Baltimore Orioles Top 10 Prospects
By Will Lingo
Position: Pitcher. Age: 24. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 180. B-T: L-L. Drafted: Norwalk (Conn.) CC, 1999 (6th round). Signed by: Jim Howard.
Background: How obscure is Erik Bedards hometown? It doesnt even exist. Noted in the Orioles media guide as hailing from Naum, Ontario, Bedard is actually from Navan, a small farming community just east of Ottawa thats renowned for its vegetables. Bedard didnt start playing baseball until he was 13, his high school did not have a team, and he never made a youth traveling squad. He walked on at Norwalk (Conn.) CC as a tall, skinny guy who could throw a curveball. He ate a lot and worked out a lot, adding strength and velocity, and got noticed at the 1999 Junior College Division III World Series. After the Orioles signed Bedard, he pitched well at every stop and was at his best in 2002, dominating at Double-A Bowie. After nearly making the big league club out of spring training, he made his major league debut April 17, becoming the 200th Canadian big leaguer. His dream season came to a sudden end June 26 when he blew out his arm in a game against Akron after he exceeded his mandated pitch count. Baysox manager Dave Cash and pitching coach Tom Burgmeier were reassigned shortly thereafter. Bedard tried rest but had Tommy John surgery in September when the pain persisted.
Strengths: When healthy, Bedard has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. His fastball sits at 92 mph, and his snappy curveball is his best pitch. It was how he got hitters out as a youngster, when he was considered a runt. He pitches well to both sides of the plate and shows no fear of hitters. The first big leaguer he faced was the Yankees Jason Giambi, and though Giambi got a hit, Bedard broke his bat. His changeup is solid and he throws all of his pitches for strikes.
Weaknesses: After shoulder problems bothered him in 2001, Bedard faces a much bigger challenge. He is unlikely to get back on a mound in the 2003 season. If his arm is sound, Bedard will need more experience in how to get better hitters out.
The Future: Bedard was on a path toward starting 2003 in the Baltimore rotation but now is on the list of Orioles pitching casualties. While Tommy John surgery shouldnt threaten his career, it does significantly alter his timetable. If everything goes well, hell be back in 2004.
Copyright 2002 Baseball America. All rights reserved.|
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.