Not much to discuss besides haircuts on the off-day, so I thought I'd take a look at how some of our farmhands have started off their seasons.
Paulo Orlando -- That headline is no joke. I have no clue what Orlando's real name is. He went by Roberto Paulo in last year's Dominican Summer League. He was listed as Pablo Orlando in the lone article I could find on him from his home country. I fully expect him to change his name midway through the season to something like Jose Miami or Juan Pueblo.
On the field, Orlando has been tearing up his Low-A competition to the tune of .412/.459/.676. But don't let that 1.100 OPS fool you, he profiles as a speedy leadoff man, who should develop some power as he advances through the system.
- Robert Valido -- On of my breakout candidates has gotten off to a slow start with a .245/.259/.415 line. He also has yet to walk this year while striking out 12 times. He's generally been a quick starter in the past, so we'll get to see how he handles some adversity. I'm not all that optimistic though. The more I saw from him in spring training, the less I was impressed.
- Ray Liotta -- Through three starts, Liotta has a 3.68 ERA. He's had two good starts and one poor one. His peripherals (7BB 7K in 14.2IP) leave something to be desired, but he's never had stellar peripherals in the past. Expect him to post another year with an ERA around 3.
- Lance Broadway -- Last year's #1 pick is off to a hot start at AA Birmingham with an ERA of just 2.00 through 3 starts. More importantly, Broadways peripherals have been outstanding. (3BB 18K in 18IP)
Tyler Lumsden -- Look a breakout prospect who's actually doing just that. Lumsden, who hasn't pitched since 2004 in Winston-Salem, has been blowing through hitters in his first taste of AA. He allowed just 2 runs in his last start, after beginning the season with 14 inning scoreless streak. His ERA is unsustainably low, but his peripherals are excellent.
There is a small part of me that wonders 'what if we still had Gio and Haigwood?' Birmingham may have had the most prospect laden rotation in all of the minor leagues.
Charlie Haeger -- Haeger will not make the White Sox. There I said it. Hawk was saying that he's got a shot during yesterday's broadcast, but he's just not a fit for this organization. With our rotation, and McCarthy waiting in the wings, there's just not much need for a knuckleballer. That doesn't mean we should stop paying attention to Haeger though. If anything, we should root for him to play above his head this year, as he'll probably be used in a trade package at some point. Heager could really have some value to a team like the Pirate or Royals as a league average innings eater.
As for Haeger's start, he has a 0.45 ERA through three starts, allowing just one earned run, but he's allowed 5 runs. Crazy things happen to the defense when Haeger is on the mound.
Josh Fields -- Fields has raised his stock immensely in my eyes since the start of spring training. He's off to a hot start Charlotte with a .321/.350/.518 line, but has struck out 18 times compared to just 3 walks. He started out the same way in B'ham last year, improving his K and BB rates all year, and I expect him to do the same this season.
As for his future, like Haeger, I don't know if he's a fit with this organization. He's not a good defensive 3B, though he's not terrible either. With Crede's new swing producing an incredible contact rate (2Ks in 48 ABs), and his defense being nothing short of Brooks Robinson at third, it's hard to envision any situation before 2008 in which Fields would usurp Crede's 3B position. Fields bat may carry him to the big leagues ahead of his defense, forcing a move to the OF.
- Ryan Sweeney -- After a great spring training in big league camp, Sweeney has struggled initially with AAA pitching. I was able to catch a couple of games on MILB.tv and, like Anderson, Sweeney appeared to be pressing. He was getting himself out more than anything. He went 3-4 with a walk last night, raising his batting average 41 points in process. His K/BB ratio is not pretty, but like Fields, I think it's something that we should look for improvement on from month-to-month.