Kyle Moore has seen his share of talented players pass through High-A Aberdeen.
The IronBirds manager steered his team to a 58-61 finish despite dealing with a roster that had almost constant turnover. It was a good problem to have.
“It was a tale of three different seasons for us,” Moore said. “We started super hot, we had a ton of good players. I was really proud of what we did with all of those good players, but then they moved on. A lot of guys went to Bowie. We have players in Norfolk now. That’s what it’s all about. Our job is to get players ready for Double-A. They’re playing well up there.”
Moore gave his assessment of some of the most talented players in the Orioles’ minor-league system. He also offered some insight on players who have flown under the radar.
Right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez:
Aberdeen Stats: 3-0, 1.54 ERA, .069 WHIP
Moore’s analysis: “He’s probably one of the best I have ever seen. He’s going to be a cornerstone in this organization because he can be at the very top of the rotation. He has everything you want out of a major-league No. 1. He’s a top-end guy. The makeup is all there. He’s a great kid, a hard worker, and a clubhouse leader. He also has the best stuff I have ever seen. He’s the type of kid you dream about when you think about a No 1 starter.”
Rodriguez probably will start Game 2 of the playoffs for Bowie on Wednesday.
Shortstop Jordan Westburg
Aberdeen Stats: .286 /.391/.482, 16 doubles, 8 home runs, 41 RBIs
Moore’s analysis: “He was a really solid player who is extremely polished. He’s probably closer to being big-league ready than anyone else we have. I thought he was above average at every phase of the game — the offense, defense, run-phase of the game. He can play shortstop, which is going to make him really valuable. I loved his offensive approach … He’s super competitive. When you draft a big-time SEC player who can play shortstop, that’s what you hope you get. I am really impressed with him.”
Westburg is also at Bowie.
Shortstop/Third Baseman Gunnar Henderson
Aberdeen Stats: .230 /.343/.432, 9 homers 35 RBIs
Moore’s analysis: “Gunnar is really young and is a big, physical presence. Obviously, a high-school kid that is less polished than Westburg and your major college kids, but the thing about Gunnar is, his ceiling could be higher because he is so physical and so big and so young. I am really proud of Gunnar. He made the biggest strides of any player on our team this year mentally and dealing with adversity. He was 0 for his first 28 and what really defined his season was his next 28 [at-bats]. If you look at the last two weeks he spent here, he absolutely dominated. He hit a bunch of homers, his OPS was out the roof. His defense was always solid. The Baltimore people have a lot to look forward to. Mentally he really grew up a lot.”
Henderson was promoted to Bowie a week ago.
First Baseman Andrew Daschbach
Aberdeen Stats: .268/.365/.437, 8 homers, 35 RBIs
Moore’s analysis: “He started off here hitting about .140. He really scuffled and struggled and all of sudden you look up now and he had a heck of a year. After struggling so much at the beginning of the year, it’s almost impossible to do that. I really think he can be a sneaky piece to this whole thing. He’s going to play for somebody someday.”
Daschbach is at Bowie.
Outfielder Kyle Stowers
Aberdeen Stats: .275/.404/.496, 7 homers, 32 RBIs
Moore’s analysis: “A guy that might not get the hype as other guys in the organization, but really smooth and you’re going to hear a lot about him. He’s going to be at the forefront of this organization.”
Stowers is at Triple-A Norfolk.
Right-handed pitcher Brandon Young
Aberdeen Stats: 1-2, 4.24 ERA, 1.24 WHIP
Moore’s analysis: “Free-agent signing because the draft was so short, but this guy has a chance to pitch in the big leagues. He has really good stuff and has had a great year from start to finish. He dominated in Delmarva and came up here and had some issues to work through. He faced some veteran hitters and a smaller strike zone but his last two outings have been very promising. You have to love that.”