Troy Patton, pitcher
What are the Orioles’ plans for him?
I have no idea. After a fairly good 2010 season as a starting pitcher in Norfolk recovering from an injury, Patton began 2011 in Norfolk pitching relief. At the time, we thought that Patton was being groomed as a relief pitcher. However, the Tides used Patton very erratically — he would be used one game as a left-handed one-out relief pitcher, then two days later used to make a spot start. That would argue that he had completely fallen out of the Orioles’ plans — except then he was called up to Baltimore in mid-July and stayed with the Orioles the rest of the season, pitching effectively out of the bullpen. But he wasn’t a one-out lefty specialist; he pitched 30 innings in 20 games. He pretty obviously was used in low-leverage situations and pitched effectively. The logical plan would be to see if he could be more effective in a higher-leverage role, say as a seventh-inning middle reliever. I don’t think he has the stuff to be an effective set-up man or closer, and he’s too good to be pigeonholed as a lefty specialist.
If I were running the Orioles, I’d keep trying to develop Patton as a starting pitcher. It’s true that he hasn’t been extremely effective as a starting pitcher, but he has been reasonably effective and has survived a full year in the rotation. It’s pretty obvious that the Orioles have a problem with their starting pitching. Why gamble on retreads like Chris Jakubauskas or Alfredo Simon and turn Patton into a middle reliever?It makes no sense; not that there’s been any evidence that the Orioles know what they’re doing.