Three Potential Trade Candidates

Tides Talk

Byline IanWith the MLB trade deadline coming up, I thought I would take a look at three Norfolk Tides’ players who has the most trade value. I’m not saying these players will be traded because I have no inside information about anything the Orioles do. This is simply just a list of three players who have been performing really well at the Triple-A level who could help other major league teams either this season or next.
1. Tyler Wilson

Tyler Wilson has been a huge help for Norfolk’s injury-plagued rotation since his promotion from Double-A Bowie. Wilson was dominant at the Double-A level, with a 10-5 record and a 3.72 ERA, and continued it with Norfolk. In three starts with the Tides, Wilson has a 2-0 record with an ERA of 2.25.

Tyler WIlsonHis combined strikeout-to-walk ratio between Bowie and Norfolk is 104-28. With the Tides, he has struck out 13 and walked six. Both his win-loss record and strikeout to walk ratio are impressive and the Orioles are rumored to be in the market to add another starting pitcher. Naturally, you are probably wondering why I put a starting pitcher at the top of my list.

If you ask an Orioles fan who would be in the projected starting rotation next year they might say, “Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jiménez, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and either Wei-Yin Chen or Miguel González.” If someone was talking about the 2016 rotation they would replace either González or Chen with Tim Berry.

No one seems to know about Tyler Wilson, which makes him expendable. Every team is looking to add starting pitching depth, including the Orioles. But the problem, a good problem, the Orioles have is they do not seem to have any room for Wilson in the rotation. The Orioles front office could have him pitch another year at Norfolk but then what? I believe Wilson’s trade value is very high right now and the Orioles could use him to improve their team for this season, not for the next.

2. Steve Lombardozzi

I know what you are thinking: “All season you have been writing about how you want Lombardozzi to be called up and play for the Orioles.” I do, but for this article I think he is the second best Norfolk Tide that could be used for a trade.

Steve LombardozziOff the top of your head, how many teams can you name that are in the market to add a veteran middle infielder to their team? I came up with about three. Though Lombardozzi is relatively a young veteran, a lot of teams would be happy to have him.

At Triple-A Norfolk, Lombardozzi is hitting .271, has an on base percentage of .306 with 20 RBI. Though his primary position is second base, he can also play left field, shortstop and even third base. He is a versatile infielder who has proven he can hit very well against major league pitching.

Earlier this season with the Orioles, Lombardozzi hit .288 with a .329 slugging percentage. For his career, Lombardozzi has a .266 average, a .297 on base percentage and a slugging percentage of .341. The numbers aren’t Hall-of-Fame worthy, but compared to some other second basemen in the league, those numbers would be an upgrade.

3. Steve Clevenger

Steve Clevenger is another player whom I have continually voiced a very strong opinion about all season long. And as of right now, Clevenger is not currently a Norfolk Tide, but just hear me out on this one.

With the injury to Matt Wieters, the great defensive performance Caleb Joesph has put on and the acquisition of Nick Hundley, Clevenger does not have a place on the Orioles roster. He is also a very good defensive catcher who has shown that he can swing the bat just as well.

502182With Norfolk, Clevenger is hitting .328 with 26 RBI and has a slugging percentage of .458. Needless to say, he has been one of the better Norfolk players all season long. With Baltimore, Clevenger was hitting .240, had an on base percentage of .296 and hit eight doubles.

The injury to St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina made the Cardinals become interested in acquiring Nick Hundley from the Orioles, but the Orioles were not interested. Back up catchers who can hit are hard to come by. Just about every NL team is in the playoff race. Many of them might need a backup catcher who knows how to handle a new pitching staff very fast and can occasionally get a game-winning hit.

Clevenger is that catcher. He is tearing it up at Norfolk and has proven that he can handle both the Orioles’ pitching staff and Norfolk’s always-changing one with ease. If the Orioles would trade him, and I’m not saying they will, they could get a few relief pitchers in return which could help them win a division.

Triple-A All-Star Game: A Must Watch

Byline IanThe Triple-A All-Star Game always seems to take a back seat when you compare it to the Futures Game, and with good reason. The Futures Game is always so exciting. The major sports networks always build up the excitement talking about how people will get the chance to see all the young great phenoms of today’s game on one night.

All-Star-Game-Final-2014

I’ll be honest; I am one of those people who does get excited for the Futures Game very year. I like to see who could possible make a difference in the big leagues in a few years’ time. However, this year I am more excited for the Triple-A All-Star Game than I was for the Futures Game.

As a matter of fact, every year people should want to see the Triple-A All-Star Game over the Futures Game. Yes, the Futures Game has more hype from the media due to the young players, but those players most likely will not make it to the major leagues for at least couple years.

The players in the Triple-A All-Star Game have a better chance of making an immediate impact in the major leagues. Most of these players are on the cusp of getting to the majors. Some may even be called up in September and help their major league team get into the playoffs.

