Sunday, February 22, 2009

Orioles Training Camp Round-Up

Some early training camp info. (thanks to Roch Kubatko for the great coverage):
  • Brandon Snyder may see some time at third-base. His bat should play a lot better there, so it'll be to his advantage if he can handle the position. Given his play the last couple of years, having Billy Rowell at third in the minors doesn't seem like quite as big of an impediment now.

  • David Pauley has four pitches; a sinker, slider, curve, and change-up. Having another guy who can mix things up will be nice - if he makes the team. And even if he doesn't, it was still a worthwhile trade.

  • Ryan Freel is taking groundballs at short in an effort to see if he could be the back-up there. Over at Tom Tango's Fans Scouting Reports from 2008, Freel has two shortstops (Brendan Ryan & Ryan Theriot - weird coincidence that they all have "Ryan" in their name) and a kinda shortstop (Jerry Hairston Jr.) in his most similar players. I think he'd be OK to put out there in the late innings if Izturis is pinch-hit for, but I wouldn't start him there too often unless a fly-ball pitcher was on the mound.

  • Ty Wigginton won't be taking grounders at short. He will be playing a lot against left-handed pitchers. Duh.

  • Gregg Zaun was a great signing. His contract will be worth it for his on-the-field contributions, but everything I've read indicates that he's putting a lot of time and effort into being a leader and mentor for the younger players. And this was nice to hear about pitching prospects - "be focused on the process and not the immediate gratification."

  • Felix Pie and Alfredo Simon aren't in camp yet due to Visa problems. It always surprises me when players don't get this type of thing worked in advance. Pie is going to get every chance to show he can play, but this still doesn't really look good. Simon is fighting for a roster spot, but I never expected him to make it anyway.

  • Chris Ray throws hard with movement. He'll be nice to have at the back end of the pen.
  • Jim Hoey throws hard without movement (or that much control). He's getting up there in years for a prospect, and his chances look even worse given the number of other pitchers in camp. He probably wouldn't even be one of the first guys called up from the minors in case of injury.

  • Everyone is in the best shape of their lives. Except Aubrey Huff, who's repeating last year's off-season of not picking up a bat or doing much working out. If he has another huge year, I wonder if other players will stop working so hard over the winter. "I watched a lot of TV and forgot which direction to run around the bases - I'm ready for a big year."

  • Scott Moore passed through waivers, but has a big hill to climb to win a spot as a utility player on the team. I like Moore's versatility and offensive potential, so I hope he was some success in Triple-A and gets another look later in the year.

  • Rich Hill is making progress, but still doesn't look like an effective major league pitcher. There still a lot of time though, and a Rich Hill circa 2007 would be a huge boost to the rotation.

  • Not exactly news, but Jake Arrietta has a very good fastball. Command, movement, and velocity.
  • Chroye Spoone is hurt again. After his 2007 season, I was expecting big things from Spoone in '08 - I'm a big fan of the power sinker. He got injured though, and was less than effective when on the mound. It's nice that the team doesn't need to rely on him as one of their best pitching prospects, but I'm still holding out hope that he can slot in behind the Big Three eventually.

  • Mike Cuellar is in camp working with the pitchers, which is pretty cool. He's already helped Jamie Walker with his change-up.
  • 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.

  • Koji Uehara has control of a bunch of pitches, and seems to be acclimating himself well in his new locale. He sounds like jokester, but he's also serious about learning his teammates names and is teaching them a new Japanese word everyday.

  • Matt Wieters seems to have a level head on his shoulders, and he's been launching the ball in batting practice.

  • Luke Scott would prefer not to DH exclusively, but he'll do whatever he needs to to help the team. And he came to camp with a big beard.

43 more days until Opening Day.

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