In the tremendously scientific poll that has been featured on our right sidebar recently, we got a resounding answer to the question, "What O's pitching prospect excites you most?"
Results (of 128 voters):
- Chris Tillman, 33%
- Radhames Liz and Jake Arrieta, 14%
- Chorye Spoone, 10%
- Hayden Penn, 7%
- Garrett Olson and Troy Patton, 5%
- Brandon Erbe, 3%
- Tony Butler and Tim Bascom, 1%
- Pedro Beato and David Hernandez, 0% (one vote each)
I get the feeling that some of Tillman's friends and family may have gotten here via Google and upped his vote count, since it was tight between Arrieta and Tillman early on, and then Chris totally outran the pack in a hurry.
My vote went to Arrieta, the guy I think is the O's best non-Wieters draft pick in years. Getting what John Sickels calls a first round talent in the fifth round, and then giving him money to sign out of TCU was a very worthwhile gamble by a newly ballsy front office. Arrieta mowed down hitters in his debut at High-A Frederick, and it shouldn't be long before we see him in Bowie with Tillman and Spoone. He's a polished talent whose senior year in college appears to have been the result of something that was not at all his talent level.
You know who else had a rough end of his college career? John Maine. In Maine's junior year at UNC Charlotte, he posted a 3.83 ERA over 134 innings. He was the Conference USA Pitcher of the Year.
In his senior year, he went 94 innings, and his ERA stood at 5.65 when it was all said and done. His walks were up, his hits were way up, and his stock dropped. He was a sixth round draft pick.
Arrieta's junior year saw him named the Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Year, a second team All-American, and he put up a 2.35 ERA in 111 2/3 innings. He struck out an even nine per nine innings, and had a 3-to-1 K-to-BB ratio. In his senior year, he didn't even have the same type of unsuccessful season that plagued Maine. Arrieta had a 3.01 ERA in 98 2/3 innings, but that was a disappointment for a guy that had dominated a year before. His WHIP jumped .22 points, and his walks went from 3/9 IP to 4.56/9 IP. His strikeouts went down .52 per nine.
A guy that was drafted in the 31st round 2004 (Cincinnati) and 26th round in 2005 (Milwaukee) was looking like a first round pick after his junior year. He slid to the fifth.
The O's paid him good money, but Arrieta and Wieters in the same draft? That's worth the financial risk.
Who'd you go with?