Cleavinger, Scott and Peralta - all surging - added to weekly stock report - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dean Jones Report

Cleavinger, Scott and Peralta — all surging — added to weekly stock report

cleavinger
Courtesy of the Frederick Keys

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There’s a little less than a month remaining in the minor league season.

That means we’re nearing the end of the first year of the “Dean Jones Report.” But as any Hall of Fame hitter – or great writer – will tell you, it’s never too late to make adjustments.

And that’s what I’m doing this week.

Last month, Baseball America posted its midseason update on the Orioles’ prospects. After some thought, I’ve decided to use this list going forward because it’ll allow me to provide BaltimoreBaseball.com readers with the latest news on a few additional players each week.

You’ll notice that Bowie catcher Chance Sisco tops the new list. Of the players in the initial rankings in December, Delmarva shortstop Ryan Mountcastle made the biggest jump. He climbed from No. 7 to No. 4 in the midseason update.

Four players have been removed – right-handers Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens and Mike Wright, as well as outfielder DJ Stewart. The three pitchers have spent at least the majority of the season with the Orioles, but Stewart’s departure is a little troubling for the club.

In the update, Baseball America includes Stewart in its “falling” category and mentions that he “has struggled offensively while alternating between the squat stance he employed in college and the more upright version the Orioles would prefer.”

It’s not good when your highest draft pick falls off Baseball America’s top prospects list a year after you selected him. The outcome of his career won’t be affected one way or the other, of course, but trending in the wrong direction in the eyes of experts is concerning.

With that said, Stewart did get promoted from Delmarva to Frederick in June. His numbers weren’t impressive with the Shorebirds, but he’s getting a chance to turn things around at a higher level. Through 31 games with the Keys, Stewart is batting .280 (30-for-107) with 10 extra-base hits, 19 RBIs and 25 runs scored. He is 6-for-12 in his last three games.

Baseball America’s updated list also includes three new players – Bowie left-hander Tanner Scott (No. 5), Frederick left-hander Garrett Cleavinger (No. 8) and Delmarva right-hander Ofelky Peralta (No. 9). A fourth addition, former Frederick catcher Jonah Heim (No. 10), was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays last Monday in the deal for utility player Steve Pearce.

Regular readers know that I rate each player as bullish (rising stock) or bearish (falling stock) based on his recent performance. For each prospect, I also list notable statistics and a link to his MILB.com Player Page in case you want to look deeper into the numbers.

You’ll notice another change this week. Thanks to a suggestion from commenter BmoreJack on my last update, I’ve decided to include a section on the 2016 draft picks.

Baseball America excludes these players from their top prospects lists. I’ve tried to write about them from time to time in the “surging” and “falling” sections, but I haven’t been consistent. To highlight some of those picks more regularly, I’ve added this new category.

Like I’ve done all season, I also share a handful of players who are either surging or falling in the Orioles’ minor league system over the past week or longer. And, at the bottom of the post, I provide the upcoming schedules for the club’s affiliates.

One final housekeeping note: I’m heading to the beach next week with my wife and two sons for our annual summer vacation. The Dean Jones Report will return Aug. 23.

Now that all of that’s out of the way, let’s get to this week’s update.

TOP PROSPECTS
No. 1: Chance Sisco, C, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .322 average, 2 HRs, 34 RBIs, 24 2Bs, 47 runs in 94 games

MILB.com Player Page

After back-to-back hitless performances to start August, the 2013 second-round pick has hit safely in his past five games. Sisco, 21, is hitting .474 (9-for-19) with four doubles and two runs scored in that span. He has five three-hit games and one four-hit outing this season – all of which have come in the past four weeks. Since the Eastern League All-Star break, Sisco is batting .363 (33-for-91) in 23 games. He ranks third in the league in hitting and continues to lead in on-base percentage (.409) by a considerable margin. If there’s one thing to nitpick, however, it’s that Sisco hasn’t driven in a run since July 26 and has just six RBIs since the All-Star break.

