The MLB trade deadline has come and gone. And while the Orioles might not have made any moves that set the league on fire, they quietly got better in typical Dan Duquette fashion: little flash, adequate improvements.
Many speculated that names like Trey Mancini and Chance Sisco might be dealt in return for “win now” players, but Duquette clearly felt it necessary to hang onto the bigger bats in the organization - even if for the purpose of stockpiling for next year’s trade action.
Either way, Ariel Miranda and Jonah Heim have set sail for new lives in minor-league baseball.
The Orioles system?
Well, it looks just about the same as it did a week ago: thin pitching with a few shot-in-the-dark candidates. But sticking with our glass half-full approach (because, why not?), it’s about that time to spotlight on the recent hot streaks down on the farm.
Dariel Alvarez is a guy the O’s have been fascinated with for quite some time - and for good reason. He’s hit .294 in the minors since debuting in the system in 2013, and has a knack for driving in runs in big situations.
Lately, Alvarez’s bat has been on fire. He’s stroking .436 over his last ten games, just a small part of his 17-game hit streak.
On the season in Norfolk, he is hitting .289 with 44 RBI in 99 games. He might be 27 years old, but there’s no denying what the stats on paper show: he’s a viable option in a needy situation.
2016 has seen a switch flip for right-handed reliever Jimmy Yacabonis, whose transition to double-A Bowie has gone swimmingly.
The 2013 13th-round selection from St. Joseph’s in PA is dominating the competition as of late. Amazingly, Yacabonis has held the opposition scoreless in 16 of his last 17 appearances. Since the league’s All-Star Break, he's hurled 10.2 scoreless innings, allowing just six hits and striking out 11.
CBS Sports in Philadelphia had a nice interview with the 6’3” prospect back in May, where Yacabonis noted that he’s been working well with a sinking fastball. On the season, he has 53 strikeouts in 53 innings with a 2.55 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.
If nothing else, he’s a prospect to keep an eye on throughout the remainder of the season (oh, and his last name is pretty fun to say, too).
We’ve spotlighted Anderlin Rodriguez before, but it’s truly amazing to see the 24-year-old sustain the level of success that he’s reached into the month of August.
On the season, he’s slashing .311/.364/.539 with 19 home runs and 72 RBI.
Over the last 10 games? Just as impressive.
He’s kept up with Carolina League competition better than nearly everyone else in the league, going 11-35 (.314) with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI in his last 10 starts.
His strikeout rate is slightly higher than you’d like to see at 22%, but it’s safe to say that the season .903 OPS is encouraging enough for the Orioles to keep peeking at the Frederick box scores.
Add in the fact that he’s hitting .365 against lefties and you might just have a candidate for Orioles Minor-Leaguer of the Year.
After seeing a 2015 season between short stints in rookie ball and Aberdeen, Christian Turnipseed was an immediate must-watch in Delmarva this season.
Bottom line: working 28.1 straight scoreless innings with 30 strikeouts last year was enough to turn some heads.
This season, Turnipseed looks to have continued his development after being taken in the 28th round in 2015’s Draft. He’s worked 40 innings in Delmarva, largely but not exclusively as the closer, compiling a 1.05 WHIP with 45 strikeouts and just 27 hits against.
The opposition is hitting just .185 against, a number that along with others gets better when Turnipseed is playing in the comfort of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. There, he’s compiled an incredible 0.49 ERA in 18.1 innings, striking out 20 opposing hitters.
The numbers don’t lie, but neither does the level of competition. When he’s promoted in the offseason, the true test awaits.
If he passes that, it might not be long before the Turnipseed jerseys begin flying off the shelves.
Any pitcher who walks just four batters over the span of 43.2 innings deserves a shoutout.
So far in 2016 with short-season Aberdeen, Australian-born teenager Alex Wells has done just that. The 19-year-old is just crushing the opposition, putting up a 2.06 ERA paired with a 0.89 WHIP over his first eight starts with the Ironbirds.
The strikeout numbers haven’t been terribly high (30 in total), but four free passes in eight full starts deserves some attention.
On Monday, Wells worked five innings of one-run baseball, allowing just three hits and striking out five.
Give any pessimistic excuse you’d like for why Wells won’t pan out ... for now, let’s just enjoy this young kid’s impressive start to his pro ball career.
All stats compiled before Tuesday’s games.