Archive for L.J. Hoes

A Quick Hit on the Mike Morse Trade

Posted in Offense, Prospects, Trades with tags , , , , on September 4, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

After reportedly claiming every available batter that was put on revocable waivers during the month of August, the Orioles finally were able to acquire one of them, by trading minor league outfielder Xavier Avery to the Seattle Mariners for DH/LF Mike Morse.  In theory, the Orioles receive a much needed upgrade at the DH position for the price of a speedy/athletic outfield quasi-prospect who has never really hit much at any level of the minor leagues.

Morse is viewed as a slugging DH/outfielder and was considered one of the Mariners big acquisitions during the off-season in an attempt to add power to their lineup.  Continue reading

2013 Trade Deadline Wrap Up

Posted in Draft, Pitching, Prospects, Rule 4, Trades with tags , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

Let’s get right to it.  The 2013 MLB trade deadline was disappointing.  Most of the sellers ended up not selling (how could the Phillies not trade ANYONE?!?!?!?!), and a lot of the buyers didn’t buy.  With 3 deals over the month of July, including 1 at the deadline, the Baltimore Orioles were one of the more active teams on the trade market.  Let’s take a quick look at how they did.

July 2

Orioles get: RHP Scott Feldman and C Steve Clevenger from the Chicago Cubs

Orioles give: RHP Jake Arrieta, RHP Pedro Strop, and two international signing bonus slots (approximately $388K)

Even though Feldman hasn’t pitched particularly well in his month with the Orioles (5.70 ERA in 6 starts) I thought this was a great trade.  We’ve talked about it a few times now, but it’s worth mentioning again that the Orioles really needed some starting pitching help.  Recognizing that need, they did well to go out and get Feldman early in the month of July, rather than wait until the deadline.  Feldman isn’t anything close to an ace, but he’s a guy that will limit walks and give you quality innings.  He’s basically your average MLB starter (on pace for about 2.0 fWAR), and adding an average starter is a huge upgrade in the Orioles starting rotation.

I still WANT to have faith that Arrieta and Strop will be effective pitchers, but I think it was time for them to move on.  Both guys can put up huge strikeout numbers and occasionally look brilliant, but they are frustratingly inconsistent.  They often have a lot of trouble finding the strikezone, which greatly limits their effectiveness.

July 23

Orioles get:  RHP Francisco Rodriguez from the Milwaukee Brewers

Orioles give:  3B/1B Nick Delmonico

Doug took a brief look at this trade a couple weeks ago when he was going over relief options for the Orioles prior to the deadline, and mentioned how he thought this was a good deal for the Orioles to make.  I respectfully disagree.  It’s not that Rodriguez won’t help Baltimore down the stretch, or that I believe Delmonico will be a future star.  It’s because I think Delmonico is too good of a prospect to give up for 20-25 innings of relief pitching.  Personally, I think teams should be able to find effective relief pitching by looking through their couch cushions, so giving up Delmonico was paying too steep of a price.

Delmonico was ranked as Baltimore’s #6 prospect by Baseball Prospectus heading into the season, and while they currently project him as a second division regular, he’s only playing in High A as a 21 year old, so there is a lot of time for that projection to change.  If anything, Delmonico is an interesting enough prospect that he could have been used as an enticing part of a larger package that would have brought back a more significant return.

July 31

Orioles get:  RHP Bud Norris from the Houston Astros

Orioles give:  OF L.J. Hoes, LHP Josh Hader, Competitive Balance Draft Pick #33

Another trade that I didn’t particularly like. Bud Norris may be the Astros best pitcher, but most talent evaluators view him as a #4 or #5 pitcher, or even a reliever due to his issues with left handed hitters (career .310 wOBA versus righties, career .350 wOBA against lefties).  I think Norris will provide a slight improvement this year, but I don’t really see the point of acquiring him after they already got Feldman.  I’m sure the fact that Norris won’t be a free agent until 2016 was a big reason the Orioles went after him, and he’s likely viewed as Jason Hammel’s replacement following the season when he becomes a free agent.

While Keith Law of ESPN thought the return for Norris was light (insider access required and encouraged), I disagree. I like Hoes more than most, especially since he has greatly improved his on base abilities this year.  He won’t be a star, but I think he could be an average to slightly below average corner outfielder if he can consistently get on base.   While Hoes doesn’t have much projection left, Hader has a ton.  Baseball Prospectus ranked Hader as the Orioles 10th best prospect prior to the season, as a projectable LHP currently throwing in Low A.  Hader is a high risk prospect though, since he is only 19 years old.  Baltimore also gave up their competitive balance pick in next year’s draft, tentatively #33 overall.  I likely would have given up Hoes and either Hader or the pick for Norris, but not both.

Even though I wasn’t a fan of 2 of the 3 deals the Orioles made, I am hoping I’ll be proven wrong.  I’ll gladly admit that I also may put too much value in prospects, when the reality is that most of them won’t ever contribute to the major league team. In the end, Baltimore improved their team’s chances of making the playoffs (ESPN insider required, again), without giving up anything of value or sacrificing their future. And by doing that, it’s hard to fault them for making these moves when a playoff birth is within striking distance for the second year in a row.

