Greetings, friends. This week we will be bringing you a series of posts examining the year-to-date performances of each level of the O's minor league farm system. We start off with the denizens of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium, and duck's hometown team, the Delmarva Shorebirds.
19-22, 4th place (6.0 Games Back) in the Northern Division of the South Atlantic League. 179 Runs Scored. 185 Runs Allowed.
Batting: Average Age: 22.0 (tied for 9th) 4.37 R/G (9th) .258 (3rd) / .328 (6th) / .366 (T-8th) 20 HRs (10th) 33-47 on SB attempts (10th)
Pitching: Average Age: 21.7 (8th) 4.51 R/G (7th), 348.1 IP, 185 R (7th), 154 ER (6th), 3.98 ERA (7th), 315 Ks (9th), 183 BBs (2nd Most) 47 SBs allowed (T-6th fewest) 21 CSs (4th most) 31% CS (T-5th best)
Christian Walker (1B): Tried and tested in the crucible of SEC baseball, Christian Walker came into the system as an already advanced hitter when he was drafted last year in the 4th Round. And Low-A ball proved to be below his talent level as he put up a .353/.420/.474 line over 131 PAs. A .415 wOBA and a 155 wRC+ further affirmed his status as one of the best hitters in the SAL. He was promoted to High-A Frederick last week.
Creede Simpson (RF): Another SEC product (Auburn) taken in the 2012 draft (25th round), Creede has found similar success as Walker in the SAL. Prior to injuring his hamstring on May 2nd, Simpson put up a .316/.382/.506 line, good for a .405 wOBA and a 148 wRC+. No word on how long he is expected to be out, but as a 23 year old in Low-A, he's going to need to move quickly if he wants to retain any sort of prospect tag.
Josh Hader (LHP): Another 2012 Draft product (19th Round), and another in what is seemingly becoming a string of local gems discovered by the O's amateur scouting folks (Glynn Davis in 2011 followed by Hader in 2012). The lanky LHP sports an arm-slot reminiscent of one Chris Sale, likely causing panic attacks and soiled britches for lefty batters. Currently working with a plus fastball that sits 89-94, an average curve, and a TBD 81-83mph change up. He has started 7 games thus far, compiling 36.2 IP. Over the course of those innings he has struck out 39 while yielded but 21 hits (only 2 of which were HRs), 18 BBs, and 2 HBPs. Of the batters fortunate enough to reach base, 13 have scored, but only 8 runs were earned. He just turned 19 back in April, so he's a long ways off, but certainly a name to keep tabs on going forward.
Matt Hobgood (RHP): The Hobgoblin is back, and he's tossing pumpkin bombs at opposing batters. Reports indicated that his FB sat 95mph and even touched 97mph in his last outing. Working exclusively from the 'pen for the time being, he has appeared in 11 games, yet pitched a total of 25.2 innings. Seeing as he has pitched multiple innings in 9 of his 11 outings, I can imagine that the Warehouse may entertain hopes of him potentially resuming starting at some point should he remain healthy. Just 7IP off of qualifying for the leader board, his 1.40 ERA would rank 3rd in the SAL. Though he has allowed but 16 base hits, he has walked 11 and K'd just 17. Time will tell just how much regression is due for his ERA in the future. But for now...enjoy!
Joel Hutter (SS/3B): A 23 year old college draftee out of Dallas Baptist U (same school that produced Benzo Brist, Lew Ford, and Freddy Sanchez) ought to be able to handle Low-A pitching, but Hutter has yet to find much success. A .243/.301/.333 with 27 Ks to 12 BBs would be serviceable for a SS if the player also happens to be a defensive wizard. Hutter is not. And when a 19 year old Adrian Marin is topping your triple slash line in two of the three categories, you're playing time may not be too voluminous moving forward.
Parker Bridwell (RHP): Sigh. I want to believe. I really, really do. Young Texan with a big arm. Stuff dreams are made of and hearts are broken with. He's still just 21, but this is now his 2nd full season in Low-A. And with 136 IP under his belt coming into the season, he ought to be pushing for a promotion to Frederick. Instead, he put up another 34.2 IP of 5.45 ERA pitching. The Ks are there (35). The ground balls are there (1.26 GO/AO average). He's only allowed 2 HRs. His FIP is a solid 3.40. The walks are high (4.2 per 9) and he allows a hit per inning (35 given up on the season). But neither of those are terrible. The results just aren't there as of yet. If the abysmally low 54.9% strand rate can regress upwards, perhaps his peripherals will begin to regress downward.
Players to Watch
Gregory Lorenzo (OF): Speed kills. Though he is sporting just a .214 average and sub .300 OBP and SLG at the moment, Lorenzo is a dynamic threat on the base paths. A 21-year-old Dominican, Lorenzo is, frankly, over-matched by the pitching in his first taste of full season ball. 54 Ks to just 11 BBs is not very good. But, when he gets on base he has a better than 50% chance of scoring thanks to his wheels. He has reached base 48 times. He has come around to score 25 times. He successfully swiped his first 14 bases before being caught. He is currently 16/18 on the season.
Brady Wager (RHP): None other than the Keith Law brought our attention to this achiever when he placed him 10th on his O's Prospect list prior to the year. Another product of the 2012 draft (9th round), the 22 year old hasn't dominated Low-A just yet, but the signs are there as he trends in the proper direction. After getting roughed up in his first two outings, he has delivered 30.1 IP of 2.39 ERA pitching through a combination of decent Ks (8.37/9), low BBs (2.09/9), and no HRs allowed.