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The Orioles had no affiliates in the playoffs last year.
This year they definitely have two: The Double-A Bowie Baysox of the Eastern League and the High-A Frederick Keys of the Carolina League.
The Baysox, who open their playoff series at home Wednesday night against the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate) at Prince George’s Stadium, will have 11-game winner David Hess (pictured above) pitching in the first game.
The Baysox captured the season series against the Curve 14-5, but many of those games were decided by one or two runs.
Adam Pohl, the voice of the Baysox, breaks down the Bowie-Altoona series with Joe Fitzhenry, the club’s first-year communications manager.
Their conversation was conducted prior to the big organizational news on Tuesday afternoon that outfielder Austin Hays has been promoted from Bowie to the Orioles. Hays’ departure still leaves the Baysox with several quality prospects, including outfielders Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart and third baseman Ryan Mountcastle, to lead an impressive offense.
Pohl and Fitzhenry also examine Bowie’s pitching staff, which has improved lately with Hess, Lucas Long and recently acquired Yefry Ramirez atop the rotation.
Fitzhenry gives a scouting report on the Curve, whose strength is a deep and talented rotation.
In the second part of our Minor League Podcast, Pohl speaks with Geoff Arnold, the voice of the Keys, about Frederick’s clash in the Carolina League playoffs with the Lynchburg Hillcats,
The Keys haven’t been in the postseason since 2011, when they won a title with Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop on the roster.
This Keys’ club, though, is surging into the postseason, which begins Wednesday night in Frederick. They’ll have to work to beat the Hillcats, who are the defending champs and won their division in both halves of Carolina League action this year.
A Cleveland Indians’ affiliate, Lynchburg is paced by a pitching staff that’s among the best and deepest in the minors. According to Arnold, it’s not just a talented group, but one that continually throws strikes.
As for the Keys, who’ve lost Hays and Mountcastle, among others, to promotions, their offense is paced by Carolina League MVP Ademar Rifaela, Randolph Gassaway and Jake Ring, who was called up from Low-A Delmarva. That’s a pretty stout outfield in Frederick.
The pitching staff is led by starter Cristian Alvarado, who gets the start for Game 1. They also, Arnold said, can rely on the postseason acumen of veteran manager Keith Bode, who has vast playoff experience.
The Orioles have to play well this month to get into the postseason. But two of their higher-level affiliates are already there. This playoff preview is worth checking out.