Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Dog Days

The Super Bowl has passed, March Madness is still a month away, and pitchers and catchers won't report for another ten days. The Dog Days of February are here. But that doesn't mean we have nothing to talk about. On the contrary, the Orioles have been all over the baseball-related interwebs lately.

To begin with, Baseball Prospectus gives the Orioles favorable reviews on the Rich Hill and Ty Wigginton deals, and Fangraphs agrees. Hill, at the cost of Brian Burres' roster spot and a player to be named later, represents only upside. Granted, he is highly unlikely to reach that upside, but the Orioles have had good luck recently with another fallen star pitcher, and Hill is worth the risk. Wiggington, too, is a solid investment. Though unlikely to offer much upside, a two-year, $6 million deal for a player than can nominally play third base, first base, and the outfield and offer a bit of offense seems like a reasonable deal, especially since that player is a career .288/.364/.514 hitter against left-handed pitching. If used in a platoon role with some combination of Luke Scott, Aubrey Huff, and Felix Pie, he has the opportunity to provide lots of value.

More exciting here in the land of man crush has been the discussion regarding Matt Wieters. As Fangraphs points out, Wieters is really, really good. And Baseball Prospectus gets in on the action, too, pointing out that his PECOTA projections have him down to be the top-rated catcher in baseball. This season. Right now. Ahead of guys named Joe Mauer, Brian McCann, Geovany Soto, and Russell Martin. I'm making my Cooperstown 2030 reservations now.

Finally, BP also put out its Orioles Top 11 prospects recently, and they use words like "incredible pitching depth" and "makings of one of the best rotations in the game." As we all know, there are no guarantees with young pitching, but the Orioles are well on their way to being relevant again, and that's exciting.

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