This weekend, I’m taking a look at some Orioles minor league topics that will be on display and a look back at the Yankees big night of acquiring pitching.
* Orioles first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy appears likely to begin next season pitching for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. As he begins his first pro season in 2012, he will almost certainly be on an innings limit of around 120 or so.
That will lead to the club having to decide how they go about having Bundy get those innings. A minor league starting pitcher could put in those innings well before the season is over and have to be shut down. So they could limit Bundy to five-inning outings to keep him pitching most of the season or have him pitch longer at times but get to his innings-limit earlier in the season.
* That Delmarva pitching staff could be one filled with some promising young arms next year with hurlers like Parker Bridwell, Jamie Esquivel, Miguel Chalas, Eduardo Rodriguez, and several of the 2011 draft picks, like Mike Wright, Kyle Simon, Trent Howard, Matt Taylor, Tyler Wilson and Devin Jones all having a shot to be on that staff come opening day in April.
* First baseman Joe Mahoney has yet to play at Triple-A and Tyler Townsend has yet to play with Double-A Bowie, but that could change for both players this year, especially after Brandon Snyder’s trade to Texas. But both players need to prove they can stay healthy for a full year.
Mahoney batted .289 with 11 homers, 67 RBIs and an .846 OPS in 85 games in 2010 with Bowie while Townsend hit .317 with 13 homers, 50 RBIs and a .941 OPS in 67 games with Single-A Frederick. If either has a shot at a real future in Baltimore, they’ll have to keep cranking out those numbers at the higher levels in the minors.
* The Orioles seem inclined right now to keep Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop together when the 2012 season opens. Last year, the duo played together at both Delmarva and Frederick. They formed a dynamic, young double play combo with Machado at short and Schoop at second. They teamed for some highlight-reel double plays in leading Frederick to the Carolina League championship in September.
Schoop handled second base like he had been playing there his whole life, yet he is a natural shortstop. I have heard that the Orioles would still like to see Schoop play some at short, but that is hard to do when the pair is on the same team.
Also, where will that pair begin the season, Frederick or Bowie? A Double-A start has not been ruled out, but if that happened the Orioles may look to send one or more veteran, proven hitters at that level there with them to help protect the youngsters in that lineup.
* There could be a logjam at third base on the Delmarva team with Jason Esposito, Nicky Delmonico and Connor Narron all candidates for playing time there. Esposito was the club’s second-round pick in June out of Vanderbilt,, while Delmonico was taken in round six out of a Knoxville, Tenn.,high school and signed to an overslot bonus of $1.525 million.
If any of the three move up to start the year at Frederick to break the logjam, Esposito, the college player, is probably the most likely of the three. Delmonico can also play first base and has been a catcher. So with that and the designated hitter spot, all three could turn up on the same team in Salisbury come April.
* The New York Yankees added two key rotation pieces last night with the acquisition of Michael Pineda and the free agent signing of Hiroki Kuroda. So much for their quiet offseason.
I find it hard to believe that Seattle traded a 22-year-old, big, strong pitcher that throws like that. They must be pretty certain that Jesus Montero will not be only be an impact bat, but that it will happen as he stays as a catcher which many believe won’t happen. His defense has been questioned almost as much as his bat has been praised.
I think the Yankees got the better of this deal and now they have two young pitchers in their rotation in Pineda and Ivan Nova and at least two more potentially on the way in Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances. The future of their rotation looks good. At a time when their position players are aging, they do at least have the makings of a good young rotation.
I give Brian Cashman high marks for this one. He got a potential top of rotation hurler who currently makes the league minimum and can’t be a free agent until after 2016. Plus he has a catching prospect or two that they remain high on in the system.
Two other aspects to this deal. One, all four players dealt were international players further underscoring the Orioles’ need to try to produce their own top international talent. Two, now you’d expect a reaction from the Red Sox as they try to acquire a pitcher of their own and maybe make a strong run at Roy Oswalt or Edwin Jackson.
The American League East as a beast goes on and on and on and ...