Archive for the 'Orioles' Category

Shooting Da Bull in Durham

Saturday, June 24th, 2017

Myworld was in Durham for a four game series with the Norfolk Tides. It has been a couple years since we’ve been in Durham. For this trip we noticed some real development and construction happening in the city. Even with the textile and tobacco industry decimated Durham is able to survive. The stadium is probably the best in baseball with its blue wall reminding me of Fenway. No one hit the bull that stands next to the left field foul pole promising steaks to those players who hit the bull and salads to players who strike the grass below the bull. When a Durham player hits a homerun or after a Bull win the bulls eyes turn red and smoke billows from its nose. It is a beautiful ball park worth visiting.

The Norfolk Tides and Durham Bulls split the series. The Tides won the first and last games in routs when the Bull starting pitching faltered. The Bulls won the second and third games. Some of my thoughts on the series:

There was a little bit of rain that fell for all four games. The first game was delayed five minutes while they put on the tarp, only to be removed shortly afterward when the rain stopped after the tarp was put on the field. There was a five minute delay as they rolled the tarp back off the field. There is a covering in the upper decks where fans can go to escape to watch the games, provided there are seats available. In Durham it can get hot and humid so fans are on the ceiling ready to spin to keep you cool.

Brent Honeywell was not effective in his one start. He hit 94 on the radar but he did not last past the third inning giving up six runs.

Willy Adames is a smooth fielding shortstop. He made a number of quantity defensive plays. His one error was on a throw. His bat did not impress in the four games we watched.

Wilson Ramos started all four games, one of them at DH. He went deep once in the last game, the only Bull homerun in the four game series. He may be one of the slowest runners in major league baseball. Expect him to be with the Rays soon.

Johnny Field is another defensive specialist. He makes the diving catch look routine. The big question for him is whether he will have enough bat to play. His legs do not have stolen base speed so his bat needs to hit .270 or plus to be a starter. Myworld did not see a lot of power, but he does have six homeruns. Fields reminded me of Kevin Kiermaier. With the improvements of defensive analytics his glove will play.

Jesus Montero is a big boy that needs to watch his weight. He does not do a lot of running in pregame warmups, but does talk a lot. He is battling to stay over .100. The Braves released him and his bat is not producing with the Orioles. In his two games with the Tides he was 0 for 8 though one of those hits was a diving catch by Johnny Field. If his bat does not play there is not a lot he can offer a major league team.

Chance Sisco is about the only Tide prospect with a chance to make a major impact with the Orioles. The Orioles like to have a bunch of optionable relievers on their AAA staff that they can bring up and down to give the major league team a 10 man bullpen, but none of the arms impressed myworld. What we saw were a bevy of back end or middle relievers.

Ryan Yarbrough pitched well. His fastball doesn’t get past 92 but for a lefty he gets a lot of swings and misses. The Rays acquired him in the Drew Smyly trade from the Mariners. At 6′5″ he does provide a big plane when coming down on the hitters.

Mike Yastrzemski forgot the number of outs after one catch, pausing to run into the dugout as if he had made the third out and allowing a runner to tag and advance to third. His grandfather Carl never would have done that. His lack of tools will make him a fourth outfielder at best in the major leagues.

Blake Snell looked sharp in his outing hitting 95 on the gun and getting lots of swings and misses, especially with his breaking pitch. In his six innings of work the only run he allowed was a solo homerun by Francisco Pena in the sixth.

Brad Boxberger did not look sharp in a rehab relief appearance. He walked four batters in one inning retiring only two hitters.

Ubaldo Gives O’s Big Start Versus Cards

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

If there is one thing the Orioles need it is starting pitching. Only Dylan Bundy is pitching well of their big three with Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman struggling. This puts a strain on the bullpen. Ubaldo Jimenez gave the O’s seven innings allowing just two runs, both bombs by Stephen Piscotty in the O’s 8-5 win and could find himself back in the rotation.

Jimenez fastball is not what it used to be. He sits in the high 80s to low 90s. When he throws strikes he can still be effective. While he walked four none of them hurt him. The defense played well behind him and giving up just four hits did not allow the walks to advance the bases or cross the plate. The two runs he did allow were on balls that cleared the fence, both by Stephen Piscotty. The first homerun just cleared the fence in right center in the second inning, Adam Jones making a valiant leap to keep it from going over the wall. The second homerun by Piscotty came in the fourth with a ball that just cleared the fence in centerfield.

On the other side Lance Lynn was not sharp. The O’s got some good wood on the bat with many of his pitches. Seth Smith led off the first inning with a line drive homerun over the centerfield wall. In the second inning Trey Mancini led off the inning with a blast over the right field scoreboard. That blast gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead, which they would never relinquish.

In the third inning Seth Smith lined a single into centerfield. Seth would finish the day a triple short of the cycle. Manny Machado walked. Adam Jones appeared to spoil the rally grounding into a double play. With a runner on third and a 1-2 count Mark Trumbo stuck his bat out and lined a soft single into left field to plate Smith for a 3-1 lead.

