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MILB.com's top 50 prospects - how many O's prospects will land there?


Frobby

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It might suggest that, but Tillman is younger than the other two, doesn't command his fastball well in the zone, needs to continue to work on his changeup and needs to improve the consistency and command on his curveball.

To be honest, I'd have Tillman in AA to start 2009 and I might keep him there for half of the year until I see him improve on the above. I'd put the two at about the same developmental level, but Arrieta may have better command. Half a season at AA to prove his secondary stuff and then you can either jump him or move him up to AAA.

Matusz I'd put on a completely different track. Start at HiA for five-ish starts. Move to AA and shoot for 15-ish starts. If he has dominated at both levels, bump him to AAA for a handful of starts and let him get a taste in September.

All of this, of course, assuming no one stumbles and BAL has room at the ML-level.

Sounds good. 2009 is going to be a fascinating, critical year down on the farm.

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To be honest, I'd have Tillman in AA to start 2009 and I might keep him there for half of the year until I see him improve on the above. I'd put the two at about the same developmental level, but Arrieta may have better command. Half a season at AA to prove his secondary stuff and then you can either jump him or move him up to AAA.

This is really being unfair to Tillman on two levels.

First, why should Arrieta and Matusz move so much faster than Tillman at this point? Tillman had a great year at AA and was voted among the very best prospects in the league.

Second, look at Tillman's numbers in August and his last few starts. It seems to me it is very, very likely that he had solved these "command complaints" by the end of last season.

It's not like Tillman is graduating from low A ball here. He dominated AA, especially in August, at a young age with plus, plus stuff. If people want to go slow with Tillman and slow his service clock, etc, that's fine with me. I have no issue generally with who moves faster and do not wish to split hairs on who is better, but the general attitude that Tillman has so much more work to do to improve to get to the majors than both Arrieta and Matusz is a complete fiction, IMO.

It seems to me those who are so critical (don't mean to single out the poster I quoted above) of Tillman have a much lower threshold for criticism for the preparation that Matusz and Arrieta need to get to the majors.

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This is really being unfair to Tillman on two levels.

First, why should Arrieta and Matusz move so much faster than Tillman at this point? Tillman had a great year at AA and was voted among the very best prospects in the league.

Second, look at Tillman's numbers in August and his last few starts. It seems to me it is very, very likely that he had solved these "command complaints" by the end of last season.

It's not like Tillman is graduating from low A ball here. He dominated AA, especially in August, at a young age with plus, plus stuff. If people want to go slow with Tillman and slow his service clock, etc, that's fine with me. I have no issue generally with who moves faster and do not wish to split hairs on who is better, but the general attitude that Tillman has so much more work to do to improve to get to the majors than both Arrieta and Matusz is a complete fiction, IMO.

It seems to me those who are so critical (don't mean to single out the poster I quoted above) of Tillman have a much lower threshold for criticism for the preparation that Matusz and Arrieta need to get to the majors.

Eh, regarding the last paragraph I'm fine with none of them seeing ML time in 09.

You can point to 35 IP in Augus and say "He's solved his issues," but I similarly point to the 22 IP in July which were by far and away his worst in 2008 (WHIP over 2 and around 6.5 BB/9IP). I don't think it's asking a lot to have him start at AA again and show that August is now the status quo.

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This is really being unfair to Tillman on two levels.

First, why should Arrieta and Matusz move so much faster than Tillman at this point? Tillman had a great year at AA and was voted among the very best prospects in the league.

Second, look at Tillman's numbers in August and his last few starts. It seems to me it is very, very likely that he had solved these "command complaints" by the end of last season.

It's not like Tillman is graduating from low A ball here. He dominated AA, especially in August, at a young age with plus, plus stuff. If people want to go slow with Tillman and slow his service clock, etc, that's fine with me. I have no issue generally with who moves faster and do not wish to split hairs on who is better, but the general attitude that Tillman has so much more work to do to improve to get to the majors than both Arrieta and Matusz is a complete fiction, IMO.

It seems to me those who are so critical (don't mean to single out the poster I quoted above) of Tillman have a much lower threshold for criticism for the preparation that Matusz and Arrieta need to get to the majors.

I don't think this is the case at all (and I'm pretty vocally pro-Tillman). I think they're working off of a different checklist. Which is fine. We look at stats an awful lot - and that would tell you that Arrieta and Tillman share command issues (due to similar BB/9 numbers). But, according to Stotle and a few others, Arrieta commands his fastball far better than Tillman.

If that's condition precedent for being a MLB pitcher - and I think to Stotle it is - then it's understandable to think that Arrieta, though behind Tillman, may be closer to the MLB level.