Orioles Draft Retrospective: 2008-2011

Posted in Draft, Prospects, Rule 4 with tags , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

2008

I know that the previous posts looking at Baltimore’s first round draft picks may have been a little depressing, but I’m sure you already know that things start looking up in 2008.

1-4 – Brian Matusz (LHP) from University of San Diego

Well, kind of looking up in 2008.  Another Baltimore pitcher drafted that was a top prospect with high expectations, Matusz hasn’t exactly lived up to them.  He looked like a promising starter in 2009 and 2010, but struggled in 2011 and 2012 before moving to the bullpen late last year.  While every team needs a good left-handed reliever, I don’t think that’s what teams are looking to get when they have the 4th overall pick in the draft.

Xavier Avery (2nd round) and L.J. Hoes (3rd round) were both selected in this draft as well.  Both have been ranked as top ten prospects for Baltimore (Hoes was the #7 Orioles prospect prior to the 2013 season, while Avery last appeared prior to 2011 at #4 according to Baseball Prospectus) and each have spent limited time with the major league club.  Unfortunately, it appears no one else from that draft will provide an impact for Baltimore.  Additionally, both Hoes and Avery have ceilings of 4th outfielders.

Buster Posey was selected by the Giants immediately following Baltimore’s pick of Matusz, and to date, he is easily the best player to come out of that first round.  Although, other than win NL Rookie of the Year (2010) and the NL MVP (2012), while leading the Giants to 2 World Series championships in 2 of 3 years, he hasn’t done much.

2009

If only we could pretend like the 2009 draft never happened.  Baltimore had another high pick and thought it wise to use it on…

1-5 – Matthew Hobgood (RHP) from Norco HS (Norco, CA)

From what I found, this pick was generally viewed as an overdraft by the rest of the league at the time, but as a big, sturdy guy (i.e., chunky), Hobgood would be able to eat up some innings as a starting pitcher.  A description from the 2011 Baseball Prospectus Annual did not inspire confidence, and his results leading up to a 2011 shoulder injury didn’t inspire it either.  After sitting out all of 2012, Hobgood has returned to Low-A this year as a reliever (posting good results to date) and has a chance to provide some value in the future in that role.  However, as mentioned before (COUGH, Brian Matusz, COUGH), no one HOPES to draft a future reliever with the 5th overall pick.

Some of the players drafted after Hobgood include Zack Wheeler at #6 (#5 overall prospect ranked by Baseball Prospectus in 2013), Mike Minor at #7, and Shelby Miller at #19.  However, Baltimore (along with 21 other teams) are probably wishing they could re-do this draft and select Mike Trout, who has already accumulated 13.7 WAR in just 237 games.

No one from Baltimore’s 2009 draft has reached the big leagues, and no one is a Baseball Prospectus top 10 prospect either, so let’s just move on to the 2010 draft.

2010

Hopefully you’ve stuck around this far, because 2010 is when it starts to get good.

1-3 – Manny Machado (SS) from Brito Miami Private School (Miami, FL)

Ummm, this was a nice pick.  I was fortunate enough to watch Machado play a lot last year while I worked for the Orioles, videotaping at AA Bowie.  It was obvious he had the tools and make-up to become an all-star caliber player.  Although I did not think he would find so much success offensively this quickly (I am happy to be proven wrong).  A lot has been written recently about how good Machado is, and it’s difficult to disagree.  It’s early, but he is currently on the short list of MVP candidates, with the 4th highest WAR to date (3.1) in all of baseball.  Oh, and he’s not even old enough to drink yet.

The rest of the draft doesn’t look like it went so well, as no one else has reached the majors.  No one is populating the Baseball Prospectus top 10 prospect list either.  It’s still early for this draft class though, so there’s time for potential impact players to help the big league club.

Matt Harvey and Chris Sale were selected after Machado, as well as some interesting prospects still in the minor leagues, but I’d rather have Machado.

2011

It’s still very difficult to consider the 2011 draft as a success or failure, due to the time needed for draft picks to develop.  But the 2011 selection of Dylan Bundy looks like a strong first round pick.

1-4 – Dylan Bundy (RHP) from Owasso HS (Owasso, OK)

There were reports at the time of this draft that many scouts believed Bundy was good enough to jump straight to the major leagues from high school.  And while I am no scout, after seeing him pitch in Bowie last year, I don’t think that assessment was too far removed from reality.  Bundy has an impressive arsenal of pitches, as well as great command and maturity on and off the field.  Some elbow issues at the beginning of the year has kept him from pitching so far in 2013, but if he’s healthy, he has the ceiling of an ace and probably the floor of a #2 starter.  He was Baltimore’s #1 prospect in 2013 according to basically every prospect list, and ranked #4 overall by Baseball Prospectus.

Two other 2011 draftees show up in the current Orioles top 10 prospect list, including #5 RHP Mike Wright (3rd round) and #6 3B Nick Delmonico (6th round).

Right now, Bundy looks like the best selection the Orioles could have made in this draft, but it’s far too soon to definitively say that.