Major minors' movement: Joseph, Susac, Baumann, Gonzalez, Means and more - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dean Jones Report

Major minors’ movement: Joseph, Susac, Baumann, Gonzalez, Means and more

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s always tough to see the good guys sent from “The Show” down to the minors.

That certainly applies to Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph, who headed back to Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday afternoon. In his place, the Orioles recalled catcher Andrew Susac, who started and batted ninth in the series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Back in 2009, in one of my first years covering the Orioles’ minor-league system, Joseph played at High-A Frederick. I remember going to Nymeo Field – then known simply as Harry Grove Stadium – for a weekend game. Walking through the concourse hours before first pitch, another reporter and I noticed Joseph relaxing at a table on the first-base side.

Our conversation didn’t last long, but I’ll never forget the first impression that he left. You could tell Joseph would talk with anyone he met as if he had known them for years. From that point, he became one of the guys who I looked for each night in the boxscore.

It was great to see Joseph finally get a shot in 2014 when he was promoted to the Orioles after seven seasons in the minors. Since then, Orioles fans have gotten a chance to know the guy who I chatted with for the first time almost a decade ago. (Man, time flies.) He’s someone you can really root for.

You can look at the overall numbers and understand the Orioles’ reasoning for demoting the 31-year-old Joseph. He hit .182 with 24 strikeouts in 24 games and gradually lost playing time to rookie Chance Sisco. What is strange, though, is the timing. Joseph batted .137 with seven hits in 51 at-bats in April and then .269 with seven hits in 26 at-bats in May. His defense also seemed to improve after a rough patch early. Still, Joseph now will head to Norfolk, where he’ll get regular at-bats. We’ll see if that gets him going; he’s always been known as a self-motivator.

Meanwhile, the club will get a look at Susac after acquiring him in February from the Milwaukee Brewers. Susac, 28, missed two weeks earlier this year because of an ankle injury, but he still managed to share Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Month honors in April. Overall, he batted .296 with three homers and 14 RBIs in 16 games with the Tides.

With the Orioles still buried in last place in the American League East, it’ll be interesting to see what other moves happen in the coming weeks and months.

Outfielder Joey Rickard joined the club last weekend. Right-hander David Hess pitched well in his first major-league start and figures to be back at some point – perhaps as soon as Sunday against the Red Sox.

And there was plenty of movement Thursday night within the pitching staffs of several minor league teams.

The big news is that right-hander Michael Baumann, the club’s third-round pick out of Jacksonville University last year, is being promoted from Low-A Delmarva to High-A Frederick and will start for the Keys on Saturday – weather permitting.

Baumann, 22, has excelled as a pro, going 4-2 with a 1.31 ERA in 10 games last year at Short-A Aberdeen and then dominating for the Shorebirds this year, posting a 5-0 record, a 1.42 ERA and 47 strikeouts in 38 innings through seven games for Delmarva.

Also being promoted with Baumann from Delmarva to Frederick are relievers Zach Muckenhirn and Travis Seabrooke.

In turn, Frederick’s projected starter for Saturday, lefty Brian Gonzalez, is moving up to Double-A Bowie and will start Saturday for the Baysox. The 22-year-old Gonzalez, the club’s third-round pick in 2014, was 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA in seven starts with the Keys.

Also moving from Frederick to Bowie is 26-year-old right-hander and Frederick native Branden Kline. The former 2nd-rounder in 2012 who has been beset by injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2015, allowed just three earned runs in 20 2/3 innings as a reliever for the Keys this season.

Making the jump from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk are relievers Paul Fry and Ryan Meisinger and starter John Means, who was 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA in eight games (seven starts) for Bowie so far in 2018. The 25-year-old Means, who was an 11th-round pick in 2014, will join the Tides’ rotation.

Norfolk was down two spots on its pitching staff after Josh Edgin opted out of his contract and Jason Gurka pulled a hamstring. There may still be another move made at Triple-A in the next day or so to make the math work.

In fact, I’m sure there will continue to be moves made throughout the system and all the way up to the majors, perhaps on a daily basis.

It’s probably time in this piece to highlight what’s been happening on the field, but that’s been limited due to the rain that has messed with both the major league and minor league schedules.

