Manager Sam Perlozzo needs to get tough

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Wednesday 28 March 2007 at 11:31 pm

Perlozzo is known as a pretty nice guy.   Well, nice guys finish last so it’s time for him to get tough because the Orioles have been losing for a long time.  Perlozzo has a career record of 93-124 (.429) and he will need to do better than that if he wants to continue managing in the major leagues.

The Orioles trade OF Cory Keylor to the Red Sox for catcher Alberto Castillo

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by chinmusic on Tuesday 27 March 2007 at 10:18 pm

The Orioles weren’t comfortable with the catchers in their minor league system so they decided to trade for Castillo.  They figured Keylor was 27 years old and had never played above AA ball so they didn’t have high hopes for him. Castillo will likely start the season in AAA and provide insurance for the Orioles in case one of the major league catchers get hurt.  Castillo played in AAA ball last season and he hit .268 with no homers, 31 RBIs and a .691 OPS.  Castillo has 407 games of major league experience and he has a career batting average of .222 with a .591 OPS.

The Baltimore Orioles re-load in the bullpen for 2007

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Monday 26 March 2007 at 11:13 am

The Orioles knew that they had to re-build the bullpen in front of closer Chris Ray for the 2007 season and they got their wallet out.  They have signed Danys Baez, Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker and Scott Williamson to fortify one of their weaknesses from the 2006 season.  The closer will be 25 year old righty Chris Ray.  Ray was 4-4 with 33 saves, a 2.73 ERA and a 1.09 WHIP in 61 games in 2006.  Ray has nasty stuff as batters only hit .193 against him last season and he whiffed 51 batters in 66 innings.  Ray has two weaknesses that he needs to work on to be completely dominant.  He allowed lefthanded batters to whack 8 homers in only 114 at bats against him and he walked 27 batters in 66 innings.  Look for Ray to improve in those areas as he will save 35-40 games with an ERA in the low 2’s in 2007.

29 year old righty Danys Baez was signed on to pitch the 8th inning for the Orioles this season and to provide insurance in case Ray has an off-season or gets injured.  Baez had an off-season last year as he was 5-6 with a 4.53 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, had 12 holds and 9 saves for the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers.  Look for Baez to improve as he returns to the American League which is where he pitched in the first five seasons of his career and he had more success there.  Look for Baez to do a good job setting up for the Orioles in 2007.

32 year old side-winding righty Chad Bradford has been signed out by the Orioles to help bridge the gap from the starting pitcher to Baez and Ray.  He was 4-2 with 10 holds, a 2.90 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP in 70 games for the New York Mets last year.  Batters hit .254 against Bradford last season but he throws strikes (only 13 walks) and keeps the ball down (only allowed 1 homer) in 62 innings last year.  Bradford will do a good job for the O’s in 2007.

35 year old lefty Jamie Walker was signed on to be the lefty specialist in the O’s bullpen and he’s a good pitcher.  He was 0-1 with 11 holds and a 2.81 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP in 2006 for the defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers.  Walker is another pitcher on the Orioles with great control as he only walked 8 batters in 48 innings last season.  Look for Walker to do a good job for the Orioles as he held lefty batters to a .235 batting average last season.

31 year old righty Scott Williamson was a good gamble for the Orioles to take.  Williamson has been very good when he’s been healthy over his career, but that hasn’t been often.  Over his 8 year career, Williamson has a 3.32 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 26 holds and 55 saves in 328 games.  Williamson has also held hitters to a .206 batting average of his career and he’s whiffed 494 batters in 425 career innings.  Still, Williamson had a rough season in San Diego last year as he was 0-1 with a 7.36 ERA and a 1.82 WHIP in 11 games.  It all depends on Williamson’s health, if he stays healthy he’ll be good…if not the Orioles will just get rid of him.

35 year old righty Todd Williams has been brought back for the Orioles.  He was 2-4 with a 4.74 ERA and a 1.67 WHIP in 2006.  He had 13 holds and a save in 62 games but he allowed batters to hit an amazing .323 against him last season.  Williams will need to rebound to the level he pitched at in 2004-2005 if he wants to make the Orioles final roster.

