Stewart's recent surge helps Bowie stay above .500; 2016 top pick Cody Sedlock hits DL - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dean Jones Report

Stewart’s recent surge helps Bowie stay above .500; 2016 top pick Cody Sedlock hits DL

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

We’re crawling closer to the All-Star break.

After a disastrous sweep in Milwaukee, the Orioles only have one, four-game series remaining – beginning tonight at the Minnesota Twins – before the Midsummer Classic on Tuesday in Miami. Four days off in a row will give everyone, except for second baseman and lone Orioles’ All-Star Jonathan Schoop, a much-needed rest.

Meanwhile, Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Bowie will also wrap up the first half Sunday. The Tides will finish on the road at Columbus, while the Baysox will take on Richmond at Prince George’s Stadium. I’ll be at Bowie’s game because it’s “Superhero Day,” and my two boys really, really want to meet Batman and Wonder Woman. I’ll also try to watch the game.

Anyway, I don’t want to waste any more time. Let’s dive into this week’s update.

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Remember, the “Dean Jones Report” is my take on how the Top 12 players in the organization – according to my “Dean’s Dozen” – are performing. I list each minor leaguer as a rising stock (“bullish”) or a falling stock (“bearish”), depending on his recent play.

Each week, I also discuss a handful of players beyond the initial dozen who are either “surging” or “falling” over the past several games. I wrap things up with the upcoming schedules for the Orioles’ top five affiliates in case you want to go to a game.

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Chance Sisco, C, Norfolk
BULLISH
Statistics: .276, 3 HRs, 30 RBIs, 17 2Bs, 70 Ks in 65 games
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Sisco, 22, had back-to-back multi-hit games Friday and Saturday against Durham. In the Tides’ 3-0 loss to the Bulls on Friday, the 2013 second-round pick had a pair of singles. Sisco had a double, two singles and an RBI in Norfolk’s 4-2 win a day later. He finished June with a .321 average, five doubles and 14 runs scored in 22 games. While Sisco is striking out more frequently this season – 70 in 65 games through Wednesday – he’s showing some adjustments to Triple-A pitching in recent weeks. He’ll play in the All-Star Futures Game for the second straight year. Last summer, Sisco homered in the game in San Diego.

No. 2: Austin Hays, OF, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .339, 3 HRs, 12 RBIs, 4 2Bs in 14 games at Bowie; .328, 16 HRs, 41 RBIs, 15 2Bs in 64 games at Frederick
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The 2016 third-round selection hasn’t lost a step after his promotion to the Baysox last month. The Orioles officially made Hays, 22, their Minor League Player of the Month for June. Between Frederick and Bowie, he batted .373 (41-for-110) with eight home runs, 22 RBIs and eight doubles in 26 games during the month. Hays continues to excel at the plate in July. Through Tuesday, Hays had at least one RBI in three of the four games that Bowie had completed this month, including a home run and three RBIs on Saturday at Akron. He did have a tough day Wednesday, going 1-for-9 in Bowie’s doubleheader sweep.

No. 3: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: .309, 15 HRs, 45 RBIs, 29 2Bs, 57 runs in 79 games
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Although Mountcastle, 20, has cooled off a bit from his torrid pace through the first two months of the season, he’s still comfortably among the Carolina League leaders in most offensive categories. The 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) only batted .283 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 25 games in June. That’s down across the board in those categories from what Mountcastle put up during April and May. Still, through Tuesday, Mountcastle was batting .286 with three home runs and four RBIs in 13 games in the second half for the Keys. There’s no reason to downgrade him to “bearish” this week.

No. 4: Keegan Akin, LHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 6-5, 3.51 ERA, 80 Ks, 33 BBs in 74 1/3 innings
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On Monday, the Orioles named the 2016 second-round selection as the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June. Akin, 22, went 3-1 with a 0.90 ERA in five starts during the month. He struck out 31 batters in 30 innings and held opponents to a .130 average. Akin, who was also named the Carolina League Player of the Week on Monday, made his best start as a professional on June 27 in the Keys’ 5-1 win over Wilmington. He had a no-hitter through 7 2/3 innings before the Blue Rocks’ Cody Jones singled to center field. Akin finished with six strikeouts and three walks in eight innings. In his first start of July, Akin threw five scoreless innings Sunday against Lynchburg.

No. 5: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 4-4, 6.46 ERA, 53 Ks, 26 BBs in 62 2/3 innings
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The 2016 first-round pick (27th overall) has struggled since late April. Sedlock, 22, hasn’t made it through six full innings for the Keys since April 18. He has allowed at least five runs in six of his past nine starts. And this week, the news appeared to possibly get much worse: Frederick placed Sedlock on the seven-day disabled list with a right elbow flexor strain. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told 105.7 the Fan that he expects Sedlock to pitch again this year, but it’s definitely a concerning development given his struggles. We’ll keep you posted on how the situation plays out in the coming weeks and months.

