Baltimore catcher and prodigy Matt Wieters came into the league with a tremendous amount of hype this spring. It certainly hasn’t taken him long to justify it. His first full month in the league – June – was a bit rocky. By July, though, he had figured things out in a big way. He hit .323 on the month, and he had a decent OPS of .767. More amazing than the numbers, Wieters has quickly started to look comfortable and confident. It’s not at all hard to believe that he’s the real deal.
Speaking of the Orioles, highly regarded pitching prospect Brian Matusz made his debut on Wednesday against the Tigers, and he looked good. He allowed just one run in five innings, and he earned the win. It wasn’t the perfect outing, but he didn’t look out of place, either. If the Orioles were a stock I’d be buying it right now.
Pedro Martinez had a solid start in Double A on Wednesday night. He struck out nine of his first 12 batters, and 11 in the six innings he pitched. He allowed just five hits over that time. It was by far the best Martinez has looked since starting his comeback, and it signals that he is probably ready to make the trip to Philadelphia for a return to the big time. That opens up a very interesting situation – where is he going to fit in. Rookie J.A.Happ made it pretty clear that he doesn’t intend to give his place in the rotation up – he threw a complete game shutout on Thursday, and he continues to looklike the absolute freak that he is quickly becoming. It will take a light touch to fit Martinez in somewhere without disrupting all that is working in Philly. If he were anyone other than Martinez I would suggest that he would be more immediately useful in the bullpen as a long relief man.
I have always liked Tom Gorzelanny and, like every other talent Pittsburgh has had in the last two decades, I thought that he was badly mismanaged by the Pirates. I was thrilled that he was traded to a contender in the Cubs, and I was very happy to see him get off to a good start. He allowed just one run in 7.1 innings to earn his first win for the Cubs to move to 4-1 on the year. He fits very nicely into that rotation, and I expect him to finish well above .500 down the stretch. I’ll be looking at him for betting value in the near future.
The Jays have the look of a team about to tear itself apart. They couldn’t win a game right now if their opponents didn’t show up. Roy Halladay was beaten up by the Yankees Wednesday, then he was very tense with the press afterwards. He had the look of a guy who wished that he was pitching somewhere else, and I certainly can’t blame him. Things could get very ugly down the stretch there. I just hope the team is smart enough to realize that they have a very good manager in Cito Gaston and that the mess created there isn’t his fault. I also hope that they realize that J.P. Ricciardi should be fired immediately, and that the team should petition the Canadian government requesting that Ricciardi be permanently banned from the country so that he can’t do anymore damage to the franchise.