Bowie's Baumann making up for lost time; Rutschman impresses on defense, too; Brnovich strikes out 10 - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Bowie’s Baumann making up for lost time; Rutschman impresses on defense, too; Brnovich strikes out 10

Photo credit: Bert HIndman

BOWIE, Maryland—Pitcher Mike Baumann has spent parts of three summers at Prince George’s Stadium. It wasn’t planned that way.

Two years ago, Baumann made a strong impression with the Double-A Bowie Baysox, going 6-2 with a 2.31 ERA in 13 starts and a terrific 0.943 WHIP.

It was easy to picture Baumann, who was the Orioles’ third-round pick in the 2017 draft, going to Triple-A Norfolk in 2020, and the Orioles in 2021.

But the pandemic happened, and Baumann was sent to the alternate site at Bowie last summer where his year ended early because of a strain in his flexor mass tendon. The flexor mass is a collection of muscles and tendons that come together in the forearm near the elbow.

During the offseason, Baumann was added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster. He attended spring training but developed tendinitis and began the season with Low-A Delmarva where he threw five hitless innings.

Now, Baumann’s back with the Baysox, and he’ll pitch Friday night against the Hartford Yard Goats. He’s 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA in nine starts but, in his last three starts, Baumann has allowed five runs on 11 hits in 16 innings, striking out 19 and walking three.

“Everything’s starting to come along, and just feeling stronger every week, every start,” Baumann said on Thursday. “There’s been some ups and downs, just trying to get stronger every outing.”

Two other minor league starters, left-hander Zac Lowther and Alexander Wells, were added to the 40-man roster. Lowther got five appearances with the Orioles and on Norfolk’s injured list because of a left shoulder strain. Wells got his first major league start on Wednesday and pitched well against the Tampa Bay Rays.

“As a pitcher, as a competitor, I want to be right there with them,” Baumann said. “As a friend, it’s great to see them there. Everyone’s got a different timeline, I understand that. All I can do is be here in the moment and enjoy my time in Bowie and trust the process.”

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Bowie pitching coach Justin Ramsey said it’s natural for players to be envious of teammates who have made it to the majors.

“I’m sure there’s naturally some of that that goes on,” Ramsey said. “But you’d never know it. You never see it with him. He’s been a professional throughout. He knows what he’s here to do to get there. There’s never been any inclination that he’s not happy.

“He shows up and gets his work done with the intent to get better every day, knowing that the ultimate goal is to be a big-time factor for this organization going forward. If that’s delayed six months or a year because of what we’re going through, so be it. The end goal doesn’t change just because the timeline’s a little different from what you had in mind.”

This year’s Baysox are much different from the team Baumann played for 2019. They have the minor leagues’ top pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, and the top overall prospect, Adley Rutschman.

“Being around these guys is fun. In theory, these guys go up,” Baumann said. “We all have the same end goal of playing together in the big leagues. Anything can happen in a short period of time, so all I can do is go out there and focus on the moment.”

The 25-year-old Baumann, who was a college teammate of Orioles outfielder Austin Hays at Jacksonville University, said his recent success is nothing complex.

“Just getting back in my mentality of attacking guys and not worrying about what happened in the past, with the injury and just trusting that I’m healthy,” Baumann said.

“He’s just getting back to moving the way he used to move,” Ramsey said. “Being comfortable with getting his old delivery back, getting back to the simplified approach of attacking with his best weapons, not feeling his way back or overthinking on certain pitches.”

Bowie is 35 minutes away from Camden Yards and, with Oriole executives often visiting, it must be tempting to think about how close the major leagues are.

“I don’t think of it like that,” Baumann said. “We’re always one call away here in Double-A. Norfolk is the next step. Who knows what’s next? Norfolk’s a few hours away, but I’m having a good time here in Bowie.”

The Baysox also have left-hander DL Hall, who’s on the injured list because of a sore elbow.

“There’s a lot of excitement and good energy and friendly competition,” Baumann said. “Everybody’s trying to push each other to get better. Seeing the talent these guys have, it’s fun to watch day-to-day.

“We’re not just trying to get to the big leagues. We’re trying to compete and win the AL East and win a World Series. I think that pushes you in trying to get your game to the next level and just wait your turn. It forces you to bring out the best. You’re not just trying to get there. You’re trying to get there, stay there and win and bring home a World Series to Baltimore.”

Playing for the Orioles along with Rodriguez and Rutschman would be special.

“You see what a glimpse of the future could be like here in Baltimore,” Baumann said. “These guys are performing well and they’re on the right track. That should give a lot of people a reason to be excited.”

Rutschman impressing: A night after hitting two home runs and driving in seven runs, Rutschman was hitless in three at-bats with a walk in Bowie’s 4-0 win over Hartford on Thursday night.

