While pitchers like Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz attract most of the attention in the O's minor leagues, having great seasons, others are emerging with strong seasons, but sometimes get overshadowed by the top hurlers.
Two pitchers that fit in that category are Pat Egan and Nate Moreau.
Egan, a 24-year-old right-hander began this season at Delmarva, is now at Frederick, but also made a brief and successful stop at Double-A Bowie.
Pitching mostly in relief, his combined stats at three levels from this season are 1-1 with 4 saves and an ERA of 2.04. In 61 2/3, he has allowed 48 hits with 13 walks and 54 strikeouts. He has allowed just one homer all year.
Egan is a 6'7", 230-pounder who was drafted in round 36 in 2006 out of Quinnipiac. He was a starter in 2007 at Bluefield and last season at Aberdeen.
Right now with Frederick, he is 0-1 with two saves and an ERA of 0.55. He has allowed just one earned run and six hits in 16 1/3.
"Pat is a big, tall, strong young man," O's Director of Player Development, David Stockstill, said. "He didn't have a lot of velocity his first year and a half, but he pitched okay. He's gained two to three miles per hour in his velocity this year and he's become an interesting pitcher."
Interesting as in making the O's minor league brass take notice.
"Right, with his extra velocity and his sink on the ball. The way he commands it all, it makes you notice him. He's doing a very good job."
Earlier, Egan was throwing 84-86 and now is at 90,91 with his fastball. He also has a hard sinker, slider and changeup.
"The ball lot has a lot of life with his long arms," Stockstill said.
It's rare for a pitcher to gain velocity after the year starts, but Egan has seen an increase this season.
"It is unusual," Stockstill said. "But sometimes, big tall lanky guys, as they get better rhythm, it will increase."
Egan now pitches middle relief and can be used for spot starts. He could begin next year with Bowie.
Left-handed pitcher Nate Moreau is really coming on now at Delmarva. He was named South Atlantic League pitcher of the week for the period ending July 19.
The 6'4, 222-pound Moreau is 4-2, 3.29 in 13 Shorebirds' starts. Over his last three starts, he is 3-0, 0.48. Since the all-star break, he is 3-0, 1.80.
The 22-year-old was drafted in round 11 last year out of the University of Georgia. This season, in 55 innings, he has walked 26 and fanned 53.
"Nate had thrown a lot of innings at college last year so we didn't pitch him much at Aberdeen last summer. This year we brought him to spring training and deliberately built up his innings a little later than others. We didn't want a heavy load on his arm after a heavy load last year at college. We kept him in extended spring for a couple of extra weeks," Stockstill said.
He struggled early in the year with his command, but it's gotten much better. He throws his fastball from 88-90 with a slider and developing changeup that needs work.
"I saw him the other night and he was really getting on top of the ball. He had a great follow through and spotted the ball well with movement," Stockstill said.
Pitchers like Rick Zagone (now with Frederick), Oliver Drake, Cole McCurry and Ryan O'Shea have had solid years starting with Delmarva this summer. Now we can add Moreau to the list.