There is great excitement in Birdland about the pending arrival of Henry Urrutia. And why not? Here is a guy who is walking in with a .365 BA in his combined AA and AAA service this year. He is five years older than Manny Machado, and we saw how Manny actually picked up his game in the majors. Obviously we can’t expect that from Urrutia, but if he wants to tail off to … say … a mere .300, we can risk that!
I asked my friend Blaine Beatty – Bowie Baysox pitching coach – about his impressions from being with Henry for several months, and along the way also conversed about Eduardo Rodriquez and Mike Wright.
Blaine said of Urrutia – “A lot of good things come with him. He is a very positive guy, a team guy … is great in the clubhouse.”
Relative to this offensive potential – “He’s going to bring a lot of offense, I think. What stood out to me was his ability to make contact, and that his bat stays in the zone so long.”
Beatty did mention the same concerns that everyone (naturally) has about Urrutia and the circumstances surrounding the last several years of his life – “My only concern is that he has just not played a lot. He’s still learning everything, like the grind of a season … that sort of thing. But without doubt, he is going to be interesting to watch and see what happens.”
Another of the trio of Orioles farmhands who participated in the Futures Game was Eduardo Rodriquez … who has now pitched in three games at Bowie, including last night.
Relative to a mixed outing in Richmond yesterday (5 IP / 4 H / 3 R / 5 BB / 7 K) – “I think he got out of his routine pitching in that Futures Games. But there were some real bright spots for me – like how he pitched out of jams … it could have been an eight-run game if he didn’t do that.”
Regarding an overall evaluation of Rodriquez – “His stuff is electric. He has movement on all his pitches. We are especially working on taking a little more velo (velocity) off his changeup, as it is not unhittable right now.”
I asked Beatty to name one other player he is excited about and was not surprised that he would pick Mike Wright, as Blaine has been very positive about him in other conversations. “Here is a kid who has really got a shot. He has all the stuff. And like the others at this level, it is so much about the mental part of the game – how to maintain composure, that sort of thing.”
Beatty also commented very positively about how much fun it was for everyone to have Wei-Yin Chen with them for a game. Defense has been a challenge for the Baysox this year, as many of the pitchers’ statistics show them giving up about 20% of their runs as unearned. Blaine said that a recent stretch of wins could be credited to defense more than any other component of the game. That sounds familiar to what happened in Baltimore in the second half last year, doesn’t it? Yep – gotta catch the ball and throw it to be successful.