He threw out Hartford’s Sean Bouchard trying to steal in the fourth inning and Coco Montes in the seventh.

“I think he’s a pro on and off the field,” Baumann said. “He handles himself like a big leaguer. He’s got the right mindset. He’s going to make the guys around him better. I think that’s what makes him as good as he is.

“As a catcher, he lets you know what you can work on, what you’re struggling with, how you can gameplan a little better, how to attack hitters. He’s there for you. He’s going to work for you. He’s not just focused on himself. He wants to learn along the way. He wants to get better, too.”

Ramsey gets to work with the catcher.

“Being the captain on the field, all of those things, he does a fantastic job of,” Ramsey said. “He gets better every day in what he does. I’m very lucky. To be here for all this is awesome.”

Brnovich dominates: In five scoreless innings, right-hander Kyle Brnovich allowed three hits and struck out 10 without walking a batter. He has a 2.45 ERA in five games for Bowie.

Brnovich was one of four pitchers acquired by the Orioles from the Los Angeles Angels for Dylan Bundy in December 2019l

“He’s a competitor. He’s out there attacking with all of his weapons,” Ramsey said. “He’s another guy that’s really growing every time he takes the mound. What is this, his [13th] professional outing? He’s learning on the fly, and he’s doing a really good job of it.”

After the Angels drafted Brnovich in the eighth round in 2019, they declined to pitch him that season, as they do with many of their picks.

“Credit to him, he’s really starting to use his changeup a lot more, which is a newer approach for him,” Ramsey said. “He didn’t necessarily use that as much. It’s really paying dividends. He’s another one of those smart guys who’s got an idea of what to do. He’s always asking good questions, wanting to learn more, how to apply, how to pitch, what else he can do, things like that. He’s another guy that’s been a lot of fun to be a part of his growth process.”

Brian Gonzalez update: In 2014 after the Orioles forfeited their first two draft picks for signing free agents Ubaldo Jimenéz and Nelson Cruz, the Orioles drafted Brian Gonzalez in the third round. The left-hander spent seven seasons with the Orioles, topping out at Bowie in 2018 and 2019.

Last year, Gonzalez was assigned to the alternate site and, while the Orioles were impressed with him, they didn’t place him on the 40-man roster. He signed with the Colorado Rockies as a minor league free agent.

Gonzalez was the losing pitcher in Thursday night’s game, allowing three unearned runs in the sixth inning.

Around the minors: In other games, Kevin Smith (1-3) allowed five runs in three innings as Triple-A Norfolk lost to Gwinnett, 8-1. … Shortstop Gunnar Henderson had three hits as High-A Aberdeen lost to Hudson Valley, 10-9, in 11 innings. Hudson Valley scored four runs in the top of the 11th, and the IronBirds scored three runs in the bottom of the 11th. Leftfielder Shayne Fontana also had three hits. … Noah Denoyer allowed a run on three hits in six innings in Low-A Delmarva’s 3-2 loss to Lynchburg.

Notes: The Orioles optioned infielder Kelvin Gutierrez to Triple-A Norfolk. Gutierrez hit .174 (4-for-23) with two RBIs in eight games. … Ravens coach John Harbaugh will throw out the first pitch for Sunday’s games. … MLB.com’s Jim Callis reported that the Orioles signed outfielder Reed Trimble, their pick in Competitive Balance Round B, to an $800,000 contract. The team has not announced the signing.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Baltimore Castaway

    July 23, 2021 at 8:46 am

    Being an Orioles Fan these days is not for the faint of heart.

    Good to see that Alexander Wells did well in his debut. Brnovich and Bauman have the talent to be MLB Starters–just stay heathy and keep progressing..

    Remember also that the Orioles are expected to announce a strong International Signing Class at the end of the year and it’s looking like they will have a top Four Drafting position in next June’s Amateur Draft.

    Things will turn around at some point—they have to.

    Every day that goes by puts us a little further away from the disastrous days of Peter, Dan, Buck and Brady…..oyyy..

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 23, 2021 at 8:59 am

      News flash ….Peter is still here and it’s been more disastrous than ever. Granted, it’s by design, but does that make it somehow more palatable? There are snakes in our back yard.

      That being said, it IS nice to read about the kids down on the farm, some of which should be in Baltimore this morning.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        July 23, 2021 at 9:15 am

        Well BRR–you do live in Texas don’t you?

        While Peter is still with us in an Earthly/Fellow Traveler sense, he does not play a role in how this team is being run, and hasn’t in the last couple of years.

        Take a look at this Clip—better times are definitely ahead for our boys

        https://youtu.be/Yp2MXq9kjLM

        • Tileman

          July 23, 2021 at 9:31 am

          Great video thx for the update. Maybe the second coming of The Oriole Way

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          July 23, 2021 at 5:32 pm

          Thanks for sharing that nice piece of propoganda. heee hee hee…just joking BC, the video was an interesting take on plate discipline.

