Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Players I'm Watching

If you're looking for predictions, this post isn't the right place. Instead you'll find some guys I'm keeping an eye on for a variety of reasons, which I'll explain.

SP Joe Saunders-Los Angeles Angels (stats)
I openly wondered in 2006 (while blogging for the now-defunct NatSpace) whether or not the Nats would jump on an Angels offer of Saunders and a guy like Brandon Wood or Erick Aybar if they were offered that for Soriano. It was either never offered or JimBow declined such a deal, but the Nats probably regret not going for it, as the lefty is 10-3 with a 3.06 ERA this year.

Why do I care? Saunders ('99) and I both graduated from West Springfield HS and he also attended Virginia Tech, where I am a current student.

RP Ryan Speier-Colorado Rockies (stats)
Ryan is sporting a 2.82 ERA so far this year in the majors. The submariner has been decent in his ML career, sporting a career ERA of 3.46.

Why do I care? Speier ('97) and I both graduated from West Springfield HS. He attended Radford University, which is just down I-81 from Tech.

C Wyatt Toregas-Cleveland Indians (stats)
Toregas is a member of the Indians' 40-man roster. The 25 year old hasn't had a whole lot of success since his 44 games in Kinston (High A) in 2006, where he hit .340/.418/.517 in 147 at bats.

Why do I care? I grew up watching the likes of Saunders, Toregas, Brad Bauder and Marc Tugwell (also a WS grad) at Tech. Bauder was last seen in Indy ball in 2004 and Tugwell peaked at AAA in the Phillies organization and decided to pursue other life opportunities.

RP Ian Ostlund-Detroit Tigers (stats)
Ostlund was a 34th rounder out of Tech in 2001. He hasn't tasted the majors yet, but he does have a career minor league ERA of 3.30 and has a 2.42 ERA and 10.46 K/9 in AAA this year.

Why do I care? As I said, Ostlund was another Tech grad. The lefty may get a shot in Detroit by the end of the year.

Others to watch:
1B/OF Sean O'Brien-No Organization (stats)
Look for the college slugger to sign a UFA deal somewhere or play Indy ball.

SP Jesse Beal-Baltimore Orioles organization (no stats)
The South County HS pitcher was drafted by the Orioles this year in the 14th round. He hasn't signed yet and is committed to Maryland. I wasn't all that impressed with the righty (I saw him pitch twice against WSHS) but he's apparently decent and has a fairly projectable body (6'6" and 215 lbs).

OF Brian Conley-Baltimore Orioles organization (stats)
The former Towson standout (and Orioles 2008 draftee) is (I believe) my first cousin once-removed (not sure exactly, but I'm related to him somehow). 'Cuz' (who I don't think I've ever met) made the family proud with a 2/3, 1 2B, 1 HR performance in his second professional game last night.

Per the Orioles' writeup (apparently via
The Orioles drafted three players with local ties, starting with right fielder Brian Conley in the 17th round. Conley is a graduate of Towson University and Quince Orchard High School and a native of Gaithersburg, Md. Last season with Towson, Conley led the team in batting average (.352), hits (76) and RBIs (65), and he smacked 12 home runs.
He'd be an interesting candidate to interview in the future. Just so it's known, I'm also working on scoring interviews with Nats minor leaguers Adrian Alaniz, Jack McGeary and 2008 Nats draftee Chris Curran.

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