Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Hennessey Being Shelved?

"Brad Hennessey has apparently impressed Dave Trembley with his control. All I have to say is; 3.35 BB/9 in 2008 and 3.67 BB/9 career." - Me, from the Training Camp Round-Up post.

Hennessey started today's game against the Mets. A walk and a single in the first, with only half of his pitches going for strikes. Two walks and a single in the second, before being removed due to an elbow injury. Maybe his control was off because he was hurt. Or maybe he has merely OK control, as evidenced by his walk rates every year of his career.

I think it's a combination of the two, but anyone expecting Hennessey to be the next Jeremy Guthrie (#1 draft-pick doesn't live up to his potantial but then finds himself with the O's and becomes a quality starter) is going to be dissappointed. The two guys aren't that similar, though I thought this was interesting (guess from where):

They're both fastball/slider/change-up pitchers, but Guhtrie throws harder (93 vs. 89) and is just better in pretty much every way (and his pre-2007 data points where in much fewer innings than Hennessey's). That doesn't mean Hennessey can't be a valuable member of the 2009 pitching staff - they do need someone to pitch those innings out of the #5 rotation slot or as a longman from the pen. If he's healthy; my immediate thought when I heard forearm tightness + elbow pain was Tommy John surgery. They're saying it's not serious, so we'll see what happens.

The O's lost the game, by the way, 9-3. Chris Waters relieved Hennessey and allowed a couple of the runners to score. Another rotation candidate - David Pauley - only managed to record one out while giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and a walk. Ross Wolf (who?) was able to get some outs without letting any runners cross the plate. Brian Bass got some outs but gave up a pair of runs. Ryan Keefer (I didn't know he was still with the team) had a 1-2-3 inning, and Jim Miller finished it out with a perfect ninth. The offense was mediocre and plagued by poor baserunning (I think we saw enough of this last year). At least it sounds like the defense is flashing some leather, with diving catches in the outfield by Adam Jones, Justin Christian and Nolan Reimold, and some nice plays by Scott Moore at third. It's like night and day compared to yesterday's game - luckily those pitchers are the ones the O's are counting on to be competitive in the future, and today's pitchers are just holding down the fort.

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