          I found Buck’s comment about being selective no so much as to take a base on balls, but being selective in order to swing only at pitches that they can drive vs. simply getting the bat on the ball … to be very insightful. (that is what we call a run on sentence..sheesh)

          So let’s get a few of these guys (infielders) up here already!

          BTW…been in Texas for over a year now …. nary a snake to be seen. Just lots of armadillos.

  2. Orioles20

    July 23, 2021 at 9:36 am

    That Bundy trade keeps looking better and better. He’s in the Anaheim bullpen and we got three starters that are pitching really good. Baumann has been pitching better if late. Hopefully we could see him at the end of the year.

  3. Bman

    July 23, 2021 at 9:42 am

    Imagining a day when Os don’t have Davis’ contract any more. And these prospects become regulars. The futures bright. Rutschman, Henderson, Kjerstad, Cowser, Westburg, Mountcastle, Mayo, Mullins, Hays, Jones, Vavra, Stowers, Norby, among others…

    • Baltimore Castaway

      July 23, 2021 at 9:57 am

      That sounds like a very good plan.

      Am still shaking may head about last week’s Draft though…seems that the Orioles are knowingly taking a very divergent path in drafting Pitching, knowing that they have better metrics and selection filters than the rest of MLB or they are kamikaze pilots… To take almost all your pitching prospects on the final day of the Draft after the first 350-400 players have already been selected seems irrational to me…

      But that’s why I’m here at home typing and not on a Zoom Call w Elias, Holt and Hyde…..

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        July 23, 2021 at 1:02 pm

        BC – This seems to be Elias’s plan. Load up on a ton of players who are terrific hitters and up the middle fielders that don’t strike out a lot. This is not the former plan where they would draft the pitching and buy the one dimensional DH bats. Those pitchers as starters did not work out. And the days of a DH like Mark Trumbo’s bat in the lineup having to play in right field are over.
        I’m thinking that when all of these player prospects get to the major leagues and they’ll need a lot more, he’ll then determine which ones stay and which ones he’ll trade for top line number 1 starting pitchers ala Houston did when obtained Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke by trade.

        • Baltimore Castaway

          July 23, 2021 at 1:09 pm

          It does seem to be the plan…

          They still need a Helluva lot more talented people, but when you think about it, they will have 15-20 more well-scouted prospects in their System in less than a year from now. Plus whatever they get in Trades, if they make any.

    • Orial

      July 23, 2021 at 10:33 am

      I’m not sure having Davis’ contract come off the books will make any differrnce. I don’t think there’s a limit to how low they can keep the payroll. I worry that outside,financial limitations dictate more than one salary. Now in 5 years when Rutchsman,Westburg Henderson have established themselves I’d like to see them get those hefty extensions(a la Acuna,Tatis Jr) are getting. That might be the way to go–no more outside FA’s( Manny,Harper,etc.). That’s of course if these players meet that criteria of stardom. Cheaper ways of making a splash.

  4. Nellie

    July 23, 2021 at 10:39 am

    I enjoyed the video. Possibly the reason that they are giving Stewart such a long leash. Now if he could only barrel the ball down the middle.

  5. Icterus fan

    July 23, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    Wow. Great video. Thanks for sharing. I love the disciplinary focus on offense.
    Buck Britton? Heck yeah. He seems engaged and practical; spoke plainly without over using the analytics hyperbole. That guy seems solid!
    Real lasting change is often hard to attain, and doesn’t seem to come quickly. Such is the case here. Changing a culture takes ongoing commitment and effort.

  6. dlgruber1

    July 23, 2021 at 2:26 pm

    I see SO many commenters being either pro Elias or anti Elias so let me add my two cents now:
    Elias was NOT the GM at Houston. He was assistant GM. Big difference. Of course he had input but he was not the one making the final decisions in trades, draft picks, etc. In my opinion he should be viewed in the same light as Hyde. Hyde never managed before. As a bench coach he had input as well but Maddon had final say. Between the two I believe Hyde has the more difficult job. Elias can rely on input for his decisions from many more people than Hyde can. When the O’s lose fans aren’t questioning Elias decisions, they’re questioning Hyde’s. Elias has the luxury of looking down the road a few years while Hyde has to use the hand he’s dealt. I truly believe both men are trying their best to bring winning baseball back to Baltimore. I’m willing to give a leash to both of them, just not one of those that extends about 30 feet when my 100 pound dog starts pulling. I’ll stay the course for now.

