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Chris Tillman


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#1 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 17 December 2011 - 08:43 AM

There were some positives, and some negatives from the young RHP in 2011. Tillman's K/9 increased, his BB/9 decreased, his line drive % decreased, his first strike % increased. After one of his stops back in the Minors this year, he worked with Mike Griffin and his mechanics improved. With the improved mechanics, his velocity increased. His off-speed stuff improved this year as well. His overall results at AAA were underwhelming though. I’m sure part of it was due to disappointment to finding himself back at that level, but he needed to accept that challenge and perform. Tillman will still just be turning 24 next April. I’m sure some people in the organization will want him starting every 5th day at Norfolk, but I would like him beginning ’12 in Baltimore. He is a quality ML caliber arm, that needs to learn to get ML hitters out. Put him in the bullpen, use him, and build his confidence.

Would you attempt to find room for Tillman in the O's bullpen? Would you prefer him to be starting for Norfolk?

EDIT 2/19: The answer is clearly no, there is no room for him in the bullpen. Right now, I see the staff as:

Britton, Chen, Arrieta, Hammel, Hunter (Not this order.)
Johnson, Lindstrom, Gregg, Strop, Ayala, Wada, and 1 of 3 out of Simon, Patton, Eveland

With Matusz, Tillman, Bergesen, O’Day, and Berken to AAA.

#2 tpjs1

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 04:45 PM

Actually, having Tillman begin the year in the bullpen has merit, assuming he can't crack the rotation. He could be facing major league hitters without the pressure of starting. Use him as a long man and when the inevitable injury or lack of results hits someone in the rotation, maybe he'd be ready to step in then.
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#3 BSLRobShields

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Posted 19 December 2011 - 06:56 PM

Whether they start him in AAA or in the pen, STOP MESSING HIM UP!

They keep wanting him to change. Let him go back to what he was doing when he was a top prospect.

Personally, I think I would prefer to let him get more innings but I wouldn't be upset if he ended up in the pen.
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#4 bnickle

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 12:56 AM

I'd keep him as a starter for now. Assume he starts the year at AAA and is essentially your 6th or 7th SP. Really that allows you to both not quite give up on him and have him as depth when the SP in Baltimore starts to go down.


BTW... It wouldn't suprise me if he is the 2nd or 3rd piece of a trade this offseason.

#5 Luke Jackson

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Posted 20 December 2011 - 03:30 AM

I suspect Tillman will begin the year in Norfolk as a starter along with his buddy Brian Matusz. Too young to give up on Tillman as a starter at this point, nor should there be any rush to do so. I struggle envisioning Tillman as a workable pitcher in the AL East whether it be in the rotation or the 'pen, but leave him starting for now -- not like anyone in the O's upper minors deserves a spot in Norfolk more than Tillman.

A real shame what's happened to Tillman. In '09, he had a 91-94 mph fastball, which, even though it was kind of straight, he got good tilt on his fastball. His changeup and curve obviously needed work but those pitches flashed some potential. All three pitches have regressed, with his fastball regressing wildly. (Although as Chris noted, he was seeming to pump up the radar gun towards the end of the season even if the results weren't much better.) Was at an April game last year where Tillman's fastball registered at 86 mph on the juiced Camden Yards radar guns. His changeup was 83. Needless to say, Tillman did not stick around for long in that game.
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#6 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:23 AM

I suspect Tillman will begin the year in Norfolk as a starter along with his buddy Brian Matusz. Too young to give up on Tillman as a starter at this point, nor should there be any rush to do so. I struggle envisioning Tillman as a workable pitcher in the AL East whether it be in the rotation or the 'pen, but leave him starting for now -- not like anyone in the O's upper minors deserves a spot in Norfolk more than Tillman.

A real shame what's happened to Tillman. In '09, he had a 91-94 mph fastball, which, even though it was kind of straight, he got good tilt on his fastball. His changeup and curve obviously needed work but those pitches flashed some potential. All three pitches have regressed, with his fastball regressing wildly. (Although as Chris noted, he was seeming to pump up the radar gun towards the end of the season even if the results weren't much better.) Was at an April game last year where Tillman's fastball registered at 86 mph on the juiced Camden Yards radar guns. His changeup was 83. Needless to say, Tillman did not stick around for long in that game.


I don't think inserting Tillman into the Baltimore bullpen gives up on him as a starter. While there was some regression at Norfolk last year, Tillman has shown he can get out AAA hitters. With the additions of Wada, and Chen it is pretty clear that it will be difficult for Matusz, let alone Tillman, to make the OD ML rotation.

If Matusz and Bergesen are going to be in AAA as SP depth, I think there is an opportunity to position Tillman for the ML bullpen. Get something positive out of him. Let him build his confidence at the ML level. As we talked about above, his velocity started to return at the end of last year after working with Griffin in the Minors. Maybe if he is working 1, 2, 3 innings at a time - he can max out his effort (I know part of the velocity drop was going from being primarily a 4 seam FF pitcher, to using the 2 seam and cutter more often.)

