Pitchers and Prospects

My thoughts of the day have shifted over from the current failing offense to the future of this team.  Future being as close as tomorrow and as far away as in 5 years.  The title ‘Pitchers and Prospects’ is there because I want to just go over those two topics and discuss how they relate and even intermix.

The pitchers I want to talk about in the organization right now are Kevin Millwood and Jeremy Guthrie.

Millwood’s stat line so far this season:

  • W-L 0-5
  • ERA 3.89
  • K 58
  • Walks 17
  • WHIP 1.27

Guthrie’s:

  • W-L 3-5
  • ERA 3.84
  • K 37
  • Walks 16
  • WHIP 1.17

People may look at those two guys and say that Guthrie’s year has been a bit better.  Well, maybe in terms of stats other than strikeouts.  While both Bergesen and Matusz have been far from consistent this year, both having shutout performances and both also with high earned run low inning nights, and David Hernandez never lasting more than 5 or 6 innings (even with a no-hitter through 4, the walks kill him), Guthrie and Millwood have proven to be the top two pitchers in the rotation as of now, as we should expect.  Hernandez is obviously not a future guy for the dream rotation, so I am taking him out of the conversation.  Matusz and Bergesen each got half a season or less last year, so we expect it to be rocky for them in their first full seasons now.  Luckily, for the Birds, Guthrie has come out with fire and been back to his old form that we needed him to be, so that he and Millwood can stabilize our rotation with, may I dare to say this about the O’s, a 1-2 punch.

The future is obvious to fans and the organization.  That being Matusz, Bergesen, Tillman, Arrieta, and Britton.  Britton, as long as his development stays on track, will be up in Baltimore for the 2012 season.  Arrieta will be called up most likely sometime this season.  Tillman was just called up this past week to replace Hernandez in the rotation, who coincidentally taken his spot coming out of Spring Training.  The question then becomes: Who will Arrieta replace?  Just because Millwood is 0-5, nobody judges that stat one bit who knows what he has been through.  With only 17 runs of support through 11 outings, less than 2 per game, it would be practically impossible for any pitcher not named Ubaldo Jimenez to succeed in the win column that way.  Then again, the O’s are 15-36 at this point, so wins are not the big issue now as much as looking into the future.

Key question: Do we trade Millwood and/or Guthrie at or before the deadline?  I touched on this in the last post, but just expanding here now.

Millwood could spend another year here.  He is a veteran ace who basically owns most teams he faces, but of course doesn’t have the wins to show for it.  He supposedly (only saying supposedly since I don’t have first-hand experience seeing it) has been helping the young arms, and even bats, a lot with their game.  He brings an arm that can strike guys out consistently and eat up a lot of innings.  If he had more offense and a better defense behind him, Millwood would surely have more complete games on the year.  He is 36, and could still be this good next year.

Guthrie has been rocky in terms of his career with the Birds.  This year, which is the important one right now, he is back to great form.  3-1 in May with a sub-3.00 ERA, Guthrie looks to be a top pitcher in baseball as of late.  He could be kept in Baltimore, but the risk with him is that he could fall back to his ’09 form with a 5.04 ERA.  He is 31, and if consistent, could last another 10 years in the Bigs still.

Millwood is a huge plus for the O’s since he can back up the young arms’ short outings with longer ones, hence relieving the bullpen in a sense from being dead day after day.  He helps with advice and just is good with communicating overall.  Again, that is what people say who have seen it, I know I have not.  Though if someone told me they saw Datz advising someone, I’d be a bit skeptical.  With Arrieta and Britton set to come soon, having Kevin around could never hurt.  Also depends what he wants to do.

I said before the season that if Guthrie was hot, we should trade him, he is not in that future rotation, and does not come with the knowledge base that Millwood has (who got to be in a rotation with the likes of Smoltz, Glavine, Maddux, and more).  My opinion, if not trading both, is to get rid of Guthrie.  Even if for some bats, just do it.  He is too much of a risk, and within a few years, we won’t need him anyways.

I mentioned the bats.  That’s my second topic.  Prospects that can bring their talents to a major league level are hard to come by.  Talking with Jordan from oriolesprospects.com and other people on Twitter, the kid Brett Jacobson (acquired in the trade for Aubrey Huff to Detroit) has sub-par stuff and probably won’t have the arm to make it.  Why can’t we buy bats?  I get the whole draft pitchers and buy bats, but when you buy bats like Garrett Atkins, you are setting yourself up for failure.  I loved how Bell and Snyder and folk have performed in the past, but they are just not living up to people’s hopes.  I have heard speculation on packaging young Adam Jones with prospects for a bat, and I figure, why not?  We are loaded with at least a few major prospects in each level of the organization, so why not go the Cashman route and buy some bats with this talent.  Buying bats that are established in the MLB is so secure that there’s no denying good moves by Cashman and the likes.  And no, Atkins was not an established bat in the league, just a stereotypical steroid user (check out his career stats and tell me he didn’t use).

Just needed to vent the topics.  Respond here or go to twitter and follow @2131andBeyond where I love having Orioles conversation 24/7

Can we even get a win in the Bronx this week? I hope so…

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