The Orioles put the game away in the fifth. Five straight hitters blasted the ball to the warning track or farther. It started with a blast from Adam Jones that went over the head of Dexter Fowler and one hopped the wall. Fowler appeared a little casual retrieving the ball and Jones made a triple out of it, his first since 2015. Trumbo followed with a shot that just reached the left field bleachers. A fan with a glove had it bounce out of the glove and fall back into the field. Trey Mancini lined a pitch into left centerfield that hit the wall and caromed past Pham and Fowler. Mancini was able to scamper to third for his first career triple. Jonathan Schoop followed with a shot into right center that would have travelled over the fence, but Fowler made a nice leap over the wall and brought the ball back in. Mancini scored to give Schoop a SF. Wellington Castillo finished the day for Lynn by driving one into the Orioles bullpen to give the Orioles a 7-2 lead. Five batters and five blasts in a row. It was amazing Lynn was left in that long.

The Orioles made it 8-2 in the sixth. Seth Smith hit a hustle double to right center field, beating the throw from Piscotty. He advanced to third on a wild pitch. Manny Machado took advantage of a drawn in infield by bouncing one past the shortstop. Smith crossed the plate for his third run of the game.

The call went to Vidal Nuno to pitch the eighth. With an 8-2 lead he walked the leadoff hitter Matt Carpenter. He got ahead of Dexter Fowler with a 1-2 count but Fowler hit the next pitch deep over the center field wall. For Fowler it was the fourth consecutive game in which he has hit a homerun. For Buck he had seen enough for Nuno and placed call on Miguel Castro to finish the inning. Castro got the first two hitters but then gave up a homerun to Yadier Molina deep into the left field bleachers.

With the score 8-5 Brad Brach was called on to finish the ninth. He retired the side in order to give the O’s the rubber match against the Cardinals and earn himself a cheap save.

Game Notes: Both teams abandoned their colors for this game to wear blue to honor Father’s day. The Cardinals blue was darker and they wore gray jerseys…The Cardinal outfield arms are not strong. The O’s took advantage of Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Stephen Piscotty to advance an extra base on three hits, turning two doubles into triples and a single into a double…Trevor Rosenthal is hitting 100 consistently with his fastball. The last time we saw him pitch he was struggling with his fastball down to 96-97…Speaking of velocity myworld was in Bowie last night and watched Jesus Liranzo make his first start. He was hitting 100-101 on almost every pitch. Jesus has been working out of the pen because he only has two pitches. The fastball is hot but an average curve or slider with not a lot of break and a change he threw once that went for a ball gives him a lot to work on if he wants to convert to a starter. The Orioles need starting pitchers and they have two possibilities in Bowie who have high 90s to triple digit fastballs (Tanner Scott is the other pitcher). Tanner has not gone past the third inning in any of his starts…The defense was making some excellent plays behind Ubaldo. A leaping catch by Schoop in the sixth, an unassisted double play by Trey Mancini in the fifth and a nice running catch to the warning track by Jones in the seventh…Can’t see Hyun-Soo Kim getting many starts if he doesn’t start showing some offense. His defense is not strong and he only has one homerun with a .267 average. Those are numbers of a fourth outfielder, but they usually are kept on the bench because of their defense or speed. Kim has neither attribute…The fans gave Ubaldo a standing O after he retired the side in the seventh. They knew his day was done…J.J. Hardy was hit by a pitch in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Ruben Tejeda when the team went on defense in the fifth inning.

MyWorld’s Top Eastern League Prospects

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Myworld watched the Bay Sox blow a 6-2 lead, giving up five runs in the ninth. The Bay Sox were able to rally for one in the bottom of the ninth to send the game into extra innings. The Reading Phillies went on to win the game in 13 innings 7-6 but needless to say we were long gone before the game ended. Instead of recapping the game we thought we’d list our top ten players who are impressing us in the Eastern League. These may not be the top ten prospects but they are the ten we like.

1. Francisco Mejia C (Akron/Indians) - This guy has an arm to discourage base runners. Usually those type of catchers come with weak bats. Not Francisco. He may have the best bat and the best arm of all the catchers in the minor leagues. A couple four hit games has given him a .447 average in his last 10 games, raising his average for the year to an Eastern League leading .363. That is more than 30 points better than the hitter closest to him. Francisco also has hit 8 homeruns to put his slugging average at .625 and his OPS at 1.026. This guy is a beast with all the tools but his legs.

2. Scott Kingery 2b (Reading/Phillies) - When you look at him you don’t see a big guy. Myworld had that same impression when we looked at Brian Dozier. Like Dozier, Kingery is flying balls over the fence with great regularity, blasting an Eastern League leading 18 homeruns. Some would argue the small park at Reading is responsible for a lot of his power, but only 10 of those homeruns have been hit at Reading. Power is not the only tool in his game. Kingery is second in the Eastern League in stolen bases with 16 out of 18 attempts. If he isn’t promoted to the Phillies he has a chance to be a 30/30 player. Myworld has also been impressed by what we saw of his defense. The power has come as a surprise since he has only hit 8 homeruns in his first two years. In 2016 he had a .388 slugging average, this year it is .609.

