Vote for Pedro

Brandon Snyder could make his debut in Detroit this weekend. It's a little easier to project a position player. The manager tends to dictate it more than the game - certainly while writing out the lineup in his office.

If you're staring at the ceiling each night wondering about left-hander Pedro Viola...well, that's pretty odd. I won't sugar-coat it. You need help.

Viola pitched in nine games with the Reds last season, so he's gotten the proverbial cup of coffee. He took his lumps with Triple-A Norfolk this year - see what I did there? - going 0-2 with a 17.65 ERA, 10 walks and eight strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings. The Orioles sent him down to Double-A Bowie, keeping him on the 40-man roster, and he went 3-4 with a 3.59 ERA, 19 walks and 64 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings.

Perhaps Viola will get a chance to face a lefty or two in Detroit. Isn't that why he's up here?

I asked Bowie pitching coach Kennie Steenstra for a brief scouting report on Viola. He passed along the following:

"He came to us about mid-season from Norfolk and I knew he had really struggled there. At first with us he was just so-so. Eventually, we ended up having the need for a starter and I saw that he had started before with the Reds in the minor leagues. I thought he had good enough stuff to maybe try him out doing that. We had him start the last six or seven of the year.

"When he came to us from Norfolk, we knew exactly what we were getting. He had been very erratic there. His command was well below average. Mike Griffin had done a good job trying to iron out his mechanics, and he passed along what they were working on, which we continued - making sure he stayed on line to the plate. He has a tendency to pull over, sort of like (Michael) Gonzalez, but maybe not that much. We thought with him starting and getting a lot of reps, it might help him more than just going out there every two or three days and throwing a good inning. And we saw a guy who has good stuff.

"He'll bring it 93-94 mph and his fastball has good life to it. He has a short, quick arm. He'll show you a slurve, but he had to start using his changeup. That's one pitch he hadn't used much as a reliever and it really helped to develop that pitch and get it going for him. And he started to see good results with that pitch.

"I don't see him as a starter even down the road. He's a bullpen guy. He has that short, quick arm and he has trouble repeating, so that guy you will always see in the 'pen. He may go out and strike out the side or walk four. Command is still an issue with him. The stuff is there. It's just a matter of whether he can repeat and make pitches on a consistent basis. He can do it in front of Double-A crowds. Who knows how he'll do in the Bronx or Boston with crowds of 40,000? Maybe he can do it. I don't know."

Maybe his first chance with the Orioles will come in Comerica Park.

In the meantime, try to get some sleep.

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