Tag:Brandon Erbe
Posted on: November 24, 2009 11:49 am

AFL Orioles - Season Review


Though the Phoenix Desert Dogs came up short in their quest for a sixth straight Arizona Fall League championship, the eight Orioles prospects that suited up for them benefited from the experience and, in most cases, made a good impression.

Matt Angle , OF

Angle's showing in Arizona was mildly disappointing as he hit just .237 and posted an on-base percentage (.333) 41 points below what he managed in the minors this past season in a league known as a hitters' haven. He displayed little pop (three doubles, one home run), but that was to be expected. He was solid in the outfield and swiped seven bases in as many attempts while averaging nearly a run scored per contest. Despite his mediocre fall showing, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster raised his stock in 2009 with a second straight solid season. He earned Post-Season All-Star honors in the advanced Carolina League and excelled in a late-season, eight-game stint with Double-A Bowie. The 24-year-old will likely return to Bowie to begin the 2010 season and could have a future as a fourth outfielder or fringe starter if his progression continues.

Josh Bell , 3B

Improvement against left-handers was at the top of this 23-year-old switch-hitter's to-do list when he departed for Arizona, and while the sample size was small, the statistics say Bell accomplished his mission. The 6-foot-3, 235-pounder managed just four hits in 31 at bats against southpaws with Bowie this season but went 9-for-18 (.500) with three doubles and two RBI against them for Phoenix. He hit .319 overall and led the circuit in doubles (10) while ranking 11th in RBI (19) and 13th in hits (29). Bell made great strides on defense this season, and Desert Dogs manager Gary Cathcart praised his improved conditioning and footwork in a recent interview with Baseball America. With Melvin Mora out of the picture, Bell has a decent shot at earning the third base job in spring training, but a few more months of seasoning at the Triple-A level is more likely.

Brandon Erbe , RHP

Erbe was sent to Arizona in part to make up for innings lost this season to shoulder fatigue but tossed just nine before a sprained pinky finger brought a premature end to his AFL stint. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound righty - who turns 22 on Christmas Day - allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits in those nine frames while fanning nine. It's a small sample size, but the fact that he issued just two walks is encouraging. Erbe will return to Baltimore this week to have his hand examined but the injury is believed to be minor and all indications are that he'll be ready for spring training. Added to the 40-man roster last week, Erbe is a near-lock for some more minor league seasoning before he figures into the big league club's plans and will likely begin the year in Triple-A Norfolk's rotation. A good showing could put him near the front of the line for a midseason promotion.

Eddie Gamboa , RHP

Barely on the prospect radar entering the 2009 season, this soon-to-be 25-year-old reliever opened eyes in the organization by going 11-0 with a 1.08 ERA for Delmarva, Frederick and finally Bowie. And while he didn't post eye-popping stats in Arizona, he solidified his place among the Orioles' top relief prospects. Gamboa made eight appearances for the Desert Dogs, allowing three earned runs in 10 innings for a 2.70 ERA. Known for his deceptive delivery and good command of his three-pitch arsenal, Gamboa walked just two hitters in Arizona, helping to offset the fact that he allowed 12 hits and a .316 average to opposing batters. Gamboa is likely ticketed for Bowie to begin the 2010 season, but a good showing could put him in line for a quick promotion to Triple-A and possibly even some relief work in Baltimore at some point next summer.

Josh Perrault , RHP

Perrault served up two-run shots in his last two AFL outings - including one to White Sox prospect C.J. Retherford that effectively ended the Desert Dogs' run of five straight championships - and his showing in Arizona would have to be classified as mediocre. The 27-year-old allowed four runs in 10 2/3 innings in Arizona for a respectable 3.38 ERA, but posted a disappointing 6-to-5 K-to-walk ratio after fanning 74 and walking just 18 in the minors in 2009. Perrault headed to Phoenix with a shot at earning a spot on the Orioles' 40-man roster, but in the end the organization chose to protect Rhyne Hughes - a 26-year-old powerful but strikeout-prone first baseman - instead. In spite of his so-so showing in Arizona, Perrault is likely to be a Rule 5 Draft target of teams seeking bullpen help. If he goes undrafted, he'll compete for a spot in Baltimore's bullpen in the spring.