Notable Triple-A All-Stars
Derek Jeter
Pedro Martinez
Joey Votto
Chase Utley
Mike Piazza

These All-stars may not be as young as those in the Futures Game, but they are still good. A total of 86 players who have played in the Triple-A All-Star game have gone on to play in the Major League All-Star Game.

474443Some of these players might even be up for trade considerations in the next few weeks too. You have a chance to see these players now before you can see them in the big leagues. You can even get a look at the lone Norfolk Tides member, Iván DeJesús, Jr.

 

The most thrilling part of this whole thing is you can watch it on TV. The 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game is on MLB Network tonight at 7 p.m. There are no MLB games on tonight or any other major sport game, so what is your excuse not to?

No Manny, What Now?

Tides Talk

Byline IanWith Manny Machado being suspended for the next few games, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at possible call-ups from Triple-A Norfolk that the Orioles could make to replace him. Norfolk has had plenty of infielders, non-first baseman, on the roster this season but, interestingly enough, none of them are listed as third basemen.

The one name that has been linked to the Orioles for a call-up is Jemile Weeks. Though he currently is not with the Norfolk Tides, he was moved off their roster so he could easily get to Baltimore.

In 39 games for Norfolk this season, Weeks is hitting .282 and owns a .405 on-base percentage, 12 RBI and 17 stolen bases. Weeks is also tied for the team lead in triples with four.

As mentioned, Weeks is not with Norfolk at the moment. Weeks was sent down to Single-A Aberdeen on June 28. In two games for Aberdeen, Weeks is hitting .429, has an on-base percentage of .556 and has a slugging percentage of .571.

Another name that is always being talked about being recalled to the Orioles is Steve Lombardozzi. Early this year, Lombardozzi was lighting up Triple-A pitching. Lately, he has been a little cold.

Over his last 10 games, Lombardozzi is hitting .161, going just 5-for-31. In that stretch, he has only picked up three RBI and has an on-base percentage of .200. A positive to look at is the low number of strikeouts he’s recorded during his cold streak.

He only struck out two times in his last 10 games but the outs he’s making have not been productive. However, Lombardozzi is still hitting .256 on the season, and has 13 RBI and 13 runs.

A familiar name to Orioles fans of the past few years is part of Norfolk’s infield too. Alexi Casilla surprisingly, to some, has been really strong for the Tides this year. Casilla has a .285 average, .346 on-base percentage, and a .354 slugging percentage. He also has eight stolen bases and 16 RBI.

Ivan De Jesus Jr. owns the best average among the Norfolk infielders. De Jesus Jr. is the son of former major league shortstop Ivan De Jesus. De Jesus Jr. has played the second most games (66) of the Norfolk infield behind first baseman Brett Wallace. De Jesus Jr. is hitting .294, has 31 RBI, has hit 15 doubles and has a slugging percentage of .408.

Buck Britton is another player who started the season hot with Double-A Bowie, but has since cooled down. With Bowie, Britton hit .344, had 15 RBI, hit four home runs, had an on-base percentage of .382 and had a slugging percentage of .492. With Norfolk, he is hitting .245, hit seven home runs, has 28 RBI, a slugging percentage of .453 and a .269 on-base percentage.

Though he has cooled off since his promotion to Triple-A, Britton has been hitting the ball really well over the last 10 games, even better then when he was with Bowie. In the 10 games he is hitting .313, has two home runs and a slugging percentage of .594.

The last non-first baseman in the Norfolk infield is Cord Phelps. Phelps has the lowest batting average on the team. He is hitting just .219 but has six home runs, 31 RBI and an on-base percentage of .299.

As I alluded to before, none of the infielders mentioned are listed as third baseman. However, that does not mean they have not played third base. Steve Lombardozzi, Buck Britton and Ivan De Jesus Jr. have all either played third base this season for the Tides or earlier in their careers.

Lombardozzi has played five games at third base, 20 at second base, four at shortstop, 17 in left field and one as the DH. Buck Britton has played 39 games at third base, two at first base, one at second base, two in left field and has even pitched in two games.

De Jesus Jr. has just played one game at third this season. He played two games at second base, four at DH and the majority of his games, 59, at shortstop. Last season at Triple-A Indianapolis, he played 11 games at third base.

Of the Norfolk infielders, I believe Jemile Weeks and Steve Lombardozzi have the best shot at being called up to the Orioles later this week. Both have proved to be versatile and they can hit at the major league level. Weeks will probably be called up first, with him being in Aberdeen, but Lombardozzi’s name could pop up too. I would not be surprised to see any of the players mentioned be September call-ups for the Orioles either.

Infielders on Orioles’ 40-man roster

19 Chris Davis L-R
3 Ryan Flaherty L-R
2 J.J. Hardy R-R
12 Steve Lombardozzi * S-R
13 Manny Machado Suspended * R-R
28 Steve Pearce R-R
6 Jonathan Schoop R-R
1 Jemile Weeks * S-R

Sorting through an ever-changing rotation

Tides Talk

Byline IanIn every year, every season, all teams, no matter the league, have to deal with injuries to their starting pitchers. The Norfolk Tides are no different.

