Dean Jones Report: Diaz off to rough start with Baysox; Hays returning; Hall surging - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dean Jones Report

Dean Jones Report: Diaz off to rough start with Baysox; Hays returning; Hall surging

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

For the second time in as many weeks, the Orioles completed a trade with a contender.

This time, the club sent closer Zach Britton to the New York Yankees after Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox. In return, the Orioles received three minor-league pitching prospects – right-handers Dillon Tate and Cody Carroll, and left-hander Josh Rogers.

Carroll and Rogers headed to Triple-A Norfolk, while Tate reported to Double-A Bowie.

Carroll, a reliever, made his Tides debut in the first game of the team’s doubleheader against Syracuse on Thursday. He pitched a perfect inning, striking out two batters. Carroll picked up the win after Norfolk’s Luis Sardiñas hit a walk-off homer for a 2-1 victory.

Rogers is scheduled to start for the Tides against Toledo on Saturday, but it’s unclear when Tate will pitch for the Baysox. Bowie was supposed to start a road trip Thursday night in Harrisburg, but flooding forced the postponement of the first two games of the series. After two games against the Senators, the Baysox are off Monday before heading to Akron.

In case you missed it, my colleague Rich Dubroff wrote a little bit about the reaction to the trade earlier this week. His write-up includes some thoughts from a scout about the three pitchers the Orioles acquired in the deal. So, if you haven’t done so already, check it out.

As you’ll notice below, I’ve updated my “Dean’s Dozen” to include Tate at No. 7. I also put the cornerstone of the trade that sent All-Star infielder Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers last week – Bowie outfielder Yusniel Diaz – into the updated rankings at No. 2.

While you could probably argue that the Cuba native should be listed as the Orioles’ top prospect, I couldn’t dismiss what infielder Ryan Mountcastle has done with the Baysox. So for now, I’m going to keep Mountcastle on top. We’ll see if that changes in the offseason.

Because I added Diaz and Tate, I needed to remove two players. Otherwise, I would have to change the name to “Dean’s Fourteen.” That just doesn’t roll off the tongue as nicely.

So, moving forward, you’ll no longer see High-A Frederick left-hander Alex Wells and Low-A Delmarva right-hander Brenan Hanifee in my weekly rankings. But I want to be clear that it isn’t because of their performance on the field. They were simply at the bottom of the list.

Meanwhile, although I considered putting catcher Chance Sisco back in my “Dean’s Dozen” this week, I ultimately decided against it. Since the 2013 second-round pick has officially “graduated” from rookie status, it makes sense to keep him out of the rankings. However, as long as Sisco remains with the Tides, I’ll be sure to pass along any important updates.

With that out of the way, let’s get into this week’s “Dean Jones Report.” As regular readers know, it’s how I pass along the news and notes about the 12 players in my “Dean’s Dozen.”

Plus, I’ll discuss a handful of players who are either “surging” or “falling” recently. And at the bottom, you’ll see the upcoming schedule for Norfolk down through Short-A Aberdeen.

DEAN’S DOZEN

No. 1: Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: .315, 11 HRs, 41 RBIs, 14 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 39 runs in 69 games
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As I mentioned earlier, flooding in Harrisburg washed out the first two games of Bowie’s series against the Senators this week. So, the 2015 first-round pick (36th overall) and the rest of the Baysox aren’t scheduled to play again until Saturday. Orioles fans should hope that doesn’t slow down Mountcastle, 21. He has reached base with a hit or a walk in 25 of his past 26 games. The lone blemish came during the first game of a doubleheader against Erie on Sunday, when Mountcastle went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. But he rebounded in the second game with a solo shot that put the Baysox ahead of the SeaWolves, 4-3. Mountcastle also went 2-for-3 with a walk in Bowie’s 7-3 loss to Binghamton on Tuesday.

No. 2: Yusniel Diaz, OF, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: .314, 6 HRs, 30 RBIs, 10 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 36 runs in 59 games (Double-A Tulsa); .100, 0 HRs, 0 RBIs, 0 2Bs, 4 runs in 6 games (Bowie)
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The prized return in the deal for Machado is off to a rough start with the Baysox. Diaz, 21, is 2-for-20 (.100) with a pair of singles, six strikeouts, three walks and four runs through his first six games. In his Bowie debut last Friday, Diaz went 1-for-4 with three strikeouts in a 5-3 loss to Erie. He then went hitless over his next three games before going 1-for-4 as the Baysox fell, 7-3, to Binghamton on Tuesday. Now, before you read any further, take a deep breath. One week isn’t going to make or break Diaz’s tenure with the Orioles. It’s still early.

