Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Chris Tillman Time?

First Brad Bergesen. Then Nolan Reimold. Then Matt Wieters. Followed by David Hernandez. Is Chris Tillman going to be the Orioles next young stud to get the call to the big show?

"Rookies Brad Bergesen, Jason Berken and David Hernandez are already part of the rotation, and Triple-A Norfolk right-hander Chris Tillman, 21, appears to be the next man up if another injury occurs or the struggles of Berken or Rich Hill persist. Tillman threw 7 2/3 shutout innings Friday, striking out seven and allowing just four hits and a walk. He improved to 6-5 with a 2.69 ERA.

"I've always said, you want to make sure when they get here, they have a reasonable chance to succeed, but sometimes events dictate what happens," said MacPhail, not speaking specifically about Tillman. "Things don't always go as planned. Things change. We have to go with events and make the best decisions that we can in the context of the current times."

Given the Orioles current starting rotation, it's hard to justify keeping Tillman in the minors much longer. It might be too early to give up on Rich Hill, but he has shown next to nothing so far. And while Jason Berken is not as bad as his 6.25 ERA suggests, his upside is relatively limited. It would not be surprising to see Berken continue to struggle at the big league level. And to top it all off, the Orioles ace is Jeremy Guthrie and his 5.20 ERA. It's safe to say that the Orioles starting rotation is a mess.

So should the Orioles call up Chris Tillman? He is certain to be an upgrade over at least two pitchers in the Orioles current rotation and his performance in the minors suggests that Tillman has a very bright future ahead of him. Tillman's arrival would create quite a stir for Orioles fans, who have to be feeling optimistic about this team's future.

On the other hand, what do the Orioles have to lose by having Tillman in the minors for the remainder of the season? This team has no chance of making the playoffs this season and needs to remain patient. The Orioles' focus has to be on the 2010 and beyond so if they are not 100% sure that Tillman is ready for the show, then they should get him all the seasoning he can get. Simply put, Tillman is too talented for the Orioles to rush him through the system.

If Hill or Berken continue to struggle and the O's believe Tillman is ready, then I see no reason why he should not be in Baltimore at some point.



Unknown said...

'Safety First' needs to be in the forefront of McPhail's mind. Orioles fans, myself included, know there is no hope this year and most likely next year (the East is STACKED). I don't want Tillman rushed (a la Jeremy Bonderman) and ruined, just because the rotation is crap. Furthermore, I'm nervous enough watching Wieters' strike out to walk rate among other metrics to deal with Tillman being brought up.

Jorge Says No! said...

I think what you've said makes a ton of sense. The Orioles need to stress patience and focus solely on what's best for the long term future of the club. If a point in time comes where it makes sense to call up Tillman because it would benefit the O's in 2009 and beyond, then I would not hesitante to call him up.

Patience, patience, patience!

Baby Zoey said...

He's 21 and they're not going to contend this year. As good as he might be, that makes it a no-brainer in my opinion.

Alan said...

Forget about Tillman (for the moment)....
Bring me Brian Matusz!!!: http://baltimore.orioles.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090708&content_id=5756648&vkey=news_bal&fext=.jsp&c_id=bal

Jorge Says No! said...

With Matusz and Tillman coming soon, the Orioles are looking damn good (for once)!

It would not suprise me to see the O's competative in 2010 and vying for a playoff spot in 2011.