3. Ryan McMahon 3B (Hartford/Rockies) - Ryan was not long for the Eastern League. After hitting .326 with 6 homeruns he was promoted to AAA. In 13 AAA games he is hitting .404 with three homeruns. McMahon has the unfortunate luck of playing the same position as Nolan Arenado. To ease that dilemma the Rockies have had him play 19 games at second base. The good thing is the Rockies are in a pennant race so Ryan could get traded to acquire veterans quickening his pace to the major leagues at his regular position. The surprise stat for Ryan this year is his 9 for 9 success rate in stolen bases. Prior to that he was below 50 percent in his stolen base success rate.

4. Yefry Ramirez RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Trenton has the top pitching staff in the Eastern League. Ramirez does not lead the league in ERA but his 61 whiffs in 57 innings puts him tied for first in the Eastern League in strikeouts. His fastball has good velocity, hitting the mid-90s and freezing Eastern League hitters to a .193 average. Yefry was placed on the disabled list to begin June otherwise he may have been called up by the Yankees. He only worked 3.2 innings in his last outing giving up one run. Yefry began his career as a position player but after one year moved to the mound.

5. Ronald Herrera RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Ronald got the callup to the Yankees after leading the Eastern League in ERA (1.07) and going 7-0 in his first 8 starts. His secondary numbers are not as dominating as Yefry with only 41 whiffs in 50.1 innings. The soft contact is still there with the opposition hitting him at a lackluster .166 average. One thing you have to like about Ronald is he throws strikes with just 9 walks. He did get one two inning appearance with the Yankees and struggled, giving up two runs. At 5/11″ he is a couple inches smaller than Yefry and his fastball is a couple ticks slower sitting in the low 90s. Ronald could be due for a promotion since he had 24 starts last year in the Eastern League.

6. Miguel Andujar 3B (Trenton/Yankees) - It will either be Gleyber Torres or Miguel replacing Chase Headley at third base. Miguel is leading the Eastern League in RBIs with 47. He makes good contact with the ball which allows him to hit for average (.308). There is also a little pop in his bat with 7 homeruns. His defense is solid but not as flashy as Gleyber so if Greg Bird continues to have injury issues a move to first base may be in the future. The errors need to be reduced with 22 last year and 10 so far this year. Most of his errors are on bad throws.

7. Andrew Pullin LF (Reading/Phillies) - The bat has been solid (.310) with lots of pop (13 homeruns, .559 slugging). Most of his homeruns have been on the road so he has not been helped by the small Reading ball park (9 homeruns away with a .689 slugging). Coming into this season he was not on the Phillies prospect list but that will change after this year. He is tied with Kingery for the Eastern League lead in extra base hits with 34. Not noted for his speed, left field will probably be his best position.

8. Tanner Scott RHP (Bowie/Orioles) - We saw him pitch last night. His fastball is consistently in the high 90s. His breaking ball is a little inconsistent and he has trouble finding the plate. Tanner is not on the league leader boards because the Orioles pull him from his starts after three innings. The opposition is hitting him at a .150 clip and he has struck out 48 in 39 innings. His 26 walks put him a bit short of the 2 for 1 whiff to walk ratio you would like to see. Tanner has not allowed a run in his last four outings covering 12 innings to lower his ERA to 1.38.

9. Erick Fedde RHP (Harrisburg/Nationals) - The Nationals have moved him to the pen and promoted him to AAA. While in the Eastern League he got seven starts and 10 relief appearances. The first round pick could have his mid-90s fastball in the major leagues before the year is out. In the Eastern League he limited the opposition to a .215 average with 54 whiffs in 56 innings. His 3.04 ERA put him tenth in the Eastern League.

10. Rafael Devers 3B (Portland/Red Sox) - The bat can play and if Pablo Sandoval does not get his act together the Red Sox may promote Rafael to the major leagues. His .308 average just misses the top ten but his 12 homeruns and .561 slugging averages are career highs. He has hit homeruns in his last two games. With the Red Sox having a black hole at third base there is no longer any talk of moving Rafael to first base. Speed is not part of his game.

Honorable Mentions

Adam Brett Walker OF (Bowie/Orioles) - He was recently released by the Braves and picked up by the Orioles. At one point he was considered a top ten prospect. He is trying to get scouts to talk about him again with a .444 average, four doubles and two homeruns in his first four games. When he was with the Braves in the Southern League he hit only .122, striking out 23 times in his 49 at bats. The strikeouts will always be there but if the power reappears he could be a player to watch. Last night he went 5 for 6.

Christin Stewart OF (Erie/Tigers) - The one Erie game we watched Stewart did not start. He pinch hit with the bases loaded and two outs, striking out on a high fastball. The bat has some thunder with 16 homeruns, second in the Eastern League but his prevalence for the whiff will keep his average down (.257). Stewart does not have a lot of speed and his defense will limit him to left field.

Chance Adams RHP (Trenton/Yankees) - Chance would be the highest rated pitcher on this list if he spent some time in the Eastern League. He only got six starts but dominated with a 4-0 record and 1.03 ERA. The opposition hit him at a .183 average. Chance is also pitching well at AAA with a 2.52 ERA and a .151 opposition average. At 6′1″ he is not intimidating on the mound but he has a mid-90s fastball and a slider that he uses as his strikeout pitch.

Benintendi Blasts Lead Red Sox Over O’s

Sunday, June 4th, 2017

Andrew Benintendi had gone quite a few games between homeruns, 22 to be exact. Today he hit two as the Red Sox took advantage of some sloppy fielding to beat the Orioles 7-3.

