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With spring training in full swing, several players are jockeying for the few available spots on the Orioles’ 25-man roster.
But, each season under manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette, the Orioles have shown a willingness to shuffle their rosters throughout the organization, and use minor leaguers in key big-league roles as the season progresses.
So, it’s always worth watching where certain minor leaguers begin their seasons within the organization.
Adam Pohl, the voice of the Double-A Bowie Baysox, will take the next few weeks looking in-depth at which players may end up where.
This week, Pohl, along with BaltimoreBaseball.com’s minor league reporter Dean Jones Jr., predicts some of the players that should begin at Low-A Delmarva.
That group includes intriguing Australian lefty Alex Wells (pictured above), who was 4-5 with a 2.15 ERA in 13 starts at Short-A Aberdeen. Pretty impressive numbers considering the 6-foot-1, 190-pound southpaw was 19 during his time with the IronBirds.
Also, Pohl and Jones expect big right-hander Matthias Dietz, who was the Orioles’ second-round selection last year out of an Illinois Junior College, to pitch for the Shorebirds in April. Dietz, listed as 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, made seven starts for Aberdeen last year at age 20 and was 0-3 with a 4.82 ERA in his first taste as a pro.
Perhaps the biggest name on the 2017 Shorebirds will be Preston Palmeiro, the Orioles’ seventh-round pick out of North Carolina State University last year. Palmeiro, a left-handed-hitting first baseman, is the son of former Orioles’ great Rafael Palmeiro.
Preston Palmeiro hit .258 with a .622 on-base-plus-slugging percentage in 136 plate appearances with the IronBirds, and it would be a natural step for him to begin this season at Delmarva.
Several of the Orioles’ most heralded players from the 2016 draft, including pitchers Cody Sedlock and Keegan Akin and outfielder Austin Hays, look to be targeted for High-A Frederick.
Pohl and Jones will discuss the Keys’ roster in their next podcast. But this one focuses on what fans can expect from the Delmarva Shorebirds in 2017. Listen in.
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