With continued speculation that Jake Arrieta could be Baltimore bound at some point soon, I went to the guy today that has been his manager at Triple-A Norfolk the last two years.
That is Gary Allenson, now the O’s interim third-base coach.
He admits that Arrieta can be confident, even bordering on cocky at times, but says that is a good thing and that Arrieta has simply been among the best pitchers in the International League this year.
“That’s fine by me. Being cocky and knowing that you’re good is fine. It’s a borderline arrogance, cockiness, whatever it is. But you have to have that attitude if you are going to win and he has that. I’m looking forward to seeing it and he will challenge guys up here,” Allenson said.
Allenson talked about the difference with Arrieta this year. After going 5-8, 3.93 in 17 Triple-A starts in 2009, Arrieta is 6-2, 1.85 in 12 games, 11 starts with the Tides this season.
“I think he trusts his stuff a lot more. Last year, his command wasn’t too good. He’s got a much better changeup this year and he’s been getting ahead with his fastball and he’s been aggressive.
“Earlier (this year) he would lose his command for a couple of hitters and he had too many walks. But the last few times he was out there, when I was there, he’s been really good, I mean outstanding.”
But are those walks a concern?
“This is (a concern) because you are putting free guys on base. But the last few times out, he’s had no command issues at all. He was as impressive as any pitcher in that league this year.
“I think so (he is ready for the Majors). You never know when it’s big league hitters, sometimes they think they have to throw harder. But he’s a very confident guy and he’s knows he’s a big leaguer. I think he’ll be fine.”
Even though Arrieta looks ready to be here, even Allenson can’t predict whether he will have success right away at the big league level.
“That’s hard to know. A lot of young guys go through growing pains. What do you do the first time someone hits the ball hard off him, but I think he’ll be fine.”
In 73 innings on the season, Arrieta has allowed just 48 hits with 34 walks, 64 strikeouts and a .189 batting average against.