• Sep

    Do the Orioles already have their second baseman of the future?

    When the Orioles drafted Ryan Flaherty in the major league portion of the rule five draft there was no assurances he would even make the team out of spring training. Afterall, most rule five draft picks, especially hitters, ever amount to much, especially not for the team who actually selected them.

    Despite the fact the Orioles have been in contention all year, Dan Duquette found a way to keep him on the roster versus having to offer him back to the Chicago Cubs who would have certainly paid the $25,000 (out of the $50,000 they received internally) to get him back into their organization.

    With limited at bats, Flaherty struggled to get his bat going and was batting just 1.96 with a .479 OPS on July 19th. He was then placed on the 15-day disabled list on August 2nd with a bacterial infection that basically allowed Duquette to stash him on the DL and in a minor league rehab almost until the rosters expanded on September 1st, thus assuring the Orioles would retain possession of Flaherty in the future.

    He started his first two games back from the disabled list at second base and collected hits in both games, but Buck Showlater started playing Robert Andino every day at second base and Flaherty was relegated to the bench once again.

    With Andino struggling with the bat, and after he got a key pinch hit in the Orioles 4-2 win over Seattle on September 18th, Buck has given the the rule five rookie another chance and has started him in four of the last six games. Despite the pressure of a pennant race, Flaherty has responded by hitting .389 (7-for-18) with two home runs, two doubles, a triple and eight runs batted in while putting up a 1.394 OPS.

    Actually, he's been hitting pretty well since about July 20. Since then he's hit .325 (13-40) with four home runs and a 1.125 OPS. Grant it this is still a small sample size, but Flaherty has shown when given a chance to play regularly, he's responded by hitting well. One of the best indicators of him seeing the ball well is his four walk to six strikeout ration over the same span.

    Defensively, despite making an error last night, Flaherty has been solid defensively putting up a 5.18 RF/9 while the league average is 4.62 and according to Rdrd/yr he would save about 8 runs per 1200 innings meaning he's not hurting you with his defense.

    With no good options on the free agency market this off season, the Orioles could do a lot worse than going into 2013 with Ryan Flaherty penciled in as the everyday second baseman, or at least as the second baseman against right-handed pitching.

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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.