Double-A Transition Monitor
Some excerpts from the Sunday night edition of the John Sickels Baseball Newsletter
Justin Orenduff, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Jacksonville Suns)
What He Needs To Do This Year: Orenduff actually reached Double-A last year, but his ERA rose to 4.07 (compared to 2.24 in A-ball) and his velocity was down due to a sore shoulder. A first round pick out of Virginia Commonwealth in '04, he has an excellent slider, and has made strides with his changeup. His goal this year is to stay healthy, prove his shoulder is OK, and see if he can dominate hitters the same way he did in A-ball.
How Is He Doing?: 4.26 ERA in his first five starts, with a 32/8 K/BB in 25 innings, 27 hits allowed. He has had some poor defensive support and has given up five unearned runs. His fastball is reportedly sitting at 90 MPH according to a report from a reader. The good news is that there has been no recurrence of his shoulder problems from last year, but it remains to be seen if he can truly dominate over an extended period.
Leonel Rosales, RHP, San Diego Padres (Mobile Baybears)
What He Needs To Do This Year: While everyone is watching Cesar Carrillo closely for obvious reasons (he's a top prospect and a first round pick), I like to follow guys like Leonel Rosales. Rosales came out of Cal State Northridge in the 20th round in 2003. He has a fastball at 88-91 MPH, a decent breaking ball, and a killer changeup. He's posted a 201/55 K/BB in 166 innings in A-ball, with a 2.28 ERA. He needs to show that his arsenal will work against more advanced hitters, and if he does he will end up getting a shot in the bullpen at some point. I've been looking at him as a sleeper since he was in college.
How Is He Doing?: Not so hot. In his first nine innings, he's allowed 11 hits and 10 runs, with a 6/8 BB/K ratio. Double-A hitters do not seem as readily fooled by his changeup and breaking ball as A-ball hitters were. It's early and panicking over nine innings of work is not advisable, but I have to admit I am worried about this. I don't like it when my sleepers don't wake up.
Chris Lambert, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Springfield Cardinals)
What He Needs To Do This Year: Throw strikes. Lambert pitched poorly in his first shot at the Double-A transition last summer, and needs to right the ship in '06. He has a good arm. . .90-95 MPH fastball, strong curveball. . .but his control is not very good, due to poor mechanical consistency. He is rather raw for a college pitcher (Boston College), and so far the first-round pick from '04 has been disappointing overall. It should be noted that a few weeks before the '04 draft, more than one team that was considering picking Lambert early in the first round backed off due to concerns about his control.
How Is He Doing?: 2-2 in five starts, with a 5.96 ERA and a 21/17 K/BB in 23 innings. He's given up 28 hits and four homers already. Lambert seems to be regressing. His stuff is still there, but he has made no progress refining his command. He does not change speeds well even when he does throw strikes. If I were the Cardinals, I would consider moving him to the bullpen.