Minor Monday: Checking in on this year's draft class - BaltimoreBaseball.com
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Minor Monday: Checking in on this year’s draft class

Photo Credit: Rich Dubroff

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The Florida Complex League wrapped up late last month. The regular season concludes Sunday for Single-A affiliates Aberdeen and Delmarva (Aberdeen still has a mathematical chance to win its division, while Delmarva has been eliminated).

All of which means the first season of pro ball for Baltimore’s 2023 draft class — however brief it may have been — is about to end barring a two-level jump from Delmarva to Double-A Bowie later this month.

The Orioles signed 19 players from July’s draft, and a dozen of them made their pro debuts. The exceptions are all pitchers, many of whom logged heavy workloads for their college teams in the spring.

But first-rounder Enrique Bradfield Jr.? And second-rounder Mac Horvath? They’ve sped through the complex league and settled in at Delmarva before their promotions to Aberdeen for the final week of the regular season.

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A month or so of work isn’t going to make or break any recent draft pick’s career, but it isn’t a bad time just to check in to see how some names who were in the news over the summer have fared since joining Baltimore’s organization.

Outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr.: The first-rounder out of Vanderbilt aced his three-game stint in the complex league, going 5 for 9. The No. 17 overall pick has hit .302 in 17 games at Delmarva, but the numbers that stands out are his 20 stolen bases and his 19 walks in 72 plate appearances. Bradfield has played mostly in center, with four games in left.

Infielder Mac Horvath: The Orioles’ second-round pick from North Carolina, Horvath was also 5 for 9 in the complex league, and he hasn’t stopped hitting at Delmarva. The No. 53 overall pick has split most of his time between second and third base and is slashing .308/.422/.500 in 14 games with the Shorebirds.

Right-handed pitcher Kiefer Lord: The Washington product and third-round selection threw two scoreless innings in Florida and was quickly bumped up to Delmarva in mid-August and spent a week on the active roster before landing on the injured list.

Outfielder Tavian Josenberger: The No. 100 overall pick in July, Josenberger has played all three outfield positions and second base since his early August promotion to Delmarva. The former Arkansas Razorback is hitting .242 with 10 RBIs in 66 at-bats, but his 18 walks bump his on-base percentage up to a robust .395.

Outfielder Jake Cunningham: The fifth-rounder made his complex league debut after the first wave of picks departed, but he was 3 for 6 at that level to quickly graduate to Class A ball. In seven games at Delmarva, Cunningham is hitting .222 (4 for 18) with a homer, 10 RBIs and five walks — continuing the theme of plate discipline in the early impressions of this draft class.

Right-handed pitcher Teddy Sharkey: Three pro appearances, three scoreless two-inning stints for Sharkey, a seventh-rounder from Coastal Carolina. He’s struck out 12 over six innings, and his first game at Delmarva on Aug. 26 resulted in his first pro save. Opponents are hitting .143 against him.

Right-handed pitcher Braxton Bragg: Like Sharkey, Bragg collected a save in his first game at Delmarva. (Bragg’s came a day earlier). However, Bragg has allowed runs in each of his three appearances for the Shorebirds, and has a 9.64 ERA over 4 2/3 innings. The eighth-rounder is the only pick to debut this season without a brief cameo in the complex league.

Outfielder Matthew Etzel: A 10th-rounder, Etzel has played between 52 and 59 innings at each of the outfield positions. He has also encountered little difficulty at the plate at Delmarva, slashing .314/.444/.486 with two homers, 19 RBIs, 14 walks and 16 stolen bases in 21 games. The speed isn’t a surprise; he had 23 steals at Southern Mississippi this spring, the most for anyone in that program since 1998. He’ll join Bradfield and Horvath at Aberdeen for the season’s final week.

Right-handed pitcher Blake Money: The 6-foot-7 Money was a bullpen presence for LSU on its way to a national title earlier this year. The 12th-rounder has a 3.52 ERA over 7 2/3 innings between the complex league and Delmarva. He has yet to walk a batter in five appearances as a pro.

Catcher Cole Urman: The 16th-rounder was 3 for 7 in two complex league games, then hit .316 (7 for 19) with an RBI in six games at Delmarva before going on the injured list Sunday.

Right-handed pitcher Zane Barnhart: A 17th-round selection, Barnhart was touched up for two runs in an inning in his lone appearance in Florida. With Delmarva, he’s thrown 3 2/3 scoreless innings — which includes working around a hit and a walk in the 10th inning Sunday at Columbia to notch his first professional save.

Infielder Jalen Vasquez: Picked in the 20th round, Vasquez is hitting .254 with four RBIs in 19 games at Delmarva. Once again, the notable number is a solid walk total (13) that elevates his on-base percentage to .397. Vasquez has played primarily at shortstop but also spent time at second base with the Shorebirds.

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