No. 2: Hunter Harvey, RHP, disabled list
BEARISH
Statistics: 0-1, 3.52 ERA, 7 Ks, 9 hits, 6 BBs in 7 2/3 innings (at Aberdeen)
MILB.com Player Page

Harvey, 21, underwent successful Tommy John surgery last month and is expected to miss at least a year. It’s possible that the 2013 first-round selection won’t pitch in a game again until Opening Day 2018. After a promising start to his professional career, Harvey has pitched just 12 2/3 innings – all this season – in the past two years due to several injuries.

No. 3: Jomar Reyes, 3B, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: .222 average, 8 HRs, 42 RBIs, 40 runs, 88 Ks in 100 games
MILB.com Player Page

Reyes, 19, hasn’t started well in August. In six games this month, he’s only batting .125 (3-for-24) with one double, one RBI and seven strikeouts. And in 13 games since July 22, Reyes is also hitting .125 (6-for-48). He is hitless with five strikeouts in his past 11 at-bats. Through the Keys’ day off Monday, his average had dropped to .222 – its lowest point since June 10. His hit in Frederick’s 5-0 loss to Myrtle Beach on Wednesday came at the perfect time, though. Leading off the eighth inning, Reyes smacked a double to right field to break up a no-hit bid by the Pelicans’ Trevor Clifton. He hasn’t gotten a hit since then.

No. 4: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: .281 average, 9 HRs, 39 RBIs, 22 2Bs, 45 runs, 82 Ks in 95 games
MILB.com Player Page

The 2015 first-round selection (36th overall) is only batting .257 (9-for-35) in eight games so far this month. But Mountcastle, 19, has made the most of his at-bats recently. He has three home runs, six RBIs and six runs scored during the first week of August, including a two-run shot with one out in the ninth Monday against Lakewood to send the game to extra innings. The Shorebirds eventually lost, 7-5, in the 10th. After struggling through a slump in mid-July, Mountcastle has hit safely in 13 of his past 15 games.

No. 5: Tanner Scott, LHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 0-1, 8.44 ERA, 6 Ks, 6 hits, 5 BBs in 5 1/3 innings (at Bowie)
MILB.com Player Page

Scott, who turned 22 late last month, has gained a lot of attention in the past year – both from within the organization and around baseball – because of his impressive fastball that can exceed 100 mph. The 2014 sixth-round pick’s biggest issue so far in his professional career has been his ability to control that stuff. In 119 innings over the past three seasons, Scott has walked 89 batters and hit eight others. In fact, in his second appearance after being promoted to the Baysox last month, Scott issued four walks and allowed two runs without giving up a hit in one-third of an inning against Hartford on July 27. On the flip side, though, sometimes he’s untouchable. In two games this month, Scott has struck out five batters, walked none and given up one hit in three innings. That’s why I’m bullish right now.

No. 6: Trey Mancini, 1B, Norfolk
BULLISH
Statistics: .293 average, 12 HRs, 43 RBIs, 17 2Bs, 92 Ks in 98 games (at Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

In my last update, I explained to BaltimoreBaseball.com readers that the 2013 eighth-round pick had encountered a power outage in recent weeks. Mancini, 24, hadn’t hit a home run since July 1. Naturally, he has gone deep twice since then, including a solo homer in the first inning of the Tides’ 4-0 win at Charlotte on Sunday. He also had an RBI double in the sixth. On Wednesday, Mancini went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and two runs scored as Norfolk shut out Durham on the road, 6-0. His .276 average in eight games this month isn’t eye-popping, but I’m bullish because he appears to have found his power stroke again.

No. 7: 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

Lee, 23, remains sidelined with a strained lat muscle. The club appears to be taking a cautious approach with Lee, who hasn’t pitched in a game since May 23. Before the injury, he held opponents to two runs or fewer in six of his eight starts and pitched at least six innings in each outing. Opposing hitters batted just .176 against him in four games in April. The organization believes there is still a chance he pitches again before the minor league season ends.