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Posted on: October 25, 2009 10:04 pm

AFL Orioles - Week 2

Orioles fans who happen to peruse the Arizona Fall League statistical leaderboards will notice some familiar names. After two weeks of AFL action, Brandon Snyder leads the circuit with 15 RBI, while Josh Bell ranks second with a .464 average. Matt Angle is the league leader in stolen bases (six) and ranks second in runs scored with 11. All three are big reasons why the Phoenix Desert Dogs sit atop the AFL East standings with a 7-4 record.


Monday, Oct. 19

Brandon Erbe got the start and fired two perfect innings, fanning two and throwing 19 of his 29 pitches for strikes. Ryohei Tanaka relieved Erbe and cruised through the third before finding trouble in the fourth. He served up a one-out solo shot to Cincinnati's Chris Heisey , then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Tanaka got the second out of the inning on a pop-up before Indians prospect Carlos Rivero laced an RBI single to left, with a second potential run cut down at the plate. Bell had a big day at the dish, going 4-for-5 with an RBI double, a triple and three runs scored. In his lone right-handed at bat of the day, he singled off Braves first-round pick Mike Minor . Snyder went 2-for-5 with a double and a run, but also struck out twice and grounded into a double play. Phoenix picked up its fifth straight win, beating the Peoria Saguaros 6-2.

Tuesday, Oct. 20

Angle went 3-for-5 out of the leadoff spot with a double, a run, an RBI and a stolen base. Brandon Waring , hitting third and playing third base, went 1-for-4 with a double, a run and a walk. He fanned twice to bring his AFL total to seven through 13 at bats. Josh Perrault came on in relief in the seventh and promptly allowed his first AFL run when Heisey followed a Brandon Hicks (Braves) double with an RBI single. He escaped further trouble with help from catcher A.J. Jimenez , who gunned down Heisey on a steal attempt for the second out of the inning. The Peoria Saguaros tallied six runs in the ninth to hand the Desert Dogs their second loss of the season, 11-8.

Wednesday, Oct. 21

Snyder went 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and matched the AFL single-game season-high of seven RBI in the Desert Dogs' 17-4 rout of the Peoria Javelinas. He took Nick Hill (Mariners) deep to center for a two-run shot in the third and blasted a three-run bomb - also to center -  off 2007 Seattle first-rounder Phillippe Aumont in the seventh. Snyder also had a two-run single and a double, and even managed a stolen base. Not to be outdone, Bell went 4-for-5 with a three-run bomb his own off Aumont and a double. He went 2-for-2 with a double against Hill, a southpaw. Angle went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and picked up an RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the fourth.

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Posted on: October 18, 2009 1:08 pm

AFL Orioles - Week 1

Eight Orioles prospects are looking to sharpen their skills in this year's Arizona Fall League, which kicked off on Oct. 13 and runs through mid-November. Infielders Josh Bell , Brandon Snyder and Brandon Waring , outfielder Matt Angle and pitchers Brandon Erbe , Eddie Gamboa , Josh Perrault and Ryohei Tanaka have teamed up with a collection of A's, Rays, Jays and Nationals farmhands on the Phoenix Desert Dogs under the direction of Gary Cathcart, who has managed Toronto's Double-A affiliate the past two seasons. Their teammates include Nats phenom and 2009 No. 1 overall pick Stephen Strasburg , fellow Washington first-rounder Drew Storen and former Orioles lefty Adam Loewen , who is attempting to get back to the big leagues with the Jays as an outfielder.

I'll provide updates on the Orioles prospects' AFL progress every Sunday here on The Washington Times' National Pastime blog . If an O's farmhand isn't mentioned in the game summary, it means he didn't play that day.


Tuesday, Oct. 13

Snyder , batting third and playing first base, went 2-for-5 and slugged a two-run homer off lefty Jay Voss , a Marlins property. Bell started at third base and hit sixth. He went 0-for-1 with a walk batting left-handed and 0-for-2 with a strikeout from the right side. Tanaka started for Phoenix and allowed a run - a solo shot by Twins prospect Rene Tosoni - on three hits in three innings. He struck out four without issuing a walk but ended up as the hard-luck loser as the Desert Dogs dropped their opener 10-6 to the Mesa Solar Sox.

