As the Orioles go about the business of signing this year’s draft picks into the organization, three of last year’s picks, including first rounder D.J. Stewart, are getting bumped up a level.
Stewart, along with two relievers, lefty Garrett Cleavinger and Maryland’s own Ryan Meisinger, have been promoted from Low-A Delmarva to High-A Frederick. As these three fellows were all drafted out of college, you’d expect them to be at High-A around now, but still, congratulations to them on getting promoted.
This is about the time for midseason promotions. Both Delmarva and Frederick just concluded their All-Star breaks, so the players who are moving up can just join the team as the second half begins.
There’s no doubting that Cleavinger and Meisinger have earned a shot at the next level. Cleavinger, last year’s third round pick, was proclaimed by scouting director Gary Rajsich to potentially be the fastest through the system of the O’s picks from last year. He has pitched in 39 innings over 17 games for the Shorebirds, posting a 1.38 ERA with 59 strikeouts against only 11 walks.
Meisinger, a 6’4” righty, has an even lower ERA: a 0.78 across 36.2 innings pitched in 16 games. That’s also good. As an eleventh round pick, he is not going to be expected to have as high of a ceiling, but if you’re lucky, a lower-round pick can successfully grind his way up. Consider the O’s bullpen at the MLB level has Brad Brach, a former 42nd round pick, in it. There isn’t even a 42nd round any more.
Both Cleavinger and Meisinger are 22, about the average age for players in the South Atlantic League, so it remains to be seen how they keep adjusting. If they can do as well in Frederick for the rest of this season, maybe they start in Bowie’s bullpen next year.
The Stewart promotion is a bit more of a surprise, at least if we’re going by results. His batting line for the season is .230/.366/.352 - a disappointing batting average, to say the least, though you do have to like the walk rate.
One encouraging sign is that in 17 games in June, Stewart has batted .266/.342/.359. If that means things are getting better for him, that’s a good sign for the Orioles. I guess we’ll see. It’s not like Stewart is going to be taking playing time from anybody significant in Frederick, so there’s limited downside in challenging him.