Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Waiting for the Call: Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta

It seems like it has been going on for a while now, the battle between Jake Arriteta and Chris Tillman to see who gets the call to the big leagues first. Arrieta seemed to have the edge until Tillman threw a no-hitter on April 28th. Both have been rolling along since.

Last night, Arriteta threw seven innings, allowing seven hits, one earned run while striking out seven and walking two. The night before Tillman worked seven innings allowing eight hits, one earned run while striking out seven and walking one.

On the season:
Jake Arriteta - 7.5 K/9, 4.36 BB/9, 3.72 FIP
Chris Tillman - 7.13 K/9, 1.82 BB/9, 3.24 FIP

The difference is clear; Tillman continues to show improvement in his control and command while Arrieta is still struggling in that category.

Based on reports, it looks like Tillman will be the first to get the call in 2010 after David Hernandez was moved to the bullpen.

According to's Major League Equivalent calculator, Tillman's triple-A numbers translate to 5.95 K/9, 2.44 BB/9 and a 4.48 FIP at the big league level. Those numbers would be an improvement over what he did last year with the Orioles, but not enough to warrant mixed league action. However, deep leagues and AL-only leagues should make sure to have him rostered on upside alone.

As for the supposed odd man out, Arrieta will continue to work on consistent control at triple-A. There is a strong possibility that he gets a call-up sooner rather than later, but without consistent control of his offerings, he might find it hard to succeed as a Major League starter.

Personally, I see Arrieta as a short to long-term fix in the back-end of a bullpen. While starters are certainly more valuable to Major League teams, pitchers often "are who they are" when it comes to command. As a reliever, Arrieta could rely mostly on his plus fastball and slider his other pitches grade out as average.

Certainly there could still be a future in the rotation for Arrieta, but it would most likely take a long time to find consistency there (i.e. Geo Gonzalez). Working in the bullpen and focusing on only two main pitches would make for a faster transition and Major League impact. Given the team's current closer situation, there is certainly a scenario in which Arrieta is filling that role both short and long-term.

The Orioles were supposed to turn a corner this season and while that has not exactly gone according to plan, there are still a number of good prospects in the minors. It's not going to happen overnight, but both Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta are getting ready to join Brian Matusz as the cornerstones to the next winning team in Baltimore.
Digg Google Bookmarks reddit Mixx StumbleUpon Technorati Yahoo! Buzz DesignFloat Delicious BlinkList Furl

0 comments: on "Waiting for the Call: Chris Tillman and Jake Arrieta"

Post a Comment