Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Amazing Underratedness of Eduardo Rodriguez

Let me open by saying that this is my first post in over a year, and that this marks the end of a long hiatus from writing in general. Basically a forewarning that my voice and style need a little refinement. But hey, you don't want to hear about that, how about some statistics? I'll give you a hint, one of the below stat boxes (taken from BB Reference) belongs to Aaron Sanchez and one belongs to Eduardo Rodriguez.

The two pitchers are very close statistically, not identical, but they same to be cut from an identical mold.In fact, both pitchers spent 2011 split between Rookie and Low A Ball, all of 2012 at A Ball, and are currently in High A Ball. The top box belongs to Aaron Sanchez, and the bottom box belongs to Eduardo Rodriguez. Examining the boxes closely reveals many differences between the two Latino hurlers. For example, both have started and played in 9 games this season, however, Rodriguez has pitched a total of 57 innings giving him an average of 6.1 innings per start. Sanchez has pitched a total of 42.2 innings, which gives him an average of 4.2 innings per start. A peripheral statistic not explicitly stated in the box that in my opinion, puts Rodriguez ahead of Sanchez as he could easily reach AA quicker. What brings me to this conclusion? Below are the lines from all nine games this season, the boxes again belong to Sanchez and Rodriguez respectively.

Sanchez has gone 6 innings or more in a start once out of nine times this season, as opposed to Rodriguez who has failed to go 6 innings or more only once this season. Rodriguez is by all means hittable, more so than Sanchez, who consistently allows less hits per game. Sanchez is also a groundball pitcher, and Rodriguez is a flyball pitcher. To be honest this kind of scares me at Camden Yards, but Wei-Yin Chen has done surprisingly well for a flyball southpaw, and Rodriguez has not given up a homerun since his first start.

Physically Sanchez definitely has the advantage, standing 6'4 and 190lbs. he has plenty of room left to fill out. Rodriguez is 6'2 and 200lbs., he could easily add another 20lbs. to his frame in due time. Sanchez is definitely going to miss more bats and probably has the long term velocity advantage. That being said, i think Rodriguez's velocity could easily sit at 93-96mph in a year or two, couple that with a lower career BB total and lower average BB/9 and I'll take Rodriguez over Sanchez any day. Not to mention that Rodriguez is a lefty, which can never hurt. Sanchez was ranked at 65 and 35 by Baseball America and MLB.com respectively while Rodriguez went unranked. As much as I think E-Rod does not get the attention he deserves, statistics go to show that rankings are fairly meaningless, subjective, and often based on industry hype. In the end I would much rather have an unheralded prospect quietly become great rather than... well, the Charge of The Light Brigade. Sadly, until then I can only drool over the prospect of seeing Bundy, Gausman, and Rodriguez on consecutive days. I hope you enjoyed this article and feel free to leave feedback!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Big Changes Coming

The Orioles will close out their season today, possibly robbing Boston of a postseason berth. As sweet as that may be, I'd like to give you a little food for thought of a different nature today, thought for the future. There is a strong chance that tomorrow, it will be announced that Andy Macphail will not return for the 2012 season, so who will replace him?

It will be nice to see Macphail gone, I'm not going to say that his tenure in Baltimore was a complete failure, that would be a lie. If nothing else, he brought us Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy for relatively nothing, his "grow the arms" strategy has not been overly successful, but I think that's more of a player development problem than something he is directly responsible for. I could write on Macphail for days, but I would rather give some insight of where I feel the front office is headed.

Regardless of what is announced Thursday, this much is known: Buck Showalter will player a pivotal part in the front office. He may very well take on Macphail's position and continue managing, which would be a great deal of work, but hey, this is Buck we're talking about here. Another possibly is that he vacates his managerial position and moves to the front office, this seems fairly unlikely to me, Buck seems to want the best of both worlds rather than being isolated in one role.

