09/21/07 9:44 PM ET
Notes: Prospects ready for winter ball
Wieters, Snyder to compete in Hawaiian Winter Baseball
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
The Orioles will have a few top prospects in Hawaiian Winter Baseball -- including former first-round picks Brandon Snyder and Matt Wieters -- which runs from next week through the middle of November. Joe Jordan, Baltimore's scouting director, talked Friday about that nascent league and how it can impact some of the team's top talent.
"I'm taking my part-time scout with me: Mrs. Jordan. She said she'd be more than happy scouting the Hawaiian League," Jordan quipped about his winter business trip to one of the world's premier tourist locations.
There will be a lot at stake for both Wieters and Snyder, both of whom are attempting to establish themselves as professional players. Wieters hasn't played since wrapping up his college career at Georgia Tech, and Snyder wants to underline a strong season and give the team's front office something to think about when it assigns him somewhere next season.
More eyes will be on Wieters, the fifth overall pick in June's First-Year Player Draft, who signed with Baltimore right before the Aug. 15 deadline to reach a deal or go back into next year's Draft pool. The switch-hitting catcher was regarded as one of the top position players in the Draft, and Jordan expects him to hit the ground running in Hawaii.
"He's going to be ready to go," Jordan said. "We expect him to go out there and do well. He may have some rust early and I have no idea [what to expect] for overall numbers, but what I'm hopeful for is that every week he plays, he gets better."
Snyder, meanwhile, has already conquered his first professional adversity. The former catcher tore his left labrum last year and had to go through corrective surgery and the resulting rehabilitation process before coming back to play first base this season. Snyder hit .283 with 11 home runs for Class A Delmarva, demonstrating that he can still hit when healthy.
"We're all very happy -- and we should be," Jordan said. "Brandon feels good, and I think that's the most important thing. He and I have talked about it, and he really bottomed out. He showed a lot of resolve to have the surgery, to rehab the surgery and to come back and have the year he had offensively. It was a testament to him, and we think he did a great job."
He may have done a great job, but he'll likely be switching gloves permanently. Jordan said he expects Snyder to play at both infield corners and left field in Hawaii, and he also said the prospect's catching days are likely in the past.
"I believe he could still catch -- I absolutely believe it's something he can still do -- but I also believe he could be a very good third baseman," Jordan said. "I think he's proven that he could be a good first baseman. I still think he's going to play on the dirt. The kid's athletic enough, and we obviously have [Billy] Rowell at third base as well, so there's a dilemma there."
Baltimore also has a batch of players headed for action in the Arizona Fall League, and Jordan said the leagues are similar in competition but different in mission statement. Hawaii is for younger prospects, and Arizona is for players on the cusp.
"I think the competition is comparable, but it's like a year younger," he said of Hawaii. "Just to give you perspective of what can happen, [Yankee prospects] Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain were in Hawaii last year. That was their first experience in professional baseball. They didn't sign until late, so they didn't get to play last summer.
"They went to Hawaii and pitched, and we know where they're at now. It's a good league."
Moving on over: The Orioles started Scott Moore at first base on Friday and will likely test the rookie in the outfield again sometime before the end of the season. Orioles manager Dave Trembley said he wants to see how comfortable Moore -- who's primarily a third baseman -- is at other positions before the team heads to Spring Training in February.
"These kind of games are obviously far more important than a Spring Training game," Trembley said, underlining the obvious. "I'd like to know what we have going into Spring Training."
Moore, who was acquired from the Chicago Cubs in the Steve Trachsel trade, played left field late in Thursday's game. Trembley has been impressed by his attitude and ability and would like to play him as much as possible down the stretch.
Dropped baton: The Orioles had a strange relay throw in Friday's game, thanks largely to an apparent lapse in attention from third baseman Melvin Mora. With no outs in a 1-0 game, Texas got a double that pushed its lead runner to third base. That runner rounded the base and appeared to be going home before breaking back to third.
Baltimore may have had a play on him, but Mora had dropped to a knee and dropped his head to give shortstop Miguel Tejada a better avenue to make a throw to the plate. Tejada held the ball for an extra second or two before throwing it anyway, and he hit the crouching Mora in the upper body. The runner made it back to the bag, and Texas took the lead moments later.
Quotable: "All I know is that whatever was said, he wanted to go get another opinion." -- Trembley, on the elbow injury of reliever Danys Baez, who was scheduled to meet with Dr. James Andrews on Friday
Coming up: The Orioles and Rangers will meet again Saturday at 8:05 p.m. ET, and Radhames Liz (0-2, 7.71 ERA) will be matched up against Edinson Volquez (2-1, 3.52). Liz will be making his return to the rotation after a brief sojourn in the bullpen.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.