Heavy rain forced Double-A Bowie’s game Monday against Harrisburg to be suspended in the bottom of the third inning. The teams finished that game Tuesday before the regularly scheduled game – shortened to seven innings, per Minor League Baseball rules – was halted at the start of the seventh. Bowie won that game Wednesday morning.

The second game of High-A Frederick’s doubleheader Thursday was rained out – after another rainout the day before. Low-A Delmarva’s game Thursday was postponed, too.

It could get worse: The forecast looks miserable for the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend. It’s possible that we could see multiple rainouts for each of the Orioles’ four affiliates.

Things might get better by Sunday, so keep your fingers crossed that we’ll see the sun.

Normally in my write-ups, I like to include a sentence about the next start for each of the starting pitchers in the “Dean’s Dozen.” But this week, you’ll see that I’m sort of hedging because of all the uncertainty. Just know that they’ll be starting at some point in the next week.

As a baseball fan, I hate rain. But as a father of two boys, it’s worse. In all likelihood, the White Marsh Diamondbacks’ big T-ball game will be washed out tomorrow morning.

Who wants to volunteer to tell my 4-year-old son why we won’t be going to the field?

This week, we’re sharing the sixth “Dean Jones Report” of the season. As always, you’ll get the latest news about each of the 12 players in my “Dean’s Dozen” rankings. Beyond that, you’ll see a group of players who are either “surging” or “falling” in recent weeks.

Finally, I include the upcoming schedule for all the Orioles’ full-season affiliates. But again, I’m not optimistic that all of those games will be played as scheduled this weekend.

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Austin Hays, OF, Bowie

BEARISH

Statistics: .226, 6 HRs, 15 RBIs, 19 runs in 38 games

MILB.com Player Page

The 2016 third-round selection’s up-and-down season – more “down” than “up” – continued for another week. Hays, 22, had consecutive two-hit performances last Thursday and Friday. But then he went hitless in 16 at-bats over the next four games. Hays had a pinch-hit single in the eighth inning Wednesday as the Baysox lost the series finale to Harrisburg, 5-2. In Thursday’s game at Trenton, he had two singles, an RBI and a walk. I’m still “bearish” this week. The calendar will turn to June soon, so when will Hays heat up?

No. 2: Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Bowie

BULLISH

Statistics: .367, 0 HRs, 5 RBIs, 4 runs in 8 games

MILB.com Player Page

It doesn’t seem like Mountcastle, 21, missed anything while he was on the disabled list with a hairline fracture in his right hand. Through Thursday, the 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) has hit safely in seven of his first eight games – including two three-hit performances. Mountcastle went 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs in Bowie’s 5-4 win over Harrisburg in a game that started Tuesday and ended Wednesday. The quick start is encouraging, but let’s see how he’s hitting in a month. It’s all “bullish” today, though.

No. 3: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bowie

BEARISH

Statistics: 1-1, 4.22 ERA, 17 Ks, 7 BBs in 21 1/3 innings

MILB.com Player Page

In three starts in April, the 2013 first-round selection (22nd overall) posted a 1.08 ERA in 8 1/3 innings. Harvey, 23, recently picked up his first win in almost four years. But overall, he has run into some trouble in three starts this month. He’s 1-1 with a 6.23 ERA in that span. On Tuesday, Harvey worked through a lot of the nasty weather to complete four innings against Harrisburg. He allowed three runs and four hits, throwing 36 of his 59 pitches for strikes. Depending on whether rain forces any other Bowie games to be postponed, Harvey will likely take the mound again early next week.

No. 4: Cedric Mullins, OF, Bowie

BULLISH

Statistics: .267, 5 HRs, 10 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 19 RBIs, 24 runs in 37 games

MILB.com Player Page

Mullins, 23, went 2-for-4 with a double, a sacrifice fly and two RBIs in Bowie’s 9-4 loss to Hartford on Sunday afternoon. The 2015 13th-round pick also had two hits and scored twice as the Baysox beat Harrisburg, 5-4, in one of the suspended games this week. In 16 games this month, Mullins is batting .302 (19-for-63) with six extra-base hits – four doubles, a triple and a homer – and five RBIs. Mullins had two hits Thursday, but he didn’t really dominate this week. Still, he continues to pose a threat atop Bowie’s lineup. That’s enough for me to stay “bullish” for now. I’ll keep saying it: He’s just a fun player to watch.