Both starting pitchers Chris Tillman and Chris Sale got off to slow starts. Tillman gave up an infield hit to Mookie Betts that rolled to the third base side of the mound. He was late getting off the mound to field the ball and Machado was too deep to do anything about the roller. Two walks loaded the bases, setting up the stage for a two out Jackie Bradley single into right field that scored two. Mitch Moreland was caught rounding second too far, expecting the throw home and Joey Rickard threw the ball behind him at second. Moreland was easily tagged out but the Red Sox had scored two.

Joey Rickard led off the bottom of the first with a hustle double down the left field line. A walk to Machado put runners on first and second with one out. They pulled a double steal and the throw to third easily beat Rickard to the bag. The umpire called him out but the O’s asked for a review. It turned out Sandoval missed the tag. When Mark Trumbo struck out for the second out Chris Davis came through by poking one to left field to score two runs and tie the game.

The inning was not over. Trey Mancini grounded a ball to third. Sandoval threw to second but Deven Marrero was late covering the bag. The ball went into right field with Davis stopping at second. The official scorer gave no error on the play, assuming he ruled it a fielder’s choice. Jonathan Schoop drove in Davis with a double into the left field corner, but Trey Mancini held at third. Francisco Pena struck out leaving Chris Sale with three whiffs, three runs scored and 39 pitches thrown after one inning of work.

Andrew Benintendi hit the first of his two homeruns to lead off the third, launching a ball high into the patio area over the right field scoreboard. The game was tied at 3-3.

Chris Sale was pretty flawless after the first inning. He struck out nine and did not allow more than one baserunner through the remaining five innings. A Jonathan Schoop double in the fourth and a wild pitch advanced him to third. Back to back K’s to Francisco Pena and J.J Hardy prevented him from scoring. That was the closest the Red Sox came to scoring a run.

The Red Sox got Sale the win with a rally in the top of the sixth. A Mitch Moreland single and two walks again put Chris Tillman in trouble, loading the bases with one out. He looked like he had gotten out of trouble by striking out Sandy Leon on a pitch in the dirt for the second out. His 0-2 pitch to Devon Marrero was also in the dirt and bounced a bit up the first base line. Moreland wandered too far off third, Pena rifled the throw to third, but it was to the foul side of the bag, behind the runner. Manny Machado could not catch the throw and the ball bounced into left field. Before Trey Mancini could recover the ball two runs had scored.

Benintendi put an exclamation point to the win by hitting a line drive over the scoreboard into the right field patio to give the Red Sox another run and a 6-3 lead. The homerun was hit off Mike Wright.

A one out walk in the ninth to Mookie Betts finished the day for Wright. Richard Bleier came on to face the lefty swinging Benintendi. Betts appeared picked off as he broke for second and Bleier threw the ball to first. The throw from first to second arrived too late to get Betts. Benintendi facing the lefty Bleier singled into right field to score the seventh and last run.

Game Notes: A tribute was given to Fred Manfra who was calling his last game today. Health problems (hip surgeries and back ailments) are forcing him to leave the game in the middle of the season. He had cut back on the number of games he would announce this year, indicating this would be his last year, but finishing out the season proved difficult…It was a light crowd of just 32,000, a small crowd for a Red Sox game on a Sunday. The first game against the Yankees a couple days ago drew just a little over 16,000.

Travis Blast All Jays Need in Win Over O’s

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Devon Travis slugged a three run homerun in the first inning. It was all the Toronto Blue Jays needed in their 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Marco Estrada tantalized them the rest of the way with his 90 mile per hour fastball, striking out 12 before his day was done after giving up a two out single in the eighth. The win saved the Blue Jays from being swept in the series.

Wade Miley also pitched well for the Orioles. Some would argue the three runs shouldn’t have scored since they all were unearned. Jonathan Schoop got lazy on a two out grounder from Kendrys Morales, backhanding it instead of circling in front of the ball and having the ball glance off his glove. Justin Smoak singled to right field to keep the inning alive for Travis. He drove the first pitch he saw from Miley deep into the left field bleachers for a 3-0 lead.

Miley would go seven innings. He gave up just four hits through the next six innings. The only offense the Orioles could generate was a solo homerun by Adam Jones in the fourth that also carried into the left field bleachers. It tied him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most homeruns hit in Camden Yards.

The Orioles advanced a runner to third with one out in the third after a Trey Mancini double but Paul Janish struck out. They also got a runner to second in the eighth but Chris Davis looked at his third strike three call on his third 91 mile per hour fastball that split the plate.

