baltimoresun.com

« One dead Raven ... | Main | As ER ends, a few words on basketball and bromance »

Might Penn be last of the busts?

Hayden Penn had to go.

Maybe he’s a legit big-league starter someday, but it wasn’t going to happen in Baltimore. The stars weren’t lined up for that. And for the Orioles to move forward, Penn had to leave.

Here’s what I’m curious about: Could today's Penn trade mark the final piece of a purge?

I don’t mean the Orioles have entirely cleansed their farm of mediocrity or anything like that. But have they taken a step away from that long stretch of ill-fated busts? Are they turning the page and stepping into an era in which pitching prospects actually pan out?

The Orioles have spent three decades trying to grow pitchers like Jim Palmer and Dave McNally. I won’t bore you with the stats but the list of can’t-miss young pitchers is long: Jimmy Haynes, Beau Hale, Adam Loewen, Garrett Olson, Brad Pennington, and some guy named Ben McDonald (ever heard of him?). Oh, let’s just include every pitcher drafted by Syd Thrift. Maybe Daniel Cabrera’s name goes on this list, too. Not sure. But I think beginning today, Hayden Penn’s definitely does.

The point isn’t to dig up all the bones in the prospect graveyard. But maybe Penn is the last of something. He was the fifth-round pick in 2002, the year the Orioles look Loewen with the fourth overall pick. It was Thrift's final draft class. Tony DeMacio was the scouting director then. When you look at some of the names in the system right now, Penn predates many of those who are showing so much promise. Guys like Kam Mickolio, David Hernandez, Troy Patton, Brandon Erbe, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz.

Time will tell whether members of this new class add their names to the existing list of busts – or whether they’re able to create their own list.

Photo: Doug Kapustin / The Baltimore Sun

Comments

Don't anybody fear Andy is now here and all our pitching problems will just disappear.We are coming North with perhaps the worst starting pitching staff that has ever started a season in the majors. And that my friend includes our so called ACE who wouldn't be a number 5 starter on another team. They owe the fans of this town more then that rick. Look to put all your eggs in 1 basket .with those kids down in the minors is absolutely insane.Peopel think that the rays turned there season around by developing that pitching staff from the minors WRONg, garza, sonnestine, kasmir all traded for.You can't expect to all of suddend have all 5 of these kids all turn out IT JUST DOESN"T WORK THAT WAY . If there are bust outs like penn this will set this organization back another 10 years. Just having ANDY here is going to be enough He is not GOD.

I recall one other pitcher we unloaded for Glen Davis (who?) -- Curt Schilling.

I definitely agree that Penn is the end of an era; his handling was markedly different from the handling of the current crop of prospects. Still, there will always be busts and flameouts; such is the nature of young pitching. At least now the process is in place to better position those young pitchers for success. Despite the irrational feelings of the first poster (who apparently would have turned the O's from one of the five worst organizations to a World Series contender in under 18 months), the franchise is headed in a fantastic direction

Who was the last pitcher the Orioles drafted out of high school that had any kind of major league success?

I couldn't come up with anyone, either.

Curt Schilliong wasnt ours, we stole him from the then idiots in Boston.

As for Guthrie, he is now Ace, but nonetheless belongs in a starting rotation. Run support would help the superficial numbers.

I personally am happy with the direction our front office is taking. Let those kids stay in the minors and learn about winning games instead of calling them up just because they're the best remaining option. As for pitchers, you don't jjust shell out 20 mil per year like the Yankees every time a pitcher hits the market. Develop the players we have (Matusz, Arrieta, Tillman, etc.), then sign FA pitchers when it makes sense; when some of those younger players have developed. A lot of people have been whining about all the outfielders we have picked up in trades, even though some of them can be packaged later in trades for more pitching. We can't continue to re-build and pay to stay competetive at the same time. Andy MacPhail has finally outlined a plan for this organization, which we have been lacking for years.

With the trade of Penn, I'm a little depressed. Because he was pitching so poorly, we didn't expect to get anything in the trade for Penn. Well, we didn't get anything, a 200 hitting shortshop who hit 258 in the minors. Under the usual rule of thumb, take 15 to 20 points off the minor league average, well let's see, that's 240.
Don't get me wrong, Penn isn't going to be a superstar in the majors, but everyone seems to be saying that he has the stuff to be a productive major league pitcher.

So who is going to take his place? Brian Bass or Adam Eaton? Eaton is going to be awful, see 2008. Does Bass have as good stuff as Penn? Probably not. So you trade a pitcher who is 23 with good stuff so you can pitch a guy who may pitch as bad or worse. I suspect Penn was leaving his fastball up in the zone with all the homers he was giving up. Isn't that a mechanics problem to fix it so that he pitches down in the zone? I would have given him three starts and worked with him in between to see if his issues were fixable? If there was an alternative who was much better, this move makes sense. Instead we get to watch Adam Eaton or Bryan Bass get lit up without the corresponding upside. Andy Mcphail hasn't made many mistakes, but I believe this could be a big one. If I'm Andy, I'm hoping that Penn is the second coming of Matt Reilly and not John Maine.

Regards!

You consider Gregg Olson a bust? Really? Five years as the O's stopper. Rookie of the Year. One-time Most Valuble Oriole (I think). In the Oriole Hall of Fame. Holds the club record for consecutive scoreless innings. Still the greatest curveball I've ever seen. Granted, the injuries ended his Oriole career early, but there weren't many better in baseball than the Otter in the late 80s + early 90s. if he's a bust, your bar is much higher than mine.

