Friday, June 26, 2009

Looking at the Farm: Snyder moves up, Matusz/Tillman honored, Brandon Erbe recovering

Hello everyone -- apologies for the lack of Prospect Reports, but I've been having difficulty finding time to get myself to Bowie or Frederick recently. Regardless, I expect to be back doing them soon(ish). This week however I would like to talk about some of the things happening in the O's system, because it remains as the bright spot for O's fans everywhere. Certainly after being swept by the Marlins, the O's faithful can enjoy looking to the future.

1. Brandon Snyder makes the move to Norfolk -- Yes, yes, yes, this is old news (Falco is going to get mad when he sees that I'm writing about old news, but oh well). Still, it's important that I take some time to address this as so many people are late to the game in recognizing Snyder's rise to legit prospect status. For those of you who read my Prospect Report last season, it was apparent that the writing was on the wall for Snyder to make a big time comeback. He's one of the feel-good stories in this organization, having rebounded strongly from a shoulder injury which appeared to derail his career. He still has the high average at the plate, like last year, but he has improved vastly in his ability to stay off of bad pitches and it has shown in his improved OBP. His power stroke is starting to develop as indicated by his 10 home runs in 201 at-bats for the Baysox, and after a slow start at Norfolk he is now hitting a clean .280 in 25 at bats. Keep an eye on this kid, he will be in Baltimore sooner than you think.

2. Matusz and Tillman selected to pitch in the Futures Game -- These two top prospects for the Orioles have been selected to pitch for Team USA in the Futures Game, and now the Orioles have had four pitchers in the past three years invited to the game. This represents a quantum leap for the organization, and gives fans alot to look forward to. As of right now, I can say that Chris Tillman is putting more and more pressure on my assertion that he must not be exposed to the majors this season, as he has continued to show the poise and professionalism that led to his domination of AA hitters last year. Brian Matusz seems to be on the Wieters timetable, but either way it appears that these two will undoubtedly be in the Orioles rotation early next season. No, the future is not now. But it's coming quick.

3. Brandon Erbe on the mend -- I'll keep this short, seeing as I'm writing this on my lunch break. But it's important for O's fans to keep an eye on Brandon Erbe who is looking to continue his rehab tonight at Aberdeen, returning from shoulder fatigue which kept him out after only starting four games for the Baysox. In those four games Erbe was nothing short of brilliant, striking out 19 while walking only 8 and posting a ridiculous 0.90 ERA. Brandon Erbe is a local boy from Owings Mills, and he's got the sort of stuff to translate into a big-time starter for the O's down the line. How he is handled with this delicate situation now could have big ramifications on whether he reaches that potential.

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