AL East Bias 4/27/12
Welcome to the inaugural edition of AL East Bias here at IHJJR. Every couple of weeks we’ll take a look around the American League East with a heavy slant towards coverage of the Orioles. Let’s get started.
The Orioles are riding a strong first month from starters Jason Hammel, Jake Arrieta, and Wei Yin Chen. The O’s moved to 11-7 on the season with Wednesday’s victory over the Blue Jays. Hammel has been the biggest surprise going 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA. Through four starts Hammel is averaging a career high in strikeouts per nine innings (8.7) and a career low in hits allowed per nine innings (6.2). Hammel’s early season performance sure seems unsustainable but another trip around the AL will give us a better idea. For now just enjoy the ride O’s fans.
On the farm, infielders Manny Machado and Jon Schoop are off to slow starts at the plate for Double-A Bowie. The struggles are predictable for the young duo. On the bright side, oft-injured first base prospect Tyler Townsend is off to a hot start for the BaySox with six home runs and 13 RBI in 62 at bats.
If you haven’t heard, Dylan Bundy is awesome. The 19 year old fire-baller has now logged 13 innings for the Delmarva Shorebirds and has yet to allow a hit. Bundy has fanned 21 and walked just one on the season.
The Red Sox and Yankees are both dealing with early season injury problems. Cry me a river. Boston’s $142 million left fielder Carl Crawford has yet to suit up this year due to elbow soreness. Now there’s news that he’ll meet with the dreaded Dr. Andrews. The team has stated that Crawford’s visit is just a fact finding mission. There is no timetable for his return.
On the field Boston has been led by a couple of unlikely heroes; Cody Ross and Mike Aviles. Kevin Youkilis has scuffled, the pitching has been hammered, and Jacoby Ellsbury is on the mend; but Aviles and Ross have given Bobby V’s squad a boost. Aviles hit four bombs and drove in 13 in his first 16 games. Ross has chipped in five homers and 15 RBI.
On again/off again Jays’ prospect Travis Snider is apparently on again; at least in Triple-A. Snider has long been considered an up and coming slugger for Toronto but he’s never put it together in the big leagues. Snider debuted with the Jays in 2008 as a 20 year old. He’s been around for a while so it’s easy to forget that he’s still just 24 years old. Snider is currently torturing Pacific Coast League pitching with four dingers, 23 RBI and 10 walks in his first 18 games for Las Vegas.
I’m a lifelong Yankee hater, but the news about Michael Pineda’s shoulder injury is no cause for joy. New York traded slugging catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle for Pineda during the winter. The general thought seemed to be that the 22 year old Pineda would build on his rookie success (173 Ks, 1.099 WHIP) of 2011. Now he’s apparently out for the season, at a minimum, and will require labrum surgery. The Yankees can take some solace in the fact that 19 year old starter Jose Campos, who came over from Seattle with Pineda, is currently tearing up the South Atlantic. Through four starts Campos is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA and 23 strikeouts in 22 innings. Still, he’s no Dylan Bundy.
The Tampa Rays play host to the Texas Rangers this weekend in what could be a playoff preview. James Shields will battle Matt Harrison on Friday night. Sunday's game featuring David Price vs. Derek Holland of Texas will be ESPN's game of the week.