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The Great Tillman Debate


Frobby

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If this is truly a competition for the 5th spot and nothing more than Hernandez should get the nod. He has had a better ST.

With pitchers at this stage in their careers, it is not just about a couple of dozen innings in ST.

If I were making the decision, I would want to know which one needs the job more right now, and which choice will benefit the O's now and in the future. If Hernandez has enlarged his repertoire and is starting to break through (and maybe he is) then he needs the chance to finish that and establish himself in the majors. It won't happen in AAA. He would become a really valuable piece for the O's, one that most here weren't counting on.

OTOH if the O's decide that Tillman needs to keep pitching in the majors, then maybe he gets the job despite having inferior numbers.

I believe that each will be pitching in the majors this season anyway.

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You know there is also the fact that being has though DH has beat out CT this spring as far as his actual pitching, why not take the course that might keep Tillman down until June and lead to delaying FA another year. In this area Tillman's age hurts him. He is young enough that his peak years will likely occur after his first FA contract. At DH's age that is not the case. Last year I think both showed that they were not quite ready but close. DH appears to have damatically improved in the areas he had problems. I think the O's should reward him for doing just that.

The great thing that this discussion shows is the progress the O's have actually made. We are debating between which guy should be the #5 SP. The truth is both of these guys will end up being very successful ML pitchers in some role IMO. Hell of alot better than the debates we have had to go through for many years. I mean alot of the time we were debating between the young guy with very limited talent that will likely be out of baseball in a couple years and proven veteran that has proven he stinks and likely always will.

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With pitchers at this stage in their careers, it is not just about a couple of dozen innings in ST.

If I were making the decision, I would want to know which one needs the job more right now, and which choice will benefit the O's now and in the future. If Hernandez has enlarged his repertoire and is starting to break through (and maybe he is) then he needs the chance to finish that and establish himself in the majors. It won't happen in AAA. He would become a really valuable piece for the O's, one that most here weren't counting on.

OTOH if the O's decide that Tillman needs to keep pitching in the majors, then maybe he gets the job despite having inferior numbers.

I believe that each will be pitching in the majors this season anyway.

It shouldn't be about a couple dozen innings in spring training, but regardless of all the hand wringing and temper tantrums around here, this is a good problem to have. Competition is a good thing, and there are worse things than having two very talented young pitchers slugging it out over the 5th spot in the rotation.

That said, if I were running this team, my rotation would be:

Millwood

Matusz

Bergesen

Hernandez

Tillman

...and Guthrie would be in the bullpen. It's about results and Guthrie hasn't delivered any for a good year now. If this season is about putting more wins on the board, we're just as good with Tillman or Hernandez in the rotation as we are with Guthrie. Probably better.

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I agree, Hank. Put Guthrie in the bullpen and have him on call for when we need another starter.

We're not going to the World Series this year. DH and CT mean more to the future of this franchise than Guthrie.

The only issue I have with Guthrie coming out of the pen, is that it will lower his value in case the O's are looking to deal him.

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We waited all year last year for Hernandez to show the strikeout form he showed in the minors. Now (even though it's only ST) he's showing hit. He's got a ML breaking ball that wasn't even remotely a weapon last year. I'd rather explore more of Hernandez as a starter. If he fails this time then it's probably best to send him to the bullpen. Tillman wasn't ready last year and he still doesn't look ready to me, judging by this spring (and that's all I have to go one right now). People always say that Tillman has nothing left to prove at AA but I disagree. He clearly needs to work on the command of both his fastball and curveball. Not saying he couldn't be passable as a 5th starter right now but I think DH deserves first chance. I also think it makes the most sense in the long run. Plenty of time for Tillman. I'd rather see him get a little better before he starts in the majors again. Guthrie is in the rotation no matter what for the first two months. Let's see what happens.

This. I concur.:clap3:

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It shouldn't be about a couple dozen innings in spring training, but regardless of all the hand wringing and temper tantrums around here, this is a good problem to have. Competition is a good thing, and there are worse things than having two very talented young pitchers slugging it out over the 5th spot in the rotation.

That said, if I were running this team, my rotation would be:

Millwood

Matusz

Bergesen

Hernandez

Tillman

...and Guthrie would be in the bullpen. It's about results and Guthrie hasn't delivered any for a good year now. If this season is about putting more wins on the board, we're just as good with Tillman or Hernandez in the rotation as we are with Guthrie. Probably better.

The problem I have with this is that having Guthrie in the rotation makes our bullpen stronger than having him in the 'pen. Even if he doesn't pitch as well as he did in 2007 and 2008, he'll still eat innings and save the arms. If Bergy and Matusz can eat up as many innings per start as they were doing last year, our bullpen will be very rested.

