Results tagged ‘ Norfolk Tides players ’
Where will he be in 2012?
Abreu signed as a minor-league free agent with the Phillies, so if he doesn’t get released he’ll likely play in Reading this season. He’s a .270-hitting corner outfielder with no power, little speed, and little supplementary on-base ability, so he’s unlikely to see any time in the majors.
Is he a major-league pitcher? What’s his role?
He’s a replacement-level major league pitcher, no worse than some other guys whose jobs are secure but probably no better than other guys who are trapped in AAA. He’s pitched just short of 250 major-league innings with an adjusted ERA 5% better than league, but that’s probably misleading because he had an out-of-character 2007 in which he became the Blue Jays’ closer. He then got hurt and is working his way back.
Accardo has been effective in his minor-league stints. He throws hard, but his pitches aren’t very deceptive, so he doesn’t get as many strikeouts and gives up more hits than you’d expect. I’d say he’s got a 50-50 shot at earning a job as a 6th-7th inning man, and he’s 50-50 at doing that job well.
He’ll get a chance in the Indians’ system in 2012, because he signed a minor-league free agent contract with them.
Can he be a major-league regular? Will he?
Ryan Adams almost certainly can be a major-league regular at second base, but he probably won’t be. Adams has been a consistent .290-level hitter with line-drive power in the upper minor leagues, and I expect that he’d hit 35-40 doubles and 8-10 home runs in a full major-league season. In his major-league time, he hit .281 in 96 plate appearances. Unfortunately, he doesn’t walk as often and strikes out more often than most teams would like.
The real problem is that most scouts are convinced that he can’t play second base. They’re wrong. It’s true that Adams doesn’t look spectacular at second base and that it may be a reach for him to be even an average second baseman. But after a full season of watching Adams play (mainly) second base, I am convinced that Adams can at least be an adequate defensive second baseman. He’s reliable and I don’t remember a large number of plays in which I thought “a real second baseman should be able to make that play.” The major leagues aren’t Lake Wobegon; all the second baseman can’t be above average.
The scouts said the same thing about Jeff Keppinger, David Eckstein, Mike Fontenot, and probably others. Keppinger, Eckstein, and Fontenot all proved that they could handle the defensive responsibilities of second base. If you want to argue that Adams’ bat isn’t good enough to make him a net positive, that’s another question. But the notion that Adams is unplayable at second base is absurd.
Is he a good bench player?
He’s a .280-level hitter who can play second, third, and corner outfield. He’d be a great bench player.
Should he be a major-leaguer? Can he be a regular?
I thought last season that Angle would be an excellent fourth or fifth outfielder and had a chance to be a regular outfielder, like Brett Gardner. While I underrated Gardner in that analysis — Gardner was and is a better player than Angle — I still think Angle is a major-league player.
First, the positives. Angle is an outstanding defensive center fielder, perhaps not quite as spectacular as Torii Hunter or as physical as Andruw Jones, but outstanding nevertheless. He has plus-plus speed, a knack for judging fly balls and running good routes. He also has an above-average throwing arm that plays better because he’s very accurate. In fact, although some of my colleagues might think it impossible, Angle may be an overall better center fielder than Denard Span, who was certainly the most spectacular center fielder I’ve seen in my six seasons of datacasting and had always been considered the best. Offensively, Angle has good strike-zone judgement and is an outstanding base-stealer (minor league career totals — 169 stolen bases in 205 attempts.)
Also, his performance last year told me a lot about Angle’s makeup. He got off to a terrible start. While many AAA players who get off to terrible starts end up with truly terrible years, Angle rebounded to have a solid season not far out of line with his career performance. He didn’t press, nor try to do too much, nor let his offensive struggles affect his defense.
The negative, and it’s a big negative, is that Angle doesn’t hit for any power at all — a career (slugging percentage – batting average) of .066 (Brett Gardner’s minor-league value was .094). Generally, the concern with a player with so little power is that he’s a weakling and pitchers will throw strikes, knowing he can’t hurt him. And, in general, the concern is valid. I think Angle may be an exception. He has a flat swing, so he does hit the ball hard but without much loft. Angle does draw an adequate number of walks, so he’s not a Joey Gathright against whom pitchers groove pitches.