I agree, Hoosiers, that if August turns out to be the real Tillman, he'll be on a much abbreviated trajectory to the bigs.

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It seems to me those who are so critical (don't mean to single out the poster I quoted above) of Tillman have a much lower threshold for criticism for the preparation that Matusz and Arrieta need to get to the majors.

I think you need to treat Arrieta and Matusz separately, rather than lumping them together. Matusz has much better command and a greater repetoire of secondary pitches than either Tillman or Arrieta. My impression is that Matusz doesn't really have skills he needs to work on, he just needs some experience facing profssional hitters before jumping to the majors. Both Tillman and Arrieta have command and "pitchability" issues to work on a bit.

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I don't think it's asking a lot to have him start at AA again and show that August is now the status quo.

Can anyone break down the instances over the past 10 years where a pitcher played the entire year at AA, was declared a top 5 prospect for the league and where that pitcher was asked to repeat the level to start the next season?

I am not saying Tillman may not have things to work on, but I will say it would be really unfair to a player who improved so much and had so much success last year at AA to ask him to repeat that level.

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Can anyone break down the instances over the past 10 years where a pitcher played the entire year at AA, was declared a top 5 prospect for the league and where that pitcher was asked to repeat the level to start the next season?

I am not saying Tillman may not have things to work on, but I will say it would be really unfair to a player who improved so much and had so much success last year at AA to ask him to repeat that level.

Well, Fernando Martinez (NYM) comes to mind (2007 and 2008, both at AA Binghampton -- ages 18 and 19).

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Can anyone break down the instances over the past 10 years where a pitcher played the entire year at AA, was declared a top 5 prospect for the league and where that pitcher was asked to repeat the level to start the next season?

I am not saying Tillman may not have things to work on, but I will say it would be really unfair to a player who improved so much and had so much success last year at AA to ask him to repeat that level.

Two things to think about:

1. Bowie is actually a more difficult environment in which to pitch than Norfolk, due to the cavernous dimensions and wind conditions of Harbor Park. The O's may feel that sending a strikeout/fly ball pitcher like Tillman there will get him in sloppy habits because long fly balls that might be HRs in Bowie are routine fly outs in Norfolk. If they want him to work on command and getting more ground balls, Bowie may be a better place to force him to do that.

2. Tillman was very good last year but he had very low IP/start, probably because the O's didn't want to push him at such a young age. If he goes back to Bowie but is asked to throw 6+ innings per outing, that's still a developmental step he hasn't been through. It's not like he's just repeating what he's already done in 2008.

I'm more interested in where Tillman ends the year than in where he starts it.

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Two things to think about:

1. Bowie is actually a more difficult environment in which to pitch than Norfolk, due to the cavernous dimensions and wind conditions of Harbor Park. The O's may feel that sending a strikeout/fly ball pitcher like Tillman there will get him in sloppy habits because long fly balls that might be HRs in Bowie are routine fly outs in Norfolk. If they want him to work on command and getting more ground balls, Bowie may be a better place to force him to do that.

2. Tillman was very good last year but he had very low IP/start, probably because the O's didn't want to push him at such a young age. If he goes back to Bowie but is asked to throw 6+ innings per outing, that's still a developmental step he hasn't been through. It's not like he's just repeating what he's already done in 2008.

I'm more interested in where Tillman ends the year than in where he starts it.

Then why don't we just leave all our top prospect in Bowie. I just think it's a waste of time for someone who dominated AA ball to get hyped and do it over again. Hitters are better in AAA than AA, at least they are more experienced and would force Tillman to pitch.

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Then why don't we just leave all our top prospect in Bowie. I just think it's a waste of time for someone who dominated AA ball to get hyped and do it over again. Hitters are better in AAA than AA, at least they are more experienced and would force Tillman to pitch.

Eh, he was very good but very inconsistent and didn't regularly go deep into games.

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Then why don't we just leave all our top prospect in Bowie.

First, it's not like we have a long track record in Norfolk, as our AAA affiliate has only been there two years. Olson and Liz are really the only serious prospects to graduate from Bowie to Norfolk since then, and look how much trouble they've had when going from Norfolk to the majors.

Second, I don't think the answer's the same for every pitcher. For Bergesen, whois very ground ball oriented, the larger dimsensions of Harbor Park don't help him much. The chance to see more sophisticated hitters outweighs any danger of bad habits in his case.

Anyway, all I'm doing is giving some reasons why the O's might prefer to keep Tillman in Bowie even though he had a good ERA and a lot of K's. I'm not necessarily advocating for it.

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Then why don't we just leave all our top prospect in Bowie. I just think it's a waste of time for someone who dominated AA ball to get hyped and do it over again. Hitters are better in AAA than AA, at least they are more experienced and would force Tillman to pitch.

