When you're talking stuff, you're talking Jimmy Haynes.
Among all the Orioles' pitching prospects, none has a nastier repertoire to confront batters with than Haynes, winner of the Jim Palmer Prize as the system's minor-league pitcher of the year last season.
A live fastball. Two types of curveballs, one a sweeper, one a sharp breaker. An excellent changeup.
All that remains for Haynes to become a bona fide major-league starter is to smooth him around the edges and refine his natural talent.
"Jimmy went through a short period when he was kind of out of control," said Red Wings pitching coach Claude Osteen, who won 196 big-league games, including 40 by shutout.
"He tried to flip the ball up there and had a difficult time. It just wouldn't work. But if he has control of his delivery, he can throw three or four pitches over on any count. And he has very good stuff."
Haynes is having so-so success at Rochester after blazing through the organization since signing out of the Orioles' bountiful 1991 draft. He is 4-4 with a 3.80 ERA, giving up 76 hits in 71 innings.
He said he "is not really pleased because things aren't going as good as I expected here. The hitters in Triple-A are a lot more patient. They wait to see what you're throwing."
Last season with Bowie and briefly with Rochester, he struck out 191, the highest total in the organization since Ken Dixon fanned 240 at Double-A Charlotte 10 years earlier.
Haynes went into this season averaging better than a strikeout an inning in the minors and had given up two or fewer earned runs in two thirds of his starts. In one 1994 game against a strong Double-A Harrisburg Senators team, he struck out 16, tying for the minor-league single-game high for the season.
"That was my best strikeout game, but I needed to get two more," he said. "I made three bad pitches and they hit three solos [home runs]. It cost me the game [3-2 defeat]."
Only 22, he is a slightly smaller physical version of Ben McDonald (6 feet 4, 175 pounds), rangy and rawboned.
But one of his major problems has been a tendency to show frustration when things aren't going well.
"His body language tends to let opponents know what you don't want them to see," Osteen said.
Haynes said he hopes "to get up there [majors] sometime this year, but I know I have some things to do first. Last year, I was hoping for a promotion at the end, but the strike killed that."
After getting only five exhibition innings in spring training, Haynes went from 90-degree Florida weather to chilly western New York in April. His first few starts went well despite the change in climate, but he has leveled off somewhat.
"A lot of guys get to Triple-A having had tremendous success, then they have to realize that a lot of the things they did on the way up won't work anymore," Osteen said.
"Batters up here just spit on those pitches they used to chase at lower levels. Jimmy is going through that period. But he believes in his stuff and that will help him."
Name: Jimmy Haynes
Team: Rochester Red Wings, Triple-A International League
Parent organization: Orioles
School: Troup County (Ga.) Comprehensive High
Estimated arrival in majors: 1996
Pitches: Fastball, two curveballs, changeup
Best pitch: Overhand curve
Working on: Hitting spots consistently, maintaining a smooth delivery, poise under adversity
Yr. .. Team .......... IP ..... W-L .... ERA
'91 .. Gulf Coast .... 62 ..... 3-2 ... 1.60
'92 .. Kane Cy. ..... 144 ..... 7-11 .. 2.56
'93 .. Frederick .... 172 1/3 . 12-8 .. 3.03
'94 .. Bowie ........ 173 2/3 . 13-8 .. 2.90
... .. Rochester ..... 13 1/3 .. 1-0 .. 6.75