Angle’s not going to be a superstar. On the right team — a team with an above-average offense but a below-average defense on which Angle could hit ninth (with the DH) or eighth (without the DH) — I’d be happy to plug Angle into center field.
So why did the Orioles expose Angle to waivers, where the Dodgers claimed him?
I’m not going to discuss the merits of signing Luis Ayala here, nor am I going to lambaste the Orioles front office. I think the Orioles exposed Angle for several reasons. First, the Orioles are the wrong team for Angle. They have an outstanding defensive center fielder in Adam Jones. While their offense is better than it was when Cesar Izturis and Josh Bell occupied the ninth and eighth spots, it’s still not a good offense. But more importantly, the Orioles are still — again? — in the initial phases of their development. As I see it, when they signed Ayala, the Orioles had to choose between Angle and Jai Miller for the roster spot. While I think Angle is better than Miller, I also think that Miller has a much better chance of becoming a very good player (mainly because Angle doesn’t have any chance of developing much beyond the adequate-regular class.) So, since the Orioles are so far away from being good, it might make sense to hope that Miller lives up to his potential and allow Angle to go elsewhere. As I said, I would have kept Angle, but I can see the case for keeping Miller.
Will he be a major-league pitcher?
Atkins was originally drafted and signed by the Cubs, and had some impressive-looking seasons in A-ball — 13-4, 2.41 ERA at age 20 for Peoria; 8-7, 3.13 ERA at age 21 for Daytona. He got some more attention with a 17-7 won-loss record at age 22 between AA and AAA, but his ERA and underlying stats weren’t that good, and his age 23 season at Iowa was terrible — 8-12 with a 6.58 ERA. After becoming a swingman at age 24, he left the Cubs and signed with the Orioles for 2011. His time in Norfolk was pretty bad — 3-7, 5.44 ERA in seventeen starts.
Atkins has had three cups of coffee in the major leagues — 2 innings in 2009 and 10 innings in 2010 with the Cubs and 10 2/3 innings with the Orioles in 2011. He’ll only be 26 in 2012, and there’s still a chance that he’ll develop or improve something and have a major-league career. But he’s like most of the rest of the 2011 Tides pitching staff — an adequate AAA rotation filler who’ll have occasional brief stints in the major leagues.
Atkins signed with the Nationals as a minor-league free agent for 2012.
Who is he?
Another hometown minor-league veteran, a left-handed starting pitcher out of Ocean Lakes High School in Virginia Beach and the University of Virginia. Ballard was drafted by the Rangers organization, and never actually pitched well; his best season was a 7-6, 3.71 ERA as a 25-year-old in AA. He continued that pattern in the first half of 2011 with Norfolk, putting up a 4.91 ERA in 10 games (officially 9 starts, but really 10 because his one relief appearance came after a rehabbing major leaguer pitched 3 innings.) He then was assigned to Bowie as part of a roster squeeze, where he did pitch quite well (8-3, 3.33 ERA; with a 13-112 BB/K ratio.
His time at Bowie got him another minor-league contract, as he signed with the Nationals in the off-season. There’s no reason to believe that he’ll be a major-leaguer, unless he becomes effective as a left-handed spot relief pitcher. In his current role, he’ll probably hang around AAA for a few years, generally going 6-8 with an ERA of 4.85.
In its annualProspect Handbook,Baseball Americaprovides profiles on the top 30 prospects for each organization. In addition, they provide a “depth chart” showing all of the prospects at each position, generally 2-5 at each position; 10-12 left-handed pitchers, and 20-25 right-handed pitchers. Not only has Ballard never made the top 30 prospects for his organization, he’s never made the depth chart. That’s a pretty good indication that he’s not a good prospect.
Is he a starter? Is he a reliever? What’s his future?
Like Jason Berken, with whom he shares the first three letters of his last name, he shot to the major leagues in 2009 because the Orioles’ starting rotation was crumbling and because he had pitched well in his first starts at Norfolk (in his case, two.) Bergesen had an impressive-looking 2009 before getting hurt (7-5, 3.43 ERA in 19 starts) but his underlying statistics weren’t that good. He struggled as a starter in 2010 (4.98 ERA in 28 starts) and was bad as a swingman in 2011 (5.70 ERA). He went to Norfolk for three starts, one a four-hit shutout.
