Delmarva had a rather rough 2013. They finished in last place in the Northern Division, a full 26 games back of the West Virginia Power. In the 14 team SALLY, the Shorebirds finished 12th in OPS and 12th in ERA. Not a particularly strong collective effort. But how did the prospects do coming into the season? Who emerged? Who are the ones to watch coming into 2014 in Frederick?
Adrian Marin is probably the hitting prospect I'm most excited about from the 2013 Shorebirds, which is kinda sad because he finished the year with an OPS of .667. The 19 y/o third rounder out of a Miami high school (hey, just like AROD!) was, I thought, kind of rushed. His final line in 108 games: .265/.311/.356 with a K/BB of 90/23 in 388 at bats. What really sticks out to me in a negative way is the sub .100 ISO, but he was amongst the five or so youngest hitters in the SALLY. Obviously a .667 OPS is not great, but it's also true that he is young, and there is at least time to learn. Here is an interview with him, posted on the Shorebirds website.
Gregory Lorenzo is a 21-year-old Dominican OF. To get the bad news out of the way, I suppose I should post his slash line: .241/.281/.323 with a K/BB of 152/22 in 489 at bats. That is a terrible OBP, a sub .100 ISO, and an interesting amount of strikeouts. But, there are some positives: he went 40-for-48 in stolen bases and had an August hitting line of: .314/.341/.421, netting 14 out of 17 stolen bases. Obviously the larger the sample, the more the meaning, but it is also true that you would hope that a prospect improves his performance as the season progresses.
If inconsistency is the hallmark of youth, Parker Bridwell is the poster boy. Bridwell is now a 22-year-old right-handed pitcher from Texas, standing 6' 4". He led the Shorebirds in strikeouts (144) and innings pitched (142.2). He had a three game stretch which I think was fairly representative of his season:
It is quite clear that he has swing-and-miss stuff. He also did a fairly good job of keeping the ball in the ballpark, allowing 9 homers in 26 starts. As you might suspect, his FIP was much stronger than his ERA, 3.43 to 4.73, a pretty whopping difference. Underperforming his FIP is nothing new for Bridwell, however. While he may not be a Renoir, he does post impressive strikeout numbers and if FIP, K/9 and an ability to keep the ball in the park portend anything, the Orioles might have something here.
Lex Rutledge is a 22 y/o LHP from Mississippi selected by the Orioles in the sixth round of the 2012 draft. He spent much of the year in the Shorebirds bullpen, where he finished with 45 strikeouts in 43.1 IP with a FIP of 2.67.
Luc Rennie is something of a stealth prospect, a 19 y/o RHP taken out of a San Diego high school in the sixteenth round of the 2012 draft. Rennie posted a promising K/9 in the GCL last year, and at the very least flashed some of that potential in 2013. He posted a 3.58 FIP in 53 IP, with a K/BB of 40/13. His last five starts in Delmarva saw 5 ER in 27 IP, with a K/BB of 18/6 and nary a homer allowed.
Branden Kline, 2012's second rounder (a RHP), had a season to forget, giving up 23 ER in 35.1 IP over seven starts, before being knocked out via injury in May. In his last game of the year, he managed to strike out 13 while recording 17 outs. Another reason to root for the Frederick born, UVA product: he was a sixth round selection of the Boston Red Sox in the 2009 draft.
Juan Guzman is another sleeper type prospect. He's a 22 y/o RHP out of the Dominican. He saw a big increase in innings in 2013 (from 58 to 111), and he did see some other things go down from his brief 2012 tour of Salisbury: K/9, BB/9 and FIP (and ERA too!). He had a K/BB of 88/36 in 111 IP with a FIP of 4.15.
Parker Bridwell and Adrian Marin. And maybe Lex Rutledge. As an Oriole fan these are the guys I am most excited about. A few others have some tools, and if you are a fan of minor league baseball, these are some guys worth watching in Frederick in 2014.