There’s only one thing worse than playing in a 21-inning game over two days.
Playing in a 21-inning game over two days and losing.
(OK, playing in a 33-inning game – the longest in history – and losing is worse than that. Just ask Cal Ripken Jr. and the rest of the 1981 Rochester Red Wings how that felt.)
On Thursday and Friday, Low-A Delmarva came just 12 innings shy of the record. The Shorebirds fell, 7-6, to Lexington at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in the longest game – in terms of innings – during the 22-year history of the Delmarva club.
Based on time, it was the second-longest game in Shorebirds history at six hours and seven minutes. A 19-inning game in 2000 actually lasted six hours and 13 minutes.
The Shorebirds said it’s the longest minor league game since July 5, 2015, when High-A Florida State League teams Lakeland and Dunedin also played 21 innings. And Delmarva said it was only one inning short of the longest game in South Atlantic League history. Lakewood beat Hagerstown, 8-7, in 22 innings on May 7, 2006.
On Thursday night (actually Friday morning), storms forced the suspension of play after five hours and 51 minutes. Delmarva and Lexington combined for 33 hits and 49 strikeouts in 20 innings before the game was stopped. There were 587 pitches thrown to 162 batters on the night, according to Delmarva’s game recap.
The game was over Friday before many fans even had the chance to get into the ballpark. After only 16 minutes, the Legends pulled out the win thanks to a solo home run by Marten Gasparini to lead off the second day of action. The Shorebirds threatened in the bottom of the 21st when they loaded the bases, but a double play ended the game.
Anyway, you never know what you’ll see on any given night in the minor leagues. Most of the time it involves the quirky promotions, but sometimes it’s the play on the field.
Now, let’s shift gears and get into this week’s update.
As loyal BaltimoreBaseball.com readers know, this is my weekly look at what’s happening in the Orioles’ minor league system. Each Tuesday, I give my thoughts on the Top 12 players in the organization (according to my “Dean’s Dozen” list). Every player is either a rising stock (“bullish”) or a falling stock (“bearish”).
You’ll also find a handful of players who are either “surging” or “falling” over the past several games. And, finally, you’ll see the upcoming schedules at the bottom of the post.
No. 1: Chance Sisco, C, Norfolk
Statistics: .279, 3 HRs, 32 RBIs, 17 2Bs, 74 Ks in 68 games
The 2013 second-round pick appears to have adjusted to Triple-A pitching. Sisco, 22, is hitting .330 (33-for-100) in 28 games since the start of June. That’s after he only batted .243 (34-for-140) through the first two months of the season. On Sunday, Sisco had two singles and an RBI in four at-bats during the Tides’ 4-3 win over Durham. Overall, he is hitting .290 (54-for-186) against right-handed pitchers, but there’s room for improvement against left-handers. Sisco is only batting .241 (13-for-54) in those situations. If the Orioles continue to slide, it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes for Sisco to get a look.
No. 2: Austin Hays, OF, Bowie
Statistics: .320, 6 HRs, 20 RBIs, 6 2Bs in 23 games at Bowie; .328, 16 HRs, 41 RBIs, 15 2Bs in 64 games at Frederick
If Hays, 22, keeps rolling in the final two months, he’ll be the slam-dunk pick to top my “Dean’s Dozen” rankings when I update them in the offseason. The 2016 third-round pick is currently on a nine-game hitting streak with the Baysox. He’s batting .293 (12-for-41) with three home runs and eight RBIs in that stretch. Hays, who has hit safely in 21 of his 23 games since he joined Bowie on June 22, had his third multi-homer game of the year Sunday. He currently leads all Orioles minor leaguers with 22 home runs overall.
No. 3: Ryan Mountcastle, SS, Frederick
Statistics: .315, 15 HRs, 47 RBIs, 35 2Bs, 63 runs in 87 games
Since the 2015 first-round selection (36th overall) went 5-for-5 with a double and two runs in the Keys’ 6-5 loss at Buies Creek on Thursday, I’m staying “bullish” for now. Mountcastle, 20, also had a three-hit game with two doubles and two RBIs against Myrtle Beach last Monday. He doubled in four straight games and leads the Carolina League with 35. However, Mountcastle has only one hit in his past 10 at-bats and missed a game and a half over the weekend because he reportedly wasn’t feeling well. It’s worth keeping an eye on whether Mountcastle struggles in the short term, but it’s not a cause for real concern.
No. 4: Keegan Akin, LHP, Frederick
Statistics: 6-6, 3.63 ERA, 90 Ks, 39 BBs in 84 1/3 innings
On Thursday night in the Keys’ 6-5 loss at Buies Creek, the 2016 second-round selection struggled with his control. Akin, 22, walked a career-high five batters in four innings and allowed three runs and three hits. According to MILB.com, he only threw 36 of his 70 pitches for strikes. In his previous start, Akin struck out nine batters. But against the Astros, he only had one strikeout. Although this was his shortest outing since May 22, I’m still “bullish” on Akin. He’ll take the mound tonight in the series finale at Down East.