Wednesday, Oct. 14

Waring , batting fifth and serving as the DH, went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts, but the hit was an opposite-field solo homer off Cubs left-handed pitching prospect James Russell that put Phoenix up 3-2 in the top of the sixth. Perrault helped preserve the Desert Dogs' lead by tossing a scoreless bottom of the seventh. He fanned the Angels' P.J. Phillips to open the frame but then allowed a double to Marlins prospect Bryan Petersen before getting the next two Mesa batters to fly out. The Desert Dogs went on to win 4-2.

Thursday, Oct. 15

Angle got his first taste of AFL action as the leadoff hitter and center fielder. He went 0-for-3 but drew three walks, swiped two bases and scored the first Phoenix run of the day on a Snyder fielder's choice in the third. Snyder, who hit third and played first base, went 1-for-5 on the day with a single and a strikeout. Bell , batting cleanup and playing third, went 1-for-3 with an RBI double and a pair of walks. Encouragingly, the double came off a left-hander, Japanese leaguer Takanobu Tsujiuchi . Phoenix cruised past Scottsdale 9-4.

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Posted on: October 5, 2009 12:55 am

Orioles prospects set for AFL action

Since its inception in 1992, the Arizona Fall League has served as both a training ground and a showcase for some of baseball's best young talent. Players benefit from the high level of competition and the extra instruction while scouts and front office executives gain perspective on their present strengths and weaknesses. The Baltimore Orioles assigned eight players to the AFL's Phoenix Desert Dogs this fall, and in each case, there was a specific purpose for doing so. Here's a rundown of the O's farmhands that will look to sharpen their skills and make a good impression on Andy MacPhail & Co. when the AFL season kicks off Oct. 13.

Matt Angle , OF, Bowie

Angle hit .292 and swiped 40 bases for Frederick this season to earn Carolina League Post-Season All-Star Honors and impressed in an late-season stint with Double-A Bowie. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound speedster offers very little pop - he managed a mere 22 extra-base hits, including just one home run, this season - but is adept at small ball. He bunts well and is an above-average defender, and a keen batting eye helped him to post a solid .374 on-base percentage this year. At 24 and with just eight Double-A games to his credit, Angle doesn't have a lot of upside. But if he continues to rise to the competition as he moves up the ladder, he could have a future as a fourth outfielder or a fringe starter. He'll look to continue refining his table-setting skills against top-notch pitching prospects this fall.

Josh Bell , 3B, Bowie

Bell, the key piece in the deadline deal that sent George Sherrill to the Dodgers, has always been a well-regarded prospect but took a big step forward in 2009. Previously criticized for a lack of speed and range, the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder showed such marked improvement that Baseball America tabbed him as the best defensive third baseman in the Double-A Southern League at midseason. The 22-year-old switch-hitter slugged 11 homers in 94 games as a Dodgers farmhand this year, then found his power stroke and blasted nine more in 33 games for Bowie. He hit .295 for the year but struggled mightily from the right side and managed just four hits in 31 at bats against left-handers with Bowie. Addressing that weakness is at the top of Bell's to-do list - in bold and underlined.

Brandon Erbe , RHP, Bowie

Erbe is heading to Arizona primarily to make up for innings lost to shoulder fatigue earlier this season. The 21-year-old missed all of May and most of June but was outstanding before and after the hiatus. He had a 0.90 ERA and was averaging nearly a strikeout per inning when he went on the shelf, and he went 4-0 with a 2.89 ERA in his last 10 starts. He held Double-A hitters to a .170 average this season, and his 2.34 ERA would have ranked second in the Eastern League if he had enough innings to qualify. It should be noted, however, that Erbe's success came in spite of subpar command. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound righty walked 35 batters in 75 Double-A innings and must do a better job of harnessing his impressive arsenal if he is to succeed as a starter in the big leagues.

