A scout's take on Arrieta and the catchers (Hader note)

The Orioles' quiet off-day made plenty of noise yesterday.

Wei-Yin Chen will start doing some light throwing today in Sarasota, according to interpreter Tim Lin. The first round of American League All-Star voting was announced, and Chris Davis ranked first among first basemen and Adam Jones ranked second among outfielders. Davis was named AL Player of the Week for the second time this season, but Miguel Cabrera beat him out for monthly honors.

Dylan Bundy was cleared to begin a throwing progression June 10 after visiting with Dr. James Andrews in Gulf Breeze, Fla. Major League Baseball and the Orioles announced that the start time for the June 30 game against the Yankees at Camden Yards has been moved from 1:35 p.m. to 8:05 p.m. to accommodate ESPN. Jake Arrieta turned in his worst start this season with Triple-A Norfolk, which welcomed back first baseman Travis Ishikawa to the lineup.

Otherwise, it was pretty slow.

A scout from outside the organization offered his opinion of Arrieta, who allowed eight runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings against Buffalo. It included a change-of-scenery suggestion and a tendency that Arrieta needs to fix.

"Arrieta maybe needs to be out of there," the scout said. "Maybe he could do something someplace else. I don't know what the deal is with him, but it's certainly not working. With his stuff ... He reminds me a lot of Phil Hughes. He throws so many pitches right down the middle and he gives up a zillion home runs. He's got good stuff, but his fastball is pretty straight, like Arrieta, and he gets too much of the plate and gets hammered.

"The thing about pitching, and what he's got to learn about pitching, is that when you get in trouble, go softer, not harder. Arrieta goes harder. That's the one thing (Chris) Tillman has learned is to throttle down. He used to rear back and throw 10 fastballs as hard as he could. Now he softens up and goes the other way. It just works out better for you.

"I think Arrieta, when he gets in trouble, goes a little too hard and it snowballs on him. He doesn't pitch and he loses his composure. He just panics. The one thing about Steve Johnson is, he doesn't have that kind of stuff, but he won't panic. He still pitches his game."

The Orioles have been working on the mental part of Arrieta's game. And it's important to point out that he allowed one hit in five scoreless innings in his previous start before yesterday. He surrendered two earned runs or fewer in three of his first four starts, and allowed only one home run before yesterday.

Fans who keep calling for the Orioles to release Arrieta need to understand that he has minor league options left. There's no reason to go to that extreme. They can leave him at Norfolk and continue to work with him.

They're not ready to give up on a guy with his stuff. Why should they? Is he taking up a valuable spot that should go to someone else? And if they do run out of patience, they can try to make a trade and get something back. It beats nothing.

Other organizations keep asking about his availability and that will continue at the non-waiver trade deadline. Releasing him would make no sense. And right now, the Orioles want to hold onto him.

Taylor Teagarden didn't play yesterday after catching twice and serving as the designated hitter in three injury-rehab games. The Orioles could activate him from the disabled list.

The scout referred to the Orioles' catching depth in the organization as "brutal." He thinks Chris Snyder, who's been backing up Matt Wieters in Teagarden's absence, is the best of the rest.

"He's a great makeup guy, but he has slider bat speed and he's not going to hit a good fastball or breaking ball. I want a guy, if he has to come in once or twice a week, to be the best defensive guy. At least someone who helps the pitching staff. And I think Snyder is a little better than Teagarden defensively and Teagarden is a little better offensively. But it's not like Teagarden is a real factor with the bat.

"If the Orioles have an Achilles heel, if Wieters goes down, I think the impact of that would be dramatic. They can sustain if they lose (Adam) Jones or (Manny) Machado. Not that they're not important or valuable, but they could put someone else in there short-term and be OK. But they have nobody to replace Wieters. Nobody in the system. It's not even close. They have to resolve that."

One catcher whose stock is on the rise is Caleb Joseph. Before last night, he was batting .279/.341/.523 with 15 doubles, 11 homers and 41 RBIs in 51 games at Double-A Bowie, and there's been some talk of possibly moving him up to Norfolk.

Brian Ward, also at Bowie, continues to do a tremendous job throwing out runners. That's been his strength at every level. He's 12-for-24 this season, and he nabbed 53 percent at Single-A Frederick in 2011.

Note: Single-A Delmarva left-hander Josh Hader has been named a 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star. Hader will represent the Shorebirds in the mid-season classic on June 18 at FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.

Hader, the Orioles' 19th-round pick last year out of Old Mill High in Millersville, is 1-2 with a 2.28 ERA in nine starts. He's allowed two runs or fewer in seven starts. In 47 1/3 innings, Hader has yielded just 12 runs and 34 hits, with 25 walks and 44 strikeouts.

Hader, 19, is the youngest player on the Delmarva roster. He leads the Orioles farm system in ERA and opponents batting average (.205), and ranks fifth in the system in WHIP (1.25).

Hader has allowed 46 hits in 76 career minor league innings, with 34 walks and 92 strikeouts.

Meanwhile, right-hander Jon Rauch has officially been added to Triple-A Norfolk's roster. To make room, catcher Jose Gil has been released.

Also, Double-A Bowie placed right-hander Tom Boleska on the Voluntary Retired List.

blog comments powered by Disqus


Rocket Fuel