Lefty Chris Lee among only a few Orioles' top prospects thriving this week in minors - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dean Jones Report

Lefty Chris Lee among only a few Orioles’ top prospects thriving this week in minors

Photo credit: Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire

I like to check in on former Orioles – or former Oriole farmhands — and see how they’re doing with their new organizations.

While these players won’t help the Orioles – unless they return to the club down the road – it’s still nice to keep an eye on some familiar names as they bounce around baseball.

In February, the Orioles traded minor league right-hander Ryan Moseley to the Los Angeles Dodgers for left-hander Vidal Nuno. The Orioles selected Moseley, 22, in the eighth round of last year’s draft. He went 0-1 with a 3.20 ERA in 12 games for short-season Aberdeen.

This year, Moseley – who didn’t join High-A Rancho Cucamonga from extended spring training until May 2 – is 0-1 with a 1.98 ERA in five appearances for the Quakes in the California League. He has 10 strikeouts and has walked five batters in 13 2/3 innings.

The Orioles designated 26-year-old outfielder Christian Walker for assignment in February. The Atlanta Braves claimed the 2012 fourth-round pick before letting him go shortly after that. The Cincinnati Reds then claimed Walker and waived him. Finally, the Arizona Diamondbacks claimed Walker on March 28.

Walker has played mostly at first base for Triple-A Reno in the Pacific Coast League. Through 43 games, he is batting .297 with 13 home runs, 48 RBIs and 46 runs. Walker leads the league in home runs, RBIs, runs and total bases (105).

Speaking of the Diamondbacks, left-hander T.J. McFarland rejoined the major league squad Sunday after spending some time on the 10-day disabled list due to a bruised left ankle. In six games out of Arizona’s bullpen, the former Rule 5 pick is 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA.

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The Orioles picked left-handed-hitting outfielder Aneury Tavarez in the Rule 5 draft this past December. But as the club finalized its Opening Day roster, the Dominican Republic native was sent back to the Boston Red Sox.

In 18 games for Double-A Portland, he batted .377 with one home run, three doubles and six RBIs. As a result of his quick start, the Red Sox promoted Tavarez, 25, to Triple-A Pawtucket on May 1. But he has struggled to keep it going in the International League, batting .154 in nine games and missing some time with tendinitis in his right hand.

If you enjoy these updates, let me know at [email protected]. I’m happy to keep them going throughout the season if there’s interest.

Now, let’s move along to the latest installment of the “Dean Jones Report.”

One quick note: Right-hander Stefan Crichton hasn’t pitched for Triple-A Norfolk since May 12, so I’m omitting him from the list below. He threw 3 1/3 innings for the Orioles in their 14-7 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Monday night and likely will hit the Norfolk shuttle soon. If/when he’s sent back to the Tides, I’ll add him to the list again.

In my weekly report on BaltimoreBaseball.com, I update the performance of the club’s minor leaguers who have earned a spot on my “Dean’s Dozen” list. Each player is categorized as a rising stock (“bullish”) or a falling stock (“bearish”), based on how he has played over the past week – and in some cases, all season.

In addition, I discuss a handful of notable players from within the organization who aren’t in my top 12. As you’ll see below, a major league veteran has started to turn things around at Norfolk over the past week. Meanwhile, a local kid is struggling in the Carolina League.

Finally, you’ll see the upcoming schedule for each of the Orioles’ full-season affiliates. Only High-A Frederick will be at home on Memorial Day weekend, but Low-A Delmarva will still be playing in the state of Maryland – at Hagerstown – on Monday night.

 

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Chance Sisco, C, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .239, 1 HR, 15 RBIs, 10 2Bs, 36 Ks in 34 games
MILB.com Player Page

It was a week of mixed results for the 2013 second-round pick. Sisco, 22, went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in the Tides’ 5-0 loss to Gwinnett last Tuesday. The performance snapped his seven-game streak of reaching base safely. But Sisco bounced back with a pair of multi-hit games Wednesday and Thursday – three doubles and a single overall – as Norfolk split a pair of games with Charlotte. However, he has gone hitless in five at-bats since then. I’m switching to “bearish” this week because he didn’t drive in any runs. In 17 games this month, Sisco only has four extra-base hits (three doubles and a home run) and four RBIs.

No. 2: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: .324, 8 HRs, 32 RBIs, 15 2Bs, 30 Ks in 43 games
MILB.com Player Page

Mountcastle, 20, continues to rank among the Carolina League leaders in most offensive categories. So why have I turned “bearish” on the 2015 first-round selection (36th overall) this week? Well, despite having three multi-hit performances and six RBIs in six games since last week’s update, Mountcastle is only batting .222 (6-for-27) in that span. I’m going to chalk it up as a temporary blip for now. After all, Mountcastle is still hitting .325 (26-for-80) with three home runs and 16 RBIs in May. We’ll see how he does over the next week.

