What is the Orioles' backup plan if the prospects fail?

Right-handed pitcher Brad Bergesen is expected to make his major league debut for the Orioles in Tuesday night's game against the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards.

Bergesen was honored as the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008 after winning 16 games while splitting time between the Single-A Frederick Keys and Double-A Bowie Baysox. The 23-year-old starting pitcher established a single-season franchise record with 15 wins for Bowie, and he posted a 3.22 ERA in 24 games (23 starts) at Double-A.

While all signs point to Bergesen receiving an extended look in place of Alfredo Simon in the rotation for the Orioles, the question needs to be asked -- what if he struggles to adapt to the major leagues?

There are two ways to look at this question.First, Bergesen's status doesn't really affect the progress of the other pitchers in the Orioles' minor league system. So, there is still hope for the rest of the prospects if he performs poorly in the major leagues.

Another opinion -- and the way I look at it -- is the Orioles will likely focus on a cautious approach with Troy Patton, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and the other pitchers in the organization if Bergesen struggles during his audition in the major leagues.

Bergesen's debut with the Orioles affects more than his personal future, in my opinion. I believe the progress of the rest of the pitching prospects in the Orioles' minor league system will be adjusted depending on how Bergesen plays.

For the sake of the Orioles' future, fans should hope Bergesen meets expectations. If not, the light at the end of the tunnel could forever be dimmed.

What do you think? Do you believe the Orioles' plans with the rest of the pitching prospects will be affected by Bergesen's success in the major leagues?

Let me know what your thoughts are about how the Orioles are handling the prospects.

In fact, let's extend this conversation another step.

What if the majority of the Orioles' pitching prospects fail to deliver in the major leagues?

It wasn't long ago that the organization was filled with pitchers like Erik Bedard, John Maine, Daniel Cabrera, Adam Loewen, Hayden Penn and others.

I know the current crop of pitchers is more highly regarded among analysts than those pitchers, but hype only takes you so far. These pitchers will eventually need to produce on a regular basis in the major leagues in order for the Orioles' rebuilding process to be fulfilled.

What if they don't live up to the hype? What is going to happen to the rebuilding plan if the young prospects fail to deliver? Will the Orioles ever have a winning season again?

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