No. 8: Garrett Cleavinger, LHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 2-1, 3.60 ERA, 29 Ks, 20 hits, 14 BBs in 25 innings (at Frederick)
MILB.com Player Page

Before the non-waiver trade deadline, Cleavinger (pictured above) was reportedly being discussed in potential trades. He obviously has remained with the organization, though, and has continued to pitch well in a multiple-inning role for the Keys. Cleavinger, 22, earned a promotion from Delmarva to start the second half after he went 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 39 innings for the Shorebirds to start the season. In his past four appearances for Frederick, Cleavinger has allowed one run and two hits in eight innings. He has struck out 10 batters and issued four walks in that span. I like the potential, so I’m bullish this week.

No. 9: Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: 6-5, 3.98 ERA, 89 Ks, 77 hits, 54 BBs in 92 2/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Peralta, 19, earned the Orioles’ Minor League Pitcher of the Month award after he went 3-0 with a 2.57 in four starts in July. That performance included a five-inning no-hitter in the Shorebirds’ rain-shortened 5-0 victory over Hagerstown on July 8. Despite the accolades from the organization, Peralta had some trouble in his three starts after that win. In 12 innings during that span, he gave up 12 runs, 13 hits and 10 walks – causing his season ERA to jump to 4.21 on Aug. 1. In his last start Saturday, Peralta didn’t factor in the decision after pitching five scoreless innings in Delmarva’s 1-0 loss to West Virginia. He had four strikeouts and walked two batters in the game. Although Peralta has had some trouble recently, I’m listing him as bullish because of the organizational award.

SURGING

Dariel Alvarez, OF, Norfolk: The Cuban outfielder had a 20-game hitting streak snapped Friday when he went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in the Tides’ 6-0 win at Charlotte. Alvarez, 27, was hitless in five at-bats again Saturday as Norfolk lost, 6-4, to the Knights. But he bounced back with back-to-back multi-hit performances Sunday and Monday.

Randolph Gassaway, OF, Delmarva: The 2013 16th-round selection earned the South Atlantic League Player of the Week award for the week of Aug. 1-7. Gassaway, 21, batted .481 (13-for-27) with two home runs, four doubles, four RBIs and four runs during that seven-game stretch. And he added another two-hit performance Monday against Lakewood.

Brian Gonzalez, LHP, Delmarva: Gonzalez, 20, has not allowed an earned run in four of his past five starts for the Shorebirds. In that span, the 2014 third-round pick is 2-1 with a 1.04 ERA over 26 innings. Left-handers are only batting .190 against Gonzalez this season. He is 5-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 12 starts on the road so far in 2016.

Joe Gunkel, RHP, Norfolk: Gunkel, 24, was 2-0 with a 0.46 ERA in 19 2/3 innings over his past three starts for the Tides. He had 15 strikeouts and only walked one batter in that stretch. In nine starts at Harbor Park this season, Gunkel is 4-4 with a 4.62 ERA. But his ERA is nearly two runs lower (2.83) in 10 starts on the road in 2016.

Ryan Meisinger, RHP, Frederick: In his past four appearances, the 2015 11th-round pick has struck out 13 batters and allowed only two hits in 9 1/3 scoreless innings. Meisinger, 22, is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 24 innings for the Keys since he was promoted from Delmarva in June. Overall, he has 79 strikeouts in 58 2/3 innings across the two levels this year.

Tyler Wilson, RHP, Norfolk: In his first start since returning to the Tides, the 2011 10th-round selection threw five perfect innings and had six strikeouts Wednesday at Durham. Norfolk had a combined perfect game going into the ninth inning of the 6-0 win. Wilson threw 38 of his 57 pitches for strikes before being replaced by left-hander Edgar Olmos.