No. 3: Cedric Mullins, OF, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .313, 6 HRs, 28 RBIs, 12 2Bs, 5 3Bs, 36 runs, 9 SBs in 49 games (Bowie); .271, 4 HRs, 17 RBIs, 15 2Bs, 3 3Bs, 34 runs, 9 SBs in 51 games (Norfolk)
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With Diaz joining the organization, I bumped the 2015 13th-round pick down a notch to No. 3. Mullins, 23, had a pair of three-hit games Friday and Sunday at Rochester. That was almost enough to push me back to “bullish” on the young outfielder. But then he went 1-for-15 in a pair of doubleheaders against Syracuse on Wednesday and Thursday at Harbor Park. Since July 15, Mullins is only hitting .216 (11-for-51) with just two extra-base hits. And he only has four RBIs in 23 games this month. That is Mullins’ lowest total in the category since he had four RBIs in 18 games for Delmarva in April 2016. As a result, I’m remaining “bearish” again this week. But I still hope to see him at Camden Yards soon.

No. 4: Austin Hays, OF, Aberdeen
BULLISH
Statistics: .224, 6 HRs, 18 RBIs, 22 runs in 43 games (Bowie)
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Hays, 23, will join the IronBirds to begin an injury-rehabilitation assignment Friday. And if his post on Twitter is any indication, the 2016 third-round selection is ready to get back on the field after missing more than two months with a sore ankle. In a subsequent post, Hays shed some light on the specifics of his injury, saying he had a “ganglion cyst.” I’m sure that definitely wasn’t comfortable for Hays, but hopefully it helps explain his struggles so far in 2018. Let’s see if he can return to form in the final five-plus weeks of the season.

No. 5: Hunter Harvey, RHP, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: 1-2, 5.57 ERA, 30 Ks, 9 BBs in 32 1/3 innings
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Although I’m still “bearish” on the 2013 first-round pick (22nd overall) – and dropped him down a spot with the addition of Diaz – we might be seeing the light at the end of the latest injury tunnel. Before Tuesday’s game against the Boston Red Sox, Orioles manager Buck Showalter told reporters that Harvey, 23, could soon pitch in a game. That’s good news. Nevertheless, since he hasn’t pitched since June 1, we’re nearing two months out of action.

No. 6: DL Hall, LHP, Delmarva
BULLISH
Statistics: 2-6, 2.40 ERA, 76 Ks, 33 BBs in 71 1/3 innings
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For the first time since June 15, the 2017 first-round selection (21st overall) suffered the loss as the Shorebirds fell, 1-0, at Hagerstown on Thursday in the first game of a doubleheader. But that’s misleading because Hall, 19, dominated the Suns in the game. He struck out nine batters and only gave up one run and two hits. Nevertheless, the one run – a solo homer by Hagerstown’s Gage Canning with two outs in the first – proved to be the only run of the game. In his past four starts, Hall has 34 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings. He has only surrendered two runs, seven hits and six walks in that span. That’s pretty good.

No. 7: Dillon Tate, RHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 5-2, 3.38 ERA, 75 Ks, 25 BBs in 82 2/3 innings (Double-A Trenton)
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With Mother Nature dumping buckets of rain in the Northeast yet again, we’ll have to wait to see the Texas Rangers’ 2015 first-round pick (fourth overall) on the mound in a Baysox uniform. Tate, 24, went 5-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 15 starts for Double-A Trenton before the trade. He is only two-thirds of an inning away from tying a career high, so that should happen in his first start with Bowie. I’m curious to see if the Orioles limit his innings at all.

No. 8: DJ Stewart, OF, Norfolk
BEARISH
Statistics: .241, 9 HRs, 41 RBIs, 46 runs, 19 doubles in 82 games
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Heading into the Tides’ doubleheader sweep over Syracuse on Thursday afternoon, the poor month continued for the 2015 first-round selection (25th overall). Stewart, 24, only had three hits in his previous 27 at-bats (.111 average). But then, he showed some signs of life with three singles in seven at-bats in the doubleheader. He also walked once. Still, the notoriously streaky Stewart is only batting .169 (13-for-77) with three doubles and one homer in 22 games in July. In 15 games since he played in the Triple-A All-Star Game, he’s hitting .189 (10-for-53) with 16 strikeouts. In other words, Stewart has seen better days.