No. 5: Tanner Scott, LHP, Norfolk

BULLISH

Statistics: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 Ks, 6 BBs in 10 innings (at Norfolk); 0-0, 4.05 ERA, 9 Ks, 1 BB in 6 2/3 innings (with Orioles)

MILB.com Player Page

The 2014 sixth-round selection appears to be building some momentum in the major leagues. Scott, 23, hasn’t allowed a run since rejoining the Orioles earlier this month. In three appearances, he has struck out five batters and only given up three hits in 4 1/3 innings. Longtime readers know I haven’t been completely sold on Scott. But I have to admit: He’s slowly winning me over with what he has done on the big league mound. Of course, you never know what the future holds. But it’s a refreshing bright spot on a last-place squad.

No. 6: DL Hall, LHP, Delmarva

BULLISH

Statistics: 0-1, 2.29 ERA, 20 Ks, 12 BBs in 19 2/3 innings

MILB.com Player Page

For the second straight start, the 2017 first-round pick (21st overall) tossed the longest outing of his short career. Hall, 19, held Columbia to only one hit and one walk in five innings Sunday – eclipsing the four innings he pitched May 6 against Augusta. He struck out three Fireflies hitters in the Shorebirds’ 5-4 loss in 10 innings. Through six starts, Hall has held opposing hitters to a .182 average. While he has given up at least one walk in every game, he also has three one-hit performances in that stretch – all three innings or more. I’m back to “bullish” this week. Because of the rain, it’s not clear when he’ll start next.

No. 7: DJ Stewart, OF, Norfolk

BULLISH

Statistics: .267, 3 HRs, 18 RBIs, 18 runs in 33 games

MILB.com Player Page

Overall, it was a ho-hum week for the 2015 first-round selection (25th overall). Stewart, 25, had a pair of two-hit games since last week’s update. However, he also went hitless three times and only had one RBI in that span. Still, I’m staying “bullish” because Stewart is batting .280 with eight RBIs in 15 games in May. He’s also 3-for-3 in stolen bases this month. Even though Stewart didn’t do much at the plate over the past week, he still walked five times in six games. An interesting split to keep an eye on: In 17 games at Harbor Park, Stewart is only hitting .228. But in 16 games on the road, he has a .305 average.

No. 8: Keegan Akin, LHP, Bowie

BULLISH

Statistics: 4-4, 3.22 ERA, 46 Ks, 17 BBs in 44 2/3 innings

MILB.com Player Page

The 2016 second-round pick made two starts since our last update. Akin, 23, pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings last Friday as the Baysox routed Hartford, 13-0, at Prince George’s Stadium. He had six strikeouts and scattered four hits in 103 pitches (68 strikes). It marked the first time this season that Akin threw more than 100 pitches. On Wednesday, Akin wasn’t as successful. He suffered the loss after giving up four runs and seven hits to Harrisburg in 5 1/3 innings. Nevertheless, I’m staying “bullish” on Akin this week. In my opinion, the long-term trend outweighs the one not-so-great outing. For now, he’ll next pitch at home against Altoona early next week.

No. 9: Alex Wells, LHP, Frederick

BEARISH

Statistics: 1-3, 4.10 ERA, 34 Ks, 13 BBs in 41 2/3 innings

MILB.com Player Page

He’s back. I’m talking about the “walk free” version of the Australia native. Wells, 21, didn’t walk anyone for the first time this season as the Keys beat Lynchburg, 3-1, in the scheduled first game of a doubleheader Thursday. He struck out six batters and only gave up one run in five innings. I considered switching to “bullish” this week, but I want to see a string of two or three good starts before doing that. In his outing last Saturday against Potomac, Wells surrendered a career-high 10 hits, three runs and three walks in 4 2/3 innings. The consistency just isn’t there yet, but we’ll see if he can carry momentum into next week.

