Monday, February 1, 2010

Alexi Ogando and Omar Beltre update

Let the caged birds fly: Beltre and Ogando to be freed from immigration shackles. After primarily facing inferior DSL competition for the last 5 years, I'm not sure how much both players have improved or are ready to compete in AA or AAA this year, but Jon Daniels still seems enthused about them and that is about all we know about their present skills, strengths and weaknesses.

Beltre (28.6 a/o 4/1) has good command, a fastball that sits 92-95 (as a starter or a reliever, I'm not sure), a good slider, and a split-changeup. However, he hasn't pitched many innings over the last 3 years and might now be relegated to the bullpen (coupled with the current rotation depth at all levels). Per at least one report (Cole?), Beltre's DSL debut was delayed this year due to an injury suffered during his Winter League assignment in 2008. Durrett reports that he has had elbow problems this year so that was probably the issue and might not bode well (this will be his 13th year as a pitcher!).

Ogando (26.5 a/o 4/1), a converted OF who has been pitching for only 4 years despite his age, has a FB that sits mid to upper 90s (95-98) and good command but, according to one source, no changeup to speak of (though I think this needs to be verified given he has had 4 years to work on one). Not sure of his breaking ball. He hasn't pitched many innings the last 4 years and all of them have been out of the bullpen. Though he has pitched about 30 innings each year (18 DSL/12 winter ball this year - he may have been injured a bit during the regular season) save for 2008.

I'll try to dig up their Winter Ball stats shortly. At this point, I think one might look at them like older FA international signs from Cuba or Japan, who might have some role to play in the pen, but whose future success is no sure thing (esp. given the inferior caliber of their competition while in the DSL). Links:

Richard Durrett 2010
Evan Grant 2008
Evan Grant 2010
TR Sullivan 2010
Omar Beltre MiLB stats
Alexi Ogando MilB stats

UPDATE: It looks like Ogando has only pitched winter ball this year and has acquited himself well in about 15 innings. Remember that this league is better than AAA so this is really encouraging given he has never pitched outside of the DSL before. I would think that he would be capable of handling AA hitters right now and could move quickly to AAA if he does well. However they might choose to ease him into his first stateside action in HighA and simply move him up quickly based on how he adjusts in all respects.

As for Beltre, He has essentially missed the last 2 years so this all but certainly puts him in the pen for 2010. Having missed most of this year due to health issues (I presume it is his elbow) could bode ill but I presume he his healthy if he is coming over to ST in 2 weeks. He missed 2008 along with Ogando presumably to handle legal issues and lay the groundwork to pitch overseas (on by one account in Mexico). So we'll see how rusty (and healthy) he is soon. I only found one year (pre-o6 I didn't feel like digging for) that he pitched a full winter ball season and that was in 2006 where he pitched about 30 innings (just turned 25). So he pitched about 97 innings in 2006 overall. But since that time Beltre has only pitched 43 innings in the last 3 years. It could be due to injuries, legal issues, dejection, finances but he has a lot to prove at this point based on his limited work load of late.

UPDATE 2: Beltre actually pitched winter ball in 2007 and 2008 per Jason Cole. In 2007 he pitched 30 innings in the DSL and 44 innings in winter ball (44ip/29h/2.03era) for a total of 74 innings. He didnt pitch in the DSL in 2008 but threw 50 winter ball innings (10 of 11 GS)with 36SO and a 4.35era. So his innings totals 2006-2009 respectively: 96; 74; 50; 11. Let's hope the decreasing workload merely appears more ominous on the injury front than it really is.

UPDATE 3: Keith Law says that both guys throw sliders.


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