by Matthew Taylor
As spring training approaches, it's time to choose a long-shot candidate for a roster spot and root him on his way through the otherwise meaningless games of February and March. Try Fredy Deza, who's already made the rounds of O's affiliates, pitching for the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Delmarva Shorebirds, Aberdeen Ironbirds, Frederick Keys, Bowie Baysox, and Norfolk Tides.
Here's the rundown on Deza:
Jinxed from the start?
April 13, 2005
Perhaps it wasn't quite as bad of a comparison back in 2005, but Daniel Cabrera is not the name you want placed near yours in a sentence unless it's to say "Fredy Deza doesn't have the same control problems as Daniel Cabrera."
"Orioles righthander Fredy Deza was impressive in his 2005 debut for high Class A Frederick, allowing three earned runs over seven innings of work. This is the third stint in the Carolina League for the 22-year-old Dominican, but some scouts have compared him to Daniel Cabrera, and he could be poised for a breakout year this season. The O's have taken it slowly with Deza, whose repertoire includes an easy 92-94 mph fastball, quick slider and developing changeup. He has the tendency to let his fastball up in the zone at times, however, and that was evident last night when he gave up two homers to Salem outfielders Adam Seuss and John Fagan in a 4-1 Avalanche win."Shades of Armando Benitez
March 2, 2007
Speaking of bad comparisons, Deza not only hails from the same country as Armando Benitez, he sometimes pitches like him as well. (Beware Tino Martinez, wherever you are.) Here's hoping Fredy's 2009 spring training experience is different from the one he had in 2007.
"Ninth-Inning Letdown The Orioles lost their opener in the ninth inning when rookie Fredy Deza gave up a two-run homer to Marlins infielder Jason Wood."Long shot
Need proof that Deza is a long-shot candidate and therefore worth rooting for? Just visit The Sun's photo gallery of 2009 pitchers and check out Jeff Zrebiec's caption for Deza: "Will make his third appearance at major league spring training, though he isn't a huge threat for a roster spot."
The Scout(.com)ing breakdown
Dec. 5, 2007
Inside the Warehouse/Scout.com projected Deza as a potential middle reliever on the big club by the end of the last season:
"Deza's role as a starter, at times, is more a reflection that the Orioles want him to get more innings and work on his change-up. He profiles more as a reliever at the highest level. He has solid command, but occasionally grooves a fastball and can become predictable. His inclusion on the 40-man roster is indicative of the fact that there was a very real chance he would be taken in the Rule 5 Draft. He'll head to triple-A Norfolk in 2008 and could be a reliable middle relief option by September."A "go-to" minor league story
The minor-league affiliates are reliably good about claiming their own.
"The Orioles announced their major league spring training invitations last week. Every player on the 40 man roster was invited, as well as 23 non-roster players. Of the 63 players that will attend the O's major league camp at spring training in Fort Lauderdale, 24 are former Baysox players. ... Former Baysox starters Hayden Penn, Radhames Liz and Andy Mitchell will also be in big league camp, as will relievers Jim Hoey, Bob McCrory and Fredy Deza."Frederick
"The Baltimore Orioles have extended invitations to six former Frederick Keys who are not a part of their 40-man roster for spring training which will begin February 15th in Fort Lauderdale, FL. SS Blake Davis (2007), RHP Fredy Deza (2003-06, 2008), RHP Ryan Keefer (2004), RHP Andy Mitchell (2003), 1B Brandon Snyder (2008) and C Matt Wieters (2008) comprise the list of invitees."
Take a look at Deza's minor-league stats and a game-action shot from Flickr's Throwing Bull.