Eddie Gamboa , RHP, Bowie

11-0 record, 1.08 ERA - numbers like these are usually associated with first-round picks-to-be in their senior years of high school, not unheralded 21st rounders out of UC Davis in pro ball. But those are in fact the statistics Gamboa put up this year as he progressed from Delmarva to Frederick and finally to Bowie. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder was victimized by poor run support in going 1-7 with a 3.63 ERA as a starter for Bluefield in 2008, but his transition to relieving was a smashing success. He used his deceptive delivery and good command of his three pitch-arsenal - two-seam fastball, cutter and changeup - to post a 75-to-17 K-to-walk ratio, and while he was old for his level at his first two stops - he turns 25 in December - his statistics improved as he moved up the ladder. A strong showing in Arizona could put him in the mix for relief work in Baltimore in 2010.

Josh Perrault , RHP, Norfolk

The Orioles selected Perrault in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft last winter, and he ended up as one of the most pleasant surprises in the system this year. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander racked up 18 saves and posted a 2.13 ERA and 74-to-18 K-to-walk ratio while splitting his time almost evenly between Bowie and Norfolk. At 27, Perrault will be one of the older players in the AFL, and the Orioles assigned him there primarily because they need to decide whether to place him on the 40-man roster this winter to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. A strong showing for Phoenix would put Perrault in position to secure a spot in the Baltimore bullpen next spring if the O's choose to protect him - or make him a target of teams seeking relief help in the Rule 5 draft if they don't.

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Posted on: September 1, 2009 12:18 am

September 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

Originally posted on The Washington Times' National Pastime

Top prospect Brian Matusz made an earlier-than-expected arrival in Baltimore in August and picked up his first three big-league victories. Down on the farm, the returns from the George Sherrill trade - third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Steven Johnson - impressed for Bowie while Matt Hobgood began to flash the form that prompted the Orioles to select him with the fifth overall pick in June's MLB Draft. Fellow draftees including second-rounder Mychal Givens and late-round bonus babies Cameron Coffey and Michael Ohlman agreed to terms, adding depth to an already impressive farm system.

Since these will be the final monthly prospect rankings of the season, I've decided to double up and do a top-50 list. Please note that players with big league experience are ineligible for inclusion in these rankings. August rankings are in parentheses.


1. Jake Arrieta , RHP, Norfolk (2)

Arrieta struggled through his worst month as a pro in July but bounced back with a 3.03 ERA in August. The 23-year-old had a run of four starts in which he pitched six or more innings and allowed two or fewer earned runs.

2. Zach Britton , LHP, Frederick (3)

Britton fanned 31 batters in as many innings in August and now has a Carolina League-best 131 K's in 140 innings this season. The 21-year-old also ranks third in the circuit in ERA (2.70) and is tied for fourth in wins (nine).

3. Brandon Erbe , RHP, Bowie (4)

Erbe overcame a 22-to-17 K-to-walk ratio in 26 1/3 innings to post a 2.39 ERA in August. The 21-year-old will make up for some of the innings he lost earlier this season to shoulder fatigue in the Arizona Fall League.

4. Matt Hobgood , RHP, Bluefield (6)

Hobgood, who turned 19 on Aug. 3, has a 5.40 ERA in his first 21 2/3 pro innings but showed some flashes of brilliance in August. He fired five shutout frames on Aug. 13 and allowed one earned run in 4 2/3 innings on Aug. 26.

5. Josh Bell , 3B, Bowie (8)

Bell made an immediate impact with his new organization in August, slugging five homers for the Baysox to bring his season total to 16. The 22-year-old switch-hitter will continue to refine his game in the Arizona Fall League.

6. Steven Johnson , RHP, Bowie (10)

Dave Johnson's son posted a 3.55 ERA in his first five starts in the Orioles organization and stuck out nearly a batter per inning in the process, though he did issue 14 walks in 25 1/3 innings as well. He turned 22 on Aug. 31.

7. Brandon Snyder , 1B, Norfolk (5)

Snyder's Triple-A power outage continued in August as he failed to go deep in 92 at bats. The 22-year-old hit .343 with 10 home runs for Bowie but has managed just a .250 average and two homers in 65 games with Norfolk.