No. 10: Michael Baumann, RHP, Delmarva

BULLISH

Statistics: 5-0, 1.42 ERA, 47 Ks, 13 BBs in 38 innings

MILB.com Player Page

We’re only a little more than halfway through May, but the 2017 third-round pick appears headed toward becoming the Orioles’ Pitcher of the Month. If it happens, it’ll be because of his play at the next level. Baumann, 22, moves to Frederick to start Saturday against Myrtle Beach. He went 3-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts for the Shorebirds in May, striking out 20 batters and giving up only nine hits in 19 innings. In Delmarva’s 1-0 win at Columbia on Monday, Baumann pitched a career-high seven innings. Baumann’s 1.42 ERA had ranked fourth in the South Atlantic League among qualifying pitchers.

No. 11: Zac Lowther, LHP, Delmarva

BULLISH

Statistics: 2-1, 1.44 ERA, 41 Ks, 6 BBs in 25 innings

MILB.com Player Page

During my most recent update, I hinted that Lowther, 22, could return to the mound last Saturday. That didn’t happen. It took a few more days, but the 2017 competitive balance round B selection came back Tuesday at Columbia. Lowther gave up one run and two hits in three innings as the Shorebirds lost, 9-8, in 10 innings. He only threw 60 pitches, so it seems there might’ve been a restriction in place as he recovers from oblique soreness. I’ll keep a close eye on how Lowther pitches in his next couple of starts. I’ve returned to “bullish” since he’s back on the mound. Let’s see if he can continue his hot start.

No. 12: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Frederick

BEARISH

Statistics: 0-2, 13.50 ERA, 6 Ks, 9 BBs in 9 1/3 innings

MILB.com Player Page

Sedlock, 22, hasn’t pitched since April 19 because of a right shoulder strain. Although an MRI revealed no structural damage, the 2016 first-round pick (27th overall) remains out of action. Opponents went 16-for-41 (.390) against Sedlock in his first three starts.

SURGING

Brian Gonzalez, LHP, Bowie: The 2014 third-round pick will move up and start for the Baysox on Saturday at Trenton. Gonzalez, 22, earned the promotion after going 2-2 with a 3.18 ERA in seven starts at Frederick. He had 33 strikeouts in 39 2/3 innings. In his last start, Gonzalez allowed two runs and five hits Sunday in an 8-6 win over Potomac.

Corban Joseph, UTIL, Bowie: At age 29, the younger brother of Caleb isn’t a prospect anymore. But he’s still hitting the cover off the ball with the Baysox. Joseph is second in the Eastern League with 13 doubles and sixth in the league with a .348 average. He also has a triple and six homers, including a walkoff shot against Harrisburg this week.

Ryan McKenna, OF, Frederick: The 2015 fourth-round pick continues to shine with the Keys. McKenna, 21, leads the Carolina League in on-base percentage (.420) and runs (34). He also ranks among the league leaders in doubles (11), hits (50) and total bases (73). On Saturday, McKenna had two homers and four RBIs in Frederick’s 7-4 loss to Potomac.

T.J. Nichting, OF, Frederick: Nichting, 23, moved up to the Keys from Delmarva when outfielders Jake Ring and Randolph Gassaway went on the disabled list Tuesday. In 36 games with the Shorebirds, the 2017 ninth-round selection batted .326 with 10 doubles and 20 RBIs. In his first game with Frederick, Nichting had two singles and one RBI.

Jomar Reyes, 3B, Frederick: The Dominican Republic native – who signed with the Orioles at age 16 in 2014 – appears to be heating up. Reyes, 21, is batting .298 with six extra-base hits (five doubles, one homer) and 13 RBIs in 13 games in May. He has hit safely in 14 of his past 15 games. Earlier this month, he had at least one RBI in six straight games.

FALLING

Gray Fenter, RHP, Delmarva: After the Orioles picked Fenter, 22, in the seventh round of the 2015 draft, they gave him a $1 million deal – well above “slot value” – to sign. Since then, he hasn’t done much. With Lowther sidelined, Fenter made two starts this month. In those games, he went 0-1 with a 33.75 ERA in 2 2/3 innings (10 runs, 10 hits, four walks).

