With a baby bird in LA in the Futures Game, here is the review from Orioles’ prospects and minor leagues.
This week, the fourth Orioles Draft under Mike Elias’s regime has concluded (check this review of Day #1 and Day #2 from our crew). Before Jackson Holliday debuts as a pro, we’ll talk about another week on MiLB. Similar to MLB, they have a break and returns next Friday for a three-game series.
AAA Norfolk Tides
MVP: LHP DL Hall (Yeah… This guy again – 2 GS, 10.2 IP, 4 H, R, 5 BB, 18 K, .108 avg)
A statement from the Orioles’ best left-handed prospect: I’M READY! This month for Hall has been outstanding. Every game is a masterpiece. On Tuesday, against the Worcester Red Sox (Boston affiliate), he had eight K’s in 5.2 IP. On Sunday, he had 10 strikeouts in 5 IP. No doubt: MiLB Player of The Week. Question for Elias: Does he have anything left to prove in AAA? I believe he debuts, if not late July, some point in August. The MLB debut for Hall is coming.
For the team, another split in six games. On and off the field, Gunnar Henderson had a great week: A 1.233 OPS in three games (two triples, two walks and two strikeouts), leadoff hitter for American League in the Futures Game in Los Angeles (how is the view up there, Adam?) and cover guy on the next Baseball America edition. He got on base twice via a walk and an error and scored a run in each plate appearance. Terrin Vavra had a great week (slash line .333/.556/.417, double, five walks and three strikeouts). He is another prospect set to debut in the near future.
Unranked prospect to watch: C Brett Cumberland (1.025 OPS)
One player from the Kevin Gausman trade in 2018, Cumberland has had ups-and-downs in the minors since he joined the organization. Maybe he has an opportunity to play a game in MLB one day. The 27-year-old had an OPS over 1,000 because he was one for four batters who hit a Home Run last week for Norfolk.
Next series: at Durham Bulls (Rays affiliate)
AA Bowie Baysox
Co-MVPs: SS Joey Ortiz and OF Colton Cowser (it’s a tough decision)
Bowie is still rising. Even in a five-game series against the Akron Rubberducks (Guardians affiliate), the Baysox almost swept this series (the Saturday game was postponed because rain). It’s too hard to decide who the best prospects are, but today is an exception. The guy who Keith Law likes a lot had more hits (7) than games played (5), two Homers (1.284 OPS), one walk and only two strikeouts. Cowser had a 2-HR game (3 in total) and despite a 5-17 at the plate, had the same discipline (2 BB and 2 K). Curiosity about Connor Norby this week: only three hits, but two of them left the yard.
On the mound, another good rehab appearance for Orioles rookie Kyle Bradish (5.0 IP, H, 4 K). Just keep going! Drew Rom had eight K’s in five innings (seven hits and two earned runs) and Garrett Stallings shined again in relief (seven strikeouts in six shutout innings).
Unranked prospect to watch: 2B Greg Cullen
He was demoted from Norfolk ten days ago and has raked so far. He led the team in OPS (1.365) and second in batting average (.375). Will the elevator effect continue for him?
Next series: at Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF Giants affiliate)
A+ Aberdeen IronBirds
MVP and unranked to watch: Ignacio Feliz (6.0 IP, H, 2 BB, 7 K)
It is good to remember this week that Heston Kjerstad played in High-A for the first time. But inclement weather changed that. Rain, two games postponed, trees fallen in parking and right field–not a good week for baseball. Aberdeen lost four of six against Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies affiliate) and Feliz (means ‘Happy’ in Portuguese and Spanish, by the way) was the best IronBird.
On the game side, Kjerstad debuted on July 14th and had a not-so-good first experience (only two hits in 15 at-bats). Only two players had at least five hits: Darell Hernaiz and Collin Burns. A long road trip might be good for them.
Next series: at Greenville Drive (Red Sox affiliate)
A- Delmarva Shorebirds
MVPs and unranked to watch: a three-player tie
Well, the best ranked Orioles prospects are in AA or higher. For now, we’ll see a lot of ‘unknowns’ until outlets write about one of them, like BA on Frederick Bencosme. He had a .583 batting average (14-24) and two 4-hit performances against the Carolina Mudcats (Brewers affiliate) in another split in six games. Don’t be surprised if Bencosme appears in the top 30 prospects by the year’s end.
The other two players are Luis Valdez, with three 3-hit performances and four stolen bases (Aberdeen had only two last week), and Roberto Martinez, with a surprising 13-21 (.619) at the plate to boost his batting average in July to .243. On the mound, Ryan Long played well (6.0 IP, 3 H, BB, 5 K).
Question for Birdland: Will Holliday debut for Delmarva in 2022 or 2023?
Next series: vs Fredericksburg Nationals (Washington affiliate)