Are the Orioles open to letting Givens pitch, or are those days over?
That's certainly not part of the plan, though it's always in his back pocket if he doesn't pan out as a position player.
hoosiers (Hangout North): Can you speak to the
overall depth in the system? BA has hinted the system lacks depth for a
few years, but after graduating a lot of people last year, there seem
to be nuggets of talent going 25+ deep.
Having done this list for a while now, I
would say the depth is good, particularly with the pitching. Writing up
the players at the back of the top 30 list has sometimes been painful
in past years, but there were no retreads this year and probably eight
to 10 guys who didn't make the top 30 who you could have put in there
with no problem.
jacob (florida): where will josh bell rank in the 2010 top 100?
That's a good question, and even harder to
figure out than guessing where the Orioles will finish in our org
rankings until we actually start putting together the lists. I would
guess in the 25-50 range.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Two
players who made absolute U turns in their careers were Pedro Florimon
and Rob Widlansky. At Delmarva they were sort of anemic in 2008. Then
in 2009 they go to Frederick and one leads the league in batting and
the other becomes an all star shortstop. Any thouhgts on these super
turn arounds? Who gets to the majors first?
Florimon was addressed earlier, but to me
Widlansky is still a guy who will probably top out at Triple-A. He has
the bat to stick around for a long time, though.
Mark (NC): Do you Cole McCurry as a prospect
or organizational guy after a solid year at Delmarva which included 13
k's in a seven inning game (first game of doubleheader) ?
More of an organizational guy, crafty
lefthander with below-average stuff, a profile that often succeeds
against lower-level hitters but runs into a brick wall at the higher
levels. He's in the 86-88 mph range with a curveball and changeup.
Ryan H. (Abingdon, MD): I think the person who
asked about Bergesen was referring to the fact that he wasn't included
in the 2013 projected rotation. I know all those guys have higher
ceilings than Bergesen. The only question I would have towards that is
how quickly do you see Hobgood moving? I certainly wouldn't have any
problems if the 2013 season found Bergesen in the back of the rotation
with Hobgood in Triple-A.
Ah, you're probably right. Sorry about
that. Yes, as we talk about often during these chats, the future
lineups can be problematic. Barring any setbacks in his development, I
would think Hobgood would be in the big leagues by 2013, so that's why
pitchers like Bergesen get pushed off the future rotation. But again,
these would be great problems for the Orioles to have.
Ryan H. (Abingdon, MD): Were would have
slotted Steve Johnson in the O's rankings if he hadn't been selected in
the Rule 5 draft? How do you think he'll do for the Giants?
Johnson doesn't do that much for me and
didn't generate a lot of buzz when putting together the Orioles list,
so he probably would have been in the 21-30 range. It doesn't seem like
he has a clear shot to a job with the Giants and sounds like they took
him as an extra arm to look at in spring training as much as anything,
so I wouldn't be surprised at all if he ends up back with the Orioles.
I think he'll end up as a middle reliever.
JAYPERS (IL): Will Cameron Coffey be worth the exorbitant price he ended up fetching, in your estimation? Did he make your 30?
Jaypers also asked about the Orioles
taking Hobgood in the first round, so I figured I would kill two birds
with one stone. We were probably a little light on Hobgood in our
predraft rankings, but I think the Orioles also liked him more than
some other teams. What you can see later in their draft is that signing
Hobgood for slot allowed them to spend money in other places, such as
Coffey in the 22nd round. It's impossible to know yet if he was worth
the money, since he has a short track record of throwing in the mid-90s
and will be coming off Tommy John surgery. But he did make the top
30—the top 20, even—so you can get the full rundown there.
Karl of Delaware (Georgetown, Delaware): Oriole catching prospects:
#1 Caleb Joseph
Fill in the blanks. Dalles? Ohlman? Somebody else?
I believe we have Joseph, then Ohlman,
then Dalles on the ol' depth chart. But I have serious questions about
Ohlman being able to stay behind the plate.
Great questions, and I hate to run so
quickly, but if I don't you won't get your Prospect Handbook on time.
Thanks to everyone, happy holidays and tune in next week as we continue
to work our way through the AL East.