Around the League

The Trade the Orioles Lost and The Curious Case of Jake Arrieta

On July 2nd, 2013, the Orioles traded Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop to the Chicago Cubs for Scott Feldman and Steve Clevenger. With their eyes on the playoffs, the Orioles wanted to add a veteran presence to a struggling rotation and they figured that Scott Feldman could be that guy. He wasn’t.

With Feldman now in Houston and Clevenger in AAA Norfolk, the Orioles have nobody left on their Major League roster from this trade. The Cubs still have Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop on their Major League roster, and they’re both performing well. Before tonight, Arrieta was 4-1 with a 2.05 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, .185 BAA & 64 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. Pedro Strop is 0-3 with a 3.08 ERA, 0.94 WHIP, .176 BAA & 30 strikeouts in 26.1 innings pitched.

This post however, will focus more on the season Arrieta has been having and how the Orioles are probably kicking themselves for trading him.

Dan Duquette hasn’t made that many bad moves in his time as the Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations (what a mouthful), and this was probably his worst. He resigned Adam Jones to keep him in Baltimore for a long time, he talked the Astros into taking L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader for Bud Norris, who is easily the Orioles best pitcher now, he gave Nelson Cruz $8 million when no other team wanted him, he traded for Joe Saunders who led the Orioles to two playoff game wins and several others.

arrieta

 

The Arrieta trade at the time seemed logical; get a reliable veteran starter and a solid backup for Matt Wieters by sending two struggling pitchers to a struggling organization. After almost a year since that trade occured, it’s a completely different precedent. Jake Arrieta has now come close to a no hitter TWICE and Pedro Strop has become a reliable set up man in the Chicago bullpen.

It’s also unclear if Arrieta can keep up these kinds of starts but it does further the suspicion that a change of scenery is all a guy needs, or is it?

When the Orioles developed Arrieta through their Minor League system, they did not allow him to throw his cutter. This has been their philosophy with young pitchers since Dan Duquette took over and brought on Rick Peterson to help develop pitchers, such as Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. They believe that throwing the cutter makes their arm more prone to injury than any other pitch.

The thing with pitching is that almost every pitch can lead to an arm injury, whether it’s in the elbow or shoulder. Throwing a baseball is the most unnatural arm movement you can do and when you do it 100 times every five days, it’s even worse. If any pitch is detrimental to a young pitcher or any pitcher, it’s the slider. With the flick of the wrist that comes with throwing a slider, it’s using that ligament that gets damaged and needs Tommy John Surgery to get back to normal.

Nonetheless, with the Orioles not allowing Arrieta to throw his best pitch, they limited what he could have been as a starter for them. Even that limited talent was exception at times, but that’s not the only thing that comes to the table with pitching.

A big part of pitching and baseball as a whole is how you approach it mentally. If you have the wrong frame of mind, you can’t perform your best. Jake Arrieta is the perfect example of this. A young pitcher with the talent to be a number 2 or even a number 1 in a rotation, but had the wrong mindset when he approached his starts. Buck Showalter said “The thing he’s got to solve is the mental side of it.” when Arrieta was sent down to AAA Norfolk after a disastrous April, 2013 start for the Orioles.

Arrieta stated after that game that he had let previous instances of performing poorly get to him when he was pitching well. He also talked about anxiety and how he feels he creates it for himself, which can be a pitcher’s nightmare. Anxiety brought on by poor performance and thinking about your past poor performances can erase all of your talent so fast.

Jake Arrieta

For Jake Arrieta’s sake, I hope he’s found a way to control his thoughts while pitching to let his stuff get hitters out and be the best pitcher he can be. As someone as promising as him, you can do nothing but root for him when this kind of stuff happens. Someone who has seen some of the lowest lows and is now experiencing some of the higher highs that come with playing baseball deserves all the support he can get, and he definitely has it from me.

Advertisements

BEN REVERE HIT A HOME RUN

BEN REVERE, OF THE PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES, HIT HIS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN ON WEDNESDAY. WITH 1,565 CAREER PLATE APPEARANCES, BEN REVERE ACTUALLY HIT THE BASEBALL OVER THE WALL FOR A HOME RUN. AS YOU CAN TELL, THIS CALLS FOR TYPING THIS WHOLE THING IN CAPITAL LETTERS BECAUSE BASEBALL IS JUST WEIRD LIKE THAT.

HERE ARE A LIST OF THINGS IN BASEBALL THAT HAPPENED BETWEEN BEN REVERE’S FIRST AT BAT AND HIM HITTING THE HOME RUN.

  • THE SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS WON THEIR FIRST TWO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS SINCE MOVING TO SAN FRANCISCO
  • THE FLORIDA MARLINS BECAME THE MIAMI MARLINS
  • THE TEXAS RANGERS LOST IN THE WORLD SERIES…IN CONSECUTIVE SEASONS
  • THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES, PITTSBURGH PIRATES, OAKLAND ATHLETICS, AND WASHINGTON NATIONALS ALL MADE IT TO THE POSTSEASON
  • 18 PLAYERS WERE SUSPENDED FOR PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS
  • ALEX RODRIGUEZ STRUCK OUT 24 TIMES IN THE POSTSEASON
  • ALEX RODRIGUEZ HAS BEEN PAID OVER $122,000,000
  • MARIANO RIVERA RETIRED
  • JACOBY ELLSBURY LEFT THE RED SOX FOR THE YANKEES
  • KEVIN YOUKILIS PLAYED FOR THE YANKEES
  • MIKE TROUT POSTED A 23.4 WAR
  • MIKE STANTON CHANGED HIS NAME TO GIANCARLO
  • FAUSTO CARMONA TURNED INTO ROBERTO HERNANDEZ
  • 15 NO HITTERS WERE PITCHED
  • HOMER BAILEY PITCHED TWO NO HITTERS
  • BUSTER POSEY CAUGHT TWO NO HITTERS (MATT CAIN & TIM LINCECUM)
  • THERE WERE SEVEN NO HITTERS IN 2012
  • THE SAN DIEFO PADRES HAVE STILL NOT THROWN A NO HITTER
  • AND FINALLY, JOSH LUEKE WAS STILL A RAPIST