8. Xavier Avery , OF, Delmarva (9)

Avery, the fastest baserunner in the organization, swiped his 30th base of the season on Aug. 26. He still has a long way to go at the plate but the Orioles have to be pleased with his performance as a 19-year-old in Class A.

9. Caleb Joseph , C, Frederick (7)

Joseph entered August as the Carolina League's leading hitter but hit just .156 to drop his season's average to .295. Fatigue is likely to blame, and the 23-year-old still raised his stock as much as any O's prospect this year.

10. Brandon Waring , 1B/3B, Frederick (13)

Waring closed out a solid first season in the Orioles organization with his best month of the year, smashing nine homers to bring his season total to 26. The 23-year-old will join Erbe and Bell on the AFL's Phoenix Desert Dogs.


11. Luis Lebron , RHP, Bowie (18)
12. Mychal Givens , SS (NR)
13. Chorye Spoone , RHP, Frederick (14)
14. Wilfrido Perez , LHP, Bowie - 7-Day DL (15)
15. Joseph Mahoney , 1B, Delmarva (16)
16. Tyler Henson , 3B/OF, Frederick (NR)
17. Ronnie Welty , OF, Delmarva (23)
18. Kyle Hudson , OF, Delmarva (12)
19. Cameron Coffey , LHP (NR)
20. Justin Turner , 2B, Norfolk (17)
21. L.J. Hoes , 2B, Delmarva (21)
22. Bobby Bundy , RHP, Bluefield (19)
23. Jacob Cowan , RHP, Aberdeen (NR)
24. Pedro Florimon Jr. , SS, Frederick (NR)
25. Matt Angle , OF, Frederick (22)
26. Oliver Drake , RHP, Delmarva (20)
27. Cole McCurry , LHP, Delmarva (NR)
28. Eddie Gamboa , RHP, Frederick (NR)
29. Brandon Cooney , RHP, Frederick (25)
30. Ryan Adams , 2B, Frederick (NR)
31. Pat Egan , RHP, Frederick, (24)
32. Nicholas Haughian , LHP, Aberdeen (NR)
33. Tim Bascom , RHP, Bowie (11)
34. Brett Jacobson , RHP, Frederick (NR)
35. Miguel Abreu , 2B, Bowie (NR)
36. Ashur Tolliver , LHP, Aberdeen (NR)
37. Michael Ohlman , C, GCL Orioles (NR)
38. Tony Butler , LHP, GCL Orioles - Rehab (NR)
39. Vito Frabizio , RHP, Aberdeen (NR)
40. Randy Henry , RHP (NR)
41. Pedro Beato , RHP, Bowie (NR)
42. Ryan Berry , RHP (NR)
43. Billy Rowell , OF, Frederick (NR)
44. David Baker , RHP, GCL Orioles (NR)
45. Rhyne Hughes , 1B, Norfolk (NR)
46. James Brandhorst , RHP, Aberdeen (NR)
47. Kenny Moreland , RHP, Frederick (NR)
48. Rick Zagone , LHP, Frederick (NR)
49. Nathan Moreau , LHP, Delmarva (NR)
50. Robert Widlansky , 1B, Frederick (NR)

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Brian Matusz , LHP (1)


August 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings
July 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings
June 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

Posted on: August 1, 2009 12:17 am
Edited on: August 1, 2009 7:55 am

August 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

Originally posted on The Washington Times' National Pastime

The Baltimore Orioles' youth movement continued in July as 21-year-old right-hander Chris Tillman joined rookies Matt Wieters, Nolan Reimold, Brad Bergesen, David Hernandez and Jason Berken on the big league roster. Down on the farm, lefty Brian Matusz continued to overwhelm Eastern League hitters and Brandon Erbe returned to the Bowie rotation after completing his rehabilitation from shoulder fatigue. The trade of closer George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers brought two more promising young players into the fold in third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Steven Johnson, the son of broadcaster and former O's pitcher Dave Johnson.

Please note: Players with big league experience are ineligible for inclusion in these rankings. July rankings are in parentheses.


1. Brian Matusz , LHP, Bowie (1)

Matusz has started seven games for Bowie and won all seven. He's allowed only eight earned runs, six of them in his lone poor Double-A start on July 16 in Akron. He's arguably the top pitching prospect in all of baseball.

