Duquette on developing pitchers, Machado’s defensive future and more (DSL All-Stars)

The man has a nice view from his office and I recently got to see it and interview O’s executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette in his office at the Camden Yards warehouse.

The topics were many and varied. You have read some of his thoughts already this week in this entry, where he talked about the O’s international efforts.

Today he discusses a few other topics.

Duquette on what is important for the O’s organization in trying to develop young pitchers:

“The most important thing is for pitchers to understand their delivery and to pitch with and command the fastball. The next important thing is developing a changeup, so we’ve emphasized the changeup. Then have a breaking ball you can get over the plate. Those are the things we are emphasizing throughout the organization, those are the fundamentals.

“We help them with drills and to understand their deliveries and we help them construct deliveries that they can repeat consistently. If they do that, they can command their pitches.”

Do the O’s look for pitchers who already have good mechanics when they scout them?

“Yeah, it starts with scouting, but there is a player development component, as well. I think the emphasis in our organization is consistent and if we’re doing a good job, our pitchers should be throwing strikes consistently.”

Is it easier to develop or buy a No. 1 starter?

“How many teams have No. 1 starters? How many No. 1 starters are there throughout the industry? There are less than a handful. You need to have a process to develop pitching throughout the organization.”

Will Manny Machado will move from third base to shortstop at some point down the road?

“It looks to me like he’s doing a really good job at third base and he’s got himself established there at third base. So I don’t really feel the need to project where he is going to play. He’s playing third base terrific for us. J.J. Hardy made the All-Star team and so did Manny, and that gives up a pretty good left side. He’s fun to watch. He’s so graceful and the plays he makes are so entertaining. He’s a terrific kid.

“We didn’t really know how well he was going to play defensively. A year ago at this time, he was hitting .265 in the Eastern League and playing shortstop. Then he came to the big leagues and made the All-Star team. Evidently for Manny, the Eastern League was a much tougher league. He looks good to me.”

Is character important when adding or acquiring players?

“It’s important to screen for players that have personal qualities that contribute to winning games. That is part of the equation, that you have players that people connect with in the community. I just think that adds to the capability of the team.

“I think the fans identify with the work ethic of this ballclub. It’s a hard-working team. There are important personal traits to look for in having a number of winning players, so you can have a winning team.”

Duquette talked about the increased attendance this year at Camden Yards:

“That’s encouraging and the fans are connecting with the team. We’ve played well and we’re trying to have a culture where we can have a good team every year. I think the fans feel a connection to our team and they just want our club to do well.

“The whole idea is to have the community identify with the team and feel like they are part of the team. The fans have really connected with this group and under the leadership of Buck it’s created a nice connection with the community. The fans had a big part in our All-Star voting and we really appreciate it.”

DSL All-Stars: Three players from the Orioles organization have been selected to play in the Dominican Summer League All-Star game this Sunday.

Alexander Mercedes, a 21-year-old outfielder from the Dominican is headed to the game. He is batting .347 with 13 doubles, five triples, 17 RBIs along with a .399 OBP and a .507 slugging percentage.

Rafael Moreno, an 18-year-old right-handed pitcher from Brazil is 4-1 with a 1.24 ERA. Over 43 2/3 innings he has allowed 37 hits with 10 walks, 31 strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.08.

Francisco Jimenez, an 18-year-old right-hander from the Dominican is 3-3 with a 1.80 ERA. Over 40 innings, he has allowed 28 hits with 15 walks, 39 strikeouts and a 1.08 WHIP.

Elvis Morel, the O’s DSL-1 manager, was selected as a coach for the game. The O’s DSL-1 team has a record of 22-16 and the club’s DSL-2 team is 15-23.

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