Dean Jones Report: Josh Hart hurting; Tanner Scott surging; Hunter Harvey returning - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dean Jones Report

Dean Jones Report: Josh Hart hurting; Tanner Scott surging; Hunter Harvey returning

April 15, 2016: Frederick Keys center fielder Josh Hart (10) during a game against the Lynchburg Hillcats at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium. Photo: Joy R. Absalon/MiLB.com
Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

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The weeks after Major League Baseball’s first-year-player draft are often filled with promotions, releases and other moves as a new group of signees joins the organization.

On Friday, the Orioles announced their first draft-pick signing – former Illinois right-hander Cody Sedlock, the club’s first-round selection (27th overall). And Monday, the club added another five players to the mix – outfielder Austin Hays (third round), right-hander Lucas Humpal (ninth round), right-hander Cody Dube (10th round), shortstop Chris Clare (21st round) and third baseman Collin Woody (38th round).

In the coming days, the Orioles will sign more players from this year’s draft. Many of them will report to the club’s minor-league facility in Sarasota, Fla., and then to either the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles or short-season Single-A Aberdeen.

And since High-A Frederick and Low-A Delmarva are at their respective All-Star breaks right now, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of roster shuffling occurs as the organization reviews its players and rewards those who are having great seasons with promotions.

Anyway, let’s get into this week’s update. Regular BaltimoreBaseball.com readers know “The Dean Jones Report” is my way to alert Orioles fans every Tuesday on the performance of the organization’s top prospects, according to Baseball America.

Right-handers Dylan Bundy and Mychal Givens are currently in the major leagues, so they’re excluded from this list. I’ll add right-hander Mike Wright beginning next week, since he hasn’t appeared in a game for Triple-A Norfolk yet.

The players each receive a bullish (rising stock) or bearish (falling stock) rating, based on their recent performances. For each prospect, I’ve listed notable statistics and a link to his MILB.com Player Page.

I’ve also selected a handful of players who are either surging or falling in the Orioles’ minor league system. And, at the bottom of the post, I’ve listed the upcoming schedules for the club’s affiliates.

TOP PROSPECTS
No. 2: Hunter Harvey, RHP, extended spring training
BEARISH
Statistics: N/A
MILB.com Player Page

Another week has come and gone without the 21-year-old right-hander pitching for a minor league affiliate. Harvey underwent sports hernia surgery seven weeks ago and still hasn’t returned to action. Before Monday night’s makeup game in Texas, Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that the 2013 first-round pick (22nd overall) would throw a live bullpen session Tuesday in Sarasota, Fla. If all goes well, he’ll pitch two innings Saturday in a Gulf Coast League game, according to The Baltimore Sun. I recently looked at the box score from the last time Harvey pitched in a regular-season game – for Delmarva at Rome, an Atlanta Braves affiliate, on July 25, 2014. He took the loss after allowing four runs and eight hits in five innings. The winning pitcher that day? Current Bowie right-hander Brandon Barker, whom  the Orioles acquired last month in the deal for left-hander Brian Matusz.

No. 3: Chance Sisco, C, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .313 average, 0 HRs, 22 RBIs, 14 2Bs, 25 runs in 57 games
MILB.com Player Page

The 2013 second-round selection is currently on a six-game hitting streak, including a pinch-hit double with two outs in the ninth inning of Bowie’s 5-4 loss at Erie on Friday. Sisco, 21, has hit safely in 14 of his 17 games this month. Although he has consistently gotten on base for the Baysox – and currently leads the Eastern League in hitting – his average has actually dropped slightly over the past week and a half (from .319 on June 9 to .313 today). And, even though Sisco continues to rank first on the team with 14 doubles, he still has not homered this season. I’m undecided on how to rate Sisco’s performance due to his lack of power this year, but I’ll keep him in the bullish category for now.

No. 4: Jomar Reyes, 3B, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: .230 average, 4 HRs, 25 RBIs, 26 runs, 53 Ks in 64 games
MILB.com Player Page

In a season full of ups and downs, Reyes had another streaky week. On Tuesday, the 19-year-old infielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI in the Keys’ 5-4 victory at Myrtle Beach. Then, he went hitless in nine at-bats over the next three games before finishing the first half with an RBI single, a double and two runs scored as Frederick routed Lynchburg, 12-6, on Sunday. Overall, Reyes’ average is exactly where it stood a week ago – .230. But he appears to have progressed offensively. In 19 games this month, Reyes is batting .288 with four doubles and six RBIs. And, perhaps most telling, he has only struck out 11 times so far in June after averaging about a strikeout per game in his first 45 contests this year.

