Monday, July 7, 2008

Looking at the Future

I'll go ahead and introduce myself, I'm windsor and one of the things I'll be doing is periodically reporting on the O's minor league teams and, in particular, their prospects. I'll forgo babbling about myself (I'm sure everyone is very disappointed) and get right to it.

Setting the stage for future posts I want to paint a general picture of the Orioles farm system, overviewing its strengths and weaknesses.

The strength of the Orioles farm system is by far it's pitching talent and depth. This isn't the farm system of your youth, boys and girls, it has improved by leaps and bounds from past years in the pitching department. There is a good deal of debate as to how the prospects stack up against one another within the system, but in my estimation there are six pitchers who can be considered "upper level" prospects. These include: Chris Tillman, David Hernandez, Chorye Spoone, Brandon Erbe, Brian Matusz (upon signing), Jake Arrieta, and possibly Bradley Bergesen who has emerged from relative obscurity (2.53 ERA and a 10-2 record through only 14 starts at Bowie this year). This list excludes other pitchers who could grow into major contributors (Tim Bascom, Luis Noel, Hayden Penn, among others). In short, pitching is in vogue.

Out of vogue (?) is hitting, unfortunately. The one blue chip position prospect is Matt Wieters, who has exploded in his first season both behind and at the plate. Other notable prospects include Nolan Reimold who has made a strong case for a callup to the majors, Brandon Snyder, Billy Rowell, and Luis Montanez (although he is 27 years old). There are a littany of mid-level prospects, and the organization is hoping that someone outside of Reimold and Wieters (particularly Snyder and Rowell) step up in a big way this season.

Moving forward I'll be giving periodic prospect profiles and players on the rise and the decline.

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