Checking in with a few thoughts and opinions while waiting for the next Cody Ross homer.
Bell and Snyder: The Orioles are not saying it publicly, but it sure seems pretty certain that they are not planning to start either Josh Bell or Brandon Snyder in their infield to begin next season.
There are two schools of thought here: You could just send them both out for the whole O's season in 2011, realize you are still most likely a ways from making the playoffs and let them sink or swim at the Major League level. Or you could say they are just not ready and must go back to the minors.
But neither has mastered Triple-A yet or put up numbers there that would make their position on the Major League roster a given or likelihood. There are aspects of their games for both to work on at Triple-A that should help their chances to stick during their next shots in the Majors.
Things could change, but the feeling I get is that the club wants both to start at Triple-A when the new season begins.
Home Sweet Home?: The home teams have a record of 2-8 so far in the American League playoffs. So much for the home-field advantage.
After watching Minnesota and now Texas face the Yankees, Texas seems much more of a threat to New York. (Especially since Minnesota is out already). The Twins just didn't seem to really believe they could knock off the Yankees, while Texas seems very sure of its chances.
Minnesota had a lead for just six innings over three games vs. the Yankees, while Texas has led for 16 innings of the ALCS. This series could go the distance and get very interesting.
Mad about Mahoney: I saw that some fans on message boards were upset with Jim Callis' comments about Joe Mahoney.
To remind you, Baseball America's Callis said of Mahoney:
"A lot of times the teams' minor league player of the year is the guy that performed the best and not the best prospect. He is not a blue-chip, cornerstone type of prospect. He is a 23-year-old guy that spent half the season at High A and he got to Double-A and performed well.
"He had a nice year, but I don't think scouts are projecting him as a .300 hitter with plus power, like he did this year. He hit 18 home runs, which is a nice year, but you don't see him as guy that will hit 25 in the Majors. He is not a top prospect."
In my mind, Callis said nothing wrong and was not disrespectful of Mahoney in any way.
There is no reason for Callis to have a bias against Mahoney or the Orioles. It's his business to express opinions about young players and he is so well known and respected because he gets a lot right.
He never said Mahoney wouldn't make the Majors or could not develop into a Major League slugger, he just said it's his opinion that he won't put up big league numbers like he did this year and that right now he is not considered a top prospect.
He would be the first to say he could well be wrong about Mahoney. None of this - his opinion, mine or yours, about big Joe - should have any impact whatsoever on what kind of player Joe will become in the future. That is almost entirely up to him.
From what I know of the guy, after interviewing him a few times, he would probably appreciate some fans taking up for him. But he also wouldn't bat an eye at someone's opinion of his play. He wasn't on anyone's top 10 or 20 list of O's prospects before this season and I don't see him changing anything because he is more highly regarded by most now.
With his 2010 season, Mahoney has positioned himself well to make a run at the big leagues in the next year or two. While stories about him and opinions about him make interesting reading and debates, they will neither help him or hurt him moving forward.
He will make it or not based on what he does on the field. That's as it should be, of course.
AFL Stats: With most Arizona Fall League clubs having played just five games so far, the belief that the league features more hitting than pitching prospects is showing up in the league stats.
Four of the six clubs are averaging six runs a game or better and all are batting at least .272 as a team. Mesa has scored 40 runs in five games.
Meanwhile, the team ERA is 4.60 or better for four of the six clubs. The leader is Scottsdale, which features four Orioles minor leaguers on its roster, at 3.20.
The foursome of Oliver Drake, Wynn Pelzer, Pat Egan and Kam Mickolio has combined to allow four earned runs over nine innings so far.