Tanner Scott, one of the more intriguing pitching prospects in the Orioles’ system, got the full attention of scouts last year in the Arizona Fall League. A left-hander in his early 20s throwing 100 mph fastballs will turn heads - and cause more than a few double-takes.
Scott started last night for the Peoria Javelinas in the AFL opener and threw 30 pitches in the first inning. Twenty-seven were four-seam fastballs clocked at 97-99 mph, according to MLB.com’s Gameday. He also mixed in three sliders at 89-91 mph.
Scott allowed a run on two hits and a walk and also threw a wild pitch. The Salt River Rafter’s Pat Valaika worked him for 11 pitches before reaching on a one-out single on a 99 mph fastball and later scored on JaCoby Jones’ RBI single on a 98 mph heater.
The Orioles want Scott starting in the AFL so he can work multiple innings, and he came back out for the second last night despite the 30-pitch first. Good decision. He retired the side in order on only 12 pitches and picked up his only strikeout.
Scott threw 29 of his 42 pitches for strikes. His last offering was 98.5 mph and resulted in a ground ball to short.
The Orioles promoted Scott, 22, from Single-A Frederick to Double-A Bowie over the summer and he went a combined 5-4 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.508 WHIP in 43 games over 64 1/3 innings. Control remains the challenge, with Scott averaging eight walks and 11.3 strikeouts per nine innings.
Teams keep checking on Scott’s availability. The Orioles keep insisting that they’d rather hold onto him.
DJ Stewart started in left field and went 3-for-5 with a double and walk.
* While the Orioles begin their search for a new pitching coach, manager Buck Showalter is happy that others on the staff are expected to return. He values the work done by bench coach John Russell - often endorsing him for managerial openings - hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, assistant hitting coach Mark Quinn, first base coach Wayne Kirby, third base coach Bobby Dickerson and bullpen coach Dom Chiti. The latter is a candidate to replace Dave Wallace.
Showalter has placed Dickerson in select third base coaching company by offering comparisons to the best he’s seen, including Cal Ripken Sr. and Jimy Williams.
“I used to watch them,” Showalter said. “They were so good. Their tempo, with their signs. Some guys slow down when there’s a hot sign, a guy’s head might change if there’s a hot sign. There’s a lot of things you watch with them. And command respect.
“They would call a guy out of the box. They didn’t care who it was. If somebody wasn’t looking down. Cal could really whistle. Both of those guys could whistle. Bobby can whistle. But those two guys, I learned a lot watching them coach third base.
“There’s been some good ones. It’s an art that you don’t see as much anymore because managers in the minor leagues don’t coach third base. Steve Smith I had was real good, Brian Butterfield was real good. Bobby’s right there with them. It’s hard. It’s a hard place, a hard position.”
* Left-hander T.J. McFarland, one of the Orioles’ 10 arbitration-eligible players, is now out of minor league options.
McFarland made eight appearances this year at Triple-A Norfolk, including four starts, as he dealt with a knee injury and poor results with the Orioles. He’s a non-tender candidate.
Being out of options could work against McFarland, who registered a 6.93 ERA and 1.743 WHIP in 24 2/3 innings with the Orioles.
* The Orioles haven’t released their spring training schedule, but if you must plan way in advance, they play the Phillies on March 16 at Ed Smith Stadium.
No word on whether they travel to Clearwater to face the Phillies, but the long trip is tolerable because the lunch rates No. 1 in the Grapefruit League in an informal poll of media members who have their priorities in order.
* Now that the regular season has ended, I like to check on the production of former Orioles with their new teams.
Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen signed a five-year, $80 million deal with the Marlins. The Orioles wanted him back, but not at those years and that price. They never were in the running and spent most of the season without a southpaw in their rotation.
Chen made 22 starts, only three after July 20 due to a strained elbow. He went 5-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 123 1/3 innings.
Chen was 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA in 117 starts with the Orioles spread over four seasons. He averaged 1.8 walks and 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings this year after averaging 1.9 and 7.2 in 2015.
That’s pretty much where the similarities ended.
Chen’s contract allows him to opt out after the 2017 season. He reportedly will receive $28 million of his guaranteed money in the first two years of the deal - an $8 million signing bonus, $6 million this season and $14 million in 2017.
In a related story, the Orioles still don’t believe in opt-out clauses.
* Kevin Gausman went 3-1 with a 1.10 ERA in six starts against the Yankees this season, registering a 0.951 WHIP over 41 innings. For his career, he’s 6-3 with a 1.92 ERA and 1.029 WHIP in 17 career games (11 starts) against New York over 79 2/3 innings.
A viewer of “Wall to Wall Baseball” on MASN asked the panel to come up with another pitcher who’s dominated the Yankees. Sounds like a nice rainy-day activity.
It’s a reflex move to look up Jim Palmer’s stats. The Hall of Famer was 30-16 with a 2.84 ERA and 23 complete games in 55 career outings (53 starts) versus the Bronx Bombers.
Palmer owns ERAs of 3.00 or lower against 10 of the 13 teams he faced in the regular season. He was 29-12 with a 2.12 ERA and 21 complete games in 52 outings (48 starts) versus the Indians.
Over his career, Palmer owned a 2.90 ERA in the first half and a 2.80 ERA in the second. So yes, he really heated up after the break.
Before you ask - and I know you were going to - Jay Tibbs was 0-3 with a 7.13 ERA in five games against the Yankees.
* Former Orioles pitcher Ross Grimsley had two nicknames, according to baseball-reference.com. Grimsley was called “Scuz” and “Crazy Eyes.”
In a related story, Grimsley had two of the better nicknames in baseball history.
* Former Orioles pitcher Steve Johnson will be inducted Saturday into the St. Paul’s Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Johnson, 29, returned home last week after rehabbing his right shoulder. He had a slight tear in the teres major muscle, but didn’t need surgery and is full-go.
Johnson went 1-0 with a 4.32 ERA in 16 relief appearances with the Mariners. He averaged 9.2 strikeouts per nine innings and 10.6 per nine innings with Triple-A Tacoma, where he was 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 games. He can become a free agent after the World Series.
* I’m proud to again join Team Barlow for LUNGevity Breathe Deep Baltimore taking place Oct. 22 in Baltimore.
The walk route will be around M&T Bank Stadium and back around Camden Yards with the final lap around the field, ending near the dugout and then up to the seats above the dugout for the closing program.
If interested in making a donation, you can find my name on this link by clicking on the roster. Any amount is appreciated and your donations are tax-deductible. Everything goes toward LUNGevity to fund early detection and cutting-edge research into new lung cancer treatments
We continue to honor Monica. We continue to fight for her.