26 year old righty Kurt Birkins was 5-2 with 4 holds in 35 games in 2006 for the Orioles.  Batters only hit .221 against Birkins last season but he still had a 4.94 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.  Birkins will likely start the season in AAA ball, but he will get a call from the Orioles at some point in the season.

26 year old righty Sendy Rleal was 1-1 with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 42 games for the Orioles last season.  He allowed a .274 batting average against him and he allowed an alarming 10 homers and 23 walks in only 46.2 innings.  Look for Rleal to start the year in the minors and to only get a call if he improves on his areas of weakness.

33 year old righty Julio Manon pitched in 22 games for the Orioles last season and he was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and a 1.95 WHIP.  Manon gave up a whopping 5 homers and 16 walks in only 20 innings.  Look for him to start the season in the minors if the Orioles believe he’s good enough to keep around.

29 year old lefty John Parrish missed all of last season for the Orioles due to injury and that’s a shame because he has a big-time arm.  He has pitched in 108 games in his career for the Orioles and he is 10-10 with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.68 WHIP.  His main problem has been walks in his career as he has allowed 132 of them in 177.1 innings!  He does have an electric arm as evidenced by his 159 whiffs!  He will make the team if healthy, but that’s a big if.

24 year old righty James Hoey had a rough first taste of the major leagues.  He was 0-1 with a 10.24 ERA and a 1.97 WHIP in 12 games in 2006.  Batters were running up to the plate to swing against Hoey as they hit .359 against him in the majors.  The Orioles rushed Hoey as he skipped AAA ball as he was 2-1 with 33 saves and a 2.28 ERA at three levels of the low minors.  Look for Hoey to start the season in AAA and get a call to the majors if he deserves one.

Soon to be 26 year old Brian Burres was a starter his whole career in the minors, but the Orioles used him as a lefty specialist when they called him up last season.  He has 4 holds and had a 2.25 ERA with a 0.88 WHIP in 11 games for the Orioles last season.  Lefty hitters only went 1 of 14 against him last season (.071 batting average).  Look for him to have a good chance to make the Orioles if he has a good Spring.

Jeremy Guthrie and Paul Shuey could each make the team too.  Shuey hasn’t pitched in a while due to a hip injury, but if he’s healthy he would do a good job for the Orioles.  Guthrie was caught in a numbers game in Cleveland as he has a good arm and will have a good chance to stick with the Orioles this season.

The Orioles have done a great job rebuilding their bullpen and no one is happier than the starting rotation of the Orioles, because they won’t have to be perfect to win any more.

 

The Baltimore Orioles claim pitcher Sean Tracey

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by chinmusic on Sunday 25 March 2007 at 10:43 pm

The Orioles have claimed 25 year old righty starting pitcher Sean Tracey off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox.  Tracey pitched in 7 games for the White Sox last season and he was 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP.  Tracey pitched in 29 games (20 starts) for the Sox AAA team last season and he was 8-9 with a 4.30 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP.  Batters only hit .238 in AAA against him, but he’ll need to cut down on his walks if he wants to pitch for the Orioles at some point in 2007.

The Baltimore Orioles release OF Roger Cedeno

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by chinmusic on Sunday 25 March 2007 at 10:38 pm

The Orioles released outfielder Roger Cedeno after he had a poor spring.  He played in 7 games and he was only 2 for 11 (.182 batting average).  Cedeno might be nearing the end of his major league career due to the fact that he hasn’t played too well as of late.

The Orioles release Jose Acevedo

Blogged under Arrivals & Departures,Bloglockers,Front Page by chinmusic on Tuesday 13 March 2007 at 1:07 pm

The Orioles have let Jose Acevedo go.  Acevedo screwed himself out of a chance to get his career back on track when he was in a motorcycle accident that will cause him to miss the season.

