Minor League Spring Training Report: 3/22/07

In this Minor League Spring Training report, ITW dishes about Brandon Erbe's latest start, who is impressing at the plate, and why Billy Rowell has only recently been cleared for some live action.

-- Anthony Martinez and Chris Vinyard are both very big boys in person. As expected, they both put on displays in batting practice. Martinez didn't show much power in his professional debut last season, but that could be about to change.

-- A 16th round pick in 2004, Andrew Schindling took until 2006 to post solid numbers in rookie ball. Nevertheless, his breaking ball looked good in live action. It can get slurvy, but he made Tyler Henson miss big, though that isn't exactly the toughest thing to do at this stage in Henson's development. He's still raw in many phases of his game, most notably at the plate against breaking pitches.

-- Michael Hollman noted this in an earlier installment of Minor League Spring Training Report, but Pedro Florimon was struggling with his plate coverage, particularly against pitches on the outside part of the plate.

-- Brandon Erbe looked sharp in three innings of work, though he ran into some bad luck in the third when he made an error on a come-backer to the mound. He seems to leap towards the plate with his delivery and looks like he is on top of the hitters by the time he releases the ball. His fastball had a good downward plane and hitters had a tough time lifting it. He worked in the mid-90's according to the radar gun the Reds were using.

-- Fiorentino looked solid in his minor league spring training debut, going 1 for 3 with a single against the Reds.

-- There appears to be a very good sense of camaraderie at this year's camp. I spoke with Bryan Bass' father and he was quick to point out that everyone seems to get along very well and is very respectful of the coaching staff. From my brief time at camp, I couldn't agree more.

-- Billy Rowell was sitting out some early drills with a very minor rib cage strain. The Orioles were very cautious about pressing him back into action, but he was wearing black stockings (which indicate active players) during the most recent game. The only player wearing white stockings (indicating that he was inactive) was Jason Fransz, who had a noticeable limp.

-- Two relatively unheralded players that have looked impressive at the plate are Paul Winterling and Brandon Tripp. Winterling is already 24 years old and hasn't played above A-ball, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone in the organization that has anything negative to say about the young man. He's a local product out of McDonogh High School in Owings Mills, but he's also an undrafted free agent out of Division III Johns Hopkins University. He has an uphill battle to establish himself as a legitimate prospect, but he might just be the most intelligent player in the minor league system. Tripp, on the other hand, was a 12th round pick in 2006. He has an odd, loopy swing that causes a lot of swings and misses, but he is an excellent defensive outfielder with some power potential.

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