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Scouting report

So when's the last time you scored a play 8-9-4-2?

OK, when's the last time you scored any play? Do fans still do that at the ballpark?

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Anyway, the Orioles' 8-9-4-2 didn't make SportsCenter's Top 10, but it was a worthy candidate.

Corey Patterson cutting off a ball in right-center field last night and flipping it to Markakis, Markakis making the bare-handed catch and firing it to second baseman Brian Roberts, and Roberts throwing home to get the unconventional out.

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Almost made me forget the Orioles were losing and I had enough sweat pouring down my back to sell canoe rides from the press box.

Because one of you asked: I believe Garrett Olson is more than a fringe prospect. I love his intangibles. We'll find out in time.

As for James Hoey, his velocity and dominance at the Double-A and Triple-A levels brings a great deal of encouragement. He's allowed one earned run and struck out 32 in his last 22 1/3 innings for a 0.40 ERA. International League opponents are batting .161 against him. He, too, would seem to be more than just marginal.

However, Dan Connolly, the Sun's national baseball writer and a dead ringer for Travis Driskill – at least according to his drunken friends – says the "marginal prospects" evaluation that he offered on Olson and Hoey came from major league scouts.

These scouts agree that Olson is a gamer with average stuff and a very good demeanor. Two of the scouts think he should be a solid major league starter, though at the backend of the rotation, and that he could evolve into more of a swingman. The rap on Olson is he doesn't have any plus-pitches, but he has good pitching acumen. He needs to throw strikes, as he usually does in the minors, or teams will pound him the more they see him.

Hoey is almost the opposite. He possesses a great arm, but there is a slight concern about his mental toughness and confidence level. That much has been evident when he's been promoted to the majors. His fastball suggests future closer, but some scouts see him more as a middle reliever or set-up man.

It's all a crapshoot because even the most dead-on scouts see these guys only a few times. But it appears that many organizations don't view Olson and Hoey as top-tier talents. Therefore, they don't have top-tier value when it comes to talking trade. That's where "marginal" comes into play. But this doesn't mean they won't be productive major league pitchers. That's impossible to tell on Aug. 9, 2007.

As long as we're down on the farm, four Aberdeen IronBirds were named to the American League team for Tuesday's New York-Penn League All-Star Game: Outfielders Matt Angle and Joe Nowicki, shortstop Tyler Henson and pitcher Zach Jevne.

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And Nolan Reimold hit two home runs last night for Double-A Bowie.


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