No. 5: Cody Sedlock, RHP, Frederick
Statistics: 4-4, 6.46 ERA, 53 Ks, 26 BBs in 62 2/3 innings
Before Saturday’s game at Camden Yards, Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Sedlock, 22, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session at Frederick. According to Showalter, Sedlock didn’t feel any discomfort in the right forearm. The hope is he can return to game action within the next seven to 10 days. For now, the 2016 first-round pick (27th overall) remains on the disabled list.
No. 6: Cedric Mullins, OF, Bowie
Statistics: .318, 8 HRs, 24 RBIs, 13 2Bs, 35 runs in 42 games
Mullins, 22, remains on the disabled list for the second time this season with a strained left hamstring. This time, the 2015 13th-round selection has been out of action since July 5. He is expected to be back within the next three to five days. The injuries have been unfortunate because – as longtime BaltimoreBaseball.com readers know – I’ve been optimistic about Mullins’ future for a while now. And injuries have sapped much of his 2017 season. Still, he’ll eventually be healthy. Even if this is a lost season, his future is bright.
No. 7: Tanner Scott, LHP, Bowie
Statistics: 0-1, 2.05 ERA, 67 Ks, 35 BBs in 52 2/3 innings
The Baysox stretched the 2014 sixth-round pick into his longest career outing Monday night at Hartford. Scott, 22, threw 3 2/3 innings in Bowie’s 9-3 loss to the Yard Goats. He didn’t dominate in the game – two runs, three hits and three walks – but I’m remaining “bullish” this week because he continues to perform relatively well in his role. Although Scott’s ERA climbed above 2.00 for the first time since April 26, it’s no reason to panic yet. One warning flag, though: Scott has walked three batters in four of his past six starts. For now, I’m remaining positive. But if the control issues keep up, I could turn “bearish” soon.
No. 8: Chris Lee, LHP, Norfolk
Statistics: 3-5, 6.21 ERA, 53 Ks, 42 BBs in 82 2/3 innings
In his first start since July 5, the 2011 fourth-round selection cruised through the first four innings without giving up any runs Sunday against Durham. But Lee, 24, ran into trouble in the fifth when four straight Bulls hitters reached base on a double, two singles and a walk. He was charged with two runs, four hits and three walks in 4 1/3 innings. Lee has walked at least three hitters in 10 of his 18 starts this season. Opponents are batting .319 against him. He has a 6.21 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in 82 2/3 innings. Things aren’t going well for Lee.
No. 9: Jesus Liranzo, RHP, Bowie
Statistics: 1-3, 5.17 ERA, 46 Ks, 25 BBs in 38 1/3 innings
Liranzo, 22, didn’t pitch poorly in his latest start at Altoona on Saturday night. The Dominican Republic native only gave up one run, one hit and one walk in three innings during the Curve’s 7-6 win in extra innings. However, the one hit was a solo home run by Altoona first baseman Edwin Espinal to lead off the bottom of the second inning. It’s the third straight appearance in which Liranzo has allowed a long ball. Overall, he has given up 11 home runs in 57 innings with Bowie over the past two seasons. Last year, Liranzo didn’t allow any home runs in 34 1/3 innings for Delmarva before moving to the Baysox in July.
No. 10: DJ Stewart, OF, Bowie
Statistics: .268, 11 HRs, 46 RBIs, 15 2Bs, 52 runs, 13 SBs in 84 games
It was a boring week for the 2015 first-round pick (25th overall). Stewart, 23, didn’t have any standout performances, but he also didn’t do anything to hurt his status. Therefore, I’m remaining “bullish” on him this week. On Sunday, Stewart went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI single and a walk as the Baysox routed Altoona, 9-1. In Bowie’s loss to Hartford on Monday, Stewart stole his 13th base of the year. It was his first stolen base since June 20. Stewart will need to pick up the pace if he wants to pass last year’s total (26).
No. 11: Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Frederick
Statistics: 2-8, 6.28 ERA, 76 Ks, 62 BBs in 71 2/3 innings
Perhaps the Dominican Republic native made a step in the right direction Monday night in the Keys’ 2-1 win at Down East. Peralta, 20, held the Wood Ducks to one run and six hits in a season-high six innings, but he didn’t factor into the decision. He struck out five batters and issued three walks. It was the longest outing for Peralta since July 2, 2016, when he pitched six innings and only gave up one hit for Delmarva against Hagerstown. Still, Peralta needs to be more consistent. Until then, he’ll remain “bearish” in my book.
No. 12: Alex Wells, LHP, Delmarva
Statistics: 8-4, 2.56 ERA, 79 Ks, 10 BBs in 102 innings
I’m glad I added the Australia native to my “Dean’s Dozen” a few weeks ago. Wells, 20, has made me look like a genius as he has been almost unhittable in his past three starts. He hasn’t allowed a run since the first inning of the Shorebirds’ 6-4 win over Kannapolis on June 30. In 24 straight scoreless frames since then, Wells has given up only 12 hits and no walks. On Monday night against Rome, Wells pitched out of a minor jam in the second inning with a key strikeout and retired 12 of the final 14 hitters he faced.
