The next stop for right-handed pitcher Kyle Bradish could be Camden Yards.
But first, Bradish has to show he can be effective at Triple-A Norfolk, where he was promoted on May 22nd after shining at Bowie.
“I think the Orioles have kind of proven this year that when you’re ready, and they think you’re ready, they’ll move you,” Bradish said. “There’s definitely a need to prove myself at Triple-A before anything happens.”
Bradish, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels along with three other young right-handers in exchange for Dylan Bundy in December 2019, made three starts with the Baysox in his first season above Single-A. He threw with 13 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just seven hits, five walks and struck out 26. Opponents batted .149 against him.
“He’s dominating, he’s the right age and we want to continue to challenge him and get him closer to the major leagues,” Orioles director of player development Matt Blood said. “I think all of his stuff is tough to hit. When we ask our hitters when they face him, they say he is one of the toughest guys they’ve ever faced.”
Bradish has gone 1-0 with 2.03 ERA in three starts for the Tides. He said there’s been a slight adjustment going from Double-A to Triple-A. On Sunday, he pitched five scoreless innings, allowing four hits, striking out eight and walking four at Durham.
“Talent-wise, it’s still the same,” Bradish said. “Hitters at this level have seen really good pitching before and they have a plan of what they’re going to do and they don’t deviate from that plan. In the lower levels, they see something and get away from that plan.”
Bradish focused on increasing the velocity on his fastball in the offseason. That means hitting the weight room and working closely with his coaches. His fastball has gone from 92-to-94 miles per hour to 96 per miles per hour.
He also throws a slider, changeup and curveball.
“I am really trying to work on everything,” Bradish said. “I am really trying to make them better than they already are. The changeup is kind of the main focus right now — just getting the consistent movement and being able to throw that one for strikes. That will help a lot with hitters staying off the fastball, as well as giving them another pitch to think about.”
Bradish has also worked on his command. He has 17 strikeouts and eight walks for the Tides this season.
“Command has always been an issue,” Bradish said. “At points, it’s been sporadic all the way back to college. Last year, I was really focused on throwing every pitch for strikes. And this year, I’ve had a couple of walks, but my command has been a lot better.”
Last year, Bradish participated in the Orioles’ alternate training site at Double-A Bowie because the minor-league season was canceled because of the pandemic. He’s expected to be added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster in the offseason.
“It’s been awesome,” Bradish said about the Orioles’ organization. “Being traded was a little weird at first, but ever since getting to the Orioles, they have been nothing but great. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen [with spring training] because of Covid. I ended up getting the chance to go out for the last couple of weeks. It was great being around the older guys, the big leaguers, getting to see how they worked and what it’s like in the upper levels.”
Bradish, who is the Orioles’ 12th-ranked prospect by MLB Pipeline, is known for his calm demeanor on the mound. Bradish said that composure doesn’t take away from his competitive spirit.
“I wouldn’t say I don’t put any pressure on myself,” Bradish said. ”Pressure is a good thing to have out there on the mound, competing. I’ve been in big situations before and from my baseball career, I’ve learned to live with those. I came out on top of them in a calm manner.”
Bradish wants to be called up to the major league club this season. He appears to be on track for a promotion. Bradish is also willing to work in any role that helps the club.
“Whatever gets me in the big leagues and keeps me there,” Bradish said. “If that’s a bullpen spot, that’s what it is. I’ve been a starter the majority of my life, but I have come out of the bullpen a couple of times in college and a couple of times in . It would be a different experience, but I’d take it and run with it.”
Westburg stands out: Shortstop Jordan Westburg has been named the Orioles’ Minor League Offensive Player of the Month of May.
Westburg was promoted from Low-A Delmarva to High-A Aberdeen on June 1st.
In 20 May games with the Shorebirds, Westburg batted .366/.484/.592 with three home runs and 24 RBIs. Westburg also had five doubles and one triple with five stolen bases in six chances. Westburg helped lead Delmarva to a Low-A East league-best record of 17-6.
Westburg, the 30th overall pick by Orioles in the 2020 draft, hit a grand slam for his first career home run. He finished his time with Delmarva by going 4-for-6 in his final two games with a double and a triple plus six RBIs.
Knight wins Bowie debut: Blaine Knight earned the win in his first Double-A start as Bowie. The Baysox defeated the Hartford Yard Goats, 6-2, to extend their winning streak to eight games on Friday night. Knight allowed seven hits and two in six innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Knight was elected by the Orioles in the third round (No. 87 overall) of the 2018 draft. He entered the season ranked as the No. 22 Orioles prospect, according to Baseball America. He started the season in Aberdeen, where he went 0-1 with a 2.41 ERA, 16 strikeouts and four walks in four starts.
“Knight has pitched great so far this year and we want to challenge him and get him into Double-A,” Blood said.
Henderson impresses: Delmarva Shorebirds infielder Gunnar Henderson was named Low-A East League Player of the Month for May.
Henderson slashed .313/.391/.613 with a Low-A East league-leading 30 RBIs. He had three five-RBI games in 20 games in May. Henderson hit a two-run homer in his first Delmarva at-bat.
Henderson, a second-round pick (42nd overall) by the Orioles in the 2019 draft, finished the month of May ranking second in the Low-A East league in home runs, runs and total bases while finishing third in slugging percentage (.613).
Henderson ranks as the No. 93 prospect in baseball, according to Baseball America and No. 99 per MLB Pipeline.