Michael Kelly, RHP, Bowie: Signed as a free agent in December and initially placed on the 40-man roster, the former San Diego Padres farmhand has an 0-3 record and a 7.76 ERA in eight games (six starts) with the Baysox. Kelly, 25, allowed 10 runs, five hits and six walks – recording only two total outs – in his past two starts. On Thursday, he gave up three runs in two innings out of the bullpen.

Chris Lee, LHP, Norfolk: I don’t want to pile on Lee, 25, but he has been horrible since returning from the disabled list earlier this month. In three starts, the Houston Astros’ 2011 fourth-round pick is 0-2 with an 11.25 ERA in eight innings. Lee gave up seven runs (four earned), six hits and three walks Tuesday as the Tides lost, 10-8, to Indianapolis.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (20-17)

May 18 – vs. Louisville, 7:05 p.m.

May 19 – vs. Louisville, 7:05 p.m.

May 20 – vs. Louisville, 1:05 p.m.

May 21 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.

May 22 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.

May 23 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.

May 24 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.

Bowie (18-21)

May 18 – at Trenton, 7 p.m.

May 19 – at Trenton, 7 p.m.

May 20 – at Trenton, 1 p.m.

May 21 – OFF

May 22 – vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m.

May 23 – vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m.

May 24 – vs. Altoona, 11:05 a.m.

Frederick (16-23)

May 18 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 7 p.m.

May 19 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 6 p.m.

May 20 – vs. Myrtle Beach, 2 p.m.

May 21 – vs. Salem, 7 p.m.

May 22 – vs. Salem, 7 p.m.

May 23 – vs. Salem, 7 p.m.

May 24 – vs. Salem, 11 a.m.

Delmarva (25-13)

May 18 – vs. Hagerstown, 7:05 p.m.

May 19 – vs. Hagerstown, 7:05 p.m.

May 20 – vs. Hagerstown, 2:05 p.m.

May 21 – at Hickory, 6 p.m.

May 22 – at Hickory, 6 p.m.

May 23 – at Hickory, 6 p.m.

May 24 – at Hickory, 7 p.m.

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Gibbyx

    May 18, 2018 at 7:44 am

    With the big club struggling so much, awfully good to see Os prospects doing prospect like things. Heck, we even have too many candidates for the surging section

    Yefry Ramirez
    1.89 ERA
    11 K/9
    .68 WHIP
    In 3 starts in May

    Brenan Hanifee
    2.13 ERA
    8.5 K/9
    1.11 WHIP
    In 2 starts in May

    Sure seems like the scouting/drafting team has turned a corner with these past couple drafts, especially with some of these second and third round picks…..curious to see how the farm system rankings change mid season.

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 8:37 am

      Gibbyx, thanks for the addition! Hanifee, in particular, is a guy who I’ve tried to get in every week, but he keeps getting squeezed out. But you’re right, every week, I seem to have a lot of potential candidates. On the flip side, I’ve had a lot of “falling” candidates, too. But that’s what makes this job so much fun. And I love to hear readers’ input, too. So thank you!

      • 83Series

        May 18, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        Sedlock hasn’t pitched in weeks but you had him on the original list so removing him would mean you were wrong…
        Squeezed out?
        More about justifying previous decisions, as was mentioned last week. Just reaffirmed, this week.

        • Dean Jones

          May 18, 2018 at 12:56 pm

          83Series… Not sure I’m wrong. Read my initial post when I updated the rankings before the season. It’s here, for you to easily access… http://www.baltimorebaseball.com/2018/04/04/updating-top-12-orioles-prospects-list-deans-dozen-lowther-sedlock/

          “Meanwhile, the second addition to my updated rankings comes with a little more intrigue.

          “When I put together the list in early February, I omitted Sedlock because of his struggles with injury and command during the 2017 season. Sedlock, 22, jumped over Delmarva and headed straight to Frederick to start last year. But with the Keys, the 2016 first-round pick (27th overall) made two trips to the disabled list due to issues with his throwing arm.

          “After going 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first four starts with the Keys, Sedlock fell off a cliff. His ERA soared to as high as 6.80 in late May – and stayed above 6.00 until late August. Overall, Sedlock went 4-5 with a 5.90 ERA and 1.72 WHIP in 20 starts at Frederick.