No. 6: Chris Lee, LHP, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: 5-0, 2.98 ERA, 19 Ks, 1.05 WHIP in 51 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

It has been a little more than two weeks since the 23-year-old left-hander went on the seven-day disabled list at Bowie with a lat-muscle strain in the upper part of his back. Lee, who earned a victory in each of his first five starts before three straight no-decisions, hasn’t pitched for the Baysox in about a month. In his last appearance, Lee threw 99 pitches in eight innings – both season highs – in a 2-1, 12-inning loss at Hartford on May 23. While there is still plenty of time left in the season, it’s becoming less likely that Lee will make his way to the major leagues at some point this year.

No. 7: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: .297 average, 5 HRs, 20 RBIs, 13 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 29 runs in 55 games
MILB.com Player Page

In the final 14 games before the South Atlantic League All-Star break, the 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) batted .419 (26-for-62) with four home runs, nine RBIs, six doubles and 14 runs scored. Mountcastle, 19, had nine multihit performances in that span, including four in the last five games. In Delmarva’s 6-4 win at Hickory on Thursday, center fielder Cedric Mullins and Mountcastle hit back-to-back home runs in the top of the fifth inning. Two months ago today, he had a .152 average. Today, he’s hovering around .300 and ranks second on the Shorebirds – behind catcher Yermin Mercedes (.341). If Mountcastle can continue swinging the bat at this pace – and he has been doing it for two months now – he’ll head up the organizational ladder to Frederick sooner rather than later.

No. 8: Trey Mancini, 1B, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .271 average, 6 HRs, 16 RBIs, 11 2Bs, 56 Ks in 52 games (at Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

Mancini, 24, continues to lead all Orioles minor leaguers with 13 home runs between Bowie and Norfolk this season. But the 2013 eighth-round pick hasn’t homered since the second inning in a 3-2 win over Pawtucket on June 3 – a span of 15-plus games and 61 at-bats. In his best game during that stretch, Mancini went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored in Norfolk’s 10-6 victory over Durham at Harbor Park on Sunday. Although he hasn’t gone deep in more than two weeks, Mancini is still hitting .316 (12-for-38) over his past nine games and .292 in June. Because of the lack of run production, though, I’m listing him as bearish this week.

No. 9: D.J. Stewart, OF, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: .230 average, 4 HRs, 25 RBIs, 42 BBs, 58 Ks, 16 SBs in 62 games
MILB.com Player Page

Unlike Mountcastle, the Orioles’ other 2015 first-round selection (25th overall) just can’t seem to find consistent success at the plate this year. Stewart, 22, has reached base safely in nine consecutive games – and 14 of his past 15 – but he’s still only batting .230 overall. And he hasn’t homered since May 28 at Perdue Stadium in a 7-1 win over Lakewood. Despite his inconsistency, Stewart has shown flashes of talent for the Shorebirds. In their 5-4 win over Kannapolis last Tuesday, Stewart walked to lead off the eighth inning before stealing second and third. He then scored what turned out to be the game-winning run on first baseman Alex Murphy’s sacrifice fly. Because of that, I’m listing him as bullish this week.

SURGING

Oliver Drake, RHP, Norfolk: On Monday, the International League selected the 2008 43rd-round pick as its Pitcher of the Week. Drake, 29, hasn’t allowed an earned run since May 13. In that span of 14 appearances, he has struck out 25 hitters and given up just seven hits in 14 innings. Overall, Drake has 10 saves and 42 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.

Randolph Gassaway, OF, Aberdeen: The 2013 16th-round selection has hit safely in each of his first four games for the IronBirds – including three multihit performances – to start the season. Gassaway, 21, is batting .467 with a team-leading four RBIs. Last year, he had a .273 average and 22 RBIs in 60 games for Aberdeen.

Ryan McKenna, OF, Aberdeen: McKenna, the Orioles’ fourth-round pick in last year’s draft, hit his first professional home run Monday in the IronBirds’ 5-1 loss at Staten Island. He finished with three hits in the game. McKenna, 19, had just one hit in 12 at-bats before that, so it’ll be interesting to see if Monday’s performance can help him break out of the slump.

