Name: Christopher Steven Tillman
Position: Starting Pitcher
Drafted: 2nd round, 2006, Seattle Mariners
Became an Oriole: Traded to the Orioles on February 8, 2008 by the Mariners along with fellow All Star Adam Jones for LHP Erik Bedard.
How he got to the ASG: Selected by Jim Leyland as a replacement for Justin Verlander
It seems to Orioles fans that Chris Tillman has been around forever. He came to Baltimore in the same trade that brought Adam Jones in 2008, so this is his sixth season in the organization. So sometimes it's easy to forget that Tillman is just 25 year old. When you keep that in mind his early career troubles are a little easier to understand. He was called up at age 21, a time when most minor leaguers are nowhere close to the majors (they can't all be Manny Machado). In fact, Tillman won't even be arbitration eligible until 2015.
After a relatively successful rookie year in 2009, Tillman struggled through 2010 and 2011 at the major league level, bouncing between the Orioles and AAA Norfolk. He began 2012 in the minors and stayed there for eight starts before being promoted (for good?) on July 4th. He spent the second half of the season with the Orioles and looked fantastic, pitching to an ERA of 2.93 over 15 starts. He was a big part of the Orioles playoff run although he unfortunately didn't get to make an appearance in the Orioles 6 playoff games.
Tillman is a fly ball pitcher who has always given up a lot of home runs. He probably always will, especially if he keeps playing at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. But when he has success it's because he doesn't allow many other baserunners on. Home runs hurt a lot less as solo shots.
Nobody knew that Tillman would be on this year's All Star team until just before the Orioles game on Sunday. When they announced the All Stars to the crowd, he took his place next to Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Manny Machado, and J.J. Hardy, surprising even the beat reporters. It turns out that Jim Leyland named Tillman as a replacement to Justin Verlander, who was starting Sunday. But they had to actually make sure Verlander started (and the game wasn't rained out or something) because they could announce it.
Many would argue that Tillman isn't even the best pitcher on his own team, so it was a shock when he was named. Both Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen (although he's made just nine start this year) have better statistics. But either way, Tillman is in New York representing the O's.
Tillman's sweet curve:
Thanks for the GIF, Baltimore Sports Report