          “Those numbers obviously aren’t what you want to see from a first-round pick in Single-A.

          “Still, with Sisco and Santander making the Orioles, that opened spots in my Dean’s Dozen rankings. And since Sedlock is a player whom Orioles fans want to hear about on a regular basis, I’m willing to put him at No. 12 for now and see how things shake out. Obviously, if he struggles early, I’ll reconsider his position as the season progresses.”

          ——————————————————————————————-

          So, as I said then, “see how things shake out. Obviously, if he struggles early, I’ll reconsider his position as the season progresses.”

          I figured by putting him in at No. 12 since there was an opening would allow me to give weekly updates without having to put him in “surging” or “falling” every week. I didn’t realize he’d get hurt less than a month into the season. Sorry, I can’t predict the future. By the way, Baseball America has him at No. 7 (https://www.baseballamerica.com/teams/1002/baltimore-orioles/organizational/) and MLB.com has him at No. 12 (http://m.mlb.com/prospects/2017?list=bal). So I guess everyone is wrong.

          We’re literally less than two months into the season. He did terribly and then went on the DL. And as I wrote two weeks ago (again, here is the link if it’ll help you: http://www.baltimorebaseball.com/2018/05/04/updating-prospects-dealt-away-looking-rising-arms/)…

          “I’ll keep you posted on his recovery, but he’ll likely drop out of the Top 12 at midseason.”

          So, yes, when I update the rankings after next month’s draft, he’ll come out.

          Oh, by the way, I bet you’re a fun person to hang out with at parties.

          • 83Series

            May 19, 2018 at 7:41 pm

            BabyBirdland seems to do a good job of reporting facts and input provided by those who actually have a pulse in the organization. Combine that and compare that with the “lists” that matter, like Pipeline, and it seems you are pretty far off on lots of levels. Won’t use the word wrong, must be a trigger? I just get amused, in general, with all the folks that evaluate and rank players with little to no…….whatever you should have as a credential or at least to establish credibility while doing so. Certainly, you won’t have to worry about us meeting at a party. I feel certain I would never be invited. But then again, I have always had the most fun at those where my insight crashes the party for those who figured they would have dominant control of the soap box for the night, performing in front of a group of head nodders and “uh huh, your right” guys.

  2. 54orioles

    May 18, 2018 at 8:10 am

    The current Os team make up needs a massive overhaul. This is a bunch of good players who are playing for themselves and not for the team. Case in point, look at last nights game where so many of the Orioles hitters swung at the first pitch. This team has a terrible on base percentage. They refuse to play team baseball. Most of these guys want homers and the big bucks that follows. I am so sick of this greedy bunch. GET A NEW ATTITUDE OR GET OUT.

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 8:38 am

      54orioles, can’t say that I agree completely with your comment. But I think your general premise is accurate — a last-place club with 30 losses on May 17. Yikes. As a lifelong Baltimorean, I’m bummed. But as a follower of the minors and “hope springs eternal” approach, I’m looking forward to seeing the massive overhaul that could be coming throughout the summer. We’ll see.

    • 54orioles

      May 18, 2018 at 12:18 pm

      Dean- I have been supportive of the team since it came into town(yes I am old) nevertheless this is a terrible stretch over the last few year. We haven’t seen team baseball for a long time now.

  3. Orial

    May 18, 2018 at 8:29 am

    I’m at the point where I automatically look to see the minor league offensive numbers on reports like this. That being said other than Mountcastle nothing stands out. Stewart,Mullins both hitting .267 are the bright spots? This coming draft better go heavy on position players. Side note– my weekly obsession with Hays continues to disappoint. Sometimes I really wonder if he picked some bad hitting approaches while with the O’s last Sept(the month from Hell).

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 8:40 am

      Orial, yeah, I’m not quite sure what’s going on with Hays. Everyone goes through slumps, though. So I’m not ready to write him off. As for Mullins, yes, I’d love to see his average higher. But the threat that he poses at the top of the lineup is what I love. He’s a pure hustle player. Will it pay off at the major-league level in the long run? I’m not sure. But I’d like to see him get a chance at some point to see.

