• May

    The First E-Rog?

    I'm kind of in purgatory now. In a little over three weeks I'll be back in Maryland, and for the first time in 18 years, it'll most likely be for a long time. However, before that I have to move all my stuff, out process, clear my house on post, then travel for 14 hours with my wife and kids. Then I hit the ground and immediately go into house hunting mode before hopefully finding and buying house and settling in. Oh, and try to keep running the Hangout without missing a beat while doing it. Fun times.

    So knowing all that now, please excuse me if I'm not around as much or don't get back to people on e-mail right away. There will be times that I'll have extra time to surf, then no time, so please bare with me until I can get settled. Thanks for understanding.

    Dropping like flies

    Man are the Orioles dropping like flies. It's almost like I'm watching the baseball version of Hamburger Hill. Despite Chris Gomez going down, I still don't think we should blame these injuries on the O's current record. Sure, the injuries have hurt our depth, but other than Brian Roberts, there's not a player who has missed significant time that was playing above replacement level anyways.

    The First E-Rog?

    I was glad to see former top prospect Ed Rogers get the call when Gomez went down. The 27-year old has remade himself into a viable utility player by learning to play third base, second base and the outfield to go along with his natural shortstop abilities. The funniest thing is this puts him back under the control of the guy who made the famous "A-rod comment", manager Sam Perlozzo

    Rogers, who was then thought to be a 19-year old shortstop prospect (he would admit to his real age - three years older - two years later) in the big league camp when Perlozzo made the offhand comment that he reminded him of a young A-rod. That was twisted around by the press and the message board communities to become Ed Rogers - The Next A-Rod. Rogers was sent to Bowie where he struggled miserably before being sent to Frederick where he didn't set the world on fire. The next year was more of the same, but he did mange to get called up for a three at bats at the end of the 2002 season. 

    Once it broke that Rogers and his brother Omar were actually three years older than their originally listed age, Rogers prospect status took a tumble. The next A-rod thing wasn't even a question, now the question was is he a big league player at all? Without any hype, Rogers quietly put up a solid season at Bowie (.284/.340/.380/.720) in 2004 then moved to Ottawa where he struggled early on batting just .208 on June 3rd. After that though, something clicked and he hit .292 (81-277) the rest of the season while playing multiple positions, including 31 games at third base, 25 games at second base and even one in the outfield.

    He was brought up to the Orioles at the end of the year and actually homered in his only at bat of the season. Still, the Orioles needed the 40-man roster space and outrighted him after the season before resigning him to a minor league contract a few weeks later. 

    This season, Rogers was second on the team with a .806 OPS through the first 30 games while also playing multiple positions. Although Rogers will never be the next A-Rod, Gomez's injury may be the break he needs to carve out his own utility niche in the big leagues. 

    On a personal note, Ed was always a good guy to be around in a minor league locker room and even more importantly, he's always great with the fans. I can remember Ed almost always being the last guy into the clubhouse after a game because he was signing so many autographs. Since the first day I met him in Sarasota in the spring of 1999, I've rooted for him because he just seemed like he loved baseball so much. 

    He may not be A-Rod, but maybe he'll become E-Rog, the top utility guy in the game. Who knows? But I'll be rootin'.

    Got a comment? You can always start a thread here and talk about it.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.