CONGRATULATIONS TO BEN ON HIS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN. HE WILL TURN THE BATON OVER TO BROCK HOLT, WHO HAS GONE 211 PLATE APPEARANCES WITHOUT HIS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN.

My 2014 MLB All-Star Teams

All-Star Game voting is upon us for some reason, so it’s time for MLB fans to go out and vote for their favorite player to head to Minnesota for the 2014 MLB All-Star Game. Since I haven’t voted yet, I figured I’d take a crack at this whole online voting thing and submit who I think should represent the AL and NL in the Mid-Summer Classic.

Let’s start with my votes for the American League and each player’s stat line.

First Base: Daric Barton (Oakland Athletics)
.158, 0 HR, 5 RBI

Second Base: Ryan Goins (Toronto Blue Jays)
.150, 1 HR, 1 RBI

Shortstop: Pedro Florimon (Minnesota Twins)
.108, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Third Base: Will Middlebrooks (Boston Red Sox)
.197, 2 HR, 5 RBI

Catcher: Geovany Soto (Texas Rangers)
.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Designated Hitter: Jason Giambi (Cleveland Indians)
.125, 1 HR, 3 RBI

Outfielders: Abraham Almonte (Seattle Mariners), Oswaldo Arcia (Minnesota Twins), and Robbie Grossman (Houston Astros)
Almonte: .198, 1 HR, 8 RBI
Arcia: .111, 0 HR, 1 RBI
Grossman: .125, 2 HR, 6 RBI

And now, the National League.

First Base: Yonder Alonso (San Diego Padres)
.198, 2 HR, 13 RBI

Second Base: Rafael Furcal (Miami Marlins)
.000, 0 HR, 0 RBI

Shortstop: Ruben Tejada (New York Mets)
.183, 0 HR, 9 RBI

Third Base: Chase Headley (San Diego Padres)
.211, 4 HR, 16 RBI

Catcher: A.J. Ellis (Los Angeles Dodgers)
.178, 0 HR, 1 RBI

Outfielders: Domonic Brown (Philadelphia Phillies), Nate Schierholtz (Chicago Cubs), and Chris Young (New York Mets)
Brown: .210, 3 HR, 22 RBI
Schierholtz: .204, 0 HR, 13 RBI
Young: .206, 3 HR, 11 RBI

SEE YOU ALL IN MINNESOTA.

all star ballot

Nationals to host One Direction in concert

On August 11th, the Washington Natinals will host the band? singing group? boy band? One Direction as a part of their summer tour, and part of the Nationals annual concert series at the ballpark. Unfortunately, boy band enthusiast Jeremy Guthrie is not on the Nats, so he wouldn’t be able to attend.

Since One Direction has such a huge following, this game will most likely be a sellout. Now this post isn’t to hate on the group or their fans, but to analyze each for their unknown baseball skills.

Harry Styles, 3B

Scouting Grades: Hit: 4/6 | Power: 2/5 | Run: 6/7 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 5/7

Styles will need another year or two in the minors before he’s ready to assume the everyday task that is third base at the Major League level. Currently blocked by someone at the Major League level also, it gives Styles the perfect time to work on his power and fielding.

Louis Tomlinson, P

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 5/7 | Curveball: 5/6 | Changeup: 4/6 | Control: 3/5 | Overall: 4/6

With a plus plus curveball and a fastball with a lot of potential, Tomlinson shows lots of poise and readiness to become a Major League starter. I see him starting the season in AAA to work on his control, which seems to be the biggest area of concern.

Zayn Malik, OF

Scouting Grades: Hit: 5/6 | Power: 3/5 | Run: 5/7 | Arm: 5/6 | Field: 6/6 | Overall: 6/7

Being as Malik is a very good defender, it can make up for his lack of power. I think he can hold down a left field position in the Majors. His knock on his defense, which is stellar, is his slower speed. This is why I don’t see him holding down center field in the Majors.

Niall Horan, C

Scouting Grades: Hit: 5/6 | Power: 4/5 | Run: 4/7 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 | Overall: 6/7

A great hitting catcher with an arm that can gun out any runner, except for Quintin Berry. Obviously being a catcher has an effect on his speed, but his bat and fielding definitely make up for that. I wouldn’t call him “Joe Mauer with power”, because we all know how that turned out for the last guy.

Liam Payne, SS

Scouting Grades: Hit: 3/6 | Power: 2/5 | Run: 6/7 | Arm: 6/6 | Field: 5/6 : Overall: 5/7

Terrible hitter, but an amazing defender. Being in high-A gives him time to definitely help his hitting. Has Andrelton Simmons type range with a glove like Manny Machado. The occasional mental error can be fixed in the levels of the minors he still has to go through.

Clearly these are some talented kids, musically and apparently athletically, but I see them all quitting baseball to pursue their music careers.

one direction nationals