FALLING

Brandon Barker, RHP, Bowie: Barker, who will turn 24 later this month, has pitched poorly in his past four starts. He is 1-2 with a 9.87 ERA in that span. Barker, whom the Orioles acquired from the Atlanta Braves in the late-May deal for Brian Matusz, allowed five runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings Wednesday as Bowie was routed, 13-0, by Reading.

Oliver Drake, RHP, Norfolk: In two appearances this month, the 2008 43rd-round pick has given up five runs, three hits and two walks in 3 2/3 innings (12.27 ERA). Drake, 29, surrendered a home run in each game. That’s five homers allowed in his past 11 outings with the Tides after he didn’t give up one in his first 29 games this year.

Yermin Mercedes, C, Frederick: Mercedes, 23, was promoted Aug. 1 after hitting .375 (36-for-96) with four home runs, 12 doubles and 14 RBIs in 26 games for Delmarva in July. On Friday, the South Atlantic League recognized him as its Player of the Month. But Mercedes is listed here because he only has two hits in 20 at-bats since joining the Keys.

Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B-3B, Frederick: Here’s another player who has struggled lately after winning awards in July. Rodriguez, 24, was picked as the Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Month and as the Carolina League’s Player of the Month for hitting .375 (42-for-112) with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 28 games. But he is just 2-for-23 so far in August.

TRACKING THE 2016 DRAFT

Keegan Akin, LHP, Aberdeen: The second-round pick out of Western Michigan is 0-1 with a 1.93 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in five starts for the IronBirds. Akin, 21, has pitched three innings in each of his last four games. In his past two starts, he allowed only one total hit in six scoreless innings. Akin had a career-high five strikeouts July 31 at Brooklyn.

Layne Bruner, LHP, GCL Orioles: Bruner, 21, has been dominant in eight games (five starts) in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. The 18th-round pick from Washington State is 1-1 with a 1.75 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings. In his last start, Bruner allowed one run and two hits in four innings Wednesday as the Orioles lost, 5-4, to the Red Sox.

Preston Palmeiro, 1B, Aberdeen: Through 11 games, the seventh-round pick from N.C. State is batting .282 (11-for-39) with one double, three RBIs and five runs scored. Palmeiro, 21, was 2-for-5 with an RBI single and a run scored in the IronBirds’ 6-3 win at Connecticut on Monday. It was his third multi-hit performance of the year.

Cody Sedlock, RHP, Aberdeen: Sedlock, 21, has given up at least one run in four of his five starts for the IronBirds this season. The first-round selection (27th overall) is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 15 innings. In Aberdeen’s 3-2 win over Tri-City on Thursday, Sedlock allowed one run, one hit and three walks in three innings. He had three strikeouts.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (48-68)
Aug. 9 – vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Gwinnett, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – OFF
Aug. 12 – vs. Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – vs. Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – vs. Toledo, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.

Bowie (49-65)
Aug. 9 – vs. New Hampshire, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. New Hampshire, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – vs. New Hampshire, 11:05 a.m.
Aug. 12 – at Richmond, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – at Richmond, 6:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – at Richmond, 12:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – OFF

Frederick (56-56)
Aug. 9 – at Wilmington (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – at Wilmington, 6:35 p.m.
Aug. 11 – at Wilmington, 6:35 p.m.
Aug. 12 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 13 – vs. Potomac, 6 p.m.
Aug. 14 – vs. Potomac, 2 p.m.
Aug. 15 – vs. Lynchburg, 7 p.m.

Delmarva (59-54)
Aug. 9 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – at West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – at West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – at West Virginia, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – at West Virginia, 2:05 p.m.
Aug. 15 – OFF

Aberdeen (21-28)
Aug. 9 – vs. Staten Island, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 10 – vs. Staten Island, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 11 – vs. Staten Island, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 12 – vs. Lowell, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 13 – vs. Lowell, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 14 – vs. Lowell, 5:35 p.m.
Aug. 15 – OFF

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