Baltimore Bedard Bye-Bye
Well, the long-awaited, highly-anticipated, overly-analyzed Erik Bedard to the Mariners deal has finally been consummated. Just who were the Minor Leaguers the O’s got in return for the lefty? I’m glad you asked. I’m not going to talk about Adam Jones at length because 1. He’s no longer a prospect in my book, having lost his rookie status and 2. You really should know about him by now. In a nutshell, he’s an extremely athletic former shortstop who can play center field in the big leagues right now. He can hit for average and power and has some speed to boot. In other words, he’s the key to the deal. Here’s some information on the trio of arms (excluding George Sherrill) who will report to Ft. Lauderdale soon:
Tony Butler, LHP: The Mariners’ third-round pick in 2006, he’s a tall lefty (6-7) who spent the year in the Midwest League. He had some injuries that hampered him (shoulder soreness), but he finished extremely strongly, posting a 3.29 ERA and .204 batting average against in the second half of the season spanning 52 innings. He’s definitely a starter-type — no lefty specialist here — with a fastball that sits in the low 90s, a breaking ball and a changeup. It’s the curve ball that’s his best pitch currently and he’ll pitch all year at age 20.
Kam Mickolio, RHP: Kudos to the Mariners scouts for nabbing Mickolio out of Utah Valley State in the 18th round of the 2006 draft. The 6-foot-9, 255-pound reliever made it all the way to Triple-A in his first full season and has the kind of stuff that should play well in the back end of a bullpen. He’s been clocked as high as 97 mph and throws the heater comfortably in the low-to-mid 90s with heavy sink. He’s got a pretty nasty slider to boot and with his arm angle and height, he’s really tough on right-handed hitters.
Chris Tillman, RHP: When Tillman was taken by the M’s in the second round of the 2006 draft out of a SoCal high school, he screamed projectability. He stands 6-5 and has plenty of room for growth on his 195-pound frame. The Mariners were so impressed with his ability to pitch and his poise, they didn’t hesitate to advance him to Class A Advanced ball at age 19. Don’t pay too much attention to the stats — the California League can be unkind to pitchers of every type — but it’s interesting to note that he did go 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in six August starts with High Desert, which plays home games at one of the best hitter’s parks in all of the Minors. Tillman’s got a good fastball in the low 90s, an outstanding curve ball and the makings of a changeup. He could be ready for Double-A Bowie as a 20-year-old and there might be more in there to come.