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Beginning of Season Q&A

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I figure this is a make or break year for Kieron Pope. I was surprised to see him batting 5th in the Delmarva opening night lineup. Did he have that good of a spring?

Pope had a good second half of spring training according to most folks, but I'm not sold on him. He's got good bat speed, but his pitch recognition is still not there and his lack of work in the outfield due to his shoulder woes has really made him a sub par outfielder. He doesn't get good jumps on balls and his positioning needs work.

We'll know for sure after this year, but I'd be pleasantly surprised of Pope has a good year this year at Delmarva.

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I posted questions regarding Penn in another thread, if you don't mind answering. I'll quote them here:

Penn's stuff is enigmatic because he's inconsistent. his fastball command varies and I've never been a big fan of his curveball. His changeup is usually pretty good, but everything works off his fastball command. When it's on, so is he.

The question now is will his command ever be good enough consistently enough to be a starter, or should the Orioles consider moving him to the Penn where he was throwing 97 MPH during the Arizona Fall League last year?

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Penn's stuff is enigmatic because he's inconsistent. his fastball command varies and I've never been a big fan of his curveball. His changeup is usually pretty good, but everything works off his fastball command. When it's on, so is he.

The question now is will his command ever be good enough consistently enough to be a starter, or should the Orioles consider moving him to the Penn where he was throwing 97 MPH during the Arizona Fall League last year?

Wait, what? Penn was throwing 97 MPH? I thought he could barely touch 94 and sat at 90-91?

Sounds like Arietta had a big debut. What do you see him and Bascom doing this year and how high are their ceilings? Seems like they were left out of a lot of conversations this offseason about our MiL pitching, but Bascom did well last summer and there were talks that Arietta had first round talent...

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Thank you for doing this. The minor league league system has vastly improved in the last three years making it much more interesting to follow. I have three questions:

(1) How has Joe Mahoney looked, and is he a possible sleeper positional prospect?

(2) How has Brandon Tripp looked this spring?

(3) Are there any sleeper positional prospects other than Tyler Henson who may make the prospect radar this year?

Mohoney is a big guy who actually moves pretty good for six-foot-seven guy. The concern I have is that he doesn't have the bat speed needed for success at the upper levels. Tonight I saw guys get in on his hands several times and he broke two bats, one on an 88 MPH fastball that handcuffed him.

He did have a nice opposite field hit to show me he's not pull happy, so we'll keep an eye on him to see how he does this year.

Tripp had a good spring. He needs to put up big numbers at Frederick, walk more and cut down on the K's to start getting some mention is a top prospect.

My sleepers are Garabez Rosa and Dashenko Ricardo at GCL this year. Both look very impressive for young DR guys. Oh, and catcher Tom Martin will hit at Bluefield or Aberdeen if given everyday at bats.

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Wait, what? Penn was throwing 97 MPH? I thought he could barely touch 94 and sat at 90-91?

Sounds like Arietta had a big debut. What do you see him and Bascom doing this year and how high are their ceilings? Seems like they were left out of a lot of conversations this offseason about our MiL pitching, but Bascom did well last summer and there were talks that Arietta had first round talent...

Arrieta will soon be in all of our conversations about our pitching. As for Bascom, no one has seen hi healthy and in shape yet. He's still an unknown really.

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Arrieta will soon be in all of our conversations about our pitching. As for Bascom, no one has seen hi healthy and in shape yet. He's still an unknown really.

Cool, thanks.

Can you tell us more about Dashenko Ricardo? I know Frobby was excited about him in a thread a few weeks ago.

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Penn's stuff is enigmatic because he's inconsistent. his fastball command varies and I've never been a big fan of his curveball. His changeup is usually pretty good, but everything works off his fastball command. When it's on, so is he.

The question now is will his command ever be good enough consistently enough to be a starter, or should the Orioles consider moving him to the Penn where he was throwing 97 MPH during the Arizona Fall League last year?

1. Thanks for answering my questions.

2. Funny play on words.

3. I didn't realize that he could dial his fastball up that high.

I hope Penn has a pretty good year and gets at least one more chance with the O's, even if it's in the bullpen.

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Tony, thank you. I will keep an eye on those sleepers. It seems like you posted last year that Mahoney's bat speed may be a bit slow. However, his power is intriguing.

Good news on Tripp, he seems like a guy that has all the tools, the question is whether he can put it all together. I will be watching his strikeout to walk ratio, OBP and power numbers this year. It would be great if last year was no fluke.

