Results tagged ‘ Chris George ’
Is his career over?
After two decent seasons as an AAA swingman, George made the Tides’ opening day roster in 2012. He made three relief appearances and one start, and didn’t pitch well. The Orioles released him at the end of April and he wasn’t signed by anyone else. His career should be over, but maybe someone else will be moved to give him a chance.
There’s not much to say about the Tides’ 7-1 loss to Gwinnett yesterday. The positives are that the Tides finally scored a run at home and that three veteran relief pitchers — Oscar Villareal, Miguel Socolovich, and Pat Neshek – pitched 5 2/3 innings of shutout relief. It was amusing that the first batter Socolovich faced was Joey Terdoslavich, “vich” tripped up the radio broadcasters for that at-bat. After Terdoslavich’s three-throwing-error performance on Monday, the G-Braves reacted by making him the designated hitter yesterday.
If the bullpen pitched well, and the team loses 7-1, that pretty much means that the starting pitcher didn’t. Because one of the four scheduled games in the Tides season-opening series against Charlotte was rained out and rescheduled into a doubleheader, the Tides chose to start long relief pitcher Chris George rather than bring Brad Bergesen back on three days’ rest. George gave up seven runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings, and left when Drew Sutton smashed a line drive off his body. George had relatively little trouble with the first four hitters in the Braves’ lineup. However, he faced the bottom five hitters twice each, and only got two outs against them.
George has been with the Tides since August of 2009. He was a first-round draft choice out of a Texas high school in 1998 and shot through the Royals’ system, reaching Kansas City at age 21. Much like current Tide Chris Tillman, he bounced between the majors and AAA for four seasons, becoming less and less effective in each successive season. He’s now 32, and I wonder why he’s still hanging on in AAA. There are many possible reasons, ranging from the pathetic — he doesn’t have anything better to do — through the mixed sad and inspiring — he believes he’s close to making it back to the major leagues — to the sort of noble — he just plain enjoys playing baseball. I don’t know which, if any of these are the real reason why Chris George is still pitching AAA. I do know that Chris George must be a good teammate and a pretty decent guy. For if he were a prima donna jerk, there’s no way he’d have stayed on the same team for his fourth season. Veteran AAA spot starters/long relief pitchers are a dime a dozen, and no team would put up with a jerk in that role for more than one season. I don’t know Chris George, and I wouldn’t say that I’m rooting for him in a baseball sense, but I am rooting for him to be happy.
Has he established himself as a useful AAA veteran?
Superficially and on the surface, yes — he was re-signed by Orioles in the offseason, presumably to fill the same role as he has in 2010-11, and his base numbers in 2010 and 2011 are very similar — 5-7, 4.20 in 124 innings in 2010; 7-5, 4.27 in 131 innings in 2011. But, in reality, he was much worse in 2011. His hits allowed rate jumped from 9.3 to 9.9; his walk rate jumped from 2.6 to 3.9, and (most important) his strikeout rate plummeted from 7.3 to 5.0. All of his 2011 numbers are closer to his career marks than in 2010 numbers.
I guess it depends on what you mean by “useful AAA veteran.” It seems clear that he’s willing to work in whatever capacity he’s needed, and he’s so clearly a non-prospect that it doesn’t matter if you destroy his arm. For an organization like the Orioles, who are at this point just trying to get their AAA team through the season, he’s perfect.
Years ago, the Royals had a hot pitching prospect named Chris George. This can’t be the same guy, can it?
Yes, it can; and yes, it is. Chris George is a left-handed pitcher, drafted out of a Texas high school by the Royals as a 1st-2nd round sandwich pick in 1998 (as partial compensation for the loss of Jay Bell.) He shot through the minor leagues and reached AAA in his second full season. In 2001, he pitched great in his first look at AAA, and the Royals called him up. He didn’t pitch well, with a 4-8 record and a 5.59 ERA.
That was the best ERA of his major-league career. In 2002, he had a 5.87 ERA in AAA and a 5.60 in six major-league starts. In 2003, he poorly both in AAA (7.29 ERA), and with the Royals (7.11 ERA in 18 starts, with a 9-6 record, go figure). In 2004, he pitched well in AAA (3.42 ERA) but his major-league ERA increased to 7.23.
He was still only 24, but ruined his chances of a major-league career with four remarkably consistent years in AAA. From 2005 through 2008, he had ERAs of 5.63, 5.62, 5.56, and 5.85 in AAA. His 5.85 ERA in 2008 was as a relief pitcher. He pitched 12 games in Pawtucket in 2009; got released; and then got signed by the Orioles. He pitched well in five late-season starts, and was in the rotation most of 2010.
He is what he is, an innings-eating AAA roster filler.
Can he improve? Does he have a chance to pitch in the major leagues?
His control is much better now than it was before. His BB/9 ratio has gone from roughly 4.5 in the pre-2008 period to roughly 2.5 now. It wouldn’t shock me if he got an emergency start, and if he pitched well he might be able to get a few more starts. It would shock me if he did anything with them.
Chris George is, as much as anything, a cautionary tale about high-school pitchers. His career is a pretty good track for Chris Tillman’s up to this point. With this track record, I’m concerned about Zach Britton too.