Bergesen is very similar to Jason Berken, actually, in that there’s no real reason to believe that he can be an effective starting pitcher other than his 2009 season. On the other hand, Bergesen’s strikeout rates even in the minor leagues are too low to signify future success — his best full-season rate was 6.5 K / 9 IP. I think Bergesen is, like Berken, near the bottom of candidates for the Orioles starting rotation, and probably the Atlantic League is in his future.
Can he be a major-league pitcher?
Bierbrodt, who was the first amateur player ever drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks, has a career major-league ERA of 6.66 in 144 innings, mostly as a starting pitcher. After four years in the independent Atlantic League and a year apparently out of baseball, he returned to organized baseball with the Rockies organization in 2010 and the Orioles organization in 2011. In 2011, he had a 0.78 ERA in 23 innings at Bowie and a 6.17 ERA in 23 1/3 innings at Norfolk.
Bierbrodt’s future, if he has one, would be as a left-handed spot relief pitcher. At Norfolk, he walked 19 batters (18 unintentionally) in his 23 1/3 innings. I wouldn’t think he’s got an immediate short-term major-league future. He’s 33, and as of mid-February 2012 remains unsigned.
Who is he?
The Norfolk Tides’ bullpen catcher, who gets added to the active roster on occasions when the Tides will be shorthanded for a couple of days and it’s not worth having someone else travel to the team. He’s been in the Orioles’ organization since 2009, and has had a total of 17 plate appearances. He’s played two games in the field.
This has nothing to do with Zach Booker, but in 2007 the Tides’ bullpen catcher/emergency roster filler role was filled by a young man named Morgan Clendenin (who was in every way a more substantial player than Zach Booker.) On June 17, 2007, Clendenin was in the lineup against the Buffalo Bisons.
In the press box, while we watch the games, we’ll occasionally call “Yahtzee!” when we think a player will hit a home run. When Morgan Clendenin led off the bottom of the third inning against Sean Smith, the Tides’ Media Relations Director Ian Locke half-jokingly called “Yahtzee!”. Sure enough, Clendenin drove Smith’s second pitch over the right-center-field fence. Ever since then, our “Yahtzee!” calls have felt a little anti-climatic, because no triumph will ever top Ian’s prediction that the bullpen catcher would hit a home run at that precise time.
How good will he be? Will he be a successful major league starting pitcher? A star?
Zach Britton shot through the full-season minor leagues in three seasons, obtaining good results at each level. He keeps the ball low — in those three seasons, he allowed roughly 0.5 home runs per nine innings — and made the Orioles out of spring training when other pitchers were hurt. Britton pitched well in the first half of the season, getting some mention as a fringe Rookie of the Year candidate, but tapered off at the end, winding up with an 11-11 won-lost record (pretty good for the Orioles) but a 4.60 ERA (good among the Orioles starting pitchers, but still not really good.) He was sent to Bowie and Norfolk around the All-Star break to keep him on a regular schedule.
I wrote after the 2010 season that I had three concerns about Britton. After his 2011 season, I have two more — his major league strikeout rate was much worse than expected (5.7 K/9 IP) and his walk rate has been higher throughout his career than you’d like (around 3 BB / 9 IP). If he’s able to return to close to his minor league strikeout rate — say, 7.5 K / 9 IP — then he doesn’t have to improve his walk rate significantly to be effective.
Among Baseball-Reference.com’s ten most-similar pitchers to Britton at age 23 are four reasonably current players — Jon Lester, Aaron Laffey, Luke Prokopec, and Jonathon Niese. Lester, of course, has become a successful pitcher — but his ERA, while in absolute terms was very similar to Britton’s, was in relative terms much worse. In terms of strikeout and walk ratios, the most similar was Prokopec, who pitched terribly at age 24 and got hurt, never pitching in the big leagues again. So while Britton still could develop into a solid starting pitcher, the odds aren’t with him and he’s definitely not on the train to stardom.