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Mohoney is a big guy who actually moves pretty good for six-foot-seven guy. The concern I have is that he doesn't have the bat speed needed for success at the upper levels. Tonight I saw guys get in on his hands several times and he broke two bats, one on an 88 MPH fastball that handcuffed him.

He did have a nice opposite field hit to show me he's not pull happy, so we'll keep an eye on him to see how he does this year.

Tripp had a good spring. He needs to put up big numbers at Frederick, walk more and cut down on the K's to start getting some mention is a top prospect.

My sleepers are Garabez Rosa and Dashenko Ricardo at GCL this year. Both look very impressive for young DR guys. Oh, and catcher Tom Martin will hit at Bluefield or Aberdeen if given everyday at bats.

I've been able to watch both of the Shorebird games, and there are some woeful swings in the group. Fortunately there are some very good athletes. Hopefully they'll make some adjustments over time. But right now, I agree 100% that Mahoney's swing is simply too slow (yes, powerful though) for good fastballs inside. In addition, Adams struggles w/ all offspeed stuff; Florimon can't seem to hit anything; Pope has incredible power, but is also going to really struggle w/ a good inside FB and then offspeed. He simply doesn't use his lower half when swinging. When you look at the mechanics of their swings, each of them have pretty big holes to address...let's hope they can address them!

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Tony,

I noticed when reviewing the Norfolk and Bowie rosters that the latter is made up of several former top draft picks/prospects that (for various reasons) didn't quite make it with their original team. I'm talking about Luis Montanez (former #3 pick!!), Mike Rodriguez, Kennard Jones, and Mike Garciaparra.

All of those guys (except Jones) have played at AAA and had some success. Also, they're all young enough that they prob. haven't reached their peak. Why have they all been placed in AA? Should they really be blocked at AAA by the likes of Boucher, Roberson, or Stern (in the case of the OFs) or Travis Brown or Mike McCoy (in the case of Garciaparra)? Seems funny to me...not to mention that Montanez was decent at Norfolk last year and still got demoted midway through the season. Do any of those four strike you as guys who could contribute at the ML level at any point?

I don't expect great things from any of these guys, but I'm concerned about the O's minor league roster management so far this season.

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I've been able to watch both of the Shorebird games, and there are some woeful swings in the group. Fortunately there are some very good athletes. Hopefully they'll make some adjustments over time. But right now, I agree 100% that Mahoney's swing is simply too slow (yes, powerful though) for good fastballs inside. In addition, Adams struggles w/ all offspeed stuff; Florimon can't seem to hit anything; Pope has incredible power, but is also going to really struggle w/ a good inside FB and then offspeed. He simply doesn't use his lower half when swinging. When you look at the mechanics of their swings, each of them have pretty big holes to address...let's hope they can address them!

See my latest Tony's take and you will see we pretty much agree. The good news is that Tyler Henson is legit.

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Tony,

I noticed when reviewing the Norfolk and Bowie rosters that the latter is made up of several former top draft picks/prospects that (for various reasons) didn't quite make it with their original team. I'm talking about Luis Montanez (former #3 pick!!), Mike Rodriguez, Kennard Jones, and Mike Garciaparra.

All of those guys (except Jones) have played at AAA and had some success. Also, they're all young enough that they prob. haven't reached their peak. Why have they all been placed in AA? Should they really be blocked at AAA by the likes of Boucher, Roberson, or Stern (in the case of the OFs) or Travis Brown or Mike McCoy (in the case of Garciaparra)? Seems funny to me...not to mention that Montanez was decent at Norfolk last year and still got demoted midway through the season. Do any of those four strike you as guys who could contribute at the ML level at any point?

I don't expect great things from any of these guys, but I'm concerned about the O's minor league roster management so far this season.

I'm going to defer this question until I get a chance to see all of these guys this year. Montanez has not impressed me in the past or given me any indication that he's anything but a decent minor league ball player. His tools really don't stand out and he's not built like a guy who's going to suddenly blossom.

Jones is a great defensive guy but his stick has always been the question. If he can show he can hit Double-A pitching it might help him get a look one day but he'll need to put up some impressive numbers since he is 26-years old.

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Which 5.......

Liz, Penn, Olsen, Patton and Spoony

or

Arrieta, Erbe, Tillman, Bascom, Butler

Sorry for any mis spelled words...

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Which 5.......

Liz, Penn, Olsen, Patton and Spoony

or

Arrieta, Erbe, Tillman, Bascom, Butler

Sorry for any mis spelled words...

Can I mix and match??? :D

If I could only pick five, I'd take Tillman, Arrieta, Spoone, Liz, and Erbe.

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