I have my own idea of how things are going to play out this offseason, it goes something like this..... When Macphail leaves I think Buck will stay planted in his managerial role, he will however have a great deal of influence over who is chosen as the new General Manager. My gut tells me they'll bring in someone who worked with Buck in Texas, or from that organization in general, as it's no secret Buck still loves Texas. I've heard former Ranger's GM John Hart's name floated around, but I think it will most likely be someone with a little less experience than Hart.

I simply hope whoever is in the Front Office in 2012 has a clear sense of direction and comes in with a realistic blueprint to build a winning team.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Picking Up the Pieces

The 2011 Baltimore Orioles have been a disappointment in so many ways, I'm not saying that I came into the season expecting a playoff contender. I am saying that I expected to see a team that could play competitive .500 baseball, alas, we find ourselves at the end of a fourteenth straight losing season.

However, as miserable as this season was in many facets, there were some positive takeaways and things to look forward to for next year. For example, the offensive blossoming of Matt Weiters and Adam Jones, who both set career highs in home runs; and let's not forget the comeback kid, J.J. Hardy, who missed almost a month and still has put up incredible offensive numbers.

Sadly, there was not as much to be optimistic about from the pitching department this year. The train wreck that was 2011 Brian Matusz is a different topic for a different day. The 2011 rotation in itself should really be another topic for another day, but if there is anything to salvage from this season's pitching woes, it's that Zach Britton will be a key rotation piece in the coming years, and believe it or not I feel similarly about Brian Matusz. In a very cliched way, I would like to point out that Roy Halladay had a similarly awful season at a similar age; we can only hope that Brain can work out his issues, add some velocity, and come back ready to win this spring. When all is said and done, this season's starting pitching left much to be desired, but there are also a fair amount of talent to work with for next season, with the unexpected emergence of guys like Alfredo Simon and additions like Tommy Hunter.

The relief pitching was up and down all season, and of late has been incredible, with the exception of Captain Chaos of course. Pedro Strop, acquired in the trade for Michael Gonzalez has pitched superbly thus far, along with Jim Johnson; who seems to have lined himself up for the closer's position in 2012.

I won't go on and on recaping the 2011 season... no-one wants those memories of blown games and 18 run losses. If you take away anything, know that the Orioles have four key pieces for the 2012 season that won't be going anywhere, Matt Weiters, Adam Jones, J.J. Hardy, and Zach Britton.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

At around 7:30 last night, the Orioles drafted RHP Dylan Bundy with the fourth overall pick, Joe Jordan got his man. The general concensus was that Bundy would go to the Orioles, but Anthony Rendon not being selected within the first three picks definitely shook things up. Cole, Hultzen, and Bauer were the top three picks, I was fairly nervous that they would jump on Rendon simply because he was there. I dislike Rendon only because of that shoulder injury that hampered him this year.

I was definitely pulling for Bundy for a number of reasons, but I'll narrow it down to three to keep things simple.

1- Highest Cieling- Bundy had the highest potential by far out of anyone in the 2011 draft class. To say his high school stats were impressive this year would be a huge understatement. That being said, it was high school baseball, but after watching this kid pitch I was really impressed. He already has very polished movements, and a plus fastball that has reached 100 mph at some points this year, not too bad for a high school senior.

2- Work Ethic- Bundy is a workhorse.Period. I found this video on YouTube, one of many of Bundy's workout routines, where he is strengthening his rotator cuff by hitting a punching bag. Nothing too special, that's to be expected of a potential top five draft pick, but I forgot to mention at the time of the video Bundy was fourteen. Any kid with this kind of drive and work ethic who can perform day after day with a positive attitude should be welcomed with open arms. According to the draft coverage on MLB.com, Bundy is currently squattin 500 lbs. and leg pressing 1250 lbs. I would take this kid over anyone else in the draft class based on his training and conditioning alone, which is a welcome sight after seeing Hobgood's pudgy face on draft day.

