Results tagged ‘ Buck Showalter ’
I worked last night’s Norfolk – Gwinnett game. It was a battle of the old-timers, as 35-year-old veterans Ryan Drese and Rodrigo Lopez started for the Tides and Braves, respectively. It’s understandable that Rodrigo Lopez might be on the Gwinnett Braves. He pitched 200 innings for the Arizona Diamondbacks last season; the Atlanta Braves are a contending team; so it makes sense that the Braves would want a potential injury replacement waiting in the wings. It’s completely inexplicable why Ryan Drese is on the Norfolk Tides. The Baltimore Orioles should not fancy themselves contenders, so there’s no real need to keep a veteran on hand. Drese hasn’t pitched in affiliated baseball since 2008, when he pitched 7 innings with a 11.57 ERA. Why would the Orioles organization want to waste a spot in the starting rotation on a 35-year-old?
Several of us came up with humorous speculations (Drese invested in the Orioles; the Orioles lost a bet) but it wasn’t until last night that an impeccable source told me that Drese is with the Tides because Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks he can pitch. This illustrates the difference between a baseball insider, like Buck Showalter, and a baseball outsider, like myself.
I watched Ryan Drese pitch last night. He wasn’t overpowering. He didn’t impress me with his ability to paint the corners. His breaking stuff didn’t buckle knees. He was hit hard. In short, there’s nothing visibly impressive to an outsider. In his three starts this year, Drese has given up 27 hits in 16 1/3 innings. Over the past three seasons, he’s pitched okay for the Camden Riversharks in the Atlantic League — but not very much; 17 innings in 2010, 32 innings in 9 starts in 2009.
Even at his best, Drese wasn’t all that good. Drese pitched in the major leagues from 2001-2006. He pitched for two months in 2001, and was impressive; his 2004 with Texas was a superficially nice season. But, other than that, he had an ERA of 6.55 in 2002, an ERA of 6.85 in 2003, an ERA of 5.78 in 2005, and an ERA of 5.19 in 8 2/3 innings in 2006. He gave up more than a hit an inning in every season after 2001, including his good year. Again, to an outsider like myself, it doesn’t look like Ryan Drese could pitch even when he was pitching.
But, for some reason, the insider — Buck Showalter — sees Ryan Drese and thinks he can pitch. I don’t know what it is — that’s why I’m an outsider. Maybe Showalter sees a small mechanical glitch that Drese can correct. Maybe Showalter thinks he can teach Drese to change his pitching style. Maybe Showalter is just impressed by how well Drese competes. The point is that Showalter, as an insider, may have insight that outsiders don’t have; or, conversely, outsiders have an objectivity that the insiders don’t have.
The best insiders respect the outsider’s insights and the best outsiders respect the insider’s insights.