"Pitching has got to be the foundation in the organization. Everybody wants a good pitcher. The more pitchers we have, the stronger our organization will be."
- Dayton Moore, Kansas City Royals General Manager

Thursday, January 17, 2008

2008 Baltimore Orioles Organizational Depth Report

1. radhames liz, RHSP
2. chris ray, RHRP
3. jim hoey, RHRP
4. adam loewen, LHSP
5. pedro beato, RHP - august 2009
6. chorye spoone, RHSP - september 2008
7. randor bierd, RHRP - april 2008
8. garrett olson, LHSP
9. matt albers, RHSP
10.david hernandez, RHRP - august 2009

i had hayden penn pegged for a breakout in 2007, but it seems as though every major pitching prospect in the orioles system going into 2007 took a huge step back going into 2008. i still like what penn does on the mound, but i have no confidence in him for 2008. penn would rank number 11 in this system. erbe would rank 12. this is currently a very deep system with plenty of everything.

i think david hernandez is going to end up in the bullpen. he has good stuff, but it's not quite good enough for him to sustain success at higher levels. i don't think the move will be necessary for a few years, though, so he has plenty of time to improve his stock.

chris ray would still rank number 2 even if he projected to be ready for opening day 2008. i am very high on raddy liz, and i think he's going to be an electric starter for BAL.

more info on randor bierd can be found here.

more info on matt albers can be found here.

Spotlight: Radhames Liz

liz features a tremendous fastball that averages 96, along with an 86 MPH changeup that was rated by BA as the best in the orioles system. in 2007, liz also threw a slurvy breaking ball that came in around 82. in the 2007 BA prospect handbook, he was said to throw a plus curveball that he was still refining. during his run with the orioles late that year, he either didn't have enough confidence to throw the pitch, or had previously scrapped it altogether.

i bring this up because refining his secondary pitches is the single most important thing liz has to do in 2008. make no mistake, liz can be a successful pitcher without them, but the difference between liz being a successful pitcher (jaret wright), a dominating starter (bartolo colon), or a prospective flame out (edwin jackson; i say flameout, but in reality i just mean to say a player whose entire value is based on the speed and depth of his fastball) rests on his willingness to throw his secondary pitches, and the rate at which they develop.

while the first thing to take out of this writeup would be that liz needs to stay focused on refining his secondary pitches, the second thing should be that even if he doesn't, he has a future in MLB. as a starter, liz thows in the mid 90s, and he maintains that velocity into the late innings. if he were put into a position where he would, maybe, only have to throw 1 inning at a time, i would have two feelings run through my head; the first being that it would be a waste for him to lose the advantage of hitting 96 in the 1st inning, the 4th inning, the 8th inning.

the second feeling? look out below. as a reliever, liz would have papelbon upside, with the two sharing very similar scouting reports, a mid 90s FB as a starter, ability to maintain velocity throughout a start, plus changeup, plus curve. statistically, the H, K, and HR rates all line up fairly well, as does their ages while advancing through the minors. the BB rate is a major difference, though, and it could be said that the ~2 BB/9IP difference is more important than i believe, so i'll leave with this: what does jose valverde have that radhames liz doesn't?

i'm very high on raddy liz.

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