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Fantasy Notes: IronBird in the Hand

July 31, 2006 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
Brett Bordes keeps struggling with his command in the Baltimore Orioles organization.
Brett Bordes will need to improve his control. (Rich Passwater, Jr.)

Today, we have some Fantasy notes about some Baltimore Orioles (and others) farmhands, including a southpaw reliever that keeps struggling with his command.

  • Orioles reliever Brett Bordes is showing as a pro exactly what he showed at college: poor command with hard to hit stuff. After a solid career at Arizona State, Bordes was picked by the Orioles in the ninth round in June and assigned to the Aberdeen IronBirds of the NYPL. Bordes was actually taken by the Tigers in the 24th round last year, but opted to return for his senior season at ASU, and he improved his stock by going 7-1, 3.15. With the IronBirds, he’s 1-1, 3.86 and has given up just 13 hits in 18 2/3 IP, but he’s walked 12 while fanning 15. The southpaw has a quality arm capable of bringing it at 91 mph, but obviously he’ll need to rein in those walks if he wants to carve out a career as a lefty reliever.
  • The Devil Rays have a nice-looking young pitching prospect in Jeremy Hellickson. Taken in the fourth round last year, he pitched just six innings of pro ball in the Appy League in 2005, but his 11 Ks to just one walk certainly whet the Rays’ appetite. This year, we’re getting a better fix on what this 19-year-old is capable of. In his last start, he was perfect through five innings. Overall, Hellickson, although just 1-3, has a stellar 2.20 ERA through 41 IP with Hudson Valley of the New York-Penn League. Most impressive is the fact that he’s surrendered just 24 hits and nine walks while striking out 46. That kind of dominating performance should have Hellickson moving up the ranks before long. Keeper leagues owners should pay attention to this one.
  • The man who broke up Hellickson’s perfect game, Zach Davis, hasn’t had too many highlights in his career to date. A 28th round pick by Baltimore in 2002, Davis earned a promotion to the Sally League this year, but after hitting under .200 through 44 games, he was returned to Aberdeen. In 20 games since the demotion, Davis is playing better, hitting .269, but with four walks against 21 strikeouts, it’s clear his future is limited. Davis has good speed, but he’s 22 and repeating short-season ball. That doesn’t exactly land him on any watch lists at this point.
  • Another Orioles’ farmhand who’s having trouble this season is catcher Brandon Snyder. Of course, given that he was the O’s first rounder last year and won’t be 20 until November, there’s no reason for panic yet. Snyder enjoyed a solid debut at Rookie-level Bluefield in 2005, earning a late-season promotion to Aberdeen, where he hit almost .400. Baltimore decided to be aggressive with Snyder this season, moving him to full-season ball at Delmarva, but he hit just .194 through 144 at-bats, necessitating a demotion back to Aberdeen. Snyder has been better since, but at .246 with just four walks and little power through 31 games, he isn’t exactly showing he’s ready for another jump. Be patient though. Young catchers, especially high school draftees, are very hit and miss and it takes time to develop them. We still like Snyder as a long-term prospect.
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