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 4:27 pm

      Agree DL, that’s been said before & really saw no reaction, I’m quite surprised at the number of people who think he engineered everything, the minors look better, but he could have done much better with the “Varsity” O’s…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 23, 2021 at 5:57 pm

        DL … Cal …..Everybody knows I don’t like Elias tanking.

        What I do like about Elias is that he:
        1. Graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County….which means he’s wicked f’in smart.

        2. He followed that up by attending and graduating from Yale …which means he’s wicked f’in smart.

        3. And he played baseball his whole life … was good enough to play at the college level …and did a multi year Asst. GM apprenticeship on a team that won a world championship!

        Trifecta! This all indicates he knows something more than the average bear about baseball! We’re all hoping this guys is the next coming of Branch Rickey, but enough already, let’s win some games. There IS some talent on the current squad. They shouldn’t be so bad. If you’re grading Elias on the 1st three years on the job…..he’s getting a big fat F. Bet he never got one of those at TJHS or Yale.

        How much rope do we extend? Another year? 2 more?

        • WorldlyView

          July 24, 2021 at 12:07 am

          BRR, “Trifecta”? Are you kidding us, or are you going soft? Pure intellectual fire power is NOT a guarantee of success as a big league baseball GM. If it were, having an Ivy League Ph.D. would be a determining credential. Nobody recruited Einstein to be their GM. I don’t think it’s any big deal that Elias played baseball for PART of his life. I wonder how he found out that he was not good enough to make the majors–did he apply self-analytics or did someone in a position of authority tell him? How much more than the average bear do you think he knows about baseball? If he’s at the 60th percentile, then 40 percent of baseball execs are smarter than he is. It seems to me that the critical requirements for success for him or any other GM are a keen eye and instinct for young talent as well as a supportive ownership. Elias has the potential for success or he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is now. But don’t we have to wait and see? Unlike the optimists, I don’t think a good and strengthening farm system guarantees a winning AL East team. Hopefully it does, but not all hotshot minor leaguers shine in the Show. Again, I choose to wait and see. Here’s a scary variable: will current or future ownership of a relatively small market team be willing to shell out megabucks to retain our future stars? Will they match the offers by the big money teams for these stars when they become free agents? I can only keep my fingers crossed and hope our ownership is in business to win, not to maximize profits.

          • Baltimore Castaway

            July 24, 2021 at 7:54 pm

            The Model for this franchise is the Tampa Bay Rays–not the big market teams up the Acela Corridor..and by-the-way it will soon become the model for a helluva lot of other teams because it works.

            I also very much question the long-term commitment of the second generation owners. One of the problems w Peter was that he didn’t love the game of baseball and winning never meant much to him.

          • WorldlyView

            July 24, 2021 at 8:53 pm

            BC, I’ll bet some of our fellow commentators will renounce the Rays’ model. They presumably are appalled that the team just traded for Nelson Cruz on the silly premise of wanting to improve the club right now and go deep in the playoffs. The “no interim proven free agents for the Orioles” school of thought would call for the Rays promoting one or more of their top prospects, not acquiring a proven slugger. Even worse, they traded away two prospects instead of gearing up for 2025.
            BTW, could you provide proof for your unequivocal assertion that the Oriole model “works” (at above the AA level) and will become the model for many other clubs.

  7. Nellie

    July 23, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Again, we can’t under estimate the third part of this trifecta, the Angelos brothers.

  8. CalsPals

    July 23, 2021 at 5:22 pm

    Ok, the Indians are now the Guardians, when will anyone question the Yankees, now with all the southern states protesting & taking down historical monuments how can the Yankees name not be deemed offensive?…honestly trying not to make this political, but since the Indians announced it today I thought I’d ask…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 23, 2021 at 6:01 pm

      Chief Wahoo no more. I’m crying.

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      Agree, kind of crazy….but I (kinda) get it…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 23, 2021 at 7:37 pm

        They should have just gone with the Cleveland Baseball Team …. ala the REDSKINS!

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      Hopefully no ornithologist gets upset with the O’s name, or Bluejays, or Cardinals, no guarantees today…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        July 23, 2021 at 7:38 pm

        The Devil Rays name change was just ridiculous. Were they offending Satan?

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2021 at 7:47 pm

      LOL, probably;)….go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      July 23, 2021 at 8:37 pm

      Long live Icterus galbula!

  9. dlgruber1

    July 23, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Hyde pulls Lopez AGAIN after 4.2 with a 2-1 lead. Unbelievable!!

  10. dlgruber1

    July 23, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    I believe in Lopez next start he could be perfect thru 4.2 innings and just instinctively head back to the dugout.

  11. jimpalmer65

    July 23, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Baumann just pitched a gem 6 in., 2h, 1BB & 7So. Keep developing the pitching, don’t rush them , let them polish their act in the minors. Help is on the way.

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