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The problem I have with this is that having Guthrie in the rotation makes our bullpen stronger than having him in the 'pen. Even if he doesn't pitch as well as he did in 2007 and 2008, he'll still eat innings and save the arms. If Bergy and Matusz can eat up as many innings per start as they were doing last year, our bullpen will be very rested.

Guthrie won't eat innings if he gets knocked out early. So far this spring he does not look like a pitcher who can consistently keep his team in the game through six or seven innings.

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Guthrie won't eat innings if he gets knocked out early. So far this spring he does not look like a pitcher who can consistently keep his team in the game through six or seven innings.

Do you think he'll be better or worse than he was in 2009? I tend to believe that he'll be better than 2009, but not as good as 2007-2008. The reason I ask is because, even though he had a rough year last season, he still threw 200 innings. It was only the 6th time an Oriole had done that all decade. Barring injury, if he statys in the rotation he'll toss between 190-210 innings.

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Putting Guthrie in the pen makes no sense. His value is taking the ball every 5days and soaking up innings. We haven't seen 3 of our 5 pitchers show they can do that yet regardless of their talent. He has averaged 189 innings and 30 starts the last 3 years.

We haven't seen whoever our 5th starter winds up being have any level of success at the MLB level yet either. It's going to be hard enough for these guys to pitch well neverless making 30 starts.

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Do you think he'll be better or worse than he was in 2009? I tend to believe that he'll be better than 2009, but not as good as 2007-2008. The reason I ask is because, even though he had a rough year last season, he still threw 200 innings. It was only the 6th time an Oriole had done that all decade. Barring injury, if he statys in the rotation he'll toss between 190-210 innings.

Hard to know at this point, but he hasn't looked good.

Frobby and I and probably others have noted that if he just matches last year's numbers, he'll be fine...

...assuming that he's the fifth-best starter.

He really can't get the ERA much above 5.00, though. Beyond that point, you're giving up too much for the durability.

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The problem I have with this is that having Guthrie in the rotation makes our bullpen stronger than having him in the 'pen. Even if he doesn't pitch as well as he did in 2007 and 2008, he'll still eat innings and save the arms. If Bergy and Matusz can eat up as many innings per start as they were doing last year, our bullpen will be very rested.

Here we go again! Come on dude, how do you expect Guthrie to go deep into games when he's getting shelled. You have to pitch well, I think?

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I hear this "soak up innings" phrase quite a bit. Yes, a team needs a couple of guys that will give you innings, but you need a chance to win those games too. Guthrie was the number 1 because the O's had no one. I don't know what his roll is...He has been lousy in innings 1 & 2 of his starts last year. I would think that would signal that he would have trouble out of the pen. If the O's plan on contending in 2011, then a young pitcher (Tillman or someone) has to get a good look this year. Maybe start with Guthrie, hope he looks better and trade him, but I don't see him in Orange and Black beyond this year. If we do, then there is a problem with a few "prospects".

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The Guthrie hate here is growing. Obviously his spring is disappointing but he has more of a track record than any other starter except Millwood. I think he could rebound from 09 and if he is still struggling in mid May then help is a phone call away.

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This season is supposed to be about results, not potential.

Tillman has a better uspide, but so did Ben McDonald. Upside talks about what a player may do, not what he's doing right now. Tillman needs time this year in the minors.....at least in the begginning of this season. Actually, its Tillmans upside I want to protect. The more boston and the yankees see him when he's not ready, the better they will be prepared for him when he gets enough seasoning. He allows to many hr's. So does Hernandez, but Hernandez is showing he's more prepared right now. Sending him down will motivate him all the more to work on not giving up those homers.

Hernandez has nothing let to prove in the minors. He would benefit by facing major leaguers who can take advantage of his mistakes and teach him something productive. And He still would produced better numbers this year, imo, than Tillman. Tillman wont have a 500 record this year, imo; too many homers and lack of concentration. With all Hernandez's short comings, he still will make less than Tilllman, give us a better chance to win. Has Hernandez learned from last years experience via the long ball? I think he deserves a chance to show it. I couldnt prove this, but I think Hernandez will benefit from having a guy simular to him in nature but not experience (Millwood) on the team.

Again, I think your making a mistake looking at potential, and not results. Who is ready today? Who gives the team the best chance to win today? Matusz is the only one I might put in front of him, but even Matusz I would rather start in Norfolk, and then bring him up early if he looks ready.

I believe the future should be protected, and not rushed. Theres not a better way to send that message home to Tillman than to send him to Norfolk. It would motivate him to work all the harder. No free lunch in the majors. He's had his cup of coffee, now its time for him to show that he's willing to do whats necessary to get to the next level.

If Tillman starts 2010 in the Norfolk rotation, I will be incredibly frustrated with that decision.

My main irritants would be two-fold:

1) I believe 2010 is about winning games, and setting the table for legit contention in 2011. However, you still do not believe you can contend as an Organization in 2010. If you can not contend this year, you still want to give as much Major League time as possible to the players you will be relying on to help you contend in 2011.

2) I believe in Chris Tillman, and believe he is the player more likely to help you (not just long-term), but today.

Let me make a couple of things very clear. I am a fan of David Hernandez, and believe he can help a Major League team win. I have advocated all Winter for him to be part of the O's bullpen. I think his ability to provide a couple of innings out of the pen at a time, with his power arm would be a real-strength for the team.

I also believe he is capable of being a back of the rotation starter, and appreciate the depth he provides. I have no doubt that over the course of an entire season that he could give you 170 innings, at a 4.75 to 5.25 era. Look around at the projected 5th starters around the American League. That type of production has value, especially at Hernandez's very limited-salary.

If Hernandez starts to have success with his new-found sinker, the potential is even there for him to even reach a ceiling of a true 3/4 type-of-starter. That is, as long as finds the bite on his slider that he possessed in the Minors.

Wanting Tillman in the rotation over Hernandez, ultimately has little to do about Hernandez. It is about Tillman.

Let us look at the numbers, and compare the two.

Tillman

2009 MLB Age 21: 2-5, 5.40 ERA, 65 innings, 77 hits, 15 homers, 24 walks, 39 k's

2009 AAA Age 21: 8-6, 2.70 ERA, 96.2 innings, 85 hits, 5 homers, 26 walks, 99 k's.

2008 AA Age 20: 11-4, 3.18 ERA, 135.2 innings, 115 hits, 10 homers, 65 walks, 154 k's.

Hernandez

2009 MLB Age 24: 4-10, 5.42 ERA, 101.1 innings, 118 hits, 27 homers, 46 walks, 68 k's

2009 AAA Age 24: 3-2, 3.30 ERA, 57.1 innings, 42 hits, 5 homers, 18 walks, 79 k's

2008 AA Age 23: 10-4, 2.68 ERA, 141 innings, 112 hits, 10 homers, 71 walks, 166 k's

When comparing the two, the number that should immediately jump out at you, is their respective ages. Hernandez turns 25 in May, and Tillman turns 22 in April.

Over the past two-seasons, Tillman has 232.1 combined innings at the AA, and AAA level. Hernandez has 202.1 combined innings at those levels.

Hernandez had plenty of success at the AA, and AAA levels - is anyone going to argue that he had more than Tillman? When you factor in the age-difference, what Tillman accomplished is far more impressive. Which explains why Tillman is universally regarded as one of the best prospects in all of the Majors, and Hernandez is regarded as an arm with promise.

So someone is going to have to explain to me why Hernandez would possibly be in-line to start the year in the Majors over Tillman.

What would possibly be the basis for that decision? Is someone going to argue that Hernandez's 19 Major League starts, make him the better option because Tillman only has 12?

Is someone going to argue that Tillman's HR troubles last-year with the O's is the reason? If so, how do you explain away Hernandez's own HR ratio?

It would appear that if Hernandez were to win the job over Tillman, they would be basing the decision on Spring Training results. By any measure, Hernandez has had the better Spring.

Hernandez: 1-1, 3.00 ERA, 15 IP, 17 hits, 3 HR, 3 BB's, 20 k's

Tillman: 0-3, 3.86 ERA, 16.1 IP, 14 hits, 3 HR, 9 BB's, 10 k's

What exactly does that mean? Both pitchers are going to get roughly 20 innings of work, and you are going to base the decision on those results, over their extended professional careers?

Just very hard to understand.

Besides, while Hernandez was very strong today against Boston, most of his success has come 2-3 innings at a time, out of the bullpen. That is not a knock on Hernandez, it illustrates exactly what I have articulated for months. At 2-3 innings at a time, I figured you would see a slight velocity up-tick, and an ability for Hernandez to get closer to the exceptional K rates he showed in the Minors.

Hernandez could move to the bullpen, and be one-step closer to ultimately becoming a future closer. Someone should show Hernandez, Mike Gonzalez's contract and remind him of the future available to him out of the pen.

If you want Hernandez in the Major League rotation, make a decision to get rid of Guthrie. Guthrie might be my favorite player, but he is the one that should be the odd-man out.

Hernandez over Tillman just makes little sense, mainly because it accomplishes little. Tillman has had at-least equal success with Hernandez at the AA, AAA, and ML levels, while being 3 years younger. You are relying on Tillman to be a major part of the core going forward, while hoping Hernandez could help as a bonus. There is nothing left for Tillman to accomplish at the Minor League level. He needs to be in the Majors, and gaining experience.

My take all Spring has been that the O's have been providing lip-service to the 'competition,' in order to further motivate Tillman, and help him avoid becoming complacent. I hope I have been reading those tea-leaves correctly.

Beltwayman...I was going to answer you but Chris did it for me.

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