Thursday, July 3, 2008

Article of the Week for the Week of June 22 - 28

Article of the Week is running a few days behind due to the sudden media focus on the Rays. Because of that, I wanted to ensure that my voice was heard and those who continue to refer to the Rays as the SURPRISING Rays would recognize this isn't all that shocking to everyone.

Being able to reflect upon an article from the website I write for is thrilling. While the content is typically strong at Baseball Digest Daily, it is not often that an article truly sticks out. Recently, I reflected upon The Hot Stove League and analyzed the mid-point value of the three major trades. One of which included the Mariners sending a boat load of prospects to the Orioles for Erik Bedard.

One of those prospects happened to be Chris Tillman, who is one of the most exciting prospects in baseball. BDD's Paul Bugala sat down with the kid and talked baseball. A very interesting read.

A few highlights which make Tillman a very interesting longterm prospect. Tillman recognizes that he occasionally needs to pitch to contact. Tillman states,
That’s one thing I’d like to get better on is pitching to contact early in the count and not getting late in counts. Lately I’ve been walking people, so I have to go to the strikeout mentality so they don’t score runs. Pitching to contact is huge.
Furthermore, Tillman's intelligence appears to be off the charts. He discusses the 'mind games' that hitters play at Double A. Explaining this concept Tillman states,
Reading swings is a big part of it, but every now and then you’ll get a hitter who will take a terrible swing at a pitch and he’s doing it to set you up to get you to throw it again.
Pick up on these two aspects of pitching is vital to a pitchers success at the highest levels. That is, relying on the defense behind a pitcher, as well as being prepared to make changes on the fly will help Tillman as he rises through the minors and into the majors. With this type of recognition, in addition to his raw stuff, it wouldn't surprise me if Tillman made noise immediately in the majors. He is a prospect to keep track of over the next year or so.

BallHype: hype it up!

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