Yermin Mercedes, C, Delmarva: Mercedes, 23, ranks third in the South Atlantic League in average (.341) and tied for eighth in the league in RBIs (40). He was named the league’s Player of the Week on Monday and will play in the All-Star Game tonight. During his current eight-game hitting streak, Mercedes is batting .467 (14-for-30) with four home runs and 10 RBIs.

Garabez Rosa, IF-OF, Bowie: It has been a tale of two seasons for the 26-year-old utility player. In 41 games with the Baysox – his current team – Rosa is batting .359 with 16 extra-base hits (10 doubles, one triple and five home runs) and a team-leading 35 RBIs. But in 20 games for Norfolk, he’s hitting just .234 with one double, one home run and three RBIs.

Tanner Scott, LHP, Frederick: The 2014 sixth-round selection was 0-1 with a 12.19 ERA and 15 walks in 10 1/3 innings in April. Scott, 21, is 3-0 with a 1.03 ERA since then. In that span, he has struck out 40 batters and given up only six hits in 26 1/3 innings. Scott’s control is still a concern, but opponents are batting just .107 against him this year.

FALLING

Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, DSL Orioles 2: OK, I admit it. Part of the reason I am including the 20-year-old right-hander here is because of his name. But Gonzalez has also been terrible in three starts for one of the organization’s two Dominican Summer League affiliates. In eight innings, he has given up six hits, eight walks and 10 earned runs. Oh, and he has also hit four batters.

Josh Hart, OF, Frederick: The 21-year-old Hart (pictured above) is at Frederick for the second straight year. And, so far, this has been the worst of four professional seasons for the 2013 competitive-balance-round selection (37th overall). He’s batting just .195 with 44 strikeouts in 46 games. The club placed him on the seven-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to Wednesday, because of a knee injury. It’s his second stint on the DL already this year.

Lucas Long, RHP, Frederick: The 2014 24th-round pick quickly moved to the Keys after three strong starts to begin the year at Delmarva. Before this month, he had quietly compiled a 3.12 ERA in 40 1/3 innings over his first seven starts for Frederick. But Long, 23, has struggled in June. He has a 6.87 ERA in 18 1/3 innings and opponents are batting .338 against him in that span.

Drew Turbin, 2B, Delmarva: In 70 games at Aberdeen last summer, the 2015 14th-round selection led the IronBirds with 16 doubles and ranked second on the team with 30 RBIs. But Turbin, 23, is only hitting .217 with 16 RBIs in 54 games for Delmarva so far this year. In his past nine games, he is batting .125 (3-for-24) with six strikeouts and no extra-base hits.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk
June 21 – vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
June 22 – vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m.
June 23 – vs. Lehigh Valley, 12:05 p.m.
June 24 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
June 25 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
June 26 – at Columbus, 1:05 p.m.
June 27 – at Toledo, 7:05 p.m.

Bowie
June 21 – vs. Trenton, 6:35 p.m.
June 22 – vs. Trenton, 6:35 p.m.
June 23 – vs. Trenton, 6:35 p.m.
June 24 – vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m.
June 25 – vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m.
June 26 – vs. Altoona, 2:05 p.m.
June 27 – at Harrisburg, 7 p.m.

Frederick
June 21 – California-Carolina League All-Star Game, 9:30 p.m.
June 22 – OFF
June 23 – at Salem, 7:05 p.m.
June 24 – at Salem, 7:05 p.m.
June 25 – at Salem, 6:05 p.m.
June 26 – at Salem, 4:05 p.m.
June 27 – vs. Carolina, 7 p.m.

Delmarva
June 21 – South Atlantic League All-Star Game, 7:05 p.m.
June 22 – OFF
June 23 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
June 24 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
June 25 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
June 26 – at Kannapolis, 5:05 p.m.
June 27 – vs. Greensboro, 7:05 p.m.

Aberdeen
June 21 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
June 22 – vs. Auburn, 7:05 p.m.
June 23 – vs. Auburn, 7:05 p.m.
June 24 – vs. Auburn, 7:05 p.m.
June 25 – vs. Connecticut, 7:05 p.m.
June 26 – vs. Connecticut, 5:35 p.m.
June 27 – vs. Connecticut, 7:05 p.m.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    June 21, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Good stuff Dean. Thanks for the information and keep it up.

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