Matthias Dietz, RHP, Delmarva: It took Dietz, 21, until his 24th professional start to get his first win. Now, the 2016 second-round pick has earned back-to-back victories. On Saturday, Dietz held Rome to three singles and one walk in six shutout innings. It was his seventh quality start of the season. Three have come in his past five starts.
Adam Hall, SS, GCL Orioles: In his professional debut Monday afternoon, the 2017 second-round selection went 3-for-4 with a triple, a pair of singles and an RBI for the Orioles’ Rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. Hall, 18, batted sixth and played shortstop. It’s only one game, but I’ll be keeping an eye on Hall’s performance this summer. By the way, the other Hall, 2017 first-round pick DL Hall, is still throwing bullpens in Sarasota, but has been added to the GCL roster. So, the lefty likely will pitch there this season, as expected.
Hunter Harvey, RHP, GCL Orioles: The 2013 first-round pick (22nd overall) has only pitched five games in almost three full years – all last season and none above short-season Aberdeen. But Harvey, 22, is on the comeback trail once again. He’ll pitch Wednesday for the GCL Orioles as he makes his way back from Tommy John surgery. Harvey (pictured above) is expected to throw one inning or 25 pitches in what will be a big step for him.
Lucas Long, RHP, Bowie: An Eastern League All-Star for his work out of the Baysox bullpen in the first half, the 2014 24th-round selection entered the rotation Sunday. Long, 24, lowered his season ERA to 1.91 after only giving up one unearned run and six hits in seven innings as Bowie beat Altoona, 9-1. Right-handed hitters are batting .135 against him.
Will Robertson, OF, GCL Orioles: The 2017 30th-round pick out of Davidson College has started off strong as a professional. Robertson, 22, ranks among the team leaders for the GCL Orioles in most categories, including average (.323), RBIs (10) and runs (nine). He also leads the Gulf Coast League with seven doubles.
Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B, Bowie: Rodriguez, 25, has actually slumped to start the second half for the Baysox. In five games since the All-Star break, the Dominican Republic native is only batting .158 (3-for-19) with one home run and one RBI. But I’m including Rodriguez this week because he won the Eastern League Home Run Derby last Tuesday.
Seamus Curran, 1B, Aberdeen: The 2015 eighth-round pick is out for the season after having surgery to repair his kneecap, which he injured when he collided with a baserunner at first base in a game last Tuesday at Auburn. Curran, 19, had three home runs and 10 RBIs in 13 games for the IronBirds. While you’re here, check out this ESPN.com profile on Curran during his senior year of high school.
Zach Jarrett, OF, Aberdeen: The son of NASCAR driver Dale Jarrett has struggled through the first month with the IronBirds. Jarrett, 22, is hitting .146 (7-for-48) with only one extra-base hit – a double – in 14 games. The 2017 28th-round selection has one hit in his last 24 at-bats. In that span, he has struck out 11 times and walked twice.
Adam Brett Walker, OF, Norfolk: Walker, 25, signed with the Orioles on June 10 and joined Bowie. He quickly earned a promotion to the Tides after hitting .426 (20-for-47) with six home runs and 12 RBIs in 12 games with the Baysox. But the 2012 third-round pick has been horrible in Norfolk. He’s hitting .107 (6-for-56) with 21 strikeouts in 15 games.
THE WEEK AHEAD
July 19 – at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 12:05 p.m.
July 20 – at Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.
July 21 – at Pawtucket, 7:05 p.m.
July 22 – at Pawtucket, 6:15 p.m.
July 23 – at Pawtucket, 1:35 p.m.
July 24 – vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 p.m.
July 25 – vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, 7:05 p.m.
July 19 – at Hartford, 12:05 p.m.
July 20 – vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m.
July 21 – vs. Altoona, 7:05 p.m.
July 22 – vs. Altoona, 6:35 p.m.
July 23 – vs. Altoona, 2:05 p.m.
July 24 – at Erie, 7:05 p.m.
July 25 – at Erie, 7:05 p.m.
July 19 – OFF
July 20 – vs. Wilmington, 7 p.m.
July 21 – vs. Wilmington, 7 p.m.
July 22 – vs. Wilmington, 6 p.m.
July 23 – vs. Wilmington, 2 p.m.
July 24 – at Lynchburg, 6:30 p.m.
July 25 – at Lynchburg, 6:30 p.m.
July 19 – at Augusta, 7:05 p.m.
July 20 – at Augusta, 7:05 p.m.
July 21 – at Augusta, 7:05 p.m.
July 22 – at Rome, 6 p.m.
July 23 – at Rome, 2 p.m.
July 24 – at Rome, 7 p.m.
July 25 – at Rome, 1 p.m.
July 19 – at Lowell, 11:05 a.m.
July 20 – vs. Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
July 21 – vs. Vermont, 7:05 p.m.
July 22 – vs. Vermont, 6:05 p.m.
July 23 – at Brooklyn, 4 p.m.
July 24 – at Brooklyn, 7 p.m.
July 25 – at Brooklyn, 11:30 a.m.