    • Gibbyx

      May 18, 2018 at 9:02 am

      I don’t know why DJ Stewart gets no love…:he is only batting .267 but has a .365 OBP which would be nice to pair with Mancini and Sisco on the big club. Power numbers not there so far this year but hopefully they come around.

      • Dean Jones

        May 18, 2018 at 9:11 am

        I have actually grown to like Stewart. I wasn’t a fan in the lower minors, but the 20 HRs/20 SBs last year sort of started to win me over. I don’t know that he’s ready right now to be in the majors. But again, when you’re buried in last place, I think it comes to a point where you just see what he has to offer. What’s it matter if you finish 30, 50, 60 games out? Last place is still last place. And on the flip side, hey maybe some of these guys will do better than what’s already here.

  4. Os no

    May 18, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Dean,
    glad to see Jomar finally starting to mature and get it together. Was wondering about the other player that was signed with Jomar. Both were teenagers who had plus potential, but I’ve lost track of who the other player was and what ever happened to him. Also glad to see some growth and progress from Brian Gonzalez. I was wondering if the O’s would get anything from that draft after surrendering their first and second round picks for Ubaldo and Cruz.

  5. Gregblick

    May 18, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Hey Dean,
    I wanted to open with a question that has been bugging me for a long while. It will be long winded, so I apologize in advance.

    With pitching prospects, why does it seem that the Orioles coddle their prized assets, and let their less blue chip prospects take the blunt of the innings? It just seems to me, that the “let’s build up arm stregnth” mantra that the organization takes with higher end prospects, leads to a longer developmental path. When I played little league we pitched 3 or 4 innings all the time, and in high school as many as 7 innings per start. These 21,22 year old prospects should be able to throw more than 2 or 3 innings per outing on 4 or 5 days rest. Although I do understand the major jump from high school to the minors is beyond a major jump.

    So is their approach something that can be altered, or even needs to be for that matter? What are your thoughts on that? Finally, and understandably, injuries always alter the landscape and developmental paths especially for pitchers, but is there any data that links all these injuries to the amount of pitches or innings thrown early in a carrer, compared to their overall body makeup? (I.e. just someone who is injury prone, based on genetic makeup, diet, work ethic)

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Greg, that’s an excellent question.

      I think it’s a hot topic with fans. I believe the thinking is to limit their innings/usage so they have a better shot at helping the big-league club for a longer period of time than they would be able to if they just “threw ’em ’til their arms fall off.” With that said, I think the technological advancements in surgeries nowadays and the rapid recovery from which pitchers come back from Tommy John surgery, etc. — and sometimes throwing better and harder than before the surgery — sort of negate a lot of the stuff that might have killed careers back in the day. As a result, I’m not really a fan of the “cautious” approach, personally.

      However, I also need to point out that it’s not my money being spent to pay these guys. Nowadays, players — prized pitchers, especially — get much more money without even throwing a pitch in their professional careers than they did in the past. Sure, you can argue that it’s just a drop in the bucket to the millions that big-league organizations make, but at the same time, we’re not talking the salary that you or I make. I think certain organizations will naturally take a careful approach to protect the investments being made.

      There are 30 different organizations out there. So you’ll see many different philosophies and approaches used. The Orioles’ approach seems to be criticized by fans — especially when guys like Jake Arrieta go elsewhere and excel and criticize certain parts of the club’s approach — but every single person in the organization got there by finding success moving through the ranks. Just like the players in the organization are the best of the best at playing the game, the people in a major-league organization are the best of the best at doing what they do. I know I’ve sort of gone off on a tangent here, but I guess my point is that they wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t believe in it.

      That doesn’t mean fans like yourself can’t question it. I think it’s certainly a good debate. But I don’t know that I have the “real” answer. Otherwise, I think I’d be heading up the development program for one of the 30 teams instead of blogging here for peanuts.

      Again, thanks for the support and the great question. I hope I at least helped somewhat.

      Best,

      Dean

  6. Djowen

    May 18, 2018 at 9:37 am

    Dean, defense is a concern for the big club but your updates are almost all about offense. Could you add a line or two about the defense of the position players. A player that goes .300 with 3 HR and 10 RBI is great but if he also had 4 or 5 errors or missed plays that should have been made won’t help the ML club. Thanks.

