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Orioles101 Mailbag: Johan Santana the Focus, Draft Questions Frequent

June 8th, 2014 at 6:30 AM
By Josh Michael

It's Sunday, and that means it's time for another edition of Orioles101 Mailbag, and this week it was pretty obvious where the Baltimore Orioles fans thoughts were as LHP Johan Santana was by far the most asked about player and or topic, but the 2014 MLB Draft was a frequent focus as well.

'Santana' photo (c) 2009, Dave Rezendes - license:

As we always do, we want to remind you that if we receive multiple questions on the same topic, we answer them with one general answer as opposed to answering each one and repeating ourselves.

So let's get to this week's highlighted questions.

What can the Orioles and fans expect from Johan Santana?

While this was the most asked question of the week, it is was also a loaded question in that it was almost impossible to answer, but now that he tore his achilles and is out for the rest of the season, we will give you what our take would have been. Santana is a former Cy Young award winner, but obviously injuries have plagued him in recent years, but his rehab had gone well and his velocity was slowly returning. The great thing about Santana is that it's not the velocity on his fastball that has made him the success he has been, but it is the velocity difference between his fastball and his devastating changeup.

Santana has always, and from what we have been told from people who have seen him throw recently, been able to keep the same arm speed on both his fastball and changeup, which is what helps his changeup be such a valuable pitch. If he could have continued to do that, he would have been able to get people out.

The biggest question with Santana moving forward with the Orioles would have been one, can he remain healthy? Which we found out he couldn’t, and two, can he command his stuff with even close to the accuracy he had before. Baltimore and Manager Buck Showalter insisted that if Santana was going to pitch for the Orioles, he was going to do so as a starting pitcher and while we will not get to see if it would have panned out that way, we must take Showalter for his word.

So what could we have expected had he not gotten hurt? Well first off, we did not expect Santana to be the Cy Young quality pitcher he once was, that would have been both unfair and unreasonable to expect that, but we believe he could have been a solid starter for the Birds. Of course the whole conversation is moot now.

Are the Orioles regretting not having a pick until the 90th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft?

We would have to say absolutely not. First off, if you look at the three guys that essentially cost them their first, second and comp balance round picks, two of the three of them have been absolutely worth it in Nelson Cruz and Bud Norris as Cruz is a legitimate AL MVP candidate and Norris has been the most consistent pitcher in the starting rotation. The third, Ubaldo Jimenez, has shown signs of dominance, but has been inconsistent. Jimenez still poses the potential to be a high quality starting pitcher for this team and the fact that Baltimore signed him for four years shows just how willing they were to forfeit that first round pick.

What do you make of the Orioles first selection, the third round pick of LHP Brian Gonzalez?

On the surface, and it is incredibly tough to tell what you will get from a high school pitcher, Gonzalez looks like a good value at the 90th pick overall. The left hander out of Archbishop McCarthy in Florida had a phenomenal senior year as he went 10-1 with two saves in 17 appearances and posted a 0.50 ERA with 129 strikeouts in 69 1/3 innings. In the regional playoffs, he tossed back-to-back complete game no-hitters. We will have much more on the entire Orioles 2014 draft class later this week.

As always, we thank everyone for their questions throughout the week, and we continue to urge you to send us questions every week as Orioles101 Mailbag is here to stay as a weekly edition.


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Tags: Baltimore, Baltimore Orioles, Baseball, Brian Gonzalez, Buck Showalter, Bud Norris, Johan Santana, MLB, MLB Draft, Nelson Cruz, Ubaldo Jimenez

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