Yastrzemski, Mancini among O's prospects struggling as minors' season wanes - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dean Jones Report

Yastrzemski, Mancini among O’s prospects struggling as minors’ season wanes

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon


By this time next week, the minor league baseball regular season will be complete.

With seven games remaining, believe it or not, Triple-A Norfolk – and its 59-78 record – are still technically alive for a playoff spot. The Tides are in last place in the International League South Division, but all four teams in the division are separated by only 3 1/2 games.

Even though Norfolk will need to pass Gwinnett (62-74), Charlotte (62-75) and Durham (60-77) in order to make the postseason, it plays all three of those teams this week.

I’d say the Tides won’t jump all of them and make the playoffs, but I’m not counting out any team that’s 19 games below .500 from the playoffs until it’s mathematically eliminated.

Never say never. Break out your Tides hats, Orioles fans.

Regular readers know the “Dean Jones Report” is my way of updating BaltimoreBaseball.com readers on how the Orioles’ top prospects, according to Baseball America, are performing. 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.

Also, I include sections for players who are “surging” or “falling” in recent weeks, as well as an update on some notable 2016 draft picks. And, at the bottom of the post, I provide the upcoming schedules for the club’s affiliates.


No. 1: Chance Sisco, C, Bowie
Statistics: .313 average, 4 HRs, 44 RBIs, 27 2Bs, 52 runs in 109 games
MILB.com Player Page

On Saturday, the Eastern League announced that the 2013 second-round pick had been selected by managers, coaches and media for the league’s postseason All-Star team. Sisco, 21, has also turned things around offensively with four multi-hit performances in his past five games. Since last Tuesday’s update, he is batting .391 (9-for-23) with a home run, two doubles, four runs and five RBIs. With two outs in the eighth inning Sunday, Sisco started a three-run rally for the Baysox by hitting a solo home run in a 6-2 win over Binghamton. He also had a two-run double in the sixth inning. Monday night, Sisco went 2-for-3 with his career-high-tying 27th double of the year, two walks and two runs in Bowie’s 7-6 win over Harrisburg. With a week remaining in the season, he continues to lead the league in on-base percentage (.403) and ranks third in hitting (.313).

No. 2: Hunter Harvey, RHP, disabled list
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 in July and is expected to miss at least a year. It’s possible that the 2013 first-round selection (22nd overall) won’t pitch in a game again until April, 2018. After a promising start to his 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
Statistics: .224 average, 10 HRs, 49 RBIs, 50 runs, 97 Ks in 119 games
MILB.com Player Page

In his past 14 games, Reyes is hitting .184 (9-for-49). And that’s including a four-hit performance Friday – all singles – in the Keys’ 7-4 loss at Salem. If you take away that game, the 19-year-old third baseman only has a .111 average in that span. In 25 games this month, he has three extra-base hits – two doubles and a home run. Reyes has had some trouble in his first season at the High-A level – and he obviously isn’t finishing strong. But as I’ve said all year, in most cases, he’s playing against pitchers who are several years older than he is. One difficult season isn’t going to kill his prospect status, but it’s definitely frustrating for Orioles fans to see another one of their top minor leaguers failing to dominate when the best players in other organizations have shown that they can climb the ladder.

No. 4: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Delmarva
Statistics: .288 average, 10 HRs, 49 RBIs, 27 2Bs, 52 runs, 91 Ks in 110 games
MILB.com Player Page

In 23 games in August, the 2015 first-round selection (36th overall) is batting .304 with 13 extra-base hits (seven doubles, two triples, four home runs) and 16 RBIs. Mountcastle, 19, has been hot and cold over the past eight games. In that span, he has five multi-hit performances and three others in which he failed to get a hit. In the Shorebirds’ 7-5 victory over Lexington on Sunday, Mountcastle went 3-for-5 with an RBI double in the first inning and a solo home run in the fifth. When he was on a tear earlier in the season, the organization didn’t rush things. Even though Mountcastle batted .375 in May and .314 in June, the Orioles kept him at Delmarva while fellow 2015 first-round pick DJ Stewart – a college draftee – moved up to Frederick. We won’t know for at least a couple of years whether that patient approach will pay off, but for now, it’s looking like a good decision.

No. 5: Tanner Scott, LHP, Bowie
Statistics: 1-2, 6.92 ERA, 15 Ks, 18 hits, 10 BBs in 13 innings (at Bowie)
MILB.com Player Page

Scott, 22, made two appearances for the Baysox since last week’s update. In that span, the 2014 sixth-round pick allowed one run and four hits in two innings. The best thing about those two outings? He didn’t walk anyone. In fact, Scott has only walked one batter – he also hit one – in his past 6 2/3 innings. Still, he has a 2.15 WHIP in 11 appearances since being promoted to Bowie on July 21 and a 1.50 WHIP in 40 games overall in 2016. And opponents are batting .353 against him at the Double-A level. Those numbers don’t scream shutdown left-handed reliever, but he’s still a work in progress. Scott’s stuff has been talked about a lot this season – and so have his flaws. But as long as he has support within the organization, he’s going to get a chance to prove himself. Remember, left-handers who throw 100 mph don’t grow on trees. If you get one, do whatever you can to make it work.

