McKenna and Dietz honored; Baumann faces Eaton; Harvey struggling - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dean Jones Report

McKenna and Dietz honored; Baumann faces Eaton; Harvey struggling

On Monday, the Orioles announced their organizational award winners for May.

Offensively, the club honored High-A Frederick center fielder Ryan McKenna, 21, as the Player of the Month. The 2015 fourth-round pick batted an incredible .397 with 46 hits, three homers, 22 RBIs, 11 doubles and 27 runs in 28 games last month. The Carolina League also named McKenna as its Player of the Week from May 28 to June 3.

That’s remarkable. But I’m going to need to see McKenna channel his speed better. He was caught stealing in all four stolen-base attempts during the month. That’s unacceptable.

OK, I’m kidding. McKenna has clearly broken out with the Keys in the first two months. We’ll see how he finishes the year. But for now, he has definitely surged onto the prospect radar.

On the mound, the Orioles’ choice surprised me a little bit.

I thought the club would pick right-hander Michael Baumann, 22, who moved to Frederick from High-A Delmarva on May 18. Overall, the 2017 third-round selection went 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA in six starts during the month. He only gave up 21 hits in 37 2/3 innings.

Instead, the Orioles chose Shorebirds right-hander Matthias Dietz for the honor.

Dietz, 22, had a 3-0 record and 1.17 ERA in four starts in May. The 2016 second-round pick had 24 strikeouts and allowed 15 hits in 23 innings last month. Best of all, he showed significant improvement over April. Dietz posted a 4.58 ERA in four starts that month.

So, in the end, I’m slightly surprised that the Orioles didn’t at least honor Dietz and Baumann as “co-winners.” In April, Triple-A Norfolk catcher Andrew Susac and Delmarva outfielder Zach Jarrett split the Player of the Month award. But ultimately, monthly awards don’t matter. It’s whether or not you can help the major-league squad that counts.

Before moving on, I wanted to touch on Major League Baseball’s first-year-player draft.

As many of you know, the 2018 draft wrapped up Wednesday evening. The Orioles made 40 selections during the three-day event. They picked 16 right-handed pitchers, six left-handed pitchers, seven infielders, seven outfielders and four catchers.

If you’ve been with us at BaltimoreBaseball.com for the past few seasons, you know I love to put together a massive piece with a capsule on every player. I’m planning to work on that over the weekend, so look for it to be posted on the website sometime next week.

Now, let’s dive into the ninth “Dean Jones Report” of the season.

Longtime readers know these updates feature the latest news about the 12 minor leaguers in my “Dean’s Dozen” rankings, as well as players who are “surging” or “falling.”

Finally, you’ll find the upcoming schedule for all the Orioles’ affiliates at the bottom of the post. Take a look at all the doubleheaders in the upcoming week. Thanks, Mother Nature.

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Austin Hays, OF, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: .225, 6 HRs, 18 RBIs, 22 runs in 43 games
MILB.com Player Page

Well, so much for a quick recovery. The 2016 third-round selection remains out of action with a right ankle injury. Hays, 22, was initially eligible to return to the lineup last weekend. But that obviously didn’t happen. We’ll keep you posted on any developments that we hear.

No. 2: Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .297, 4 HRs, 18 RBIs, 13 runs in 25 games
MILB.com Player Page

Since the calendar turned to June, the 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) has three multi-hit performances in five games. Mountcastle, 21, went 2-for-4 with a walk and two runs as the Baysox beat Portland, 7-1, on Tuesday night. Then, in Bowie’s 7-5 win over the Sea Dogs in the series finale Thursday morning, he hit his fourth homer of the season. With Hays on the shelf and center fielder Cedric Mullins now in Norfolk, Mountcastle is the biggest attraction in the Baysox lineup right now. I’m committed to staying “bullish” this week.

No. 3: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: 1-2, 5.57 ERA, 30 Ks, 9 BBs in 32 1/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

All of a sudden, the 2013 first-round selection (22nd overall) has an unsightly 5.57 ERA. Harvey, 23, endured one of his worst starts in five professional seasons last Friday in Bowie’s 7-2 loss to Trenton. He gave up six runs and five hits – including two homers – and didn’t have any strikeouts for the first time ever. It was also just the second time that he has given up more than one home run in a game. Since the beginning of May, the Baysox right-hander is 1-1 with a 7.13 ERA in six starts. That’s obviously not good. But Harvey will look to get back on the right path in the series opener tonight at New Hampshire.

