Baltimore Orioles 2009 Minor League Review
Overall farm ranking via Baseball America (2009)
2009 (9) | 2008 (16) | 2007 (17) | 2006 (25) | 2005 (18)
Record of Major and Minor League Teams
MLB: [64 – 98] AL East
AAA: [71 – 71] International League
AA: [73 – 69] Eastern League
A+: [64 – 75] Carolina League
A: [66 – 70] South Atlantic League
A(ss): [30 – 44] New York – Pennsylvania
R: [30 – 26] Gulf Coast League
R: [33 – 35] Appalachian League
The Run Down
The Orioles 2009 season was full of rookies and their possibilities. They graduated eight players, and nearly nine as Brian Matusz fell short by one solid start (5 1/3 IP). Everyone was awaiting Wieters’ promotion, but it was Nolan Reimold who stole the rookie show while Chris Tillman roofied your pitching staff. Nevertheless, for those savvy fantasy players, there was always Brad Bergesen who was helpful before he was hurt in August. If you’re looking for Grey’s article about Brian Matusz’s Fantasy Outlook for 2010 and where he ranked Chris Tillman and Matusz in his Top 80 Starters article, there ya go… It’s going to be difficult for the Orioles to compete in the East that is dominated by New York and Boston. However, there are some nice young players that received little hype prior to the 2009 season that should still fly under the radar. Namely Reimold, Tillman (because he didn’t pitch like Tommy Hanson), and Brad Bergesen. While everyone wants in on the Wieters, Roberts and Jones, look for the Reimold, Markakis and Tillman/Matusz to perform better than their ADP. If you want to review, Tillman’s Scouting the Unknown, enjoy the reading.
#1 (C) Matt Wieters; #2 (RHP) Chris Tillman; #5 (OF) Nolan Reimold; #16 (RHP)David Hernandez; #17 (RHP) Jason Berken; #18 (RHP) Brad Bergesen; #28 (OF) Lou Montanoz; (SS) Robert Andino
Arizona Fall League Players – Phoenix Desert Dogs
Pitchers – Brandon Erbe; Eddie Gamboa; Josh Perrault; Ryohei Tanaka
Hitters – (3B) Josh Bell; (1B) Brandon Synder; (1B) Brandon Waring; (OF) Mat Angle
Players of Interest – 2010
#8 (LAD) Josh Bell | 3B | AA | 22 | .295/.376/.516 | 448 AB | 57 XBH | 20 HR | .221 ISO | 98:61 K:BB | .342 BABIP | 45.6 GB% | 18.2 LD% | 36.1 FB%
Received in the George Sherrill trade last year, Bell is the future third baseman for the Orioles. Meaning, 2010 – just waiting for Miguel Tejada and, or, Garrett Atkins to stumble or get hurt. However, don’t let “future …” get into your head. His upside is .270 to .290 with 20 to 25 homers a season. Think Adrian Beltre, but without the glove – Bell’s glove is average at best. He’ll be given every opportunity to earn the third base position in the next 18 months as Baltimore lacks many quality bats in their farm system. This is most notable outside the first base position.
#9 Brandon Snyder | 1B | AA/AAA | 22 | .289/.362/.460 | 463 AB | 52 XBH | 12 HR | .171 ISO | 109:51 K:BB | .356 BABIP | 41.8 GB% | 22.2 LD% | 36 FB%
The numerous extra base hits look great, but what Snyder provides is gap power with the ability to hit 15 to 20 homers during his prime. It’s important to note that he struggled mightily while at Triple-A posting a slash line of .248/.316/.355 in 263 at-bats. Scouting reports note that he was trying to prove his power potential, thus, he was pull-conscious and swinging for the fences. Upon his promotion mid-season to Triple-A, Snyder was aided by an extremely high BABIP (.400). His defense at first base is above-average and looks like a Conor Jackson-type skill set. Nothing to scoff at, just not exciting. If the Orioles are ravaged by injuries and he performs well, his ETA could be this upcoming summer. Otherwise, watch for his name in September.
#4 Jake Arrieta | RHP | AA/AAA | 23 | 8.3 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 150 2/3 IP | 3.40 ERA | 3.63 FIP | 1.31 WHIP | .8 HR/9 | 8.5 H/9 | .312 BABIP | 38.6 GB% | 18.1 LD% | 37.1 FB%
@AA: 10.7 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9 | 59 IP | 2.59 ERA | 3.00 FIP | 1.15 WHIP | .6 HR/9 | 6.9 H/9 | .281 BABIP | 36 GB%
10.2 LD% | 48.3 FB%
@AAA: 7.7 K/9 | 3.2 BB/9 | 91 2/3 IP | 3.93 ERA | 3.97 FIP | 1.42 WHIP | .9 HR/9 | 9.5 H/9 | .323 BABIP | 39.9 GB% | 21.9 LD% | 31.6 FB%
I included the stats/ratios from Double and Triple-A on purpose. Overall his numbers look pretty good. Upon further examination though, it was noticeable that he struggled somewhat at Triple-A. Nearly 24 (birthday is on 3/6/86 aka this Saturday), Arrieta isn’t going to be written off. His track record shows that he is an effective starter that can strikeout nine batters per nine innings and limiting the number of hits allowed (7.6 H/9 career). Arrieta did lead all minors with 148 strikeouts in those 150 innings. Improving his command will be a key for him to make it to the majors in 2010. For a more detailed look at him, look at his Scouting the Unknown.