Two of the Tides’ original five-man rotation, Suk-min Yoon and Steve Johnson, are on the disabled list. Yoon was placed on the DL on Monday and Johnson has been on and off the DL all season. Eddie Gamboa took Johnson’s spot in the rotation earlier this season because Johnson’s inability to stay healthy.

On June 13, Gamboa was suspended 50 games for using exogenous Testosterone. Kevin Gausman is being called up and back down between Norfolk and Baltimore recently. T.J McFarland has been with the Orioles for a good portion of the season as a relief pitcher.

Mike WrightWith McFarland and Gausman spending a good bit of time in the majors, Mike Wright is the only pitcher left. Wright is the lone pitcher that was part of Norfolk’s starting rotation at the beginning of the season and has pitched without injury.

With the slew of injuries, Norfolk has used 12 different pitchers to start games; 10 of which have started at least two games. In comparison, the Orioles have used six starters: Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Ubaldo Jimenez, Bud Norris, Miguel Gonzalez and Kevin Gausman.

For now, Norfolk’s rotation is a mystery. The Orioles decision on how to use Gausman makes it even more mysterious.

Gausman has a 3-1 record with a 2.74 ERA in four starts with the Orioles this season. For Norfolk, Gausman had a 1-3 record with a 3.32 ERA in 11 starts. Obviously, Gausman has pitched far better with the Orioles this season.

Gausman proved that he can go out, pitch six or seven innings per game and put the Orioles in a spot to win. He has done something Ubaldo Jimenez has not done yet this season; win three games.

I think it is best for the Orioles and Tides to have Gausman stay with the Orioles for the remainder of the season. If Gausman stays with the Orioles, Tides’ manager Ron Johnson will be able to figure out a viable option for a fifth starter, after he finds three replacements for the others.

Tonight, Josh Stinson will be making just his third start for the Tides this season. Stinson has appeared in nine games for the Tides and posted a 0-3 record with a 5.19 ERA.

Opposing Stinson for the Pawtucket Red Sox is Chris Hernandez. Hernandez, like Stinson, has spent both as a starter and reliever. Hernandez is 3-6 record with a 3.04 ERA and has started seven games.

This game is very important for Josh Stinson. If he is able to pitch well and give the Tides’ a quality start, he could stay in the rotation for the remainder of the season. Stinson started 23 games last year for Norfolk, so starting is not something he needs to adjust to. I do not believe it would be a problem for him to be in a starting role for the rest of the season.

Tides’ Rotation Casualities:

YoonSuk-min Yoon

75.0 inning pitched

Placed on the DL (shoulder)

 

GamboaEddie Gamboa

77.2 innings pitched

Suspended 50 games for exogenous testosterone

 

GausmanKevin Gausman

43.1 innings pitched

Pulled up to pitch for Orioles

 

MacFarlandT.J. McFarland

24.0 innings pitched

Pulled up to pitch for Orioles

 

JohnsonSteve Johnson

17.2 innings pitched

Placed on DL (shoulder)

 

 

 

Player of the Week: Steve Clevenger

Tides Talk

This past week, one player for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides, stood out from the rest. Norfolk’s catcher Steve Clevenger was dominant at the plate the entire week.

Clevenger played in six games, having Saturday off, and increased his hit streak to five games with three hits in Sunday’s game. Clevenger started the week with a 0-for-4 performance Monday night but hit in every game since then.

On Tuesday, Clevenger played his best game of the season for either Norfolk or the Orioles. Clevenger went 4-for-4 with three doubles, five RBI and scored one run himself. His performance Tuesday night helped lead Norfolk to a 7-6, comeback win over Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Clevenger continued his hot streak Wednesday night with a 2-for-4 performance that included one double and two walks, picking up one RBI. His performance Thursday was very much the same. Clevenger went 3-for-6 with yet another double, scored two runs and picked up three RBI.

On Friday, Clevenger hit another double and had two RBI, going 4-for-5. Clevenger’s performance at the plate Friday was not enough to help Norfolk get a victory, however, as the Tides’ six-game win streak ended.
With a day off Saturday, Clevenger ended the week on a high note in Sunday’s game. Clevenger went 3-for-4 with one double, scored three runs and picked up a two RBI.

502182

Before Tuesday, Clevenger was 0-for-11 with Norfolk since he was sent down from Baltimore on May 27. He raised his batting average to .471, on-base percentage to .500 and increased his hit total to 16 in eight games, two less than what he had with Baltimore in 24 games.

Clevenger won’t forget his week, in which he picked up at least one RBI and hit at least one double in all five games during his streak.

He’ll try to extend his hit streak Monday night as the Tides begin a short two-game homestand against Durham. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.