3- Future Ace- Dylan Bundy has the potential to be the future ace that the Orioles have lacked since they lost Mussina to free agency. As much as I like Brian Matusz, Bundy could be a high velocity, high strikeout pitcher. I really can only say so much about his arm because footage of Bundy is limited, as is my pitching knowledge. However, based on what I've read, seen, and heard about Dylan Bundy I'm nothing but impressed.

To be completely honest, two weeks ago if you told me the Orioles would go for Dylan Bundy at #4 I would have been pretty disappointed, as I was hoping for a college arm, like Trevor Bauer or Danny Hultzen; that could move quickly through the system. After taking the time to research him, I found him to be highly talented, dedicated, and disciplined. I hope to see him move through the minors quickly, and be in the rotation by 2014 at the latest, good pick Joe Jordan.

A full recap of today's draft results should be posted by the end of the night.

Monday, June 6, 2011

And With the Fourth Overall Pick....

Tonight begins the 2011 MLB Amateur draft, and MacPhail and company are almost destined not to screw this one up. Really, they can't, there are 5 what I consider premium talents to be had within the first round. Those talents being: UCLA RHP Gerrit Cole, Rice 3B Anthony Rendon, UVA LHP Danny Hultzen, RHP Dylan Bundy (HS), and UCLA RHP Trevor Bauer. Unless Joe Jordan goes with someone with a Bartolo Colon physique that isn't one of the aforementioned the draft will be a success. I personally feel that the picks will go in that order, with Bundy as the 4th pick. He looks to have the highest cieling in the draft, so hopefully he will be wearing orange and black by the end of the day.
More to follow.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Goodbye Guthrie?

Today I read a MASN article written by Stacey Long, a main contributor on Camden Chat and guest blogger for MASN. It was an article discussing the possibility of the Orioles dealing Jeremy Guthrie at some point this year for some younger talent, her general consensus is that if a good enough offer is laid on the table, the Orioles should take it. As much as it pains me to say this, I agree with her, I would hate to see Guthrie go, I think it would be best for a young building organization.

Guthrie is 32 going on 33, so he is definitely getting up there in years, there's no doubt about that. He could still be productive into his mid-thirties, but I think Guthrie has hit is ceiling, which was basically what you saw if you watched Tuesday night's 3-2 loss to Seattle, which was a complete game loss in which Guthrie looked phenomenal. I would hope that MacPhail could at least get an arm with some potential that can make it to the majors in a year or two. Guthrie is a truly underrated pitcher who would make a great addition to any team looking to contend that needs some pitching help, so the interest will definitely be there come July, and the Orioles need to take advantage of it.

I can't say enough about Guthrie's attitude and work ethic and how much he has contributed to the Orioles, and what a good clubhouse presence he is,  but in my opinion, if anyone is going to go at the trading deadline it would be Guthrie, Guerrero, or Scott, and I would feel indifferently about losing the latter two.

Without Guthrie the rotation would definitely take a hit, and that has to be taken into consideration, but it would still be a solid five man rotation headed by Matusz and Britton. As Stacey points out, the Orioles need to build, and they can't be sentimental when making these decisions, unfortunately this may mean saying goodbye to Jeremy Guthrie.

PTY Clothing

Are you tired of the four or five generic jerseys and shirts you can buy outside the gate and in the park? Are you looking for some really creative great Orioles gear at a good price? Well look no further than Protect This Yard Clothing. I learned of PTY from Camden Chat and was instantly a fan, they carry a wide variety of shirts, all unique, that you won't be able to find anywhere else. Right now I'd have to say my favorite shirt is the Matt Wieters "DON'T. RUN. EVER." shirt seen below, which I purchased today. 
 The website is really user-friendly and I'll definitely be sporting this shirt at my next Orioles game, that is unless a Nolan Reimold shirt gets designed between now and then. 
So head on over to PTY, the link can be found on the side of the page, and you can also hit them up on Facebook, they're very personable and friendly.