No. 4: Cedric Mullins, OF, Norfolk
BULLISH
Statistics: .313, 6 HRs, 12 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 28 RBIs, 36 runs in 49 games (Bowie); .100, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 0 2Bs, 1 run in 5 games (Norfolk)
MILB.com Player Page

This week, I’m “bullish” with an asterisk on the 2015 13th-round pick. Mullins, 23, took the next step up to Norfolk to start this month. That’s a great sign. He’s moving in the right direction, so I’m not going to list him as “bearish” in my first update after that promotion. However, he has struggled through his first five games with the Tides. Mullins is batting .100 (2-for-20) with seven strikeouts in that span. I’m not too concerned, though. It might take some time for Mullins to get adjusted to Triple-A pitching, but he’ll get there. I’m still looking forward to seeing him play in Camden Yards one day – perhaps later this year.

No. 5: Tanner Scott, LHP, Orioles
BULLISH
Statistics: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 12 Ks, 6 BBs in 10 innings (Norfolk); 0-0, 4.70 ERA, 21 Ks, 6 BBs in 15 1/3 innings (Orioles)
MILB.com Player Page

New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge welcomed Scott, 23, to the big leagues with an emphatic 438-foot bomb to left field last Friday night at Camden Yards. But I’m not going to hold that against the 2014 sixth-round selection because he struck out the other three batters he faced in the inning – Brett Gardner, Greg Bird and Giancarlo Stanton. We’ll see if Scott survives the roster crunch when Orioles relievers Darren O’Day and Zach Britton return from the disabled list. Since the team is buried in last place, I believe Scott should stay in the majors for good unless he absolutely implodes in the coming months.

No. 6: DL Hall, LHP, Delmarva
BEARISH
Statistics: 0-4, 4.28 ERA, 29 Ks, 18 BBs in 33 2/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

For the first time in his young career, the 2017 first-round pick (21st overall) officially notched a relief appearance. But it’s a little misleading because Hall, 19, actually started when the Shorebirds resumed a game Sunday at Charleston. However, since the game had been suspended due to storms the night before, Hall entered in the second inning. Either way, it didn’t go well. He took his third straight loss after being charged with five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings as Delmarva fell to the RiverDogs, 12-2. Hall is 0-3 with a 7.07 ERA in his past three games. As a result, his overall ERA has climbed to a season-high 4.28. Hall is scheduled to start for the Shorebirds on Saturday night against Hagerstown.

No. 7: DJ Stewart, OF, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .271, 6 HRs, 26 RBIs, 23 runs in 41 games
MILB.com Player Page

Like Hays, the 2015 first-round selection (25th overall) remains out of action even though he was eligible to return last weekend from an injured right hamstring. Stewart, 24, had been hitting well before the injury, so the timing was unfortunate. In 23 games in May, he batted .282 with four homers, six doubles and 16 RBIs. Stay tuned for future updates.

No. 8: Keegan Akin, LHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 6-4, 2.73 ERA, 65 Ks, 24 BBs in 62 2/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Although Akin, 23, didn’t dominate Saturday in Bowie’s 2-1 victory over Trenton, he kept the Thunder off the scoreboard during his five innings. The 2016 second-round pick picked up his second straight win despite walking three batters, hitting another and giving up three hits. Akin ranks among the Top 10 in the Eastern League in several categories, including strikeouts (65), ERA (2.73), wins (six) and WHIP (1.13). If Akin continues to pitch well, I’d like to see the Orioles push him to Norfolk sometime this summer. We’ll see if that happens. But for now, he’s scheduled to pitch Saturday night for the Baysox at New Hampshire.

No. 9: Alex Wells, LHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 3-4, 3.99 ERA, 41 Ks, 17 BBs in 58 2/3 innings
MILB.com Player Page

Wells, 21, took the loss Wednesday for the first time in more than a month. Before that, he hadn’t suffered a defeat since losing three straight starts from April 17 to May 1. In his most recent start, the Australia native surrendered five runs (four earned), six hits and three walks in five innings as the Keys fell, 6-1, at Potomac. Because of that, you might think I’m going to turn “bearish” on Wells this week. But I’m not. Although Wells had a rough night, he has pitched fine for most of the year. As I’ve jokingly talked about from time to time this season, he’s walking more hitters than he did in Delmarva last year or Aberdeen in 2016. Still, it’s not worth sounding alarm bells yet. Let’s see how he finishes the season.

