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2007 Dynasty Chronicles: The Curious Case of Orlando Silva

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Posted 06-25-2013 at 02:45 PM by IndiansGuy57
Updated 06-25-2013 at 02:57 PM by IndiansGuy57

On June 15, 2007, the Chicago Cubs selected 20-year old SP Orlando "Biceps" Silva with the third overall pick in the amateur draft. Three days later the Cleveland Indians obtained Silva for six players.

Silva seemed to have it all: high upside (20/79 rating), 96-98 MPH velocity, four pitches, a strong Work Ethic (16), the top Leadership rating (20) and a world of potential.

Like the Cubs, the Indians started Silva at A ball, and he quickly zipped through the minors. By 2009 he was pitching at AAA, finishing 14-0 with a 1.68 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and a 16-strikeout, 2-walk no-hitter.

Too talented to leave in the minors, Silva had a fine rookie year as a reliever/spot starter in 2010 with the Indians. He posted an 11-3 record, 2.21 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP, with 134 SOs and just 37 BB in 138 IP. He even notched three Saves.

By 2011, this guy was ready for the starting rotation, with a proven track record and a overall 75+ pitching rating.

Here, I thought, was a young flame-thrower under team control for at least another 5 years who could anchor the Indians' rotation for years to come.

Silva opened the 2011 season in the starting rotation. He began red-hot, going 11-0 with a 1.27 ERA through June 1.

And then ...

The alarm bells began to sound in early June. His walks were way up and his strikeouts were down. Not only was his velocity dropping rapidly -- usually a sign a pitcher is in trouble -- but his overall rating had declined to 63/69 by June 15. Something was terribly wrong.

On June 15, 2011 -- two weeks after Silva had been named AL Pitcher of the Month for May -- the Indians traded Silva and two promising youngsters to the San Francisco Giants for three minor leaguers, including the consensus top hitter in the 2011 draft, 3B Anthony Pileta. The Indians' Fan Interest took only a slight hit by trading a player who once boasted an Extremely Popular national rating. A drop in National Popularity, I've found, is evidence a player isn't what he used to be.

Silva surrendered three HRs and 7 earned runs in just 3 1/3 IP in his first start with the Giants. He finished 2011 with an 8-5 mark, a 4.31 ERA and 73 SOs and 57 BB in 112 IP with San Francisco. On the first day of the off-season the Giants dealt him to the Mets for two marginal minor leaguers.

Silva has now been converted to middle relief with the Mets. At the start of the 2012 season, his rating is the lowest-possible 20/20 and his velocity, once in the mid- to high 90s, is 86-88 MPH -- in my book, not even major-league sustainable.

So what happened?

Did he become a meth addict? Was his nickname ("Biceps") a hint he was shooting steroids? WAG trouble? Or did bouncing him up and down between the Majors and AAA in his rookie year (2010) to ensure the Indians always had a 100%-rested 6th starter mess up his development?

It remains a mystery. The only thing for certain is that in five seasons of playing OOTP 8, I've never seen such a complete collapse in talent in so short a time as the bizarre case of Orlando Silva.

"Better to trade a player a year too early rather than a year too late."
-- Branch Rickey

Or a week too late.
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