Friday, January 14, 2005

I posted a link to Baseball Notebook's Top AL Pitching Prospects a few days ago. BN has prospect lists that compare with no one else. Sometimes David Luciani is way off (as anyone who scouts prospects can be) but other times he unearth's prospects that no one else has heard of yet (such as Jason Kubel a few years ago showing up in his top five overall when no one else had him in their top 100 or Dontrelle Willis making his top ten when he was still pitching at Single-A). So, with that intro let's take a look at the O's prospects on this year's list (number is their rank on the Baseball Notebook Top 100 AL Pitching Prospects List; all profiles are written by yours truely):

32. JACOBO SEQUEA (DOB 8/31/81) - Sequea was 3-5 with 27 saves, a 2.63 ERA and a 53/25 K/BB in 65 1/3 innings at Double-A last season. He'll likely start this year at Triple-A and looks like he could be a decent relief prospect. He might even have a chance to emerge from spring training with a bullpen spot. I asked a question about Sequea in a Baseball America chat this winter and was told by BA's Will Lingo that Sequea "is better suited to a set-up role than closing in the big leagues, though, because his fastball isn't overpowering. He doesn't have a power arm but he misses bats. His best attributes are his slider and his command."

33. SCOTT RICE (DOB 9/21/81) - Rice, a first round pick in the 1999 draft, had failed to impress until a move to the bullpen in 2003 where he was impressive at both Low and High A ball. Rice was solid but unspectacular this past year. His 61/40 K/BB isn't going to get it done in the majors. I'd like to see his minor league splits because he was a starter and a reliever last season but I can't find them anywhere. My guess is that his best bet to get to the majors will be as a lefty reliever.

40. JOHN MAINE (DOB 5/8/81) - Maine, who will be 24 this season, made his debut with the O's last season. While that outing didn't go so well he did seem to find his groove at Triple-A after a rough start. His 105/52 K/BB leaves something to be desired but his 7.9 K/9 in 119 2/3 innings at Triple-A Ottowa shows promise. It wouldn't be suprising to see him win a rotation spot out of spring training but he would likely be better off starting the year at Triple-A. If he starts strong there he'll be the first to replace an injured or ineffective starter on the major league club.

42. ZACHARY DIXON (DOB 11/29/80) - Dixon was a 22nd Round pick out of Texas A&M in 2003. He did most of his work at Low A Delmarva last season where he went 9-4 with a 2.54 ERA, a 105/65 K/BB and 97 hits allowed in 120 2/3 innings (7.8 K/9). You'd like to see better control but the K/9 numbers make it look like he could at least have a future in the bullpen. He could be looking at a cup of coffee in September with a solid 2005 season.

71. FREDY DEZA (DOB 12/11/82) - Deza, 22, originally signed with the O's in 1999 as a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic. He went 8-11 with a 3.31 ERA, a 93/21 K/BB and 102 hits allowed in 119 2/3 innings (7.0 K/9 & 1.6 BB/9 - great command) at Low A Delmarva last season. In August, he received a promotion to High A Fredrick where he got hit a bit but still managed to sport a solid K/BB of 20/2 in 25 2/3 innings. His best pitch is a fastball but he also has a good slider and change-up. This is a big year for Fredy as he should be moving through Double-A at this age if we are to consider him a real prospect.