#7 SteveA

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 09:38 AM

The problem with putting him in the pen is that most managers, Buck included, like to give guys "roles" in the pen. And the role Tillman would get would be the long man who comes in when your starter is knocked out early. That is not a good "role" to get consistent work in, it can be very sporadic, especially in April with rainouts and such.

So the guy pitches once in the first 12 games of the season and has a mediocre 4 inning outing... I don't think that helps him earn a spot in the rotation when the inevitable injury or underperformance by another pitcher opens one up.

Now if I had faith that a manager would be able to get him innings by using him differently, that would be a different story. In addition to using him as the long man, let him pitch the last 3 innings of an 8-2 game, or bring him in to start a 10th inning and let him go as long as the game goes. But it seems to me that managers today can't get away from assigning guys roles and sticking with them. I don't know if that's just laziness or whether the pitchers actually do pitch better when they "know their role" and know approximately what inning they are likely to be used in.

I can put on my old man hat and talk about Tippy Martinez who would today be pigenholed as a lefthanded short reliever but who once went 7 innings when the starter got knocked out in the 2nd. And how those same late 70s / early 80s Oriole teams groomed future starters such as Flanagan and Martinez by using them in the bullpen, and managed to find them frequent work. But the bottom line is that just doesn't seem to happen much anymore.

#8 Who's On 1st

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:19 AM

My suggestion would be to keep Tillman as a starter.

Give him time to to get innings at AAA Norfolk and keep working with Mike Griffin. He has had too many coaches changing things. Let Chris get back to the Chris we know he can be.

#9 BSLRobShields

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 10:29 AM

Tillman's biggest issue has been everyone trying to change him but none of those guys seemingly knowing how to do it.

Let Peterson work with him. He is a master of pitching mechanics.
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#10 Adam Wolff

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 11:03 AM

I go back and forth on this, but I think I'd like to have Tillman in the pen, if possible.

I think it could do wonders for his confidence if he could enjoy some success getting major league hitters out. I don't think a move to the pen would be giving up on him as a starter, either. Eventually, the team is going to need someone to step into the rotation. If Tillman has shown the ability to get ML hitters out, it would be the perfect opportunity for him.

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#11 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:18 PM

MASN / Kubatko had a good piece on Tillman (http://www.masnsport...und-career.html) today.

#12 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 12:22 PM

Here is a good link to 'Stotle' Nick Faleris', scouting report on Chris Tillman last year for Orioles Hangout:

http://www.oriolesha...g-chris-tillman

#13 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:33 PM

While I expect it is a near lock that Tillman starts back at Norfolk, I feel he is going to open some eyes this Spring with a strong camp.

#14 stevek

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:41 PM

Let's hope so, or else what was all that off-season work with Brady Anderson for? Conditioning is great, but getting in enough work is the issue this Spring, with SO many arms in camp.
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#15 Coker

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:53 PM

While I expect it is a near lock that Tillman starts back at Norfolk, I feel he is going to open some eyes this Spring with a strong camp.


I certainly hope so. Like SG said earlier in the thread, all the different coaches telling Tillman how and what to do, just hasn't cut it. It's time to let Peterson take over.

I'd be ecstatic if Tillman forced his way onto the team with a few great games (and months) down in Norfolk. Let's hope this is the year it all clicks.

#16 David Robinette

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 09:49 PM

Tillman's biggest issue has been everyone trying to change him but none of those guys seemingly knowing how to do it.

Let Peterson work with him. He is a master of pitching mechanics.


I sure hope so. One of Tillman's obvious mechanical problems is that he frequently steps to the left of home, as he faces it (slightly to the first base side.) His landing foot usually is not pointed directly at home. For most pitchers that kills accuracy and puts a big strain on the right arm.

#17 bnickle

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 02:24 AM

The biggest issue with Tillman is and IMO is always going to be his ability to put ML hitters away, limit his pitch count and ultimately pitch deep into games. People talk about the inconsistency as far as "good" outings and "bad" outings but the problem really has always been that even in the good outings Chris can't pitch deep into games. Think back to the no hitter he had going early at Tampa last year??? Do you remember when he was pulled?? It was after 6 innings because he had already thrown 101 pitches. When you look at his game logs, even in the good games, you see that way too often where he is at or over 100 pitches in the 6th inning of the game. IMO, if you don't have a put away pitch or the ability to end ABs quickly that is something that is hard to develop.

Personally, I would move Tillman to the pen. I just don't see him ever being an effective enough pitcher. It would be one thing if he could give you a 4.50 ERA, which I think is possible, if he can give you innings. I just don't think he'll ever be a guy that will eat innings. You'll pretty much know that every time Tillman takes the mound your bullpen is going to be working multiple innings. Put him in the BP and see if the ability to cut it loose and not having to worry about pacing himself allows him to be more effective in facing ML hitters.

#18 BSLBobPhelan

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:35 AM

I'm hoping Rick Peterson can get him back on track.
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#19 Can_of_corn

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

Unfortunately Tillman looked like Tillman yesterday. No runs but way too many pitches.

I have serious doubts that he will ever be able to keep his pitch count at a tolerable level.

Well I hear Linda Ronstadt is looking for a guitar player.


#20 BSLRobShields

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:21 PM

Palmer said tonight that Tillman was throwing 93-96 in the game yesterday.
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