No. 6: Cedric Mullins, OF, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .318, 8 HRs, 24 RBIs, 13 2Bs, 35 runs in 42 games
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Mullins was on fire again at Double-A, but there was a moment of concern Wednesday night. In the second game of Bowie’s doubleheader, Mullins singled in the first inning and ultimately scored. But he was pulled before heading out for defense in the second. There was no initial word on what may have occurred – he didn’t appear to be limping – and the hope is that it’s not related to the hamstring injury that cost him 40 games earlier this season. Through Tuesday, though, the 2015 13th-round selection already had three hits in a game three times this month. Mullins, 22, also had five doubles in a five-game span that stretched through the weekend. From his four-hit game on June 24 at Erie though Bowie’s 8-6 loss at Akron on Monday, Mullins hit .381 (16-for-42). So despite the fact that Mullins only batted .261 in 22 games in June after he had a .367 average in 14 games in April, I’m still “bullish” this week.

No. 7: Tanner Scott, LHP, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: 0-1, 1.88 ERA, 61 Ks, 32 BBs in 48 innings
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I know I’ve been harsher on Scott, 22, than most people covering the team and making the prospect rankings. The 2014 sixth-round pick’s command issues have often negated his powerful arm. Last week, I added Scott to my “Dean’s Dozen” and noted that he had “apparently found the compass in his backpack.” So it’s only fitting that I continue my tough criticism of Scott and flip him to “bearish” this week after back-to-back starts – and three of the past four – in which he walked three hitters. In his most recent outing, Scott also gave up three runs and four hits as the Baysox lost, 6-1, at Akron on Sunday. Still, his full body of work has been above expectations.

No. 8: Chris Lee, LHP, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: 3-5, 6.32 ERA, 52 Ks, 39 BBs in 78 1/3 innings
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Lee, 24, was coming off his best outing of the season heading into Wednesday night, when he was clobbered at Gwinnett. He gave up seven runs on nine hits and four walks in just 4 1/3 innings. In his previous start, the 2011 fourth-round selection held Durham to two hits and three walks in six innings Friday during Norfolk’s 3-0 loss. That performance completed Lee’s best month so far in 2017. He went 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in six starts during June. Still, I’m staying “bearish” on Lee until he can become more consistent. For the most part, he hasn’t been able to put together more than two solid starts in a row.

No. 9: Jesus Liranzo, RHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 1-3, 4.98 ERA, 43 Ks, 24 BBs in 34 1/3 innings
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The Dominican Republic native’s effectiveness has turned around since the Baysox began using him as a starter a little more than two weeks ago. Liranzo, 22, had pitched three scoreless innings in each of his three starts heading into his outing Wednesday night against Hartford at home. He allowed two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out a season-high six in three innings. On Friday, Liranzo struck out four batters in Bowie’s 9-3 win over Altoona. He walked one batter and allowed one hit. Overall, Liranzo’s ERA has dropped almost two runs since his last relief appearance June 8. I’m curious to see how things play out for Liranzo in this role through the end of the season.

No. 10: DJ Stewart, OF, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .272, 10 HRs, 40 RBIs, 14 2Bs, 48 runs, 12 SBs in 75 games
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Stewart, 23, batted .526 (10-for-19) with two home runs and seven RBIs in a five-game stretch from June 27 through a doubleheader split for the Baysox on Sunday at Akron. Thanks to that surge, the 2015 first-round selection (25th overall) raised his season average above .270 for the first time since May 1. Although Stewart’s two home runs in July helped him to match a career high in the category, he actually didn’t hit any in 21 games last month. Overall, though, I think Stewart (pictured above) is trending in the right direction.

No. 11: Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 1-7, 6.67 ERA, 62 Ks, 50 BBs in 56 2/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

After his first two starts of the second half, the Dominican Republic native was 0-2 with a 19.64 ERA. Peralta, 20, had allowed eight runs, eight hits and nine walks in 3 2/3 innings over that stretch. He was scheduled to start for the Keys Wednesday night at Potomac, but the game was rained out. It’s going to take a lot more than one good outing to flip me to “bullish” on Peralta, but his future remains bright. After he went 8-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 23 starts for Delmarva in 2016, I’m not ready to give up on his potential even in the middle of an abysmal year.

