April Showers . . .

The Birds survived a rainy April without drowning.  Now they are hoping that May brings with it some flowers and more importantly, some consistent winning performances.  There are reasons to be optimistic that the better days of the 2014 regular season lie ahead of the O's.

Keith Law on Hunter Harvey's fastball

Keith Law (ESPN Insider) on Hunter Harvey's outing against the Hagerstown Sun from yesterday afternoon:

I last scouted Harvey exactly one year ago, and his stride is still moderate with a leg swing rather than a step-over, and his release point is a little higher -- he's still finishing over his front side, but not extending as far as he did in high school. But he's more fluid now, with less effort, yet without losing any arm speed. I have heard of better velocity from Harvey, but 92-94 with this kind of sink and a swing-and-miss curveball will be a deadly combination if he can just work in an average changeup. 

The pitching depth in the minors is certainly the O's organizational strength at this point.  Velocity isn't usually as important as fastball location.  Without the command, 96-98 mph doesn't matter as much.  

Case in point - Zach Britton.  Command of his sinking fastball was half of the missing equation (with health being the other).

Buck on the best from Spring Training

 

From Masnsports.com Roch Kubatko:

"We wanted Brian to get the feel for his changeup back and start," Showalter said. "If we had an injury or some trade had happened or something, Brian... Because nobody had a better spring than him with the exception of maybe Zach (Britton). So, with Troy being out, we wanted to make sure that we had a feel for the left-handed part of that, especially with four right-handed starters. And making sure you have length."

Obviously the changeup was a huge point of emphasis over the winter.