The Short-A Aberdeen IronBirds didn’t exactly have a great season in the New York-Penn League.
They finished last in their division with a 32-43 record. But it’s pretty easy to take some positives from their season based on the pitchers that dotted Aberdeen’s roster this year.
The organization’s top three picks in the 2016 draft, Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin and Matthias Dietz, all pitched for the IronBirds in 2016.
Did they match the hype in their abbreviated first seasons?
As part of his recaps on each affiliate in his weekly podcasts, Adam Pohl delves into that question with Justin Lord, the pitching coach at Aberdeen.
A former minor league pitcher, Lord is in his fourth season coaching in the organization, his third consecutive at Aberdeen. He’s had some pretty solid staffs.
In 2013, while coaching at Low-A Delmarva, Lord tutored Mychal Givens, Parker Bridwell and Ashur Tolliver, all of whom played for the Orioles at some point this season, as well as Josh Hader, who is now in the Milwaukee Brewers organization and considered one of baseball’s top pitching prospects.
But the group Lord had at Aberdeen this year is definitely a talented one. This year’s three top picks, all college pitchers, had already logged a lot of innings in 2016 before they reached Aberdeen and their innings count was limited. But the upside is undeniable.
“We see a lot of them after they’ve pitched 100, 115 innings and you really don’t see the true pitcher until maybe next year in spring training after they’ve had an offseason of rest,” Lord told Pohl, the voice of the Double-A Bowie Baysox. “And I’m excited to see what a lot of these guys look like coming into spring training next year.”
Sedlock (3.00 ERA in 27 innings) and Akin (1.04 ERA in 26 innings) put up good numbers, while Dietz struggled some (4.82 ERA in 18 2/3 innings) going from junior college to the pros. Lord breaks down each of their strengths while also discussing a couple other pitchers to watch such as Zach Muckenhirn and Australian Alex Wells.
Also in this podcast, BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dean Jones gives his impressions of the 2016 IronBirds, including hitters Austin Hays and Preston Palmeiro, the son of Orioles’ great Rafael Palmeiro.
These guys are definitely Baby Birds, but they could be pushing up the organization’s prospect lists soon enough. Hear about them now.