I wish to start this piece from the perspective of a prospect’s eyes.
Over the years, I have gone through much in my minor league career. At 21-years old, I have been dealt from Seattle to Baltimore, both places where I have established myself as a top pitching prospect. After going 9-6 with a 2.70 ERA this year, the Baltimore Orioles organization has finally made the decision to put me in a big league uniform.
The key is to go out and do my best. A win would always be nice.
So I wonder who I’m up against in my MLB debut...
Chris Tillman, the Orioles’ top pitching prospect, has now been called up from Triple-A Norfolk to begin his big league career.
He will be facing a weak-hitting offense in Kansas City, so picking up the “W” in his big-league debut shouldn’t be a problem, right?
Not so fast.
On the opposing hill this Wednesday will be the MLB leader in earned run average. Zack Greinke (10-6) leads baseball with a 2.04 ERA, and he will get the call against the Orioles' prized prospect.
The first word to come from my lips when I read this was one I‘m sure many O‘s fans uttered: “Really?”
After watching four-out-of-four rookies win their first major league starts, we see the first true test of confidence for a youngster. What better way to either help (or hurt) a young man’s self-esteem by sending him up against a Cy Young candidate in his debut.
This is going to be a fun one.
Tillman, predominantly known as a strikeout pitcher, will have to go into Wednesday’s matchup with one mindset: Go out and do your best.
The Royals’ lineup is not one to be feared, so in order to maintain his composure, he must throw strikes and allow the defense to play behind him. I know, I know. This is easier said than done.
But one thing is certain. Greinke is out there to take his 11th victory, and the only thing standing in his way is a slumping Birds’ offense and a rookie starter getting his first taste of the limelight that will surround him as long as he puts on a uniform each day.
Greinke will not show mercy.
Therefore, it is now Tillman’s job to go out and take this one home for the O’s. As if there wasn’t enough pressure on him already.
From a managerial point of view, the decision to start Tillman on Wednesday can go either way.
He wins, and he has more confidence then ever before.
He loses, and we’re looking at a bad start to a promising young career.
That’s why my message to Tillman is this: Keep your composure. Win or lose, this is a challenge, and you just happened to face it on your first day on the job.
Now go get ‘em tiger, and make us O’s fans proud for the future.