Game Notes: The 12 strikeouts by Marco Estrada was a career high. Manny Machado and Chris Davis were both caught looking on pedestrian 91 mile per hour fastballs in back to back at bats. For Chris Davis he was caught looking three times, once by Joe Smith…The Adam Jones homerun was his 124th at Camden Yards. That ties him with Rafael Palmeiro for the most homeruns in Camden Yards…The ushers are tough about ticket holders parking themselves in better seats along the left field bleachers near the foul pole. They kicked a number of squatters out. As they were kicked out the squatters would complain the section is empty. If you wanted to sit there you should have bought a ticket for that section. By the fifth inning the gates opened and all the Little Leaguers who attended the game were crowding into the left field bleacher section. Perhaps that was why the ushers were keeping non-ticket holders out. The Little Leaguers were promised the opportunity to move up after the fourth inning. It seemed strange to be the only one in section 72 through the first four innings then have a flood of fans race to that section in the fifth inning…Adam Jones finished with three of the seven Oriole hits…Anthony Alford gets down the first base line very quickly. He almost beat out two routine grounders. He is still looking for his first major league hit…Odd watching two Schoops on back to back days. Sharlon is in Bowie and Jonathan plays in Baltimore.

Bay Sox Nip the Rumble Ponies

Sunday, May 21st, 2017

Aderlin Rodriguez lined a pitch over the left field fence to break a 1-1 tie and the Bay Sox held on for a 4-3 win. Brandon Barker pitched well allowing just one run in his five innings of work. His first 11 pitches in the game were strikes with his fastball hitting 93-95.

The Rumble Ponies started catching up to Barker in the second. After two were out they collected three consecutive singles to load the bases. Champ Stuart came up and swung at and missed on a 94 mile per hour heater, the second of what would be four whiffs to end the threat. They had runners on first and third with two outs in the third but David Thompson lined out to center field.

It was an error by third baseman Sean Coyle on a leadoff grounder by L.J. Mazilli that broke the shutout in the fourth. Colton Plaiai blooped a single into left center. Mazilli was going on the pitch and easily took third. The only time Champ made contact on the night he bounced one to short. The Bay Sox tried to turn two but the speedy Stuart stepped on first just as the throw hit the mitt. Mazilli scored on the play to put the Ponies up 1-0.

Corey Oswalt was pitching well for the Rumble Ponies, his fastball hitting 96 but sitting in the 93 mile per hour range. The Bay Sox threatened, putting runners on first and third with one out in the third but a Jay Gonzalez strikeout and D.J. Stewart ground out prevented them from scoring. A one out double in the fourth had Garabez Rosa at third with two out when Erick Salcedo struck out.

Down 1-0 into the fifth Sharlon Schoop grounded a two out single into left field, the second hit for Schoop in the game. Jay Gonzalez drove a pitch into the left center field gap. A poor route by the left fielder and two weak throws could not get Schoop as he raced home, the throw from the cutoff man Jio Mier off line. The Bay Sox were to load the bases later in the inning for their top hitter Garabez Rosa but he grounded to short to end the inning tied at 1-1.

Aderlin Rodriguez led off the sixth with his line drive homerun. The Bay Sox upped the advantage to 4-1 in the seventh scoring two off reliever Cory Burns, who at 29 last appeared in the major leagues in 2013. Jay Gonzalez hit a one out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. D.J. Stewart lined a pitch down the right field line for a double, cruising into second and just barely beating the throw from right field. Austin Wynns walked and this time Garabez Rosa came through with a single over the shortstop to score Stewart from second. Austin Wynns got caught straying too far off second and was picked off by the cutoff throw trying to dive back into second. The rally ended with the Bay Sox up 4-1.

Lucas Long pitched four innings of relief. He stranded runners on second and third with two out in the eighth striking out Colton Plaia, his third strikeout of the inning. In his four innings of work Long struck out 8. With two outs in the ninth Kevin Taylor rifled a single up the middle. Cody Decker lifted a 1-1 pitch over the tall wall in left field to pull the Ponies to within one. Kevin Kazmarski lined the first pitch he saw for a single into left field. Long got ahead of David Thompson 0-2, threw a breaking pitch in the dirt and got Thompson swinging and missing for the third out.

Game Notes: The Bay Sox are one minor league team that does not have netting to stop foul balls lined into the third base and first base areas. That proved tragic last night when a line drive from left handed hitter Luis Guillorme struck a child as it rifled over the third base dugout. The game was delayed for 30 minutes while Bay Sox officials tended to the child and before emergency medics could arrive to take the child to the hospital on a stretcher…Champ Stuart had a rough day going 0 for 5 with four whiffs. Luis Guillorme also went 0 for 5 to drop his average below .300. He was playing second base as the Mets recognize Amed Rosario will be the shortstop of the future…D.J. Stewart has some speed for a big guy. His arm is best suited for left field and his bat (.239 average and .769 OPS) has still not convinced my world he will be an impact major leaguer. Stewart was selected by the Orioles in the first round in 2015, the 25th player selected in the draft…Sean Coyle does not appear comfortable at third base. At one point he was considered a Red Sox prospect as a second baseman. He has bounced around between second and third with the Bay Sox, but his glove work at third last night was poor…Garabez Rosa made a nice catch in centerfield. His .344 average is fourth in the Eastern League but at 27 he is an organizational player. If the Orioles have room on their 40 man roster they may call him up, but it would be at the expense of another player being removed from the 40 man roster…Austin Wynns is third in the Eastern League in average at .344 but at 26 he is also more an organizational player…Corey Oswalt came into the game with a 2.04 ERA, which was third in the Eastern League. He was a seventh round pick of the Mets in 2012. This is his first season in AA.