No. 3: Keegan Akin, LHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 3-4, 5.95 ERA, 45 Ks, 22 BBs in 39 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

The good news? Akin, 22, picked up his second straight quality start last Tuesday in the Keys’ 9-4 victory at Salem. The 2016 second-round pick’s ERA dropped to a season-low 4.71 after he held the Red Sox to one run and six hits in six innings. The bad news? Wilmington halted his momentum Monday night in a 10-1 rout over Frederick. In that game, the Blue Rocks hit four home runs in three innings against Akin. That’s as many homers as he had allowed in 62 1/3 professional innings before Monday. Yikes.

No. 4: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 4-2, 6.18 ERA, 36 Ks, 14 BBs in 39 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Apparently, the rebound that I wrote about last week was short-lived. On Thursday night, the 2016 first-round selection (27th overall) endured the shortest start of his professional career. Sedlock, 21, failed to make it out of the third inning in the Keys’ 10-7 loss at Salem. He was charged with nine runs and nine hits, including two home runs, in 2 1/3 innings. In his past four starts, Sedlock is 1-2 with an 11.94 ERA in 17 1/3 innings. His ERA has jumped from 1.64 to 6.18 in that span. And his WHIP has nearly doubled, too – from 0.82 after his April 23 start to the current 1.45. Sedlock is scheduled to pitch tonight at Potomac.

No. 5: Chris Lee, LHP, Norfolk
BULLISH
Statistics: 2-1, 4.82 ERA, 30 Ks, 21 BBs in 37 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

So apparently you can overcome a bad first impression. Lee, 24, allowed eight runs and nine hits in 2 1/3 innings during his Triple-A debut April 8 at Charlotte. In seven starts since then, the 2011 fourth-round pick is 2-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 34 innings. He held those same Knights to one run and four hits over six innings in a no-decision Friday as the Tides lost, 3-1. Don’t be surprised if Lee hitches a ride on the Norfolk-Baltimore Transit Line at some point in the coming weeks, especially if the Orioles need a left-hander to make a spot start.

No. 6: Cedric Mullins, OF, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: .367, 4 HRs, 11 RBIs, 5 2Bs, 1 3B, 17 runs in 14 games
MILB.com Player Page

It has now been more than a month since the 2015 13th-round selection last played for the Baysox. Mullins, 22, hasn’t been in Bowie’s lineup since he suffered a strained left hamstring in a 12-2 loss to Richmond on April 20.

No. 7: Jesus Liranzo, RHP, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: 1-1, 6.88 ERA, 20 Ks, 15 BBs in 17 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Liranzo, 22, had a streak of three consecutive scoreless appearances snapped Sunday when he allowed two runs and two hits in two innings as the Baysox lost, 6-2, to Binghamton. The Dominican Republic native retired the side in order in the seventh. But in the eighth, Rumble Ponies shortstop Luis Guillorme led off the inning with a single. One batter later, designated hitter Cody Decker hit a two-run homer to left field before Liranzo recorded the final two outs. His ERA hasn’t been below 4.00 since April 10. Last year, Liranzo had a 3.38 ERA in 11 appearances for Bowie after he was promoted from Delmarva in late July.

No. 9: Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 0-2, 6.75 ERA, 35 Ks, 29 BBs in 32 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Peralta, 20, once again struggled with his control in the Keys’ 6-1 loss to Wilmington on Sunday afternoon. The Dominican Republic native walked four batters in three innings and threw only 23 of his 49 pitches for strikes. He gave up four runs and three hits. Peralta has walked at least four batters in five of his eight starts. Through Sunday, he ranked second in the Carolina League with 29 walks. Peralta can miss bats – opponents are only hitting .238 against him – but he needs to find a way to limit the damage from free passes.

No. 10: Austin Hays, OF, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: .318, 5 HRs, 20 RBIs, 8 2Bs, 3 3Bs in 39 games
MILB.com Player Page

On Monday, the 2016 third-round pick earned the Carolina League Player of the Week award for May 15-21. Hays, 21, batted .438 (14-for-32) with two home runs, six doubles and six RBIs in seven games over that stretch. He had five straight multi-hit games from May 15 through Friday. On Thursday, Hays had a career-high four hits – two doubles and two singles – as Frederick lost, 10-7, at Salem. In the Keys’ lopsided loss to Wilmington on Monday night, he added another double – his seventh since May 15.

No. 11: DJ Stewart, OF, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .257, 6 HRs, 22 RBIs, 9 2Bs, 20 runs in 39 games
MILB.com Player Page

Stewart, 23, hit .296 (8-for-27) with five runs scored in seven games since last week’s update. Although seven of the eight hits by the 2015 first round selection (25th overall) in that stretch were singles, he continues to get on base for the Baysox. Thanks to this recent run, Stewart has raised his average from .236 on May 11 to .257 after Bowie’s 7-3 loss to Hartford on Monday night. Although Stewart isn’t a dominant performer like many top picks, there’s just something that I like about him. I’m glad the Orioles pushed him from Delmarva to Frederick in the middle of last year and then to Bowie this season.

