One of the things I want to try to do with Camden Chat this season is focus more on what's happening down on the farm. All things considered, that's a huge part of the story of the Baltimore Orioles these days, which is a great, great thing.
In the past, there just hasn't been a whole lot to talk about. Now, maybe there is.
I don't claim to be a great prospects brain or anything like that -- this is a list composed simply because I like making lists, I like prospect talk, and I can read stat sheets and scouting reports the same as any of you can. If you want to get better in-depth prospect analysis, I highly recommend, as always, John Sickels' Minor League Ball or Baseball Prospectus, among many others.
First off, there's one guy I left off that makes every O's list, and that's Jim Hoey. There is not a bigger non-believer in Hoey than me, probably. I firmly admit this, and you're free to think I'm an idiot. He's at least fairly well regarded by almost everyone else. Anyone who's seen Hoey pitch knows that he's got a big fastball that is straight as an arrow and nothing else. He's the new Matt Anderson. I'd be pleased as punch if Hoey proved me wrong, but I don't think that's happening.
Without any further ado, let's get talking about the kids that'll be spending most of their days in Norfolk, Bowie, Frederick, or Delmarva, plus a couple of cats that are already on the O's but haven't quite passed out of prospectdom just yet.
19. Randor Bierd, RHP
Nice Rule 5 pickup from the Tigers, he put up a 5-to-1 K-to-BB ratio at Double-A Erie last season and is just 24. Bierd and I share the same birthday, too, which I just now found out -- he's exactly two years younger than I am. So happy belated, Randor, and congrats on making the team! Enjoy your sharp new suit.
18. Matt Albers, RHP
Already in the show last season with the Astros, he still came into 2008 more a prospect than anything else. He looked good in his O's debut on Opening Day, relieving a spent Jeremy Guthrie and at least holding down the fort at a 6-2 disadvantage. He went 4-11, 5.86/1.60 with Houston in 110 2/3 innings pitched in 2007. He'll wind up in the O's rotation before too long if Brian Burres lives up to his reputation.
17. Scott Moore/Mike Costanzo, 3B
They are the exact same player.
Moore was born on November 17, 1983; Costanzo was born on September 9, 1983.
Moore's career minor league line is .260/.348/.449. Costanzo's is .266/.364/.456.
Moore is 6'2"; Costanzo is 6'3".
Both bat left, throw right.
Both were willing to try any position necessary this spring. Costanzo gave catching a shot, while Moore was all over the place.
Moore was a nice pickup from the Cubs in the Trax trade, and we got Costanzo as part of the Tejada package, seemingly a throw-in more than anything else.
I have no idea how any system can have both of these players, but the Orioles have done it. The difference now is that Costanzo is a Norfolk Tide, while Moore is with the big club. We will also owe Scott Moore a debt of gratitude for being the player that pushed Jay Gibbons into the land of in-season free agency.
13. Brandon Snyder, 1B
Snyder is still only 21 -- in fact, he could only legally buy a beer in this country last November. He had an OKish sort of season at Delmarva last year (.283/.354/.422, 11 HR, 118 G) that won't get anyone excited but isn't rights for dismissal just yet either. It wasn't but a couple of years ago that Snyder came into the draft regarded by many as the best high school hitter out there. He was a catcher then, had a brief affair with third base, and now he's over at first. At every position he's been trying, he's now blocked by one of two guys, most likely. I really like Snyder because of that time his mom posted on CC (and just because I was excited about the O's finally making a draft pick that was worth getting excited over), but the realistic side of this is he'll need more power to carry first base, and he's not going to be catching. He's one of my favorite players in the system. And he whomped ass in the Hawaiian Winter League, which re-fueled my hopes for Snyder's future.