Chris Tillman was a second-round pick of the Mariners back in the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft. He posted intriguing strikeout numbers at a few different levels of Single-A between 2006-2007 before being dealt in an offseason trade to the Orioles in 2008.
That’s when his profile really began rising.
Tillman registered a 3.18 ERA and 154/65 K/BB ratio across 135 2/3 innings for the O’s Triple-A affiliate in 2008, and was rated 22nd on Baseball America‘s Top 100 prospect rankings heading into the 2009 season. In July of 2009, he made his major league debut against the Royals to a good degree of hype.
But it’s been mostly downhill since then for Tillman, and now Roch Kubatko of MASN is hearing that Baltimore “would be willing to” trade the young righty this offseason if they’re able to find interest.
The 6-foot-5 Tillman posted a 5.52 ERA and 46/25 K/BB ratio in 62 innings this year in the majors and a 5.87 ERA over 53 2/3 innings in 2010. Even on an O’s roster that is short on reliable starting arms, he’s a longshot to land a spot in the 2012 Opening Day rotation. So rather than asking the 23-year-old to transition into a reliever, thus stunting his long-term potential, the O’s might go ahead and try to find him a new team.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.