2. Jake Arrieta , RHP, Norfolk (3)

Arrieta got off to a decent start after his promotion to Norfolk but hit a rough patch in July, posting a 5.29 ERA in six starts. Between Double-A and Triple-A the 23-year-old is 9-7 with a 3.58 ERA and 119 K's in 110 2/3 innings.

3. Zach Britton , LHP, Frederick (5)

Britton issued 26 free passes in his first 47 2/3 innings but has walked just 17 in his last 61 1/3 frames. He's pitching deeper into games of late, averaging nearly 6 2/3 innings per start since the Carolina League All-Star break.

4. Brandon Erbe , RHP, Bowie (7)

Erbe has looked strong in his last two starts, allowing two runs in six innings July 25 and two in 6 2/3 frames July 30. Command remains an issue for the 21-year-old, who has a 35-to-18 K-to-walk ratio in 39 2/3 Double-A innings.

5. Brandon Snyder , 1B, Norfolk (4)

Eastern League pitchers proved no match for Snyder but the 2005 first-rounder hit a wall upon his promotion to Triple-A. He has really come on recently though, with a .368 average and nine RBI in his past 10 games.

6. Matt Hobgood , RHP, Bluefield (6)

Hobgood, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 draft, is just beginning to get his feet wet in Rookie ball after signing for a $2.42 million bonus. He allowed two earned runs, fanned four and walked three in his first three innings.

7. Caleb Joseph , C, Frederick (8)

Carolina League pitchers can't figure Joseph out, and he's not providing any clues. He's hitting .345 against left-handers and .329 against righties; .333 at home and .338 on the road; .316 in day games and .341 at night.

8. Josh Bell , 3B, Bowie (NR)

Bell, the key piece in the George Sherrill trade, has loads of power potential but may lack the range to remain at third base in the long run. The 22-year-old was hitting .296 with 11 homers for the Dodgers' Double-A affiliate.

9. Xavier Avery , OF, Delmarva (10)

Avery endured a terrible slump in early July but came on strong toward the end of the month, hitting .333 in his last 10 games. The 19-year-old speedster has been gunned down just once in his past 15 stolen base attempts.

10. Steven Johnson , RHP, Bowie (NR)

Johnson, 21, came over from the Dodgers along with Bell in the Sherrill trade about a week after being promoted to Double-A. He struggles with command at times but has a 3.61 ERA and 117 K's in 107 1/3 innings this year.


11. Tim Bascom , RHP, Bowie (13)
12. Kyle Hudson , OF, Delmarva (16)
13. Brandon Waring , 1B/3B, Frederick (9)
14. Chorye Spoone , RHP, GCL Orioles - Rehab (14)
15. Wilfrido Perez , LHP, Bowie - 7-Day DL (11)
16. Joseph Mahoney , 1B, Delmarva (17)
17. Justin Turner , 2B, Norfolk (18)
18. Luis Lebron , RHP, Bowie (12)
19. Bobby Bundy , RHP, Bluefield (15)
20. Oliver Drake , RHP, Delmarva (20)
21. L.J. Hoes , 2B, Delmarva (NR)
22. Matt Angle , OF, Frederick (25)
23. Ronnie Welty , OF, Delmarva (NR)
24. Pat Egan , RHP, Frederick, (NR)
25. Brandon Cooney , RHP, Delmarva (NR)

WELCOME TO THE SHOW: Chris Tillman , RHP (2)

DROPPED OUT: Blake Davis , SS, Norfolk (19); Rick Zagone , LHP, Frederick (21); Ryan Adams , 2B, Frederick (22); Pedro Florimon Jr. , SS, Frederick (23); Cole McCurry , LHP, Delmarva (24)


June 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings
July 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

Posted on: July 1, 2009 9:27 am

July 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

From The Washington Times' National Pastime


Three of the Baltimore Orioles ' elite prospects moved a step closer to the big leagues in June as right-hander Jake Arrieta and first baseman Brandon Snyder were promoted to Triple-A Norfolk and lefty Brian Matusz joined Double-A Bowie. Meanwhile, righty Brandon Erbe - who missed about two months with shoulder fatigue - began a rehab assignment with short-season Class A Aberdeen, and right-handed pitcher Matt Hobgood, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft, agreed to a deal that included a $2.42 million bonus and was assigned to Rookie-level Bluefield.

