Douglass' best weapon could be his poise

Baysox right-hander also improves control


Minor Leagues

May 15, 2000|By KENT BAKER

The secret to Sean Douglass may be that he is stoic.

"If you walk into the park and don't look at the scoreboard, you can't tell by watching him if he's winning or losing," said Bowie manager Andy Etchebarren. "He's got great poise on the mound, way more than a lot of guys. This kid is going to be a good pitcher."

"I believe that whether the score is 9-0 or 0-9, I should go after each and every hitter like it was 0-0," said the Orioles'second-round draftee from1997. "I don't want them to know how I'm feeling. There is always time to celebrate after the game."

Douglass, 21, is highly regarded, especially by Etchebarren, who has managed theright-hander at every level up to his current Double-A.

With a fastball approaching the mid-90s and the standard curveball and changeup, he doesn't have a tricky arsenal. But he knows how to use what he has, and, according to Etchebarren "he is filling out and getting stronger, so his stuff is getting better. Besides, his delivery is so fluid, he is sneaky fast."

At 6 feet 6,200 pounds, the native of Lancaster, Calif., also exhibits excellent control with a nearly 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, is holding runners on base more deftly with improved footwork and a quicker delivery and fields his position well.

Douglass has a reputation for giving his team quality starts, and none was of more quality than on April19, when he pitched six no-hit innings against the Altoona Curve. Removed after 96 pitches, Douglass ceded to Jimmy Hamilton, who completed the seven-inning no-no.

"I didn't think I had great stuff that night," said Douglass. "Sometimes, the hitters get themselves out. It would have been nice to finish it, but I pretty much knew I was coming out. I understood it."

A stress fracture at the end of 1998 temporarily slowed his rise, but when he returned in midseason last year, he pitched to a3.32 ERA at Frederick, third best among Oriole minor-leaguers.

A position player known more for his bat in high school, he decided not to attend Pepperdine University when drafted as a pitcher.

"If I had still been an outfielder, it would have been a tougher decision," he said. "But with a pitcher, you never know what can happen to your arm. The pros take care of you a little better than colleges can."

Playing in the California Fall League last year enabled him to stay at home (Lancaster is between Los Angeles and Bakersfield) and to learn from his current pitching coach, Dave Schmidt.

"As far as I'm concerned, Sean is one of the top three pitching prospects in this organization," said Etchebarren.

Triple-A Rochester

The home run continues to victimize the Red Wings' staff. While going 1-6 on a recent road trip, their pitchers allowed 19 homers, including five in two different games. Rochester has been out-homered 40-19 this season and 370-253 during the past three years. ... Josh Towers was the International League Pitcher of the Week after allowing one earned run in 15 innings. He is seventh in the league with a 2.39 ERA and has struck out 27 while walking five. ... Francisco Matos is playing third base every day in Ryan Minor's absence and is hitting .307. ... First baseman Calvin Pickering has twice as many errors (six) as home runs (three). He continues to struggle and is 1-for-15 against left-handers. ... While Eugene Kingsale was delayed in reporting after aggravating a quadriceps pull in Florida, center fielder Jose Herrera is filling in nicely. Herrera had an eight-game batting streak. ... The Red Wings are 7-27 in their past 34 extra-inning games.

Double-A Bowie

The Baysox entered the weekend with the best record among American League Double-A affiliates. If that holds, Etchebarren would guide the American squad in the All-Star Game at Prince George's Stadium July12. ... Bowie has won five straight games started by Rick Bauer, who has not issued a walk nor allowed a home run in any of them. ... The team is averaging 6.1 runs and leading the Eastern League with a .279 average.Ivanon Coffie is tops with 40 hits, followed by teammates Rick Short and Darnell McDonald. Coffie is first with 27 RBIs, McDonald first with 28 runs and Short second with a .380 average. ... The Baysox are 19-7 with Eddy Garabito hitting leadoff or second, 0-6 when he bats down in the order. He has 15 RBIs over a 12-game span. ... Jayson Werth has not stolen a base in a month after leading the league early. ... John Stephens, the control artist from Australia, struck out 40 and walked six in his first six starts. ... Catcher Tom McGee made three starts at third.

Single-A Frederick

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