Another May Prospect Review

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

Christian Walker 1B (Diamondbacks) - At 26 and recently put on waivers by the Orioles Christian is not much of a prospect. But he did hit for the cycle in a 4 for 6 game, driving in five runs. He is an RBI machine with his 42 leading the Pacific Coast League. His 10 homeruns is second in the league, but the league leader Jamie Romak has left for the KBO.

Colton Welker 3B (Rockies) - Colton will not move Nolan Arenado from third base. At 19 years of age the Rockies have a long time to figure out where they want to place him. He is wearing out Low A pitchers. A 13 for 21 five game hitting streak has elevated his average to .355. He has homered in his last two games driving in 7 of the 18 runs he has driven in all year.

Johan Mieses CF (Dodgers) - When Johan hits the ball they usually go over the fence. In a three game stretch he collected five of his 10 hits for the year, four of them clearing the fence. Five of his 10 hits have cleared the fence. The 36 whiffs in 24 games has anchored his average at .125 in AA.

Tyler Wade SS (Yankees) - Shortstop appears to be well stocked in the Yankees minor league system. Tyler may not be the most heralded, but a seven game hitting streak (14 for 33) raised his average to .326 and produced his first two homeruns. Tyler has 12 steals in 15 attempts and has already appeared on this list twice, one more than Gleyber Torres.

Brendan Rodgers SS (Rockies) - Brendan is in the midst of a 13 game hitting streak that puts his average at a Ted Williams like .405. A promotion from the California League looks to be on the horizon.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - The Orioles will be looking for a shortstop in a couple years after J.J. Hardy departs and Machado follows him a year later. The 2015 first round pick had a four hit game to raise his average to .342. Ryan is showing some power with his bat, unloading for seven homeruns and 14 doubles for a .596 slugging average.

Jon Duplantier RHP (Diamondbacks) - In five starts Jon has not given up an earned run in four of them. He pitched another five innings of shutout ball, allowing just two hits and striking out eight. The whiffs give him 48 for his 36 innings. The opposition is hitting only .142 against him.

Kyle Lloyd RHP (Padres) - Kyle threw the third no hitter of the year, going all nine innings. He walked one and only struck out three. There was a three game stretch in which he gave up 14 runs in just under 13 innings. His other five starts he has only allowed two earned runs.

Kolby Allard LHP (Braves) - His back problems seem to be gone. In eight starts he has only given up six runs. The strikeout numbers are not great (35 in 44 innings) but hitters are not making solid contact (.190). Last year Kolby only went 87 innings. This year he has already reached 44 innings.

Lucas Sims RHP (Braves) - Up a level in AAA Sims threw 6.2 innings of shutout ball, giving up just two hits, striking out 10. Lucas could be an option for the Braves in mid-season.

Chance Adams RHP (Yankees) - Chance dominated in AA, allowing just four earned runs in six starts. The opposition hit just .183 against him. Promoted to AAA he pitched five more shutout innings, allowing just two hits. The Yankees could use some starters with Tanaka struggling.

Wilmer Font RHP (Dodgers) - Wilmer had a day with 15 whiffs in just seven innings of work. He gave up one run on two hits. For the year Font has been a whiff machine with 63 in 42 innings. Font has bounced around with his high 90s fastball putting him in the closer role for a couple years. Font did not pitch in 2015 after being released by the Rangers but the Dodgers signed him in 2016 and moved him into the rotation.

Wieters Walkoff Against Old Mates

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

It was supposed to be a good day in D.C. with the Capitals battling the Penguins in game 7 and the Wizards in Boston to face the Celtics for game 5. Nationals park was relatively empty as the Nationals battled with their cross town rivals the Baltimore Orioles. Only the Nationals prevented this day from being a disaster.

The Capitals could muster no offense in losing to the Penguins to continue their disappointing playoff appearances. The Wizards played no defense in getting spanked by Boston and now face elimination in their NBA playoff series. At the same time the Orioles were controlling the game against the Nationals until the ninth inning.

Stephen Strasburg struggled early. He got the strikeouts with nine in six innings of work but a rough second inning did him in. He hit Jonathan Schoop to start the inning. J.J. Hardy rifled a single into right field. Caleb Joseph barely got his bat on the ball and blooped a hit over the head of first baseman Ryan Zimmerman to drive in the first run. With runners on first and third Wade Miley laid down a bunt for a base hit to load the bases. The Nationals were not expecting the bunt, playing the infield back. Seth Smith drove a pitch deep into centerfield. Michael Taylor caught it at the fence and Nationals fans breathed a sigh of relief as only one run scored instead of four. Adam Jones slapped a single into right field to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

In the fourth the Nationals rallied for a run after two were out. Anthony Rendon walked. Matt Wieters began his torment of the Orioles with his second hit of the day, a single to right center. Michael Taylor got his first of two clutch hits lining a single into left field. In his first at bat he struck out with runners on first and third and one out.

The Orioles did the Nationals one better after Strasburg retired the first two hitters. Chris Davis lined a single up the middle. Mark Trumbo put an end to his power outage by almost reaching the Red Porch bar in center field with a shot that easily cleared the left field bull pen to give the Orioles a 5-1 lead.

