- Matt Wieters has become a full fledged, accredited All Star (and primarily for his defense)
- J.J. Hardy has said everything and done everything right in wanting to become a well paid Oriole
- Adam Jones has established himself as a worthy center fielder (who might be better off playing left field)
- Mark Reynolds has displayed an amazing amount of plus power over the past six weeks.
- The bullpen has a tight core of Uehara, Johnson, and Gregg
- The Orioles arguably drafted the best arm in the 2011 draft and the guy has Oriole roots.
Steve Melewski asks some pertinent questions of Andy MacPhail in a part I of a two part interview today. The focus is on the Orioles' approach to international free agency. Steve does a good job reporting what MacPhail says, but does zero commenting. I'll provide the commenting.
- MacPhail states he is unwilling to dedicate 4 or 5MM to prospects who have never play competitive games. He says that the efforts they have put forth have resulted in solid upswings of velocity for international players they have signed who are playing in the Dominican Summer League and in the Gulf Coast League.
Second, you do have to recognize that there is a growing international presence in the Orioles lower minor league system. However, we have to remember sample size. Jonathan Schoop is a name most Oriole fans have become familiar with and hopefully many watched him last night in the MLB Futures game. Another name in GCL that everyone should write a mental note on is Eduardo Rodriguez. I have received several positive reviews on him. Solid 18yo lefty with a good breaking ball and a 90mph fastball with movement. Beyond that it is difficult to know what is there long term. When money is spent on the Garrett Atkins and Vladimir Guerreros, but not on the Miguel Sanos, you know there is misevaluation in the organization. Think about it like this. What is worth more? A 3 MM investment on a commodity that might return MLB value for six years at a low cost or spending 5-8 MM for a declining player in hopes the team can reach .500 ball?
- MacPhail says it makes no sense to spend big money on amateurs who only work out and not play games.
- MacPhail mentions the team was about 17th in spending for amateur talent last year.
- MacPhail thinks Melewski should do an analysis on how many big money IFAs wind up becoming solid prospects. MacPhail must be unaware that Melewski does not do analysis.
There is not to like in MacPhail's answer there. He cannot be truly unaware of the study because that front office is knit tight from every indication. Why would he explicitly say he did not do a study, but others should do it? No idea. That said, teams who like to do studies (e.g. Blue Jays, Rays, Red Sox, Athletics) are spending freely on talent south of the Great 48.