No. 6: Trey Mancini, 1B, Norfolk
Statistics: .279 average, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs, 18 2Bs, 117 Ks in 118 games (at Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

Here’s another example of an Orioles top prospect finishing the season on a rough note. Since Aug. 18, the 2013 eighth-round selection has seven hits and 16 strikeouts in 11 games. Mancini, 24, hit safely in four straight games from last Tuesday through Friday – including a three-hit performance in the Tides’ 9-5 victory over Charlotte on Friday – but he’s still batting only .152 (7-for-46) in that stretch. After Mancini hit .349 with five home runs in June, I believed that he’d easily win his second consecutive Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year Award. But that’s why they wait to pick the winners. In 45 games since the All-Star break, he has batted just .260 with three home runs and 20 RBIs. Do you think the Orioles should bring him up in September? We’ll find out soon.

No. 7: Chris Lee, LHP, Bowie
Statistics: 5-0, 2.98 ERA, 19 Ks, 1.05 WHIP in 51 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Lee, 24, held opponents to three runs or less in seven of his eight starts this season. And he pitched at least six innings in all of them. But, of course, Lee hasn’t pitched after going a career-high eight innings in Bowie’s 2-1 loss at Hartford on May 23. He has dealt with a strained lat muscle and the resulting effects for the past three-plus months. If Lee wasn’t injured, he would have likely received a chance to help the Orioles. Instead, Orioles fans can only wonder if Lee could have made any difference.

No. 8: Garrett Cleavinger, LHP, Frederick
Statistics: 2-2, 4.19 ERA, 45 Ks, 32 hits, 21 BBs in 34 1/3 innings (at Frederick)
MILB.com Player Page

Sure, the 2015 third-round pick hasn’t dominated at Frederick like he did at Delmarva in the first half of the season. He has a 4.19 ERA in 18 appearances for the Keys over the past two-plus months. But Cleavinger, 22, is 7-2 with a 2.70 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 73 1/3 innings overall in 2016. That’s why I’m listing him as bullish this week. In his last outing, Cleavinger held Winston-Salem to one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings during Frederick’s 12-7 win Thursday. He struck out five of the eight batters he faced. That performance snapped a span of three consecutive outings in which he gave up a run.

No. 9: Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Delmarva
Statistics: 8-5, 4.01 ERA, 101 Ks, 87 hits, 60 BBs in 103 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

In April, May and July, Peralta had a combined 5-2 record with a 2.56 ERA in 63 1/3 innings. But it was a much different story in June and August. In those two months, the 19-year-old right-hander was 3-3 with a 6.30 ERA in 40 innings. And a similar story can be told from Peralta’s home-road splits this season. In 59 1/3 innings at Perdue Stadium, he is 6-2 with a 2.88 ERA. But in 44 innings on the road, he is 2-3 with a 5.52 ERA. Peralta held Lexington to one run and three hits in five innings Friday as the Shorebirds won, 6-1. He struck out six batters, walked three and hit another. Peralta’s future is still bright, but I’m listing him as bearish this week because of his poor overall numbers in August.


Seamus Curran, 1B, GCL Orioles: The 2015 eighth-round selection leads the Rookie-level affiliate with 27 RBIs in 40 games this season. Curran, 18, has batted .302 with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 17 games in August. In two games Wednesday and Thursday, he went 6-for-8 with two home runs, three doubles, eight RBIs and six runs.

Oliver Drake, RHP, Orioles: Before being recalled to the majors Sunday, the 2008 43rd-round pick had held his opponents to two runs over 10 2/3 innings in his past seven games. Drake, 29, earned the win in his last Triple-A appearance Friday after striking out two batters and allowing one hit in one inning of the Tides’ 7-6, 14-inning victory over Charlotte.

Brian Gonzalez, LHP, Delmarva: What a difference a year makes. In his first season at the Low-A level, the 2014 third-round selection went 4-9 with a 5.71 ERA in 23 starts for the Shorebirds in 2015. Gonzalez, 20, is 9-9 with a 2.51 ERA in 25 starts this season. He has only allowed more than three earned runs in one start this year. That’s impressive.

Corban Joseph, 2B, Norfolk: The younger brother of catcher Caleb Joseph has excelled after beginning to receive regular playing time over the past two months for the Tides. In 47 games during that stretch, Corban has batted .327 (51-for-156) with four home runs – including two in his past three games. He is currently on a seven-game hitting streak.

Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B, Frederick: The Carolina League announced Saturday that the 24-year-old corner infielder had been selected for its end-of-season All-Star team. Rodriguez has cooled off slightly in August – batting just .263 in 80 at-bats – but he has continued to knock the ball out of the park with three home runs in his past six games.