In the bottom frame the Nationals pecked back, loading the bases with no out on singles by Trea Turner and Bryce Harper with a walk sandwiched in between by Jayson Werth. They could only salvage one in the inning after Ryan Zimmerman struck out and Daniel Murphy barely beat a throw to first on what was almost a double play ground out. Turner scored to make it 5-2.

Blake Treinen came on to pitch the seventh. The Nationals bullpen has given up more homeruns than any other bullpen in the National League. After retiring the first two hitters Treinen continued that trend grooming a pitch to Manny Machado who stroked it into the left field bleachers for a solo shot. The Orioles appeared to have a commanding 6-2 lead.

Michael Taylor whittled into that lead. Daniel Murphy started the inning with a single. Alec Asher came on to strike out the first two hitters he faced. Michael Taylor did not take long in his at bat, flicking his wrists on Asher’s first pitch and lining a drive into the left field bleachers to pull the Nationals to within 6-4.

The Orioles went with Brad Brach in the ninth with their closer Zach Britton on the disabled list. Jayson Werth ran the count full and then poked one into right field that barely landed into the bleachers for a solo shot. Bryce Harper also went the other way by slicing a double into left field. Ryan Zimmerman had an opportunity for a walk off, something he has not done in awhile, but he grounded to the pitcher. After throwing three balls to Daniel Murphy the O’s put him on with an intentional walk on the fourth pitch. Anthony Rendon lined a single into centerfield to load the bases with one out. Matt Wieters swung at the first pitch from Brach and lined one the other way, past the glove of Chris Davis and into right field for a base hit to score two and give the Nationals the 7-6 win. Wieters was mobbed at first base.

Game Notes: The Orioles now know how the Nationals felt after their bullpen blew a lead the previous day. The Orioles are struggling to find a closer after an injury to Zach Britton could keep him off the field for a couple months…The attendance was listed as 32,984, a small crowd considering this was an Orioles game. The Penguins and Celtics playoff matches could not have had that big an influence on advanced ticket sales…Michael Taylor did strike out in the second inning with runners on first and third and one out. He made up for it in two of his next three at bats with clutch two out hits…Bryce Harper swings and misses at too many fastballs…Ryan Zimmerman had a rough night going 0 for 5 with two strikeouts and a ground into double play. He was robbed of a hit in the first inning when J.J. Hardy made a leaping catch on his line drive. He is 1 for 14 in the first three games of this series, dropping his average below .400…Hyun-Soo Kim is not hitting for a lot of power, which could limit his playing time in left field. With no DH spot available Seth Smith got the start with Kim slugging only .311. Kim got an opportunity to pinch hit but struck out in his one at bat against Strasburg…The loss ended a six game winning streak by the Orioles…Matt Albers, another former Oriole struck out the side in the top of the ninth.

Hot Prospects at the Close of April

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

Hard to believe that the baseball season has already finished April. Some of those hot prospects we have identified have already been called up. Others have been promoted. Even though April has ended there are still five more months of baseball to be played, with those coveted September call ups a reward for an outstanding season.

Gleyber Torres SS (Yankees) - Gleyber spent a little time on the disabled list. He was hitting .237 with nary a homerun. Upon his return the ball started jumping off his bat. His last two games he has gone 5 for 7 with his first homerun and four RBIs. Now his average has climbed to a more respectable .292. He still needs to work on his stolen base efficiency, going 2 for 4 in stolen base success rate.

Elias Diaz C (Pirates) - Elias is noted for his superb defense. A four game hitting streak in which he has gone 7 for 15 with a homerun and six RBIs, plus a Francesco Cervelli toe injury has gotten him a call up to the Pirates. For the season Elias is hitting .305. Last year Elias had trouble staying healthy, playing in only 34 games. The year before he won the Captains Choice award for being the best defensive catcher in the minor leagues.

Yanio Perez RF (Rangers) - Yanio has five straight multiple hit games to go with an 8 game hitting streak that has his average shooting to .348. The Cuban has also homered in three consecutive games and in his last four games driven in 12 runs. A 1.095 OPS could result in a promotion to High A for the 21 year old. Yanio signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in September 2016.

Danny Jansen C (Blue Jays) - The 22 year old is raking in the Florida State League. A 4 for 5 day put his average at .416. The 16th round pick in 2013 has been a bit of a surprise with the bat. The last two season injuries have limited him to less than 60 games.

Jon Kemmer OF (Astros) - Jon was another late round draft pick, drafted by the Astros in the 21st round in the 2013 draft. In his last three games Jon has been raking at a 10 for 15 clip with two homeruns and seven RBIs. At 26 Jon is a little old to be considered a prospect, but 5 got 5 days are enough to get him major league attention.

Ryan Mountcastle SS (Orioles) - In a couple years Manny Machado and J.J. Hardy will be gone and the Orioles will be looking for a replacement. Ryan could be that guy, especially after a 4 for 5 performance in which he hit a homerun and drove in four. The homerun was his fifth to go along with his blistering .323 average.

Garrett Stubbs C (Astros) - The 8th round 2015 pick has been smoking in the Texas League. A five game hitting streak in which he has gone 10 for 20 to raise his average to 341. Garrett has homered three times in his last two games, which equals his number for the year.