The Orioles have live arms but a lot of questions in their starting rotation

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Monday 12 March 2007 at 4:40 pm

It will be up to pitching coach Leo Mazzone to mold the rotation that’s full of potential but short on results so far in their careers.  28 year old lefty Erik Bedard stayed healthy last season and really improved as a pitcher.  He started 33 games last season for the Orioles and he was 15-11 with a 3.76 ERA (1.35 WHIP).  Bedard has a very live left arm and he’s a strikeout pitcher as he whiffed 171 batters in 196.1 innings last season.  If Bedard can improve just a little bit against righthanded batters he will become a dominant pitcher as lefthanded batters were helpless against him hitting only .200 with a .559 OPS.  If he stays healthy, Bedard will win 17-20 games for the Orioles in 2007.

25 year old righty Daniel Cabrera has even more ability than Bedard does but he doesn’t know how to pitch or where the ball is going when it leaves his hand.   Cabrera consistently whips the ball 96-100 miles per hour up to the plate but it won’t matter if he doesn’t throw strikes more often.  If Mazzone can get Cabrera to trust his stuff he will be a dominant starter as he only allowed batters to hit .241 against him last season.  His main problem is his control as he walked 104 batters last season in only 148 innings pitched and that is way too many.  He would have to cut that number in half to reach his full potential.  It’s amazing that Cabrera wound up with a 4.74 ERA last season despite having a 1.58 WHIP.  Cabrera was 9-10 in 26 starts last season and he won’t have a better record than that unless he learns how to pitch.  Don’t expect more than 10 wins from him unless Mazzone works a miracle.

The Orioles brought in 31 year old righthander Jaret Wright in a off season trade with the Yankees.  Wright was 11-7 with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP for the Yanks last season.  The Orioles are banking on Wright reuniting with Mazzone to bring out the best in Wright like it did in 2004 with the Atlanta Braves.  In 2004, Wright was 15-8 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP with the Braves.  The American League is tougher to pitch in an Camden Yards is a hitters park so don’t expect numbers anything close to what Wright had in 2004.  Wright still has the arm to be successful, but I don’t think he’s anything more than a .500 pitcher.

36 year old righty Steve Trachsel was signed as soon as Kris Benson announced his shoulder problem was going to keep him out the whole season.  Trachsel is a veteran that knows all the tricks as he somehow was 15-8 last season, despite having a 4.97 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP!  Trachsel won’t win 15 games this season as he’s in an American League Hitters’ Park instead of a NL Pticher’s Park.  Also, the Orioles don’t have the same kind of offense that the Mets do.  Trachsel has only pitched one season in the AL (2000) and he was 8-15 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP.  I see Trachsel having a season closer to his 2000 season than what he did last season for the Mets.

Soon to be 23 year old lefty Adam Loewen will get first shot at the #5 spot in the Orioles rotation.  The kid also has a good arm and is similar to Erik Bedard talent wise.  The Orioles hope that Mazzone can get results with Loewen in his second season.  Loewen started 22 games for the Orioles last season and he was 6-6 with a 5.37 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP.  He needs to cut down on his walks as he allowed 62 of them in 112.1 innings without cutting down on his aggressiveness as he whiffed 98 batters.  Look for Loewen to be the Orioles second best starting pitcher by the end of the season.

22 year old righty Hayden Penn will look to rebound after getting sloshed in the majors last season.  Penn started 6 games for the Orioles last season and he had a 15.10 ERA and a 2.59 WHIP!  Penn also allowed an amazing 8 homers and 13 walks in only 19.2 innings for the Orioles.  Penn did pitch great in the minors last season so the talent is there.  Penn started 15 games in AA+AAA ball last season and he was 7-4 with a 2.41 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP.  He also struck out 86 batters in only 89.2 innings in the minors.  Health issues dogged Penn all last season, but look for him to get another chance at some point in the season and he will pitch much better in the bigs as he’s a very talented pitcher.

Soon to be 28 year old righty Jeremy Guthrie is a longshot to make the rotation for the Orioles, but someone to keep an eye on.  Guthrie pitched in 21 games AAA ball (20 starts) for the Indians and he was 9-5 with a 3.14 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP.  He also held AAA hitters to a .229 batting average last season.  Guthrie had a rough time in Cleveland last season as he pitched 9 games for the Indians and he had a 6.98 ERA and a 2.02 WHIP.  Guthrie has a good arm and was just caught up in a numbers game in Cleveland. 