Garabez Rosa, UTIL, Bowie: Rosa, who has spent most of the past four years with the Baysox, earned end-of-season All-Star honors Saturday from the Eastern League. The 26-year-old utility player has batted .307 with 30 extra-base hits (20 doubles, two triples, eight home runs) and 61 RBIs in 103 games for Bowie in 2016.


David Hale, RHP, Norfolk: Claimed by the Orioles in April from the Colorado Rockies, the 28-year-old right-hander is 3-7 with a 6.11 ERA in 19 starts for Norfolk this year. With a 10-10 record and 4.48 ERA in 178 2/3 innings for the Rockies and Atlanta Braves, he has major league experience. But he’s not a realistic option because of his dismal numbers.

Steve Laurino, 1B, Delmarva: The 2015 25th-round selection has played in 93 games for the Shorebirds this season, including 92 starts at first base. But Laurino, 23, is only batting .194 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 2016. In 15 games this month, he is hitting .118 (6-for-51) with 15 strikeouts. He has a .170 average (24-for-141) in the second half.

Franderlin Romero, RHP, Frederick: Good news? August has gone twice as well as July for the 23-year-old right-hander, whom the Orioles acquired from the Cincinnati Reds in May. Bad news? Romero still has a 5.13 ERA in five starts this month after giving up seven runs in five innings during Frederick’s 12-7 win over Winston-Salem on Thursday.

Mike Yastrzemski, OF, Norfolk: In 22 games this month, the 2013 14th-round pick is batting .181 (13-for-72) with 20 strikeouts and only five RBIs. Yastrzemski, 26, has slumped for most of the past three months. Since hitting .321 in 14 games for the Tides in May, Yastrzemski (pictured above at Bowie) has a .200 average (52-for-260) and 72 strikeouts in 73 games.


Keegan Akin, LHP, Aberdeen: The second-round selection continues to thrive for the IronBirds. Akin, 21, struck out four batters and walked one in four hitless innings during Aberdeen’s 7-4 loss to Hudson Valley on Friday. Overall, he is 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA in 23 innings this season and hasn’t allowed a run since July 24 – a stretch of five starts.

Matthias Dietz, RHP, Aberdeen: On the flip side, the club’s other second-round pick has had trouble adjusting to the professional level so far. Dietz, 20, is 0-2 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts for the IronBirds in 2016. In his last start, he gave up five runs (two earned), five hits and two walks in two innings as Aberdeen lost, 7-4.

Cody Sedlock, RHP, Aberdeen: Sedlock, 21, allowed five runs (four earned) and four hits in three innings during his last start as the IronBirds lost, 8-7, at Staten Island on Wednesday. The first-round selection (27th overall) now has a 3.38 ERA through 24 innings overall. Despite his last outing, opponents are only batting .165 against him this season.

Alexis Torres, 2B-SS, GCL Orioles: Overall, the fifth-round pick is hitting .183 with one home run and 12 RBIs through 35 games for the GCL Orioles this year. Torres, 18, has been even worse recently. In his past 10 games, he is batting .083 (2-for-30) with five walks, eight strikeouts and three runs scored. He has a .257 slugging percentage this season.

Collin Woody, 1B-3B, Aberdeen: Since July 17, the 38th-round selection has a .068 average (3-for-44) with 18 strikeouts and three walks in 19 games for the IronBirds. And those numbers would be worse if Woody, 22, didn’t have a hit in each of his past two games. Overall, he is hitting .123 (10-for-81) with 26 strikeouts in 31 games.


Norfolk (59-78)
Aug. 30 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 31 – at Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 1 – at Charlotte, 1:05 p.m.
Sept. 2 – at Charlotte, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 3 – at Charlotte, 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 4 – at Durham, 5:05 p.m.
Sept. 5 – at Durham, 1:05 p.m.

Bowie (56-78)
Aug. 30 – vs. Harrisburg, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 31 – vs. Harrisburg, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 1 – vs. Harrisburg, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 2 – at Akron (doubleheader), 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 3 – at Akron, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 4 – at Akron, 6:05 p.m.
Sept. 5 – at Akron, 1:05 p.m.

Frederick (66-67)
Aug. 30 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – vs. Wilmington, 7 p.m.
Sept. 3 – vs. Wilmington, 6 p.m.
Sept. 4 – vs. Wilmington, 6 p.m.
Sept. 5 – vs. Wilmington, 2 p.m.

Delmarva (67-64)
Aug. 30 – at Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 – at Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Sept. 1 – at Greensboro, 7 p.m.
Sept. 2 – vs. Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 3 – vs. Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 4 – vs. Kannapolis, 5:05 p.m.
Sept. 5 – vs. Kannapolis, 2:05 p.m.

Aberdeen (27-41)
Aug. 30 – at State College, 7:05 p.m.
Aug. 31 – at State College, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 1 – vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 2 – vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 3 – vs. Brooklyn, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 4 – vs. Hudson Valley, 7:05 p.m.
Sept. 5 – vs. Hudson Valley, 1:05 p.m.

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