Trent Clark RF (Brewers) - Trent was a first round pick of the Brewers in 2015. The Brewers outfield is crowded in the minor leagues. Last year Trent hit just .231 with hamstring issues limiting his season to 59 games. He got off to a slow start this year with a .183 average entering the Sunday game. A 5 for 6 performance raised that average to .239.

Luis Guillorme SS (Mets) - Luis is noted more for his glove and takes a back seat on the prospect ladder to Amed Rosario. A 4 for 5 day put his average in AA to .342, almost 100 points higher than his average from last year. Luis has no power with just one homerun as he enters his fifth year in pro ball. Only five of his 26 hits have gone for extra bases, all of them doubles.

Dustin Fowler OF (Yankees) - Dustin hit for the cycle on Sunday, going 5 for 6 with a walk off homerun in the 11th inning to complete the cycle. A 9 for 13 spurt has raised his average to .293 with a .573 slugging average. Dustin was an 18th round pick in 2013 that is starting to show that he could be a five tool player.

Anderson Franco 1B and Carter Kieboom SS (Nationals) - On the same day Anthony Rendon drove in 10 runs in the Nationals 23-5 win over the Mets, the Hagerstown team beat the Lexington Legends 22-4 with Anderson and Carter combining for 10 RBIs. Carter exploded for three homeruns and five RBIs on his 5 for 7 performance. Anderson only hit one homerun but he drove in five runs in a 4 for 6 day.

Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) - Not a day noted for pitching highlights, but Sean had a game with 11 whiffs in seven innings of work. He allowed just one hit. This is his second shutout performance in a row in which he has only allowed three hits in 12 innings. After his first three starts his ERA was 5.65. Now it is 3.08.

Austin Sodders LHP (Tigers) - Austin also pitched his second shutout start in a row and has three in the four games he has started. In the six inning outing he struck out 10 and allowed just three hits. He has struck out 19 in his last two starts covering 11 innings. Austin lacks a power packed pitch, with a fastball that sits at a pedestrian 88-92. He gets outs with command of his pitches.

More Prospects Raking from Walker to Palka

Monday, April 17th, 2017

Below are some more prospects doing it with the arms and the bats.

Christian Walker 1B (Diamondbacks) - He got knocked from first base to the outfield by Trey Mancini and this year the Orioles released him. Back at his normal first base position his bat has returned in the early season. Christian hit his fourth home run and drove in a season high four runs with a 2 for 5 performance. The 16 RBIs for the year have put him in a tie for first in the Pacific Coast League with Jeimer Candelario, another player featured here for his bat. At 26 years of age Walker’s prospect status is just a glimmer, but there are teams who could use a right handed bat off the bench.

Ian Happ 2B (Cubs) - Ian was already leading the Pacific Coast League in homeruns with five, but he added another one to the total to take a two homer lead. Ian has pasted two hits in five of his last six games to up his average to .311. He has also found a home at second base, with eight of his 11 games there, though he has made two errors.

Cody Bellinger 1B (Dodgers) - The Dodgers have been in talks with the Brewers for Ryan Braun. After kicking the tires for Braun they may want to move Bellinger to the outfield. Cody hit his third homerun yesterday and his 2 for 3 day raised his average to .395. He has also driven in a run in his last four games. Strikeouts have been a concern with 12 in his 10 games and at least one whiff in his last six games. The Dodgers have put Bellinger in the outfield for one of his 10 games. On Saturday night he played centerfield.

Daniel Palka LF (Twins) - Daniel is not going to make you notice him because of his glove in the outfield. It is the bat that defines Palka’s game and yesterday that bat was sizzling with a 4 for 4 day. He was a triple short of the cycle but in his fourth at bat he went deep for his second homerun of the game, his fourth of the season, rather than hitting that paltry triple for the first cycle of the 2017 season. He was in a 1 for 21 slump through Friday, a slump that began after his first two homerun game. The Twins hope another 1 for 21 does not follow.

Ofelky Peralta RHP (Orioles) - The Orioles have been criticized by their lack of international resolve in looking for prospects. Ofelky is one of the rare Dominicans signed by the Orioles. At 6′5″ he has good height for a pitcher. Yesterday he allowed just one hit in five innings of work in a game the Frederick Keys lost when their bullpen gave up a trio of runs each in the last three innings. Ofelky has had some issues with command, walking 9 in 9 innings. On the bright side he has also struck out 14 with a 1.00 ERA. The opposition has a batting average of .138 against him.

Francis Martes RHP (Astros) - Another pitcher who has trouble finding the plate. Francis walked 6 in 4.1 innings of work, but no one crossed the plate in his second shutout appearance of the year in two games. Francis has walked 9 in 9.1 innings but he has struck out 10 and left the game with his 0.00 ERA intact. He left the game after throwing 93 pitches.

Jonathan Dziedzic RHP (Royals) - In a game against the New Orleans Baby Cakes Jonathan no hit them for 6.2 innings. After striking out Destin Hood on his 100th pitch the Storm Chasers removed him from the game. The Baby Cakes got their one and only hit in the ninth inning. Jonathan walked one and struck out six. It was his third start, and second without giving up a run, extending his shutout string to 13.1 innings. His ERA is now a svelte 1.04. If the Royals are looking for a starter Jonathan could be their man.