Nick Markakis takes over in RF for the Orioles

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 6 March 2007 at 1:55 pm

23 year old Nick Markakis bursted on the scene last season for the Orioles.  The lefty swinger played in 147 games for the Orioles last season and he hit .291 with 72 runs scored, 16 homers, 62 RBIs and a .799 OPS.  He also was outstanding on defense as he played 127 games in RF and only made 1 error while showing outstanding range.  Look for Markakis to have a monster year this season as he got better as the season wore on last year.  He set a team record by whacking 10 homers last August!  Look for him to hit around .300 with at least 25 homers in 2007 for the Orioles.

30 year old lefty swinging Jay Gibbons will play right field if anything happens to Markakis.  It was his injury last season that opened the door for Markakis and pretty much turned Gibbons into a DH.  That’s probably a good way to keep Gibbons healthy this season as he plays full go at all times and that sometimes resulted in injury.  He played in 44 games in RF last season and he made only 2 errors while showing above average range.  He played in 90 games last season and he hit .277 with 13 homers, 46 RBIs and a .799 OPS.  Look for him to have a great season as the Orioles DH in 2007.

Center Field could be a possible platoon position

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Tuesday 6 March 2007 at 1:43 pm

If Aubrey Huff starts in left field, center field will be a platoon position for the Orioles with Jay Payton and Corey Patterson sharing playing time.  The Orioles rescued 27 year old left handed swinging Corey Patterson from the Chicago Cubs before last season and it proved to be a beneficial move to both Patterson & the Orioles.  Patterson played in 135 games last season and he hit .276 with 75 runs scored, 16 homers, 53 RBIs, 45 stolen bases and a .757 OPS.  He also played well in the field as he played 134 games in CF and only made 4 errors while showing outstanding range.  The reason for the possible platoon is because Patterson rips righties (.301 average, .826 OPS) but struggles mightily against lefties (.207 average, .560 OPS).  Look for Patterson to post a solid average if he’s in a platoon and he will still produce power numbers too.

Jay Payton wants to be a everyday player so he will likely sour on being part of a platoon as he can hit righties and lefties.  He did hit a bit better against lefties as he hit .296 with a .817 OPS against them.  He played 46 games in CF last season for the Oakland A’s and he made 3 errors while showing below average range.

27 year old lefty swinging Adam Stern will try to make the team in Spring Training.  His main claim to fame is that his Team Canada stunned the USA in the World Games last spring.  He played in 93 games in AAA ball last season and he hit .258 with 59 runs scored, 8 homers, 34 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and a .688 OPS.  He also played 10 games for the Boston Red Sox last season and he went 3 for 20 (.150 avg.).  He played 8 error-less games in CF last season and showed outstanding range.  He will likely start the year in AAA and only get a call if the Orioles have injuries in their outfield.

Jeff Fiorentino also could get some playing time in CF, but it also would likely take an injury to get him to the majors.

Left Field could be a time share

Blogged under Bloglockers,Front Page,Positional Previews for Season by chinmusic on Saturday 3 March 2007 at 2:09 am

It’s possible that a lot of players will appear in left field, but the one guy that should get the most time out there is 34 year old Jay Payton.  Payton played in 142 games last season for the A’s and he hit .296 with 78 runs scored, 10 homers, 59 RBIs and a .743 OPS.  Those are not the type of power numbers most teams want out of their left fielder but Payton always puts up a solid average and he plays outstanding defense.  Payton played 62 games in left field last season and he showed outstanding range but he made two errors.  Look for Payton to hit between .285-.300 and play great defense for the Orioles. 

24 year old lefty swinging Jeff Fiorentino could also force his way into playing time in left field.  He’s an outstanding defender in LF as he played 15 games there and didn’t make an error while showing outstanding range.  Fiorentino played in 104 games in AA ball and he hit .275 with 13 homers, 62 RBIs and a .778 OPS.  He then came up to the Orioles and played 19 games for them.  He hit .256 with a .683 OPS for the Orioles.  Look for Fiorentino to likely start the year in AAA with a promotion sometime during the season. 

Aubrey Huff also could get playing time in left field, but he’s a liability in the outfield as a defender.

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