Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Jose Mesa, 1992 Fleer Ultra #305

In my first blog post of the year, I may have been a little harsh in my criticisms of the Orioles' somnolent winter. After all, Dan Duquette claimed not one, not two, but three pitchers in the major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft last month. It's been a running joke for a while now that the O's top front office exec treats this draft like his own personal Christmas; after all, he acquired eight players total in his previous six go-rounds. Many of them have been shoehorned onto the team's roster the next season (Ryan Flaherty, T. J. McFarland, Jason Garcia, Joey Rickard, Anthony Santander). But to draft three guys in one fell swoop? That makes it seem like Dan is actively trolling the die-hards among us. The three 2018 hopefuls are 23-year-old lefty Nestor Cortes, 24-year-old righty Pedro Araujo, and 24-year-old righty Jose Mesa, Jr.

Yes, that's right. The Birds are going to take a long look at the son of the 19-year big league veteran who got his start in Baltimore. The elder Mesa didn't do so well in parts of four seasons here, posting a 13-24 record with a 5.41 ERA in 47 starts (and two relief appearances). He walked 131 men and struck out only 127 in 269.1 innings, and in 1992 the O's traded him to Cleveland for a AA outfielder. Two seasons later, the Indians had the good sense to move Jose to the bullpen, and he never looked back. Junior was a 24th-round draft pick of the Yankees in 2012, and has pitched to a 2.86 ERA in four minor league seasons. He's topped out at AA so far, where he allowed three runs in 34.1 innings for Trenton last year. He's whiffed 226 batters in 176 pro innings, a rate of 11.6 per nine IP. It still seems like Jose is a long shot to make (and stick with) the Orioles this season. Nestor Cortes is getting most of the buzz, on account of being a southpaw and having had AAA exposure, but we all know that the O's aren't exactly bubbling over with pitching depth...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've got no problems with taking a flyer on 3 young guys, especially when the roster spot is open and the financial risk is minimal.

The way this winter is playing out is either going to be great or calamitous for the Duquette strategy... it all depends on whether this game of musical chairs ends with everybody lunging for those last spots, or whether some GM's are content to keep on walking around with their eyes on next year's "chairs".