The answer to the bolded is that different prospects need to work on different aspects of their game. Now, I can see the argument that Norfolk would help him work on command and secondary pitches in that more advanced hitters will have better strikezone command and chase fewer pitches out of the zone -- though my counter is that you are setting him up to struggle if he doesn't have the arsenal developed to where he can attack more advanced hitters (not saying this is the case, by the way).

But that is not the argument anyone has put forth (and it's really the argument that AAA proponents need to be making). This idea that "fairness" comes into play, or that if you put up "X" stats at a level there is nothing more to learn there is outdated and out of touch at best. By no means do I mean to say that my may is the only way, or even the right way. I'm just saying that pointing at Tillman's stats is not an argument for promotion. His stats alone indicate that he was good but not dominant.

Check out Hanson, Feliz, Holland, for example. Odds are they all start at AA next year, and I'd argue their stats show more dominance than Tillman. Not a knock on Chris; it just is what it is.

I think we should all stop looking to when Tillman/Matusz/Arrieta will join the Orioles, and just let it unfold. We're all excited for the time that these three could be in the same ML rotation, but it's still some time away. The Big Three and the Orioles are separate entities for the foreseeable future -- and that's how it should be.

To draft in legalese: The promotion of Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta or Chris Tillman (the "Big Three" and each individually a "Big Three Member") shall occur at such time as such Big Three Member shall (i) produce eye-popping statistics at both the AA and AAA level, (ii) display command and control over at least a 2-pitch mix of major league quality (provided, however, that such Big Three Member is first moved to the bullpen of the Major League Orioles), or (iii) be required to fill a roster spot due to cataclysmic injuries to pitchers ahead of the Big Three; provided, however, that in no event shall such first promotion occur at a date later than April 2011.

How's THAT for nerdy! ;)

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The answer to the bolded is that different prospects need to work on different aspects of their game. Now, I can see the argument that Norfolk would help him work on command and secondary pitches in that more advanced hitters will have better strikezone command and chase fewer pitches out of the zone -- though my counter is that you are setting him up to struggle if he doesn't have the arsenal developed to where he can attack more advanced hitters (not saying this is the case, by the way).

But that is not the argument anyone has put forth (and it's really the argument that AAA proponents need to be making). This idea that "fairness" comes into play, or that if you put up "X" stats at a level there is nothing more to learn there is outdated and out of touch at best. By no means do I mean to say that my may is the only way, or even the right way. I'm just saying that pointing at Tillman's stats is not an argument for promotion. His stats alone indicate that he was good but not dominant.

Check out Hanson, Feliz, Holland, for example. Odds are they all start at AA next year, and I'd argue their stats show more dominance than Tillman. Not a knock on Chris; it just is what it is.

I think we should all stop looking to when Tillman/Matusz/Arrieta will join the Orioles, and just let it unfold. We're all excited for the time that these three could be in the same ML rotation, but it's still some time away. The Big Three and the Orioles are separate entities for the foreseeable future -- and that's how it should be.

To draft in legalese: The promotion of Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta or Chris Tillman (the "Big Three" and each individually a "Big Three Member") shall occur at such time as such Big Three Member shall (i) produce eye-popping statistics at both the AA and AAA level, (ii) display command and control over at least a 2-pitch mix of major league quality (provided, however, that such Big Three Member is first moved to the bullpen of the Major League Orioles), or (iii) be required to fill a roster spot due to cataclysmic injuries to pitchers ahead of the Big Three; provided, however, that in no event shall such first promotion occur at a date later than April 2011.

How's THAT for nerdy! ;)

I think we are counting our chickens before they hatch. It seems that everbody has forgotten about our other prospects, like Erbe, Hernandez and Spoone to name a few who could develop to be major players.

I always felt that it was better to play up to your competition then to play down and thats what Tillman would be doing. All he would be doing is blow AA hitter away. I believe all our prospect need a challenge and AAA ball would be doing that.

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Personally, I'd like to see him start at Norfolk because I feel he put up the numbers and showed me enough command that I feel he would benefit from facing more mature hitters that will make him attack the strike zone more. Whether he's in Norfolk or Bowie though not really should matter at this point because the key to this all is for Chris to find more consistent command of his breaking ball and increase his ability to use his changeup.

There is something to be said about a player wanting to move on and returning him to a level in which he did very well could be set back psychologically for some players (not saying it would for Tillman, but it should be put into the decision making process.)

I don't think it's the end of the world if he starts the year back in Double-A, especially if they return pitching coach Mike Griffin to Bowie, but Tillman has done enough to move onto Triple-A and is he pitches well enough, I could see him pitching in Baltimore by the second half of next year if a need arises.

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