Camden Yards Park Factors: Hits 97; Runs 93; HRs 113
(100 is average, under 100 is favorable to pitchers)
Values ~ 2000: $3 2001: -$4 2002: $3 2003: $14
When I got a chance to see Ponson, his fastball was clocked in the mid to upper 90's. It occasionally runs a little and he's not afraid to come inside with it. He has an impressive curve he can throw for strikes. It usually has a 12 to 6 drop, but occasionally will also move away from right-handed hitters. His changeup also drops as it reaches the plate. He has more command of, and confidence in, his off-speed pitches; he usually went to them when behind in the count. Now that Ponson delivered the kind of year people have felt he is capable of, the next question is whether his oft-questioned desire and dedication will enable him to repeat.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: $2 2003: $6
Interesting reclamation project by the Baltimore organization. DuBose was a former first round draft choice who had both health and attitudinal issues. He passed through three organizations before landing here. He righted the ship pitching in relief at AA in 2002 and made the most of the opportunity to start at AAA last year. His ratios after his call-up are encouraging except for the K Rate, but considering it was a very good .94 at AAA, there's reason to believe he could be a good investment at this point. Dubose reported to camp having lost 20 pounds. I think he's a good sleeper pick.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: -$1 2002: $3 2003: $1
Ainsworth won a spot in the SF rotation last spring but landed on the DL with what was initially diagnosed as a strained back muscle but turned out to be a broken shoulder blade. He's said to have four solid major league pitches - a low 90's sinking fastball, slider, curve and change. The ratio chart is based on just over 65 IP but is encouraging. He's been hard to hit in the minors with good plate command. Although Camden Yards is more of a hitter's park than Pac Bell was, I'd have him on the back of my rotation.
Values ~ 2000: -$6 2001: NA 2002: $15 2003: -$9
I haven't seen Lopez since I saw his major league debut, which was impressive. He handcuffed the Braves for 7 innings and showed great poise in the process, failing to win only because the bullpen blew the lead. Lopez throws a fastball that tops out about 90. His money pitch is an outstanding curve and he will mix in a change or slider. Lopez will throw the curve any time in the count and throw it for strikes. However, Lopez pulls the ball out of his glove early in his delivery and it seemed as though hitters ought to get a look at his grip. The problem is less pronounced during a full wind-up because he's learned to tap the ball once into the glove as he starts to bring it out, but the tap is missing when he's working from the stretch. Lopez' breakout year in 2002 was unexpected, but he faded over the last 2 months, so some decline in value was expected last year. However, Lopez suffered a near-complete collapse as his Hit Rate increased 46% and his HR Rate more than doubled. He spent some time early last year on the DL with a strained oblique but he didn't show very much improvement after his return. Lopez is working on adding a cutter this spring.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: NA 2002: NA 2003: $3
Riley missed the 2001 season following Tommy John surgery. He struggled much of 2002 at AA but got back on track last year in a season split between AA and AAA (Hit Rate = .88; K/BB Ratio = 2.94 with better than a K/IP; HR Rate = .056). When healthy, Riley has the tools - a mid-90's fastball, an outstanding curve and a change. The biggest criticism so far has been that his excitability works against him although he's said to have matured. His name is rumored in trade talks this spring. A speculative buy if he makes the Baltimore roster and he's penciled in as the #5 this spring.
Values ~ 2000: -$17 2001: $0 2002: $7 2003: -$11
Daal was rumored to have shoulder tendonitis before the season, struggled through the first half and spent most of the second half on the DL. To be effective, Daal relies on having his subpar fastball reaching the upper 80s. When it doesn't, it is harder to create the separation needed from his off-speed pitches to throw off hitters' timing. He hides the ball very well with a delivery reminiscent of Luis Tiant. He mixes in an excellent curve and change to keep hitters off balance. Even had he been healthy, I would not have wanted Daal on my roster as a starter. It's possible he could rebound if he's healthy, but he has a below average K rate and is usually hittable, so I wouldn't count on it. Daal will have shoulder surgery and miss the first 3 months of the season.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $1 2002: $22 2003: $18
Julio managed to deliver less value to owners in 2003 despite recording 11 more saves. His ratios all took a significant turn for the worse - his Hit Rate increased 20%, his walk rate was 39% higher and his HR Rate more than doubled. He's not going to be able to hold onto his job for long without some increased command. His fastball is in the upper 90s and he throws it a lot. He has a breaking pitch, but it's primarily there for show. Julio has a tendency to get his body out in front of his arm, leaving pitches up in the zone.
Values ~ 2000: $1 2001: $6 2002: $11 2003: $6
After assuming the Brewer closer role in 2002, DeJean was ineffective last year, lost the job and was later traded. His hit rate increased 18% and his HR rate went up 68%. He still carries a high walk rate, which makes him less than ideal for closing out the opposition late in the game. He throws a sinker, slider and splitter and tends to get a lot of ground ball outs. He's expected to gather a few saves when Julio needs a day off. Julio owners may want to pick him up just in case.
Values ~ 2000: -$1 2001: $1 2002: $1 2003: $4
Ryan is a power lefty who throws a mid 90s fastball and a slider. His K rate with Baltimore is impressive: 1.09 in 222 innings. His problem has been his command; although he reduced his walk rate in 2001, it remains well above average. Ryan's lack of plate command probably has cost him a shot at closing thus far. Hargrove restricted him to a lot of situational appearances. Filler pick, even though I hold out hope he'll someday build value.
Values ~ 2000: $6 2001: $10 2002: $13 2003: -$2
After providing the Orioles with three solid years out of the pen, Groom struggled in 2003. He has a vicious curve that dominates LH batters and has developed a cutter to use against righties but last year he was vulnerable to RH hitters who hit him at a .343 clip. Many relievers are inconsistent from year to year, so it's possible Groom could rebound but he'll turn 39 during the season and it's likely his best years are behind him.
Values ~ 2000: NA 2001: $0 2002: $3 2003: -$1
Bauer's minor league ratios are not encouraging. He's been hittable and does not have a high K rate although he locates well. He was converted into a relief role after being called up in 2002, did a serviceable job and improved his ratios if not his overall value last year. His K Rate improved 30% to league average, but it came at the expense of the GB outs he normally gets with his breaking stuff. He's added a splitter to his sinker/slider combo. Bauer is young enough to earn a larger role for himself on this staff if he can continue to make progress.
Values ~ 2000: -$6 2001: -$2 2002: NA 2003: $4
Parrish missed 2002 due to a knee injury but pitched well in relief at AA last year and earned a promotion to the big club where his ratios in limited action were encouraging. His minor league ratios indicate he can be difficult to hit, but he's generally had high walk rates. My look at him was indicative. He throws a lot of curves and mixes in an occasional high 80s fastball or change. He didn't have much control over what he was throwing and had a very short, very ineffective outing.