No. 12: Alex Wells, LHP, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: 7-4, 2.90 ERA, 70 Ks, 10 BBs in 90 innings
MILB.com Player Page

The Australia native’s season ERA continued its gradual climb after he allowed three runs in six innings during the Shorebirds’ 6-4 win at Kannapolis on Friday. But Wells, 20, knocked it down again with an absolute gem Wednesday, blanking Lakewood through seven innings in a 2-0 Delmarva win. He allowed only three hits and struck five while, again, offering no free passes. He’s walked two batters in his last 48 1/3 innings. So even though Wells finished June with a 3-2 record and 4.46 ERA in six starts, I’m sticking to my “bullish” rating.

SURGING

David Hess, RHP, Bowie: Thanks in large part to his dominant outing against Altoona on June 26, the 2014 fifth-round pick earned the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week award for the week that ended Sunday. Hess, who will turn 24 next Monday, struck out seven hitters and scattered three hits in seven shutout innings as the Baysox won, 2-1.

Tobias Myers, RHP, Aberdeen: The 2016 sixth-round selection allowed only two hits and struck out eight batters in five scoreless innings at Connecticut on June 23. Myers, 18, did even better Tuesday against Lowell. He had eight strikeouts and gave up just one hit in six innings during the IronBirds’ 4-2 win. Overall, he is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 15 innings.

Preston Palmeiro, 1B, Delmarva: After posting a .197 average through 21 games in April, the 2016 seventh-round pick has performed much better. Palmeiro, 22, hit .279 (58-for-208) with nine home runs and 39 RBIs in 54 games from the start of May through Wednesday. He had also hit safely in 12 of his past 14 games.

David Washington, OF, Norfolk: Sure, Orioles fans will mostly remember the 2009 15th-round pick’s 0-for-6 performance with five strikeouts for the club in June. But Washington, 26, had reached base successfully in 30 consecutive games for the Tides through Tuesday. That’s the longest streak in the International League this season.

FALLING

J.C. Escarra, 1B, GCL Orioles: The 2017 15th-round pick finally broke through for his first professional hit. Escarra, 22, had gone hitless in his first 20 at-bats before his single in the fourth inning Wednesday afternoon during the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles’ 3-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox affiliate. Escarra has walked six times in eight games.

Gray Fenter, RHP, GCL Orioles: In his first action since undergoing Tommy John ligament-reconstruction surgery in April 2016, the 2015 seventh-round selection has struggled. Fenter, 21, allowed three runs in one inning during each of his first two starts for the GCL Orioles. Opponents are batting .455 against him through the small sample size.

Jordan Kipper, RHP, Norfolk: Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on May 6, the 2014 ninth-round pick has flashed some potential with the Tides. Kipper, 24, was 2-0 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts for Norfolk in May. And he tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings Thursday against Louisville. But overall, Kipper is only 1-5 with a 6.87 ERA in his past seven starts.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (35-51)
July 6 – at Gwinnett, 12:05 p.m.
July 7 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
July 8 – at Columbus, 7:15 p.m.
July 9 – at Columbus, 2:05 p.m.
July 10 – OFF
July 11 – OFF
July 12 – Triple-A All-Star Game

Bowie (44-41)
July 6 – vs. Hartford, 7:05 p.m.
July 7 – vs. Richmond, 7:05 p.m.
July 8 – vs. Richmond, 6:35 p.m.
July 9 – vs. Richmond, 2:05 p.m.
July 10 – OFF
July 11 – OFF
July 12 – Eastern League All-Star Game

Frederick (35-47)
July 6 – at Potomac, 7:05 p.m.
July 7 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 7 p.m.
July 8 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 6 p.m.
July 9 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 6 p.m.
July 10 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 2 p.m.
July 11 – OFF
July 12 – at Buies Creek, 7 p.m.

Delmarva (38-44)
July 6 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
July 7 – at Hickory, 7 p.m.
July 8 – at Hickory, 7 p.m.
July 9 – at Hickory, 5 p.m.
July 10 – at Hickory, 12 p.m.
July 11 – OFF
July 12 – vs. Lexington, 7:05 p.m.

Aberdeen (9-6)
July 6 – vs. Lowell, 7:05 p.m.
July 7 – vs. Tri-City, 7:05 p.m.
July 8 – vs. Tri-City, 6:05 p.m.
July 9 – vs. Tri-City, 5:35 p.m.
July 10 – OFF
July 11 – at Auburn, 7:05 p.m.
July 12 – at Auburn, 7:05 p.m.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. ZantiGM

    July 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Under the Radar prospects and late bloomers
    Yaz
    A.Rodriguez
    Salcedo
    Levy
    Long
    Barker
    Rifaela
    Wilkerson
    Reid Love

    • Dan Connolly

      July 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Zanti: you definitely seem to be into the minors. What makes you think some of these guys have a chance?

  2. Anna

    August 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Nice article!

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