No. 12: Gabriel Ynoa, RHP, Orioles
BEARISH
Statistics: 1-4, 6.65 ERA, 14 Ks, 6 BBs in 21 2/3 innings at Norfolk; 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5 Ks, 0 BBs in six innings for Orioles
MILB.com Player Page

The Orioles activated the Dominican Republic native from the 10-day disabled list before Monday night’s game and optioned him to Norfolk. Ynoa, 23, hasn’t pitched since he strained his right hamstring while throwing six scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox on May 5 at Camden Yards. He will rejoin the Tides’ rotation. When he appears in a game, it’ll be his first Triple-A action since April 29.

SURGING

Pedro Alvarez, OF, Norfolk: In his past four games, the 2008 first-round selection (second overall) is batting .421 (8-for-19) with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBIs. Alvarez, 30, leads the Tides with 27 RBIs and is batting over .200 for the first time since April 21. Defensively, he has made two errors in 33 games in right field.

Miguel Castro, RHP, Bowie: The Dominican Republic native received a somewhat-surprising promotion last Wednesday after only one appearance with the Baysox. Castro, 22, didn’t allow any hits in three innings over two games with the Orioles before he was optioned back to Bowie on Sunday evening. He walked three batters in that span.

Francisco Jimenez, RHP, Delmarva: After I mentioned the Dominican Republic native in last week’s update, he received a brief promotion to Frederick. Jimenez, 22, picked up a win after throwing 3 2/3 scoreless innings for the Keys in a 5-2 victory at Salem on Wednesday. He also pitched two innings for the Shorebirds on Sunday without allowing a run.

Erick Salcedo, SS, Bowie: Salcedo, 23, has broken out offensively in 21 games for the Baysox this month. The Venezuela native is hitting .320 (24-for-75) with three home runs, five doubles and 15 RBIs in May after he batted .274 with one home run and four RBIs in April. Salcedo hit a grand slam as the Baysox routed Harrisburg, 9-2, on Thursday.

FALLING

Vidal Nuno, LHP, Norfolk: The past 10 days have been rough for the 2009 48th-round pick. Nuno, 29, was sent back to the Tides after surrendering the winning run and three hits in the Orioles’ 3-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals on May 12. And over his past two outings for Norfolk – both games he lost – Nuno has given up four runs and five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Alex Murphy, 1B, Frederick: In 12 games since May 6, the 2013 sixth-round selection and Calvert Hall alum has a .103 average (4-for-39) with one extra-base hit, no RBIs and 15 strikeouts. Murphy, 22, only has four multi-hit games in 2017. Through Sunday, his .303 slugging percentage was eighth-worst among qualifying players in the Carolina League.

Tanner Scott, LHP, Bowie: I’ve been praising the 2014 sixth-round pick for the past few weeks, so it’s only fair that I criticize him after his latest outing. Scott, 22, only allowed one run and three hits in three innings at Harrisburg on Thursday. But one thing frustrated me about the performance: He walked four batters for the third time in the past month.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (18-25)
May 23 – at Toledo, 6:35 p.m.
May 24 – at Toledo, 10:35 a.m.
May 25 – at Toledo, 6:35 p.m.
May 26 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
May 27 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
May 28 – at Columbus, 2:05 p.m.
May 29 – at Columbus, 2:05 p.m.

Bowie (22-22)
May 23 – vs. Hartford, 6:35 p.m.
May 24 – vs. Hartford, 6:35 p.m.
May 25 – vs. Hartford, 11:05 a.m.
May 26 – at Akron, 6:35 p.m.
May 27 – at Akron, 6:35 p.m.
May 28 – at Akron, 6:35 p.m.
May 29 – at Akron, 1:05 p.m.

Frederick (22-22)
May 23 – at Potomac, 7:05 p.m.
May 24 – at Potomac, 7:05 p.m.
May 25 – at Potomac, 7:05 p.m.
May 26 – vs. Buies Creek, 7 p.m.
May 27 – vs. Buies Creek, 6 p.m.
May 28 – vs. Buies Creek, 6 p.m.
May 29 – vs. Buies Creek, 2 p.m.

Delmarva (16-26)
May 23 – vs. Hagerstown, 7:05 p.m.
May 24 – vs. Hagerstown, 10:35 a.m.
May 25 – at Lakewood, 6:35 p.m.
May 26 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
May 27 – at Lakewood, 4:05 p.m.
May 28 – at Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
May 29 – at Hagerstown, 7:05 p.m.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Osfan73

    May 23, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    Chris Lee should be the lead conductor on the Norfolk-Baltimore transit line right about now given the joke Ubaldo has become. Bring him up see what he can do, he can’t possibly be any worse than Ubaldo.

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