No. 10: Michael Baumann, RHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 5-0, 1.42 ERA, 47 Ks, 13 BBs in 38 innings (Delmarva); 3-0, 1.88 ERA, 15 Ks, 10 BBs in 24 innings (Frederick)
MILB.com Player Page

The 2016 third-round pick cruised through five innings in the Keys’ 4-2 win at Potomac on Thursday night. But then Baumann, 22, walked Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton – who was on an injury-rehab assignment – to lead off the sixth. After giving up a one-out double to put two runners on base, he exited the game. Keys reliever Tyler Erwin allowed both inherited runners to score, meaning Baumann officially allowed two runs and three hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out five batters and walked two. In his first two matchups with Eaton, Baumann got him to ground out to shortstop Chris Clare in the first inning and pop out to Clare in the third. It’s good to see him getting some “major-league experience.”

No. 11: Zac Lowther, LHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 3-1, 1.16 ERA, 51 Ks, 9 BBs in 31 innings (Delmarva); 0-0, 2.25 ERA, 2 Ks, 3 BBs in 4 innings (Frederick)
MILB.com Player Page

Because of last weekend’s stormy weather, as well as the Keys’ scheduled off day Monday, Lowther hasn’t pitched for the Keys since his Carolina League debut on May 30. That’ll change tonight because the 2017 competitive balance round B selection is scheduled to take the mound at Wilmington. So, I’ll obviously have more on his performance next week.

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

With another draft in the books, we’re now two years away from when the Orioles made Sedlock, 22, their first selection – and 27th overall pick – in 2016. That summer, he was impressive at Aberdeen. Sedlock pitched three innings in each of his nine starts. He held opponents to one run or fewer in seven of those games. Then, Sedlock started well at Frederick last season. He went 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in his first four starts. And then the wheels came off. Sedlock is 1-7 with an 8.03 ERA in 19 starts since then. Of course, the injury issues have certainly played a role in his struggles. For now, we continue to wait for Sedlock to return to action. And Orioles fans hope he’ll bounce back when he’s healthy.

SURGING

Brian Gonzalez, LHP, Bowie: After giving up 14 runs (12 earned) in 5 2/3 total innings across his first two Double-A starts, the 2014 third-round pick appears to have settled down. Gonzalez, 22, has only allowed three runs in 11 innings over his past two starts. He earned his first victory with the Baysox in a 7-5 win at Portland on Thursday morning.

Zach Jarrett, OF, Delmarva: The 2017 28th-round selection earned a spot in the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on June 19. He’ll be joined by Delmarva first baseman Seamus Curran and third baseman Trevor Craport. Jarrett, 23, is hitting .282 with 10 homers, eight doubles and 29 RBIs in 54 games for the Shorebirds this year.

Caleb Joseph, C, Norfolk: Sure, the veteran catcher remains in the minor leagues. But Joseph, 31, has started to heat up in June with the Tides. The 2008 seventh-round pick is batting .400 (9-for-20) with one homer and six RBIs in five games this month. Although the Orioles brought Austin Wynns up instead of Joseph, it’s nice to see him hitting well again.

Ryan Meisinger, RHP, Norfolk: In 11 appearances for Bowie earlier this year, the 2015 11th-round selection had a pedestrian-looking 4.42 ERA. But the Orioles still pushed Meisinger, 24, to Triple-A on May 18. The Prince Frederick native has dominated with the Tides, going 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in seven games. He has 14 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings.

FALLING

Jhon Peluffo, RHP, Delmarva: Two weeks ago, I discussed the Colombia native in this section due to his struggles at Frederick. A few days later, the Orioles demoted Peluffo, 20, to the Shorebirds when Lowther moved up to the Keys. Despite the change of scenery, Peluffo hasn’t pitched any better. He’s 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two starts at Delmarva.