Still, I get what you are saying. I think most knew Hale was a bust from the start. Same with the others. Throw in Sir Sidney and those 1999 first-round picks. Also, Chris Smith (also another obvious bust when we picked him). We were spared Wade Townsend thanks to his greed. Meanwhile, we all thought John Maine was a bust and he's thriving in NY. Go figure. Jose Mesa nearly won a Cy Young in Cleveland. Armando Benitez was a legit stopper for years. We need to be patient, just like we need to be patient with Wieters and realize he might not hit 300 with 30 HRs in his rookie season (see Cal's BA in May 1982). Being a legend takes time...

There's no guarantee that this new pitching crop will thrive where those fail. If they stay healthy and mentally clear, that will make all the difference. That's why pitch counts and not rushing them up levels is so important. I bet some of these guys won't see the majors and others will just have their cup of coffee. But that's why you stockpile arms, just like the Rays did. They had their huge crop and still went after Garza (giving up Delmon Young!) and Edwin Jackson.

If Matusz, Tillman, AND Arrieta all make it, that would be wonderful. But how many staffs are populated with three homegrown all-stars? You list another four guys and didn't even mention guys like Liz, Deza, Perez, McCrory, Hoey, and Bergeson. The big difference is that we are not putting all the hopes on 1-2 guys as we've done in the past. For that, we can thank Andy MacPhail.

Maybe that was supposed to be "Garrett" Olson?

Yeah, had to be the wrong "Olsen" there. I never understood why Benitez caught so much flack in Baltimore. He routinely came in facing very difficult scenarios, to set Randy "ego trip" Myers the closer, who usually only had to get three out in the ninth with no one on base. Benitez had some rough spots in playoff games, but we wouldn't have gotten to the playoffs without him. They never should have let him leave.

This O's staff will be an interesting group. Koji, if he stays healthy, may be fairly successful. He doesn't seem to hurt himself. Like all of the pitchers who participated in the last WBC, Guthrie looks like he's set for an awful season. Let's hope he gets it together. Hendrickson and Eaton ... you have to wonder why they are even here. Andy can say all he wants to about rebuilding but these two are zeroes from day one. Simon may be a sleeper so let's hope that he can surprise us all. I hate to say it this early in the year; but the fans of Baltimore, as well as the position players, deserve a lot better than this group of pitchers. Thank goodness we're not in a 10 team division.

This O's staff will be an interesting group. Koji, if he stays healthy, may be fairly successful. He doesn't seem to hurt himself. Like all of the pitchers who participated in the last WBC, Guthrie looks like he's set for an awful season. Let's hope he gets it together. Hendrickson and Eaton ... you have to wonder why they are even here. Andy can say all he wants to about rebuilding but these two are zeroes from day one. Simon may be a sleeper so let's hope that he can surprise us all. I hate to say it this early in the year; but the fans of Baltimore, as well as the position players, deserve a lot better than this group of pitchers. Thank goodness we're not in a 10 team division.

Every time I hear about the "potential" of these young guys, I get Ozzie Peraza flashbacks. I recall the days when he was talked-up as the second coming of Cy Young. All last season, and this off-season we've been hearing the tale of how good this staff will be when these young guys get to the mjors. Believe me, I sincerely hope it's true. However, it's a scary thought to imagine what will happen if only one, or unthinkably NONE of them turn out to be consistent winners. Admittedly, this season will probably start off pretty badly, but, and I speak not only for myself, the fan base is looking toward next year as being the year we "get good". If this team and pitching staff isn't showing exceptional improvement by the end of the season it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility to see a mass fan mutiny. I hope for the best, but the season hasn't even begun and things are already looking very bleak.

Definitely should've been Garrett. Thanks for the watchful eye. I corrected the post.

okay blancione first off you have no idea what your talking about... .your saying how the rays traded for this young pitching right? did we draft Tillman...NO.....did we draft Patton...NO and throw in Mickolio who is in the minors and throw in Guthrie and Albers Who have PROVED THEMSELVES in the MAJORS. so that kills your case about orioles not trading for young pitching... Also you must be real retarded if you think Guthrie wouldnt be a 5th starter on another staff hahaha, why you saying that cuz he had a bad spring? oh yea that proves more than what he has down the last two years which is a less than 3.5 era in the american league east, Guthrie would be an ace on a few other teams and number two on the majority of the teams in the league and a number three on a select few(Yankees,bosox,Giants)

Remember Schilling came to Baltimore when the Birds unloaded Mike Boddicker...

Granted the Orioles weren't able to home-grow the next Jim Palmer, but there were some successes: Mike Mussina, Arthur Rhodes, and Greg Olson. Also, there were a few who found success after leaving Baltimore: Jose Mesa, Armondo Benitez, and Dennis Martinez.

With Ben McDonald, I don't think he was a bust but rather he was rushed to the bigs after the big start in '89 (Greg Olson won Rookie of the Year). Had he stayed in the minors until say 91 or 92 and come up w/ Mussian, who knows...(Also, rushing up McDonald probably prompted the O's to declare Schilling and Pete Harnish expendable for Glen Davis).

Again, who knows...

Ben McDonald? I’ll take 12 wins and 3.91 ERA. I like to group Ben and Jeffrey Hammonds together. They didn’t end up becoming Ricky Henderson and Nolan Ryan but they had solid MLB careers.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/m/mcdonbe01.shtml


http://www.baseball-reference.com/h/hammoje01.shtml

The Orioles have stunk for 12 years and will continue to stink as long as Angelos is owner. Also, they will continue to lose as long as they have to compete against the Yankees and Red Sox money and the Rays are still together as a team. Enough said. Anyone else getting their hopes up or talking about this year's team is wasting their time. The O's are losers and will remian losers for a long time! And I am an O's fan, just a realistic one. How depressing!

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

ADVERTISEMENT

Most Recent Comments
The Burning Question
ADVERTISEMENT

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Baltimore Sun blog updates

 Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected