Thursday, March 26, 2009

Five Alive

Spencer Fordin reports that the Orioles starting rotation sweepstakes has been whittled down to 5 candidates for the last 3 spots.

In addition to Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara, 3 of Adam Eaton, Mark Hendrickson, Alfredo Simon, Brian Bass and Hayden Penn are expected to be in the rotation on Opening Day.

Adam Eaton easily brings the best resume to this party - 68-63 with a 4.80 ERA in Major League competition.  He's been shaky the last 3 seasons and this spring as well.

Mark Hendrickson - 50-63, 5.07 ERA - is next best.  He is clearly best suited for a long relief role, but has starting experience and may be required to fill a slot in the rotation.  His spring thus far looks like his career.

Alfredo Simon - 23-40, 5.04 ERA in Minor League competition - is having the best spring of the lot of them.   Based on performance in spring training, he's in.  Based on his minor league numbers (ok in A ball, lit up in AA and AAA), he just isn't good enough.  

Brian Bass - 46-49, 4.18 ERA in Minors,  4-4, 4.84 ERA Majors - is having a solid spring.  Came up through KC's minors, then spent ~two years in the Twins farm system.  Spent part of last year in the Twins bullpen (3-4, 4.87 ERA) before finishing out with the O's (1-0, 4.71 ERA).

Hayden Penn - 32-28, 3.87 ERA in Minors, 3-6, 9.31 ERA in Majors - is taking what is probably his last shot at the Majors with the O's.  His spring has been so-so.  The O's are out of options on him.  I suspect that, while he's not been great, he's been good enough that he probably won't clear waivers if he doesn't make the team.

I expect that Bass is in.  Eaton and Penn need a good outing to nail down slots leaving Hendrickson to the bullpen and Simon to the minors.   Rich Hill is expected to start the season on the DL and in extended spring training.  Hopefully, he can regain form and show up in mid-April to May to take a turn in the rotation from whomever is flailing.

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