Double A affiliate Bowie is often a repository of young talent for the Baltimore Orioles. A challenging league that is replete with the top prospects in other organizations, some of the most important young names in Baltimore either started their careers in Bowie or made the jump right to Baltimore from the Baysox. Manager Gary Kendall returns for his fifth year with the Baysox, who finished 72-70 last year. The names have changed a bit this year, with the promotions of Tyler Wilson, Christian Walker and Dariel Alvarez, but the return of a trio of pitchers and the addition of a new pitching coach provide enough excitement in Bowie to justify a trip to Prince George's Stadium in 2015.
Who will I see?
Dylan Bundy, RHP
What hasn't been said about Dylan Bundy already? With Kevin Gausman in Baltimore he is now the clear #1 prospect in the Orioles system (and still a top of the list player in all of MiLB). All that is left for Bundy to do is to stay healthy and demonstrate that his stuff has survived Tommy John surgery. The cutter has been freed and his velocity has started to tick back up coming out of spring training, so it may just be a matter of time before he finds himself in Baltimore this season.
Tim Berry, LHP
Berry returns to Bowie after putting together a solid 2014 campaign with the Baysox. The slender lefty throws a low 90s fastball and throws a decent breaking ball with a borderline plus offspeed offering. Berry is on the 40 man roster, having signed a pro contract despite being drafted in the late rounds as the result of being injured come draft time, and thus figures to have a chance at getting a shot in Baltimore this year. He profiles as a back-end arm or a bullpen long-man, but has a fairly high ceiling.
Zach Davies, RHP
Davies also profiles as a back-end of the rotation arm, mostly due to his stature (6’0, 150lbs) and his fastball velocity (86-90mph.) His calling card is a plus change up that has had scouts all a tizzy in the last year which, combined with his pitchability and strong command, has him as a sleeper prospect in many eyes. Still young, Davies will return for more seasoning in Bowie working with new pitching coach Alan Mills.
Mike Yastrzemski, OF
Yastrzemski is the highest rated position prospect in Bowie, which is not as great a compliment when you consider Lil’ Yaz profiles to be a 4th OFer with speed and OK contact skills, a la David Lough. The one thing the Vanderbilt product has in his favor is the second best arm in the organization. Similar to Dariel Alvarez, Yastrzemski fits best in RF but has the range and instincts to play CF.
Allan Mills, Pitching Coach
Mills takes over the Baysox pitching staff in 2015 after spending 2012-13 with Orioles short-season affiliate Aberdeen and 2014 with Lo-A Delmarva. Mills spent 9 years as a player with the Baltimore Orioles, putting up 5.3 bWAR over that time. After spending just a year in Delmarva before getting jumped to Bowie, it will be interesting to see how pitchers respond to Mills style in Bowie.
As JQ noted in his Tides write up, a down year for promotions in Bowie as well. April 17th sees the first "Mystery" Bobblehead giveaway, which usually includes leftovers from years prior. A new twist on the beer runs of years past is the Bud Light 1K Princess Run on Saturday June 20. A beer at the end of each of three laps in your best princess costume makes for entertaining people watching that night. A Babe Ruth bobble is slated for July 19th against the Harrisburg Senators and finally a "Pirate Manny" Machado bobble is probably the most interesting giveaway.