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Orioles prospects 5/24: Three bombs for Austin Hays

The O’s affiliates struggled to a 2-4 day, but Austin Hays continued his torrid start to the season.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Toledo Mud Hens 6, Norfolk Tides 3

Chris Lee’s woes at the triple-A level continued, as he allowed all six Toledo runs (four earned) in just two innings of work. After a disastrous start to the year, Lee had actually strung together three straight starts of 5+ innings and two or less runs allowed, but that run ended in a big way last night.

Richard Rodriguez did a nice job picking up the slack with three shutout innings in relief, but the Tides couldn’t get much going on offense. They small-balled a pair of runs across in the third and tacked on another with a David Washington RBI single in the sixth, but that was it.

Washington was the only tide with multiple hits, going 2-3 with a walk. Pedro Alvarez had the only extra-base hit of the evening with a sixth-inning double. Alvarez may finally be starting to heat up; he’s got seven hits in his last four games and raised his average 20 points in that span.

Bowie Baysox 6, Hartford Yard Goats 4

Matthew Grimes allowed two runs in the first inning, but Bowie struck back big time with six runs over the first three frames. Grimes managed to stick it out through the sixth and hang on for his first win of the year.

Three of the four runs Grimes gave up were on two-out homers, so he was a few pitches away from a much better outing. The Baysox took a different approach, BABIP-ing Hartford to death and sending 19 batters to the plate in the first three innings.

Every Bowie starter except one had at least one hit in the game. Austin Wynns was 2-3, breaking a four-game hitless streak. When you’re still hitting .316 with an OPS over .850 after a four-game hitless streak in mid-May, you know it’s been a good year.

D.J. Stewart also had a nice game, going 1-3 with a double and yet another walk. He’s at .258/.346/.471 on the year, and it’s looking like promoting him to Bowie this season was the right move.

Potomac Nationals 11, Frederick Keys 7 (7 innings - Game 1)

Cody Sedlock had a tough day, allowing seven runs (six earned) over 4+ innings. His ERA has ballooned to 6.80, although his peripherals look a little better. I’m not sure what his FIP/xFIP are after yesterday, but going into the game his ERA was 6.18 and his FIP/xFIP were 3.93/3.76.

Potomac’s starter actually fared even worse, but the Keys’ bullpen was the difference. The newly promoted Alex Katz faced five batters and retired none of them in his Frederick debut, and the four runs charged to Katz ended up being the final margin of victory.

Ryan Mountcastle, Yermin Mercedes, and Shane Hoelscher were each 2-4 at the plate. Alex Murphy hit a two-run homer in the fifth, giving Frederick the lead at the time. That’s about it for notable performances in this game. Oh, and Austin Hays was 3-4 with three solo homers.

After an 0-4 in the second game, Hays is hitting .321/.358/.552 with eight homers on the year. He hasn’t even been playing pro ball for a year yet and is still about a year and a half younger than the average high-A player. He has easily been the Orioles’ most impressive prospect this season.

Potomac Nationals 7, Frederick Keys 4 (7 innings - Game 2)

Cristian Alvarado got through the first three innings with ease, but fell apart in the 4th, allowing five runs before being lifted with just one out in the inning. Potomac tacked on a pair of unearned runs later, which was enough to put the game out of reach.

Frederick was kept off the board until the sixth, but they made a valiant comeback effort in the seventh. Alex Murphy led things off with a homer, Yermin Mercedes had an RBI double, and a few batters later the Keys had the bases loaded with the go-ahead run at the plate. Unfortunately, the rally ended there with a strikeout.

Steve Laurino, Josh Hart, and Ricardo Andujar each had two hits apiece in this one. Hart is batting .313/.378/.493 on the season since his return from injury. It feels like Hart has been around forever, but he’s actually not even old for the high-A level yet. It’s too soon to know if this is for real, but Hart still has a shot to turn into something.

Hagerstown Suns 4, Delmarva Shorebirds 0 (7 innings - Game 1)

Not much to write about for this one. Zach Muckenhirn had a decent enough start, giving up four runs (only two earned) over six innings, but the Shorebirds were completely shut down by Hagerstown’s pitching.

Preston Palmeiro was 2-3 with a triple, and the only other Delmarva hit was a single by Collin Woody.

Delmarva Shorebirds 2, Hagerstown Suns 1 (7 innings - Game 2)

The best pitching performance of the day for the O’s affiliates goes to Matthias Dietz, who went five innings and allowed just one unearned run. After a few catastrophic starts at the beginning of the year, Dietz’s ERA has come down steadily from 15.88 to 5.62.

Jake Ring homered in the third to tie the game at 1-1, and that was where it would stay until the bottom of the seventh. After a pair of singles by Ring and Chris Clare, Gerrion Grim knocked an RBI single for the walk-off wing.

Ring is a player to keep an eye on. Last year’s 31st round pick, Ring is hitting .322/.372/.618 in his first season at the single-A level.

Today’s matchups and probable starters

Norfolk @ Toledo, 6:35 PM (Gabriel Ynoa)

Hartford @ Bowie, 11:05 AM (Brandon Barker)

Frederick @ Potomac, 7:05 PM (Brian Gonzalez)

Delmarva @ Lakewood, 6:35 PM (Jhon Peluffo)