#6 Brandon Erbe | RHP | AA | 21 | 7.6 K/9 | 4.3 BB/9 | 73 IP | 2.34 ERA| 4.09 FIP | 1.08 WHIP | .6 HR/9 | .205 BABIP | 41.9 GB% | 10.7 LD% | 40.9 FB%
Often injured, Erbe possesses as much upside as Tillman, Matusz, and Arrieta. His mechanics are better than they once were, but that’s like saying Nick Punto is better than Paulie Punto, his brother who never played baseball. It just doesn’t take that much. This is more of a shoutout than a guy you can count on. He throws his fastball between 93 and 95 mph, a sick, nasty slider and a potentially plus change. Having the potential to strikeout a batter every inning is what every fantasy manager lusts after, but don’t gaga for this surgically made man.
#10 Kam Mickolio | RHP | AAA | 25 | 10.7 K/9 | 3.3 BB/9 | 43 2/3 IP | 3.50 ERA | 3.25 FIP | 1.10 WHIP | .8 HR/9 | 6.6 H/9 | .272 BABIP | 28.6 GB% | 17.6 LD% | 45.4 FB%
Nothing more than a middle reliever for fantasy purposes. He is able to get his fastball up to 98 mph to partner with a ankle-biting slider. This combo allows for him to post some nice K-rates. His mechanics are sloppy and inconsistent. Consequently, like Erbe, his control is spotty. With a rather empty bullpen beyond Mike Gonzalez, Jim Johnson and Cla Meredith, there should be a spot for Mickolio to make the 25-man roster out of spring training.
Jim Miller | RHP | AAA | 27 | 8.2 K/9 | 2.6 BB/9 | 64 2/3 IP | 2.64 ERA| 2.87 FIP | 1.28 WHIP | .4 HR/9 | 8.2 H/9 | .324 BABIP | 32.8 GB% | 25.3 LD% | 39.4 FB%
A bit old, but another middle reliever for everyone to watch this spring. He has better control of his pitches and doesn’t have the injury risk. A career 10 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 pitcher in the bullpen could be wonderfully delightful for the Orioles. If you want to see his ETA, look up about three inches.
#26 Brandon Waring | 1B/3B | A+ | 23 | .273/.353/.520 | 473 AB | 63 XBH | 26 HR | .247 ISO | 121:51 K:BB | .318 BABIP | 34.5 GB% | 12.7 LD% | 52.6 FB%
Power? Check. High Strikeout totals? Check. Future? Uncertain. Received as part of the Ramon Hernandez trade to the Reds for Ryan Freel and Justin Turner to provide a clear opening for Wieters. Waring provides plenty of intriguing possibilities himself. He played first base this past year so another prospect could play third. Plus, he probably won’t stay at third for very long. Reducing his strikeout rates from 156 time in 441 AB in 2008 to 130 times in 497 AB shows considerable progress. There is concern that he’ll end up as a Quad-A/Triple-A slugger or a power bat off the bench. However you look at it, Waring provides plenty of questions only he can answer. Power can’t be taught, but the other aspects of his game can. He received 29 PA at Double-A last year and expect to see him there to open the seaosn.
#30 Caleb Joseph | C | A+ | 23 | .284/.337/.450 | 380 AB | 37 XBH | 12 HR | .166 ISO | 64:26 K:BB | .317 BABIP | 37.5 GB% | 11.9 LD% | 50.6 FB%
Not that the Orioles need another catching prospect, right? Well, a solid backup or trade bait never hurt. Joseph should be the former as he is trending towards being an average prospect. His 2010 Baseball America ranking is 10. In 2009, Joseph proved himself as a good defender with an acceptable arm from behind the plate. His swing isn’t going to produce a lot of extra base hits, but he’ll make solid contact. His plate discipline, in terms of walking, isn’t great, but he doesn’t swing go outside the strike zone too often either. Next year will be a big test for him at Double-A to see how he handles the pitching staff, his hitting, and defense.
Ronnie Welty | RF | A | 21 | .290/.373/.425 | 431 AB | 36 XBH | 10 HR | .145 ISO | 13/5 SB/CS | 120:46 K:BB | .383 BABIP | 50.6 GB% | 14.2 LD% | 34.8 FB%
#12 Zach Britton | LHP | A+ | 21 | 8.4 K/9 | 3.5 BB/9 | 140 IP | 2.70 ERA | 1.27 WHIP | .4 HR/9
Minor League Splits didn’t have his extended stats on their website. Interesting since he is one of their top arms. Armed with an 88 to 92 mph two-seam fastball, an improving changeup that started as average, and a four-seam fastball. His ground outs to air outs was a startling 3.38 GO/AO. That is jaw dropping. He’ll get more attention as the season goes along, but he could be the next “sleeper” minor league pitcher – maybe my next Jeremy Hellickson (the minor league pitcher I drool over until he gets his MLB promotion).