Brian Roberts - Roberts was the last and final 1st round pick of the Orioles infamous 1999 7 man 1st round. He is the only one to amount to anything, but he sure has amounted to quite a lot. His minor league track record suggested he would never amount to much. He always had a great eye, but had issues with contact rate and power. It was originally thought he would make a decent double play team with Jerry Hairston, Jr who had held his own against minor league pitching. Hairston's injuries and a resigned Mike Bordick dictated the Roberts try his hand at second. So began the Orioles 2B battle, which lasted for two years and an uncomfortable lame duck third season. During those years, Roberts bat emerged to go along with his plate patience. Handed the starting job in 2004, his power potential also arose as he hit 50 doubles. For a young player an upswing in secondary power suggests more power to come. His 2005 campaign saw him triple his HR career high mark. He also smacked 45 doubles. Unfortunately, late that season against the Yanks, Roberts suffered a horrible broken arm at first base. This injury carried over into the next season and resulted in a severe dropped in power as his power fly rate was cut in half and his groundball percentage rose about 15%. In other words, with his arms failing him, he turned to his legs. So far in 2007, his batting eye is just fine. He still has yet to regained his secondary power. One has to wonder if it will ever come back. He has remained rather productive with doubles, but everything tends to indicate they are weak gappers. This would suggest that in another three or four years, those gappers may drop a bit sooner and become only singles. Three or four years and that speed will begin to whittle away. Three or four years and that strong to average defense will begin to lose its range. Now, he is a very good ball player and will continue to be for five or six more years.
4.2MM this year
6.3MM '08 and 8MM in '09
Thoughts: This is an amazing deal. A 800+ OPS 2B is worth more than 18.5MM over the next three years. He is getting the same as Huff while playing a far more difficult position. Crazy. He is our 2B for the next two and a half years and he'll get a huge payday from someone for 2010.
No one else to speak of on the Major League roster. You could argue Bynum, but he is an outfielder. You could argue Gomez, but he is a strict utility guy. Brandon Fahey is just such a horrible hitter. I cannot see him being considered. The same goes to Luis Hernandez.
Cesar Crespo. Filler. Decent eye and can provide backup on the bench, but will never translate well to the majors as shown by his two stints with the Padres and one with the Bosox. He has always be a somewhat patient mistake hitter in the minors. That rarely translates well in the majors. If he hones himself and finds an opening, he could become a poor man's Chris Gomez.
Paco Figueroa. Interesting player. He won't be a star, but he could be a pretty good backup. He was an old collegiate player at Miami and his first pro year was 2006 in HiA Frederick at the age of 23. He displayed a good eye and absolutely no power. He has speed, but is horrible on the basepaths. This year at Bowie . . . really good eye and nothing else. His double rate has bounced up 30%. He is still older than his competition, but he looks like a solid bench player in the majors. In all honesty, I think he should be in AAA next year. I could see him hitting about 780-820 OPS there. He'll be a better option than Fahey as a backup come '09. An organization needs guys like this.
Gera Alvarez. Showed early displays on on base prowess, but had some rough skills. He always performed average against younger competition and fell apart in AA last year as a 26 year old. He won't ever get to AAA. He seems like a nice guy though and should probably start thinking about managing.
Jonathan Tucker. Interesting. Really interesting. He is another guy like Crespo who is a little too old for his league, but is displaying similar skills. Last year he played some outfield, but has been seeing more time this year again at 2B. He has no future in the OF with his vapid power. He has a good eye. A really good eye. 42 walks to 29 strikouts this year. That is awfully nice. Though he is a 24 year old in HiA ball. Backup material. He should make it to AAA, but may be 27 when he does.
Miguel Abreu. Well, he has some power. Playing against slightly younger competition, he has shown he can hit the ball deep, but he has absolutely no ability to walk. His power should get even better, but if he is having difficulty taking a pitch in the Salley league . . . he is going to be stymied in AA and AAA ball when guys can actually pitch.
Ryan Adams. He is still young, but he has never given much of an indication he can hit the ball. Very good defense for a guy his age. He may be Brandon Fahey part duex, but younger. He was average offensively at Bluefield. With the Ironbirds, he is struggling something awful. Not Jay Gibbons circa 2007 awful, but not good. He looks like a backup as well.
Wow, are our Bluefield teams always this old? They are all in their 20s. Are we now using it to weed out college signings who play with poor competition? Anyway, here we have mercy draftee Eric Perlozzo and Pedro Silveren. Perlozzo is Sammy P's son, who is a nice kid from what I remember. A friend of mine dated Perlozzo's daughter in college . . . hmm, maybe they are married now. Anyway, he is from Shippensburg and is overmatched at the moment. Silveren? He was an international signee at age 21. Not good. He is repeating Bluefield. Not good. Perlozzo is getting most of the at bats. Not good. Anyway, I think Silveren will be going away after the year. Eric Perlozzo will probably not get the promotion to Aberdeen, but may repeat Bluefield and see it next year. I would be shocked if we ever see him in Bowie though.
No point, we have Roberts through '09.
Conclusion: We have nothing in the pipeline, but we don't need anything. Crespo or Tucker could be a patch job in '10. It won't be good, but it could do. If they trot back out in '11, we could be in trouble. Or . . . they could transform like Roberts and get dedicated to the gym.