Colby Rasmus, OF, Frederick/Bowie: I’m never going to live this one down. Before the season, I picked the veteran outfielder to be the Orioles’ biggest surprise. But Rasmus can’t even seem to hit in the minors. On an injury-rehab assignment as he works his way back from a strained left hip flexor, Rasmus only has one hit in 18 at-bats (.056).

Jomar Reyes, 3B, Frederick: After hitting a double and scoring on Colin Woody’s homer in the top of the second, the Dominican Republic native left Thursday’s game at Potomac. It’s unclear at this point why Reyes, 21, exited early. Regardless, he had been in a deep slump before getting two hits Wednesday. In the six games before that, he went 2-for-24 (.083).

Andrew Susac, C, Norfolk: Susac, 28, hit a three-run homer with two outs in the eighth inning of the Tides’ 7-4 win at Columbus on Thursday. But I’m putting him in this category because of his recent demotion to Norfolk. The Orioles gave Susac a chance to show what he could do in the majors, but he only batted .115 with 12 strikeouts in nine games.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (30-26)
June 8 – at Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
June 9 – at Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
June 10 – at Toledo, 4:05 p.m.
June 11 – vs. Gwinnett (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.
June 12 – vs. Gwinnett, 7:05 p.m.
June 13 – vs. Gwinnett, 12:05 p.m.
June 14 – vs. Charlotte, 7:05 p.m.

Bowie (27-29)
June 8 – at New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m.
June 9 – at New Hampshire, 6:35 p.m.
June 10 – at New Hampshire, 1:35 p.m.
June 11 – OFF
June 12 – vs. Trenton, 6:35 p.m.
June 13 – vs. Trenton (doubleheader), 5:35 p.m.
June 14 – vs. Trenton, 6:35 p.m.

Frederick (24-32)
June 8 – at Wilmington, 7:05 p.m.
June 9 – at Wilmington, 6:05 p.m.
June 10 – at Wilmington, 1:35 p.m.
June 11 – vs. Lynchburg, 7 p.m.
June 12 – vs. Lynchburg (doubleheader), 5 p.m.
June 13 – vs. Lynchburg (doubleheader), 5 p.m.
June 14 – vs. Down East, 7 p.m.

Delmarva (31-26)
June 8 – vs. Hagerstown (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.
June 9 – vs. Hagerstown, 6:35 p.m.
June 10 – vs. Hagerstown, 2:05 p.m.
June 11 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
June 12 – at Kannapolis (doubleheader), 5:05 p.m.
June 13 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
June 14 – at Kannapolis (doubleheader), 4:35 p.m.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Dblack2508

    June 8, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Good to see Baumann is consistent at Frederick. I haven’t seen Mountcastle play yet. how bad is he in the field?

    • Dean Jones

      June 8, 2018 at 10:03 am

      I’m sure someone else might chime in and dive deeper with some analytics. But I’ll keep it simple for now…

      In 2016, he made 21 errors in 105 games at shortstop with Delmarva. Then, he made 13 errors in 82 games at shortstop with Frederick last year before making the move to third base when he was promoted to Bowie. With the Baysox, he had six errors in 37 games at the hot corner.

      I know errors aren’t the “supreme indicator” of defense. But from what others have said, it’s the one big thing he needs to work on. And the Orioles have obviously tried to move him around the diamond already. We’ll see how it plays out, but he certainly swings a great bat. If you have a major-league hitter — and I don’t think he’s completely there yet — you find a place to play him on the diamond.

      • Booged and Powelled

        June 8, 2018 at 11:56 am

        Dean this is way to common for us in regards to finding them a place to play ..we have far too many of those guys already. Im holding out hope he is our 3rd sacker of the future

  2. MJ

    June 8, 2018 at 10:52 am

    You failed to mention that the one hit Rasmus had was a double and then he gets picked off 2nd base. How does that happen to a veteran in A ball?

    • Dean Jones

      June 8, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Hey, I was being nice! But yeahhhhh…

  3. Booged and Powelled

    June 8, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I like that our young pitchers are getting effective starts in…always a positive

  4. Orial

    June 9, 2018 at 11:08 am

    McKenna,Dietz up–Hays,Harvey down. Organization has to find a way to stop this 1 step forward, 1 step back tendency of late. It’s killing us.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login or Register Here

Leave a Reply

To Top