No. 9: Keegan Akin, LHP, Bowie
BULLISH
Statistics: 9-6, 2.83 ERA, 103 Ks, 48 BBs in 98 2/3 innings
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Last week, I flipped to “bearish” on the 2016 second-round pick because he had given up at least four walks in three straight starts. But Akin, 23, pitched much better in his most recent start, holding Erie to one run and five hits in six innings last Friday. Most important, he only surrendered two walks. Akin was supposed to start the opener in Harrisburg, so I assume he’ll pitch Saturday. However, since Akin is just 1 1/3 innings away from matching his career high, the Orioles could use it as an opportunity to skip his turn – especially since he has dealt with some groin tightness. Either way, I’m back to “bullish” this week.

No. 10: Ryan McKenna, OF, Bowie
BEARISH
Statistics: .377, 8 HRs, 18 2Bs, 2 3Bs, 37 RBIs, 60 runs in 67 games (Frederick); .254, 2 HRs, 9 RBIs, 5 2Bs, 16 runs in 32 games (Bowie)
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I just can’t get excited about how the 2015 fourth-round selection has played since his move up to Bowie on June 21. McKenna, 21, has batted .186 (13-for-70) with 19 strikeouts in 18 games as a leadoff hitter with the Baysox. Meanwhile, he is 11-for-34 (.324) in 10 games batting seventh in Bowie. Of course, we’re talking about a small sample size. And McKenna hit .386 with 23 extra-base hits in 50 games atop the order in Frederick. But my point is that he still has some adjustments to make before he continues his climb up the ladder. So, for now, I’m remaining “bearish” until he can get a little bit of momentum going.

No. 11: Michael Baumann, RHP, Frederick
BULLISH
Statistics: 5-0, 1.42 ERA, 47 Ks, 13 BBs in 38 innings (Delmarva); 6-2, 3.34 ERA, 42 Ks, 28 BBs in 67 1/3 innings (Frederick)
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After back-to-back scoreless performances, I’ve returned to “bullish” on the 2017 third-round pick this week. Baumann, 22, earned the win last Friday after he held Down East to only two hits in six innings during the Keys’ 6-3 victory. Then, on Thursday, Baumann surrendered just four hits – all singles – as Frederick beat Winston-Salem, 6-1. While Baumann hasn’t struck out as many hitters in High-A as he did with Delmarva earlier this year, it’s nice to see him keeping opponents off the scoreboard again recently.

No. 12: Zac Lowther, LHP, Frederick
BEARISH
Statistics: 3-1, 1.16 ERA, 51 Ks, 9 BBs in 31 innings (Delmarva); 3-2, 3.04 ERA, 52 Ks, 19 BBs in 50 1/3 innings (Frederick)
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In his latest start, the 2017 competitive balance round B selection took a small step in the right direction. Lowther, 22, held Wilmington to only one earned run (three overall) in six innings Monday as the Keys lost, 8-0, in the first game of a doubleheader. However, he surrendered six hits for the fourth straight game and also issued three walks. After going 3-0 in his first four starts in the Carolina League, Lowther hasn’t won a game since June 21. In six starts since then, he is 0-2 with a 4.80 ERA in 30 innings. Meanwhile, Lowther’s WHIP at Frederick (1.35 in 10 starts) is double his mark with the Shorebirds earlier this year (0.68 WHIP in six starts). If you’re just looking at his overall numbers, Lowther continues to have a solid season. But digging deeper, you can see that he has hit a rough patch lately. We’ll see if Lowther can turn things around when he takes the mound Saturday at Down East.

2018 DRAFT SPOTLIGHT

Jake Zebron, RHP, GCL Orioles: The 18th-round pick out of Colonel Richardson in Caroline County is 1-2 with a 3.10 ERA in seven games (three starts) for the Orioles’ affiliate in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. Zebron, 18, allowed five runs in 1 2/3 innings in a June 30 start. Other than that, he has only given up two earned runs in 18 2/3 innings (0.96 ERA).

