Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Players Of The Month

Posted by Mike on May 1, 2006

Now that we're into May, I thought I'd begin what will become a monthly feature– a position player and a pitcher of the month for both the major and minor leagues. 

Before I get into all this, allow me to digress a moment.  As you're all aware, Saturday's game was very, very strange.  Historically, I can not think of a time when I have seen a worse defensive infield assembled.  Ever.  At one point, injuries forced an alignment of Hernandez-Mora-Gomez-Conine.  I'm not out to make any critique or anything- Perlozzo did what had to be done- but if anyone out there is handy with Retrosheet, I implore you to top that infield in all-around out-of-placeness and futility. 

Another quick tidbit– according to this article:

For now, center fielder Corey Patterson will be Baltimore's leadoff hitter.

Patterson is swinging a hot stick and no one would be more pleased than me if my initial impressions were proven wrong, but the man has 1 BB in 50 PA's and is still making an out 70% of the time.  For future reference, here is a list of Orioles that I think would be more miscast as leadoff hitters than Corey Patterson:

  1. Raul Chavez

Speaking of which, the same article I referenced above also had this tidbit:

…That leaves the O's with two healthy bench players — backup catcher Raul Chavez and backup outfielder Luis Terrero.

"We're going to have to battle through it. Some other people are going to have to pick up the slack," Perlozzo said. "The only real problem right now that I would possibly have is Ramon [Hernandez] is going to have to be in there. But he's had some days off. He should be able to handle it."

Javy Lopez is having back spasms and is unable to catch for the time being.  Isn't this exactly why Raul Chavez is on the roster?  I happen to disagree with carrying three catchers (at least with Eli Whiteside still on the 40-man roster), but I can certainly understand why Perlozzo, or anyone else, thinks it's necessary.  What I can not understand is why any team would carry a player on their 25-man roster if they don't find it feasible to give him playing time after injuries have seemingly necessitated it.  And that's where the problem lies, Raul Chavez is one of the very few backstops in the major leagues that is not an upgrade on Geronimo Gil.

More notes:

  • Brandon Fahey looks good.  If Jack Wilson can nab $7M per based on his snazzy defensive work, I see no reason that Fahey can't have a successful major league career- small sample size be damned.
  • Luis Terrero has yet to do anything useful, but I do like the pickup in general.  His recent track record isn't much but, at one time, he was a somewhat coveted prospect.  I certainly see his potential usefulness when the team he's on employs as much health risk in the OF as the O's do. 

Onto the good stuff…

Pitcher of the Month- Major Leagues

Chris Ray

Let me start off by stating that this honor is not exactly a ringing endorsement.  Few O's pitchers have pitched particularly well in the month of April.  However, Ray is a perfect 7 for 7 in save opportunities and has solidified his role as the Orioles' closer.  Of special note was his performance against the Yankees on April 21.  After getting himself in some trouble by walking the bases loaded, Ray shocked everyone by striking out Hideki Matsui with a 3-2 slider.  It wasn't his best performance statistically, but that may just have been the best pitch of his young career. 

"Well, that's good," said Ray. "Maybe next time they'll look for it and I'll throw a fastball."  

I think he's getting the gist of it.

Player of the Month- Major Leagues

Miguel Tejada

After Brian Roberts stole a bit of his thunder as the O's MVP in 2005, Miguel Tejada has answered back with a .422/.459/.618 April.  In the process, he's put to rest many of the rumors swirling about the B-12 fiasco and his late season swoon.  He's even starting to wear on my reluctance to label him as a team leader after an off-season that saw him throwing his organization, teammates included, under the proverbial bus.  No one doubts his desire to win and a 1.077 OPS is a pretty good start on getting his team in the Win column a little bit more often.

Pitcher of the Month- Minor Leagues

Radhames Liz

Was there ever any doubt?  As good as Brandon Erbe (and even Adam Loewen) have looked this month, Liz is the hottest player in the Orioles organization right now.

20 ip, 39 K, 8 BB, 9 H, 1.35 ERA

Frankly, I'm surprised his ERA is that high- just look at that stat line again.  Liz has been unreal this month and I think it's only a matter of a few starts before he's putting up numbers in an already stacked Bowie rotation.

Player of the Month- Minor Leagues

Nolan Reimold

In an organization thin on positional talent, Reimold is proving a lot of teams wrong for letting him slip into the second round of last year's draft.  So far this season, he has raked to the tune of .329/.434/.600.  Furthermore, reports are that his defense has improved as the O's have confined him to RF. 

His 18 K's in 20 games stand out as the only potential roadblock to further development, but his 1.034 OPS is impossible to ignore.  I expect him to be promoted to Bowie by mid-season, at the latest.  If he hits like this in AA, look for his name near the top of a lot of off-season prospect lists.

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4 Responses to “Players Of The Month”

  1. bradley said

    i would bet (hope?) that fahey ends up leading off sooner rather than later. he doesn’t really have much pop, but seems to spray the ball around nicely, had good minor league obp numbers and, if yesterday is any indication, sees a lot of pitches.

    wrt pitching w/ the big club, i have to say that i’ve been really impressed w/ benson and the degree to which his performance has this far exceeded my expectations is equal to that of ray.

  2. Mike said

    Fahey’s BB numbers have been acceptable for the past two seasons, but I’d expect them to go down in the bigs. Major league pitchers will have no problem pounding the strike zone against someone they see as little threat to hit for much power.

    As far as Benson is concerned, I did consider him for Pitcher of the Month. But if you look at his 17/11 K/BB ratio, it’s not an improvement on recent seasons where he’s been, at best, a mid-rotation starter. Frankly, I don’t think he’s been pitching better, I think he’s been getting luckier.

  3. bradley said

    man, what a few years of crap rotations do to one’s perspective…talk about lucky, though, look at sir fat sidney’s numbers!

    on the unlucky end of things, i reviewed big ben’s numbers when camden chat was doing their o’s greats list and all i can say is that the o’s would kill for another ben mcdonald right about now. i mean, he was a bit homer prone, but good k numbers decent bb and generally better than lg average era.

  4. Faustinus said

    Digory

    Man proposes but God disposes…

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