Joe Christensen's Sunday Insider: Baltimore's tide is turning

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 15, 2012 - 1:36 AM

The Orioles will be singing a new tune when two fine prospects, Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado, arrive.

Baltimore prospect Dylan Bundy, 19, was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft.

Photo: David Goldman, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

When the Twins got swept in their season-opening series at Camden Yards, it seemed like an embarrassingly bad way for Minnesota to start the season. But the Orioles were no mirage.

After 14 consecutive losing seasons, Baltimore would have been a wild-card team had the postseason started at the All-Star break. The Orioles are bound to fade with so many second-half games inside the relentless American League East.

But as the Orioles return to Target Field on Monday, make no mistake: The tide is turning in the Chesapeake. Buck Showalter's team is competitive now and should be better soon, when two of baseball's best prospects -- Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado -- arrive in the Inner Harbor.

In its midseason rankings, Baseball America listed Bundy as the No. 1 prospect in the sport, with Machado at No. 9.

Bundy, 19, was the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft. A righthander listed generously at 6-1, he's 195 pounds of solid muscle and has three standout pitches, including a fastball that sits 94-98 miles per hour and a knee-buckling curve.

He started the year at Class A Delmarva, and it was almost comical, as he posted a 0.00 ERA in 30 innings, with 40 strikeouts, two walks and five hits allowed. He is at Class A Frederick now, and the Orioles are being extremely careful with his pitch count.

"They're trying to protect me and look out for my future, not what happens this year," Bundy said last Sunday at the Futures Game.

The Orioles have been more aggressive with Machado, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2010 draft behind Bryce Harper and Jameson Taillon.

Machado, 20, is a wiry, strong, 6-3 shortstop with a good arm and quick bat. In Class AA, his OPS has increased each month since May, from .712 to .803 to .906. By next year, he could be in the majors, though it's unclear if he or incumbent Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy would move to third base.

"Once I get that call [to the majors], I want to know that I'm ready to go up there and stay for a really long time," Machado said.

He found a good mentor in Adam Jones, Baltimore's All-Star center fielder. They talk several times each week. Jones, who recently signed a six-year, $86 million contract extension, knows it's his turn to start taking younger players under his wing.

"I'm 26; I haven't experienced that much, but I've experienced a lot more than them," Jones said.

As General Manager Dan Duquette looks to bolster the roster before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline, Bundy and Machado are pretty much untouchable, and the Orioles are otherwise thin on prospects. They need starting pitching and a leadoff hitter. The Twins could package Francisco Liriano and Denard Span, and it still wouldn't get them Bundy.

Baltimore needs to stick to its plan. In four years under former Twins GM Andy MacPhail, the Orioles stole Jones from the Mariners and drafted All-Star catcher Matt Wieters, but they kept finishing in last place.

Owner Peter Angelos took a chance by giving Duquette his first job in organized baseball since he left the Red Sox in 2002. Duquette quickly made one of the league's best offseason trades, getting starting pitcher Jason Hammel and reliever Matt Lindstrom from the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie. Duquette also signed Taiwanese lefthander Wei-Yin Chen, the team's second-most reliable starter in the first half after Hammel.

No matter how this season ends, the Orioles have to feel like their organization has finally turned a corner.

"Oh yeah, we feel it down through the system," Machado said. "It's a winning vibe, from the major leagues to rookie ball."

  • related content

  • Sunday Insider: Central Intelligence

    Sunday July 15, 2012

    Last week's All-Star festivities offered a reminder that Kansas City is still a great baseball town, despite the Royals' futility....

  • Sunday Insider: Short Hops

    Sunday July 15, 2012

    Switch it up for interleague playWhen the Astros move to the AL next year, giving each league 15 teams, interleague...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
7:05 PM ET123456789RHE
MinnesotaK. Gibson (11-10)000
BaltimoreC. Tillman (11-5)000
@theBallpark
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 27 4th Qtr 11:48
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 17 3rd Qtr 14:42
(2) Alabama 20
Rice 10 3rd Qtr 14:50
(17) Notre Dame 28
(10) South Dakota St 18 3rd Qtr 10:12
(24) Missouri 27
Fla Atlantic 7 3rd Qtr
(22) Nebraska 31
California 31 3rd Qtr 9:05
Northwestern 7
Marshall 28 3rd Qtr 13:59
Miami-Ohio 3
UC Davis 0 3rd Qtr
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 3rd Qtr
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 0 1st Qtr 14:51
(12) Georgia 0
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 2nd Half 20:00
Seattle 1
New England 2 1st Half 20:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How sure are you that the Twins are on the road to improving?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close