Here is a followup to an article with O's scouting director Joe Jordan addressing some of the pitching injuries to hurlers the O's selected in the 2009 draft.
In this post, he talks more specifically about some of those pitchers. Despite the injuries that impacted so many of the 2009 draftees last summer, Jordan remains quite hopeful for the pitchers taken in the top 10 rounds that June.
Right-hander Randy Henry was the fourth-round pick that year from South Mountain Community College in Arizona. Henry, who underwent Tommy John surgery as a high school senior in Arnett, Okla., pitched only 22 1/3 innings at Single-A Delmarva last April and May.
He went 1-1 with a 5.64 ERA and allowed 28 hits with five walks and 30 strikeouts. Jordan feels Henry will be healthy this summer.
"The only thing that has really happened with Randy Henry is he's had setbacks. He's not going to have another surgery. We feel like he's coming into camp as healthy as he's been since his senior year of high school when he got hurt," Jordan said. "He didn't get a lot of innings last year, but I like the pick, I still do. I know what we have. So, OK, we didn't get to put 50 or 60 innings on him last year, but that's OK, because I feel like he's 100 percent coming into camp. I don't regret that one; I like that pick in the fourth round.
"Anytime you have that surgery, you start breaking loose some scar tissue and adhesions and, honestly, he got scared. He thought he had really hurt himself again (last summer), so we shut him down, evaluated him and found out that wasn't the case. He's had a normal offseason with no restrictions. That, for me, is all that's relevant. I know he's a worker and he will come in and be in great shape. When this stuff happened, I think he thought, 'I've blown this thing out again.' He found out that wasn't the case. He'll be fine."
The O's fifth-round pick, lefty Ashur Tolliver, went 0-1 with a 5.77 ERA at Short-Season Single-A Aberdeen in 2010. Tolliver, who just turned 23, allowed 40 hits with 16 walks and 29 strikeouts over 39 innings .
"He was one of the healthy guys that we took and then he had some tenderness in his shoulder. I don't know that he was as prepared coming into spring training (last March) as he needed to be. He basically just got sore and fought that a little last year," Jordan said of Tolliver. "But everything I've heard, he's fine. I haven't seen him on any medical reports. Hopefully, we will see more of what we saw as an amateur this year. He had a down year, he didn't have the year he should have had."
Aaron Wirsch, who was the seventh-round pick in 2009, pitched just 8 1/3 innings last August in the Gulf Coast League and allowed eight earned runs with six walks and nine strikeouts.
"I think he's 100 percent. His issues weren't arm related, but rather an oblique and hamstring. (Wirsch) just had an oblique injury that didn't last two weeks, but rather two months," Jordan said of the 20-year-old left-hander," Jordan said. "I'll take that in the seventh round every year, every year. He just had a couple of things, but it wasn't related to the arm at all."
ESPN's Keith Law has released his list of the top 100 prospects in baseball and he ranks Zach Britton 11th and Manny Machado 26th. Law's ratings place Britton as the game's third-best pitching prospect. At 11th, Britton is rated ahead of Toronto's Kyle Drabek (13th), Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson (14th), Cincinnati's Aroldis Chapman (15th) and Tampa Bay's Matt Moore (16th).
By the way, in his rankings out at this time last year, Law rated Brian Matusz 11th and Britton 25th.
FanFest reminder: I look forward to seeing many of you tomorrow at FanFest. For those of you that check out the fan forums, I will be hosting two of them. At 4:10 p.m the "Young Orioles" forum features Brandon Snyder, Josh Bell, LJ Hoes, Tyler Townsend, Britton, Tyler Henson and Brandon Erbe.
At 5:25 p.m. the "Blogging the Birds" forum features representatives from MASNsports.com along with The Loss Column, Oriole Post, Baltimore Sports and Life, Camden Chat, Camden Crazies and Baltimore Sports Report.
See you there.