Please note: Players with big league experience are ineligible for inclusion in these rankings. June rankings are in parentheses.



1. Brian Matusz , LHP, Bowie (1)

Matusz got a promotion after two-plus dominant months in Frederick and won his first two Double-A starts, allowing just one earned run and fanning 15 in 11 1/3 innings. He also got an invitation to the Futures Game.

2. Chris Tillman , RHP, Norfolk (2)

Tillman went 0-5 in June but posted a solid 31-to-8 K-to-walk ratio in 34 2/3 innings. The 21-year-old has a 2.97 ERA and 75 K's in 72 2/3 innings this season. He'll join Matusz at this month's Futures Game.

3. Jake Arrieta , RHP, Norfolk (3)

Arrieta moved a step closer to the big leagues in June, earning a promotion to Triple-A after going 6-3 with a 2.59 ERA and 70 K's in 59 Double-A innings. He went 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA in his first four starts for Norfolk.

4. Brandon Snyder , 1B, Norfolk (4)

Eastern League pitchers breathed a collective sigh of relief when Snyder was promoted to Norfolk after hitting .343 with 10 homers and 45 RBI in 58 games for Bowie. He's hitting .227 with eight RBI in 12 Triple-A games.

5. Zach Britton , LHP, Frederick (5)

Britton posted a sterling 1.61 ERA in June and now ranks second in the Carolina League with a 2.14 mark. He's also second in strikeouts with 75 in 75 2/3 innings and showed better command in June (28-to-8 K-to-walk).

6. Matt Hobgood , RHP, Bluefield (NR)

Hobgood, the Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year, features two plus pitches - fastball and curveball - but needs to develop a changeup to complement them. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder turns 19 on Aug. 3.

7. Brandon Erbe , RHP, Aberdeen - Rehab (6)

The 21-year-old is getting back on track with short-season Class A Aberdeen after missing two months with shoulder fatigue. He had posted a sterling 0.90 ERA and fanned 19 in his first 20 innings for Double-A Bowie.

8. Caleb Joseph , C, Frederick (7)

The 2008 seventh-rounder's breakout season continued in June as he hit .338 to raise his Carolina League-leading average to .328. The 23-year-old backstop is making a strong case for a promotion to Double-A.

9. Brandon Waring , 1B/3B, Frederick (12)

Waring hit just .226 in June but slugged six homers to bring his season total to 14 - good for second-best in the Carolina League. The 23-year-old also ranks fourth in the circuit with 50 RBI through 73 games.

10. Xavier Avery , OF, Delmarva (8)

Avery, a 2008 second-rounder, made good on 10 of his 11 steal attempts in June after starting the year 11-for-19. The 19-year-old has held his own against the mostly older and more experienced competition in Class A.



11. Wilfrido Perez , LHP, Bowie (9)

12. Luis Lebron , RHP, Frederick (11)

13. Tim Bascom , RHP, Bowie (25)

14. Chorye Spoone , RHP, Frederick - 7-Day DL (13)

15. Bobby Bundy , RHP, Bluefield (18)

16. Kyle Hudson , OF, Delmarva (14)

17. Joseph Mahoney , 1B, Delmarva (15)

18. Justin Turner , 2B, Norfolk (23)

19. Blake Davis , SS, Aberdeen - Rehab (21)

20. Oliver Drake , RHP, Delmarva (17)

21. Rick Zagone , LHP, Frederick (10)

22. Ryan Adams , 2B, Frederick (20)

23. Pedro Florimon Jr. , SS, Frederick (NR)

24. Cole McCurry , LHP, Delmarva (24)

25. Matt Angle , OF, Frederick (NR)


DROPPED OUT: Billy Rowell , OF, Frederick (16); Pedro Beato , RHP, Frederick (19); L.J. Hoes , 2B, Delmarva (22)

Posted on: June 1, 2009 12:20 am

June 2009 Orioles Prospect Rankings

From The Washington Times' National Pastime

For the first time in a long time, it's exciting to be a Baltimore Orioles fan. Homegrown talents Matt Wieters , Nolan Reimold , David Hernandez , Jason Berken and Brad Bergesen are giving long-suffering O's supporters hope for a bright future, and reinforcements are on the way from what has quickly become one of baseball's better farm systems.