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 9:43 am

      Djowen… Excellent point. I’ve wanted to do more of that. From time to time, I try to sprinkle in some quick lines about a player’s defense. But I admit — my updates are usually mostly about offense. It’s a little bit surprising, too. Back in high school, I was definitely a defense-first player. All glove, no bat. That’s why I became a writer/blogger/editor. In all seriousness, yes, you are 100% correct. I’ll try to make an effort to do that going forward. Thanks for the feedback.

  7. Gregblick

    May 18, 2018 at 9:50 am

    Hey Dean,
    I agree 100 % with what you said, and that was my theory as well. But that leads to a whole new discussion topic that I have had with friends for a while. Why build around young starting pitching then. I concede it is the most valuable asset once you have a stud Major league starting pitcher. But with the money or assets invested to draft, sign or trade for these prospects that do take so long and have much higher volatility rate, why not use the assestsfor positional talent.

    The cubs, and astros are prime examples. They used their high draft picks for guys like Spinger. Correa, and tucker (astros), and swarberer, Bryant, Baez, and Happ (cubs). The Astros may have set themselves back a year when they took Aiken 1st overall, but they had a deep enough system to overcome that bust. (Of course they also parlayed that into their closer)

    It just seems to me that if a rebuild were to come, we need to stockpile hitters not pitchers, as that will be the quickest and less frustrating route. Parlay a few prospects once the system is built for MLB pitchers, and maybe sign one or two in the future. Our stadium is also not conducive for young pitchers which could augment the argument to “groom” pitchers as free agents dont want to come here, but it seems like we have wasted to many high picks on pitching busts.

    Remember our rebuild was spearheaded by a trade forJones, draft Machado, trade for Davis, trade for Hardy, and draft of Weiters.

    Our picks of Guasman, Bundy, Matusz,Hobgood, Sedlock (jury is out), have yielded next to nothing on our Winning clubs. Although Guasman and Bundy may contribute on the next wave they were drafted 6-8 years ago, which would be a long time to wait for the next patch of winning sesons.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Dean Jones

      May 18, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Excellent comment, Greg. I think what you says makes a lot of sense. Curious to see if any other readers have any thoughts?

    • 54orioles

      May 18, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      I believe something is terribly wrong with our scouting and of our training and conditioning with draft picks. Top pick after top pick either gets injured or just doesn’t make it. Hobgood and Sedlock are two of the most recent high picks with serious issues.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      Let me say this: if you draft pitching high you are taking a health risk. It’s understood. This is not the Orioles. This is throughout Baseball. It’s why pitching is so valuable. So many variables and health is one. People always point to the Rays and their drafting an md developing of pitchers. Many of their drafted guys have ended up under the knife. It’s just the way it is.

  8. Gregblick

    May 18, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Dan,
    You are 100 % correct on saying this a baseball thing, however to point to the Ray’s is not a good example. I know that “people” might say this is a good example, but is it really? Who have they developed from the draft other than Longoria? BJ Upton? Tim Becham? J Hamilton? Their best years were with another team. Okay Archer, and Price in the last 15 years. Cobb, orodozi, were later picks. This is not the team I would want to compare to, despite what other “people” have said. I believe with all your knowledge you have another ace up your sleeve.

    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2018 at 8:32 pm

      Actually Archer and Odorizzi were both acquired by the Rays via trade. So those two don’t even count. There are others. Snell is for real. Shields. Basically I was using them as an example of perception versus reality. And that pitching is hard to develop everywhere.

  9. Gregblick

    May 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I completely agree that pitching is hard to develop, which was why I was saying the rebuild would be better if we stockpile hitters.

    Like you I believe Snell is the real deal. And I apologize I did forget about the Myers trade and the trade that brought Archer.

    I am very curious to see how the Braves rebuild goes though, as they mainly focused on pitching with their high draft picks. They did seem to hit home runs on their two top positional players they developed in Albies and Acuna, plus sprinkle in a heist of trade turning Heyward into Swanson, and Encarite via shelby Miller.

  10. Churchton

    May 20, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    Send down davis please. Maybe someone will pick up his contract. Nah only brainless Anderson did that

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