The Orioles have had little trouble stockpiling top pitching prospects in recent years. Turning them into big leaguers, however, has been another matter entirely. Brandon Erbe and Pedro Beato in 2007. Chorye Spoone and Radhames Liz in 2008. Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Erbe in 2009. Matusz, Arrieta, and Zach Britton in 2010.
That’s eight four- or five-star pitching prospects, only one of which (Britton) pitched effectively in the majors for Baltimore last season. The rest have been plagued by injuries, regression, or both—a run of bad luck or poor player development that takes TINSTAAPP to a new level.
Fortunately, the new regime led by Dan Duquette has already shown a commitment to remedying the problem. The Orioles are reportedly adding former pitching coach Rick Peterson and former athletic trainer Chris Correnti—who worked with Duquette while he was general manager of the Red Sox in the 1990s—to the organization. Both Peterson and Correnti are widely known for their study of biomechanics, and have the experience and knowledge to keep the team’s top young pitchers on track.
Developing blue-chip prospects into impact big-leaguers is the Orioles’ only route to contention, so fans should be thrilled to see Duquette both acknowledge and attempt to solve the problem. With Peterson and Correnti aboard, there is a much greater chance that 2011 first-rounder Dylan Bundy will ultimately front the team’s rotation, and that others will follow suit.
For a team that hasn’t made the playoffs since 1997, the duo represents a possible light at the end of a seemingly eternal tunnel. If they prove successful in revamping Baltimore’s development process, Peterson and Correnti will be more valuable to the Orioles than any players Duquette adds in his first year on the job.