These rankings take several factors into consideration, including but not limited to minor league success, long-term potential and age. To keep the definition of "prospect" as simple as possible, any player with Major League experience is ineligible for inclusion - sorry, Troy Patton , Kam Mickolio and Bob McCrory . Here we go ...



1. Brian Matusz , LHP, Frederick

The 6-foot-5 southpaw has outclassed the advanced Class A competition, posting a 2.37 ERA and 69-to-20 K-to-walk ratio in his first 60 2/3 pro innings. A promotion to Double-A Bowie can't be far off for the fourth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

2. Chris Tillman , RHP, Norfolk

The 21-year-old picked up five straight wins and put his command issues in the rear-view before a groin strain forced him from his last start after two innings. The injury isn't considered serious, and he's probably next in line for a big league rotation spot.

3. Jake Arrieta , RHP, Bowie

The O's gave Arrieta a fifth-round record $1.1 million bonus in 2007 and that investment is looking better all the time. The 2007 Carolina League pitcher of the Year has a 2.98 ERA through nine starts and ranks second in the Eastern League with 56 K's.

4. Brandon Snyder , 1B, Bowie

Snyder enjoyed a breakout season for Frederick in 2008 and the momentum has carried over to 2009. The 2005 first-rounder needs some work at first base, but he ranks second in the Eastern League in RBI (38) and third in average (.342) and homers (9).

5. Zach Britton , LHP, Frederick

The 21-year-old lefty had a fine first full pro season for Delmarva in 2008 and currently ranks fourth in the Carolina League with a 2.45 ERA and sixth with 47 K's. Mediocre command (26 walks in 47 2/3 innings) remains an issue for the 2007 third-rounder.

6. Brandon Erbe , RHP, Bowie

Erbe was throwing very well (0.90 ERA, 19 K's in 20 innings, .153 opponents' batting average) before shoulder fatigue shut him down after four starts. The 21-year-old has top-shelf stuff but must iron out his command issues once he is able to return to action.

7. Caleb Joseph , C, Frederick

The 2008 seventh-rounder would be considered the catcher of the future in any other organization. He performed well for Aberdeen in his pro debut and has handled the jump to Frederick admirably, with a .326 average three homers and 24 RBI in 36 games.

8. Xavier Avery , OF, Delmarva

The 19-year-old was viewed as somewhat raw when the O's made him a second-rounder last year, but he has held his own in his first taste of full-season ball with a .280 average through 46 games. The eight caught stealings in 18 attempts is troubling, though.

9. Wilfrido Perez , LHP, Bowie

Iffy command hasn't prevented the 6-foot, 145-pound lefty reliever from quietly dominating the competition at every minor league level so far. The 24-year-old has a 1.77 ERA and 25 K's in 20 1/3 innings this year, and opponents are hitting just .134 off him.

10. Rick Zagone , LHP, Delmarva

Zagone, a 2008 sixth-rounder, has dominated the mostly younger and less experienced South Atlantic League competition to the tune of a 1.92 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 52-to-17 K-to-walk ratio in 51 2/3 innings. It's clearly time for a promotion to Frederick.



11. Luis Lebron , RHP, Frederick

12. Brandon Waring , 1B, Frederick

13. Chorye Spoone , RHP, Frederick

14. Kyle Hudson , OF, Delmarva

15. Joseph Mahoney , 1B, Delmarva

16. Billy Rowell , OF, Frederick

17. Oliver Drake , RHP, Delmarva

18. Bobby Bundy , RHP, Extended Spring Training

19. Pedro Beato , RHP, Frederick

20. Ryan Adams , 2B, Frederick

21. Blake Davis , SS, Norfolk

22. L.J. Hoes , 2B, Delmarva

23. Justin Turner , 2B, Norfolk

24. Cole McCurry , LHP, Delmarva

25. Tim Bascom , RHP, Frederick

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