SURGING

Ryan O’Rourke, LHP, GCL Orioles: In the coming weeks, remember the veteran left-hander. O’Rourke, 30, signed a minor-league deal with the Orioles in November as he worked his way back from Tommy John ligament-reconstruction surgery in April 2017. In two innings with the GCL Orioles, O’Rourke has struck out all six batters he has faced.

Aderlin Rodriguez, 1B, Bowie: The Dominican Republic native is quietly on the way to a third straight 20-homer, 20-double season. Rodriguez, 26, only hit .223 (39-for-175) through the end of May. But since June 1, he has turned things around. In his past 47 games, Rodriguez is batting .311 (55-for-177) with 13 homers, eight doubles and 41 RBIs.

Alex Wells, LHP, Frederick: Although I dropped the Australia native out of my Top 12, he continues to chug along with the Keys. Wells, 21, scattered eight hits in seven shutout innings at Winston-Salem on Wednesday. He didn’t factor in the decision after Frederick’s bullpen blew a 4-0 lead in the ninth. Overall, Wells is 4-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 97 2/3 innings.

FALLING

Matthias Dietz, RHP, Frederick: For the 2016 second-round selection, it hasn’t been pretty lately. Dietz, 22, is 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA since he was promoted from Delmarva on July 4. And Sunday, he turned in his shortest career start. Dietz allowed six runs (three earned), two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning. He also hit two batters in the loss.

Chris Lee, LHP, GCL Orioles: What a fall for Lee, who will turn 26 in the middle of next month. In early 2016, he seemed to be close to earning a major-league call-up. But injuries derailed that. And it hasn’t gotten better. In his latest rehab start, Lee gave up four runs (three earned), four hits and one walk in one inning Thursday against the GCL Red Sox.

Cody Sedlock, RHP, GCL Orioles: In his first injury-rehab appearance, the 2016 first-round pick (27th overall) tossed two scoreless innings in the GCL Orioles’ 1-0 loss to the GCL Twins on July 17. But Sedlock, 23, couldn’t keep it going as he works his way back from shoulder issues. On Tuesday, he gave up a run, two hits and three walks in one inning.

THE WEEK AHEAD

Norfolk (56-47)
July 27 – vs. Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
July 28 – vs. Toledo, 7:05 p.m.
July 29 – vs. Toledo, 4:05 p.m.
July 30 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.
July 31 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.
August 1 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.
August 2 – at Charlotte, 7:04 p.m.

Bowie (47-55)
July 27 – OFF (flooding in Harrisburg)
July 28 – at Harrisburg, 6 p.m.
July 29 – at Harrisburg, 6 p.m.
July 30 – OFF
July 31 – at Akron, 7:05 p.m.
August 1 – at Akron, 7:05 p.m.
August 2 – at Akron, 7:05 p.m.

Frederick (48-56)
July 27 – at Down East, 7 p.m.
July 28 – at Down East, 6 p.m.
July 29 – at Down East, 4 p.m.
July 30 – OFF
July 31 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
August 1 – vs. Potomac, 7 p.m.
August 2 – vs. Potomac, 12 p.m.

Delmarva (53-46)
July 27 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
July 28 – at Kannapolis, 7:05 p.m.
July 29 – at Kannapolis, 5:05 p.m.
July 30 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
July 31 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
August 1 – vs. Lakewood, 7:05 p.m.
August 2 – vs. Charleston, 7:05 p.m.

Aberdeen (15-22)
July 27 – vs. Mahoning Valley, 7:05 p.m.
July 28 – vs. Mahoning Valley, 6:05 p.m.
July 29 – vs. Mahoning Valley, 5:05 p.m.
July 30 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
July 31 – at Staten Island, 7 p.m.
August 1 – at Staten Island, 12 p.m.
August 2 – at Brooklyn, 7 p.m.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Orial

    July 27, 2018 at 10:43 am

    D J Stewart better get it in gear, there’s a love affair up here about him with O’s fans. Don’t want them to see the “real” numbers. Not concerned about Diaz or Mullins though Mullins seems very streaky. Hall looks like the rising gem. Glad to see Hays getting going. Fingers crossed for him. Mckenna evidently is gonna need some time. Now the BIG one. Mountcastle. Please tell me he can adapt at third base being that we have Mancini/Trumbo/Davis clogging his path up here.

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    July 28, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Dean’s Fourteen arguably sounds better than Dean’s Dozen.

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