Nick Markakis has had four very solid seasons as the O's right fielder.
Before he put the 2009 season to bed, he shared some thoughts on the year and the club's future.
He believes the current crop of young players is solid and the club's future is bright.
Not long after he finished up a monster game at the plate in the Arizona Fall League, Brandon Snyder was on the other end of the phone line. He was talking about his 7-RBI day on Wednesday.
But before long the conversation shifted to the 2010 season. If the O's have an open competition for their first base job, Snyder is determined to emerge the winner and first base starter come opening day for the Orioles.
It was a bit of a mystery from the Orioles minor leagues during the 2009 season.
How could Brandon Snyder hit so well at Double-A Bowie and go on to struggle when promoted to Triple-A Norfolk on June 19th?
While fans in the United States were taking stock of pennant races in the Major Leagues in September, three O's minor leaguers were raising their stock by performing well in baseball's World Cup in Europe.
Paco Figueroa, who hit .305 this year in 62 games at second base for Bowie, went 17 for 34 for Spain and led the entire 20-nation tournament in hitting.
Paco batted .500 with a homer, 8 RBI, 10 runs and four steals in ten games, helping Spain advance to the second round.
Three Oriole prospects in the Arizona Fall League have been hitting so well to date it makes you wonder about the quality of pitching they are facing.
Plus, the Phoenix team has ten .300 hitters at this early stage.
But still, of the club's four .400 hitters, three are Orioles with Josh Bell at .464, Matt Angle at .406 and Brandon Snyder at .400. Snyder leads the club with 15 RBI, Bell with four doubles and Angle is tops in runs and steals.
When the Orioles acquire a player, should they consider the character of that player?
When looking to add a player through trade, free agency or the First-Year Player Draft, is it mostly about talent, or should character come into play?
Do fans care about having a team full of good guys or do you just want hits, homers and wins?
It's a complicated question and one that probably provokes different answers for different players.
I have respect for anyone good enough to ever put on a Major League uniform. But during the Orioles' 2009 season, I gained a ton of respect for pitcher Jason Berken.
As the losses mounted for Berken, so did speculation that he'd soon be headed back to Triple-A. For a while there, his fate seemed to hang on every pitch. And some of those pitches hung as well, ending up in the left field seats.
You have to admire Bob McCrory's positive outlook.
The Orioles' right-handed reliever has been mostly hit hard in 15 games covering 13 2/3 Major League innings the past two seasons. Now he's had a second major surgery in four years, yet he remains upbeat.
He thinks he can be ready for spring training next year and wants to prove to the club that he can pitch in the big leagues.
New Orioles' bench coach Jeff Datz already had one of the most special days of his baseball life in Baltimore. Now he hopes for more after joining the O's coaching staff Thursday.
"I'll never forget I got my first Major League hit in Baltimore in 1989 and was able to hand that baseball to my mom and dad.
"Being from south Jersey I had about 30 family members there. I was a September callup of the Tigers in '89 and got a base hit off Gregg Olson. I only got 10 at bats that year and...
In this space yesterday we presented a story on the O's new bench coach, Jeff Datz.
The 2010 season will be Datz's 29th in pro ball. During last eight years he's been a coach with Cleveland, spending about four years as bench coach for the Indians.
He played professionally, mostly in the minors, as a catcher, from 1982-90. In 1989, he saw his only Major League action as a September call up for the Tigers. He went 2 for 10 at the plate, getting his first big league hit in Baltimore off...
This pitcher made six starts in September, going 2-3, 5.45 for his team. In 34 2/3, he allowed four homers among 46 hits. Opponents hit .317 against him that month.
Was it Jason Berken? David Hernandez?
No it was Cliff Lee of the Phillies. Hit hard in Septmeber, Lee pitched Philly to a win in game one of the World Series and is 3-0, 0.54 this post-season.
Meanwhile, check out these thoughts and let me you know if you agree or disagree.
Over the next several weeks, we'll review how the O's minor league teams finished this season, with an in-depth look at each team and some of their top players from the 2009 season.
Today we take a look at the 2009 Frederick Keys with comments from Keys manager Richie Hebner. (Stats listed are for games with Frederick only).
There seem to be some solid reasons out there for the Orioles to sign one or more big dollar free agents this winter.
For one, they would improve the team's talent base. And, maybe get a needed bat for the lineup. Both good reasons to add a player.
But, is another reason to enhance the club's credibility with its fan base? And another to prove to everyone, once and for all, that the club is willing to spend money.
Today we continue our review of the Frederick Keys 2009 season with comments from Keys manager Richie Hebner.
Monday, we reviewed several Keys' position players and today wrap up the 2009 season for Keys' pitchers.
The numbers - Frederick, which finished 64-75 in the Carolina League, had a team ERA of 4.11 which tied for 5th in the eight-team league.
The Keys were 4th in the league in strikeouts, issued the 3rd most walks and had just five shutouts, fewest in the league.
John Lackey, John Lackey, John Lackey.
Are you tired of hearing about him yet? Get used to it. He's considered the top free agent pitcher out there and the time for players to file for their "freedom" hasn't even come yet.
Some are speculating that Lackey will garner a contract for five years and worth between 80 and 100 million.
The ship is about to come in for the right hander.
O's fans will anxiously await word on whether their club is in the hunt for Lackey. While I would love...
One of the O's top pitching prospects, Brandon Erbe, has a minor injury that will cause him to miss the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars game set for this Saturday night.
"A couple of days ago, during pre-game stretching and running, Brandon tripped and fell and jammed the pinky finger on his right hand," O's Director of Player Development David Stockstill said.
"It was X-rayed and the X-rays were negative but there is some swelling. He missed a start (today) and will not pitch in...
Color me naÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¯ve maybe, but I had no idea my little blog-article-opinion piece on Jeremy Guthrie and John Lackey posted on Thursday would stir up so many people.
I guess bringing out the passion in readers and hearing from so many of you is a good thing - whether you rip me or not.
Since he hit .328 in 2006 between Bluefield and Aberdeen, the career of Billy Rowell has been on a downward spiral.
While he is still very young, and the O's management remains solidly behind him, Rowell has put together back-to-back mediocre years at Frederick.
Rowell w-Fred, 2008: .248-7-50....315 OBP.....368 slug......104 K's
Rowell w-Fred, 2009 .225-9-39....284 OBP......336 slug.......122 K's
Today in the final part of a three-part series reviewing the Frederick Keys' 2009 season,...
Today we continue our review of Oriole farm teams in the 2009 season with the a look at the Triple-A Norfolk Tides of the International League.
The Tides finished the season at 71-71, in third place in the IL South.
But when they were at full strength early on, Norfolk was the IL's best club. At the end of May, the Tides were in first place at 34-15. They regained first place as late as July 23rd.
But after losing players like Oscar Salazar, Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters, Lou Montanez, Brad...
Heading into the 2009 season, little was expected of O's minor league relief pitcher Luis Lebron.
He missed most of 2008 due to a right elbow injury, pitching just 20 innings. It looked like he might be headed for Tommy John surgery but instead he chose to rehab the injury.
At the start of the 2009 season, O's officials were just hoping he could get that mid 90's fastball back. And if he could develop some control of his pitches, all the better.