At this point it would be understandable not to pay attention to any Orioles news. The club hit the ignominious 50 loss milestone a month earlier than they did last season, Jake Arrieta has finally been scouted and may take a bit longer to adjust to the majors than previously hoped, and oh yea, the club still can’t hit. But as Orioles prospect after Orioles prospect has hit the wall this season, with Reimold scuffling in Norfolk, Jones and Wieters struggling, and the pitching staff in tatters, one player still has yet to take the field in any meaningful action. No, I am not talking about Brian Roberts, either. I am talking about a player who many wrote off as soon as he was signed but in the second half of the season became one of the few bright spots for this sorry organization. Felix Pie is scheduled to begin his rehab starts in the Gulf Coast League before working his way to a few minor league clubs and rejoining the team.
Look, Baltimore fans have had their share of disappointment this year. And the shares of a few other fan bases, but who’s counting anyway? Felix Pie hasn’t been much of a part of it- not yet anyway. Apart from 8 games to start the season, Pie hasn’t played in significant action this season after going down with a back injury. Let’s not forget, this is the same Felix Pie who rebounded from a .234 average and .299 on base percentage to hit .290 with a .346 OBP after July 22nd. The Loss Column did a great piece on Pie early in this season that deserves a second look. Pie still has those tantalizing physical gifts that made him such a centerpiece of the Cub’s future, only to flame out from mismanagement, lack of baseball instincts, and poor fundamentals. Oh yea, and he didn’t hit either. He still carries around that .299 career average in the minors, which tells us that he never was an elite hitter- as we know, elite hitters crush minor league pitching. However, he is still better than most of what the O’s have on the roster right now.
He might not be the long-term answer at left field any more than Nolan Reimold appeared to be for much of last season. It could be that last season was an aberration and that the adjustments that Terry Crowley (yes, he actually did well with a player once!) helped him make to his swing could revert back or become less successful. With all his time off rehabbing, he might have gotten into some bad habits. But for an Orioles team aiming at records for futility, what do they have to lose? Perhaps Pie could be a spark for the rest of the offense, or at least a body in the clubhouse that isn’t yet beaten down from all the losses.
So O’s fans, try to get excited one more time while Felix Pie. And while I know that many of you will think some variation of “How pathetic is it that we are getting excited about Felix Pie?” I think Pie deserves a little excitement, especially when you are dealing with a player who managed to go on a tear at the very time that the Orioles were free-falling last season. He is another prospect who has a shot at contributing, and that is good enough for me. If he manages to play like he did over the second half of last season for the rest of this season, the front office might have one less position they need to try to account for this offseason.