• Jul

    Loewen's decision good for alll

    As tough as it is to see Adam Loewen’s career as a pitcher come to end, I really do think it’s best for everyone involved it was done now, and not after another lengthy rehabilitation stint.


    For one thing, doing it now enables Loewen to try and go back and re-invent himself as a hitter like Rick Ankiel did with the Cardinals. Even though the odds are severely stacked against him (Ankiel this year became the first player since Babe Ruth to have pitched in 50 major league games and hit 20 or more home runs in a season), at least he still has the dream alive to do something special in the major leagues.


    At worse it will be at least an interesting story to follow over the next few years.


    For the Orioles it allows them to move forward and not keep wondering what they have with Loewen. He flashed them some great stuff at times but his inconsistent command and fragile body (he also had a partially torn labrum a few years ago) suggested he was just a ticking time bomb anyway and those guys are always the ones that hurt you the most when you need them.



    I’d be lying to you if I said I was surprised this happened. Between the shoulder injury a few years ago, to the cracked bone on his elbow last year to seeing his stuff just not look too good at Bowie during his rehab, it did not come as a major surprise that something wasn’t right.


    Either way it’s good for both parties to give up the pitching. Chances are that Loewen will never play in the major leagues again, but it sure would be a nice story if he was able to make it back here in a meaningful role as a hitter.


    Avery and Hoes injured in crash


    Centerfielder Xavier Avery (2nd round  2008 pick) and second baseman LJ Hoes (3rd round 2008 pick), were injured Saturday when they crashed into each other chasing a pop up for the Gulf Coast League Orioles. Thankfully it doesn’t appear they will miss more than a few days. "Avery should be back in the lineup in the next couple of days and Hoes could be a couple of days after that," Orioles Director of Minor League Operation confirmed last night with the Hangout. “Both are expected to be full go after that.”


    Avery is batting .259 with seven steals and Hoes is batting .299 with a .434 OBP thanks to drawing a team leading 16 walks to only eight strikeouts.


    Right fielder Luis Ramirez was also injured in the collision but should be back soon as well.


    Height and Weight


    Ever wonder why you players don’t match their listed height and weights? Most of the time they are simple clerical inefficiencies since most PR people just take the information of a player from the previous place the player played at.


    Most players, especially pitchers don’t match their current listed height and weight for several reasons. Pitchers never want to be short so you will rarely see a pitcher listed under six foot. At Bowie, Wilfredo Perez is listed at 6-0, 145 but I’m 5-8, and he’s not much taller than me. He’s 5-9 at the most.


    Weight wise, David Hernandez was listed in the media guide as 180. Even his Dad admits David hasn’t been 180 since high school. David’s probably a lot closer to 215-220. The MILB website has him listed at 215 so at least someone has his weight right.


    Another reason is that scouts will sometimes fudge on player’s height and weights. Whether intentional or not (scouts don’t exactly carry scales with them), players will sometimes show up a little smaller than they were billed.


    A good example of this is the Orioles 7th round pick this year catcher Caleb Joseph who was listed at 6-3, 180. He showed up at Aberdeen and was 6-2, 165. That’s a tough body type to catch everyday, but Joseph was drafted as a bat so a move to second base could be in his future if the rigors of catching doesn’t work out. Joseph is currently batting .300 with seven double and a home run in his first 27 professional games for the Ironbirds. He’s thrown out 11-of-25 (44%) of base runners trying to steal but has committed four passed balls in 17 games caught.


    Around the Minors


    - Kraig Binick made his 2008 Aberdeen debut going 2-for-4 with a triple, stolen base, and two runs batted. The 23-year old outfielder made a nice recovery from off season shoulder surgery that has kept him out until earlier this month when he rehabbed with the GCL O’s. The left-handed hitting outfielder hit .301 with a .396 OBP and .845 OPS between Bluefield and Aberdeen last year in his debut.


    - Although it’s not really saying much considering the dearth of talent that has come from the Orioles Dominican scouting and development program over the years, but 21-year old first baseman Elvin Polanco may be one of the best hitter’s to come from that island through the Orioles organization. The switch-hitter is batting .358 with 11 doubles and seven home runs for th e Bluefield O’s. He’s leads the team with a 1.039 Ops which is good for 5th in the league.


    - Bowie Baysox right-hander Chorye Spoone has spent two stints on the disabled list with shoulder discomfort but the good news is doesn’t appear to be anything too significant. “Spoone is structurally sound after examinations and will get the arm calmed down and begin a throwing program,” Stockstill explained.

    It’s been a tough year for Spoone who was hoping to springboard his Frederick success into a top prospect standing with a good year at Bowie. Instead, he’s struggled with the shoulder discomfort which has contributed to his command issues (27 walks in 41.1 IP). The good news for Spoone is that when he’s been on, his stuff was there and there’s little doubt if he can get and stay healthy, he’s still among the top tier of Orioles pitching prospects.

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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.