When the 2011 season began, right-hander Tim Bascom found himself in an unfamiliar spot. The bullpen.
After pitching to a record of 3-4 and ERA of 3.43 in 11 Double-A starts last year, Bascom was on Bowie's opening day roster, but not in the season-opening rotation.
"Once they told me that, it got me a little angry," Bascom said here today at Camden Yards. "It kind of made me work a little harder, to do whatever they needed. I felt I got better in the bullpen, so I can do anything they need right now, bullpen or start, pretty much anything."
Bascom said going to the 'pen turned out to be a plus, when his fastball gained a little more life, even though he's not sure exactly why.
Bascom went on to pitch to a 9-4 record and 3.11 ERA for the Double-A Baysox and today he was named the Orioles minor league Pitcher of the Year, winning the Jim Palmer award.
"It's an honor, it's named after Jim Palmer, a Hall of Famer. It's an honor," he said.
Bascom had an ERA of 3.12 in the 'pen and 3.11 when starting. He went 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA in July and pitched to a 2.25 ERA over his final three starts when Bowie was pushing to try and earn an Eastern League playoff berth.
Still, getting this award caught him a little off guard.
"It really did (surprise me). There's a lot of good prospects and I played with a couple of guys that pitched well this year and I thought, they might get it. At the same time, I knew I pitched well so I knew I was in the running. This year I felt like I put it all together," he said.
Counting one start in May with Single-A Frederick, Bascom was 10-4 with an ERA of 2.97. He wound up third in the Eastern League in WHIP and fourth in ERA.