I still can't understand why teams and the media put so much stock into spring training performances.
It is such a short, quick, unrealistic view.
The pitchers and hitters are not ready. They are trying to get in playing shape. Its spring TRAINING.
I never liked how you could go to spring training and win or lose a job based on a couple of innings. That seemed crazy to me when I was playing. And it still seems crazy to me.
Why would you want to judge pitchers on what they do in a short period of time? I think a pitcher's performance the year before is much more important.
'I hear this guy looks good,' 'this guy is throwing strikes' and 'this guy is getting hit hard.' So what! It's spring training.
I'm not going to judge whether they can pitch at the major league level on 5 or 15 innings of spring training.
The same thing happens during the season. It drives me crazy when a club brings up a pitcher and gives him a start. If he does well, he gets another one. If he does poorly, he goes back down. That's just stupid! You would not judge them that quickly in the minors.
I would judge pitchers on three main things: Where did they pitched last year; are they healthy; and are they throwing strikes. We all know that there are going to be exceptions to this--where a player was drafted and the bonus he received factor into this as well. I'm not saying it should, but let's face it, it does.
This year we have Brad Bergeson in camp. He is throwing strikes, looking good and having success.
This is great for him and the Orioles. Now put him in AAA where he belongs and see if he can do it at that level. The Orioles are finally getting to the point that we have a surplus of real pitching prospects in our system. Let's make them earn each promotion along the way. When they get to the major leagues, they will feel confident and feel like they belong.
We have some guys that are out of options. To me, they deserve a chance to pitch at the major league level. If nothing else, we need to find out if they can pitch at the major league level. Hayden Penn, David Pauley and Rich Hill some of those guys. If they are healthy and throwing strikes, you need to put them out there during the season for 10 to 12 starts and see if they can get guys out at that level. If they can't, then you start to bring up guys from AAA, not AA, who deserve the next long look.
It is exciting to know that our AAA, AA and High A teams will be stocked with real pitching prospects. This is great for the organization. Kudos to all the Orioles scouts and front office staff who have put this organization in that position. It should be fun watching the Orioles pitching staff come together over the next few years.