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Orioles minor league recap 5/12: Hall strikes out more, Henderson dingers again

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It’s hard to pump the brakes on hype when DL Hall strikes out nine guys and Gunnar Henderson hits his third homer in seven games.

MILB: JUL 03 Gulf Coast League - GCL Rays at GCL Orioles
Gunnar Henderson now has three home runs in 2021. The hype train has officially pulled out of the station.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Triple-A: Charlotte (White Sox) Knights 6, Norfolk Tides 4

The Tides are now 2-5 on the season after this latest setback. Wins and losses for this farm club in 2021 probably don’t mean much for the rebuild project. If Thomas Eshelman and Josh Rogers combine to give up five runs across 6.1 innings, that just doesn’t mean very much. Isaac Mattson pitched the eighth inning and gave up a run. That’s a bit more of a bummer.

What’s not a bummer is that Tyler Nevin hit his third home run of the season in this game. That was one of two hits in the game. He’s now OPSing .868 early on. Rylan Bannon hit his second homer of 2021 and also drew a walk. His OPS is even better than Nevin’s at .881. As a team, the Tides went 0-12 with runners in scoring position and combined to leave 11 men on base. I guess we might say they are following the big league team’s example.

The White Sox #10, #11, and #14 prospects were in this Charlotte lineup, including Gavin Sheets, son of Larry. They combined for six hits and four runs driven in for this game. That’s the way it goes in the minor leagues sometimes. Their prospects are better than your non-prospects.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 5, Reading (Phillies) Fightin Phils 1

If you didn’t experience increased hype for DL Hall after his first start this season, where he struck out 10 batters in 4.1 innings, perhaps his second outing will get you on board. Hall crushed these Reading hitters, striking out nine batters over a five inning outing where he only threw 62 pitches. They only got two hits against him. And no walks! It’s beautiful. It’s just beautiful.

Baysox hitters got five runs on five hits in the first two innings of the game and then were held to two hits and no runs the rest of the way. Terrin Vavra, from the Mychal Givens trade, led off the game with a home run and also walked. He drew the only walk by a Bowie batter in the game. Adley Rutschman had a hit and struck out twice. He has a .670 OPS early in his Double-A career.

Following Hall was Gray Fenter, lost over the offseason in the Rule 5 draft but returned to us anew. Fenter also piled up strikeouts, with six in a 3.2 inning relief outing. It took him 63 pitches to get as far as he did. Not quite Hall’s pitch efficiency. Fenter allowed a solo home run, the only run Reading scored in the game.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 4, Hudson Valley (Yankees) Renegades 0

Garrett Stallings was one of a number of Orioles pitching prospects to have a great first game last week. He’s followed that up by tossing five no-hit innings here. Tough to beat that! Stallings needed just 61 pitches to get through five. The O’s are serious about these pitch/inning counts early on. Stallings walked one, struck out four, and now has a 0.90 ERA through two starts.

Shortstop Joseph Ortiz, the 2019 fourth round pick, was on base four times in the game. He had two singles, a double, and a walk. This dude is now hitting .407 and OPSing 1.130 so far. Impressive! He also stole two bases. It was a track meet overall for Aberdeen, as they stole four bases as a team.

21st round pick Toby Welk also had a pair of hits and added a pair of walks. If his out-of-nowhere success story from Delmarva in 2019 continues, that would be fun. He now has a .661 OPS so far this year, so, you know. He needs some more games like this.

Speaking of hitters who need more games like Welk’s, Adam Hall was 0-5 and struck out three times, leaving him with a one week slash line of .105/.190/.105. The phrase that comes to mind is the response offered by Kevin McAllister when he sees the photo of his cousin Buzz’s girlfriend.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 7, Fredericksburg Nationals 5

GUNNAR HENDERSON THREE-RUN GO-AHEAD DONG ALERT

This was one of three hits by Henderson in the game, who accounted for nearly half of Delmarva’s hit total all by himself. Mike Elias’s first high school draft pick as Orioles GM is now batting .318 so far this season. Is that good? I think that’s good. He got thrown out trying to steal third base in the ninth, but let’s not be too picky.

Another early-season offensive standout for Delmarva is first baseman J.D. Mundy, an undrafted free agent in 2020. He had two hits and a walk and drove in two runs in the game, including his second home run of the season, improving his “yes, I know it’s only through six games” OPS to 1.410. Mundy turns 23 in two days, so he’s old for this level, but I wonder how long he’d have to keep it up to get bumped up a level. Sometimes when you get lucky, a first base prospect shows up unannounced.

The Nationals affiliate is now 0-7. Delmarva improved to 4-3 with this win. Henderson’s early success is fun. It’ll be more fun if 2020 picks Jordan Westburg (.734 OPS) and Hudson Haskin (.382 OPS) get it going a bit more at the plate.

Complete box scores from Tuesday’s Orioles affiliate games can be found here.

Positive injury update

It’s good to hear that Baumann is on the road back to pitching for an appropriate level affiliate. His absence to date has been one of the sources of angst when considering Orioles prospects in 2021. If he can get to Triple-A and start putting up results, that will be exciting to see.

Wednesday’s scheduled games

  • Norfolk: at Charlotte, 7. Starter: TBD
  • Bowie: vs. Reading, 6:35. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: at Hudson Valley, 7. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: at Fredericksburg, 7. Starter: Brandon Young

With the Orioles running piggyback rotations at different levels, the Minor League Baseball website is really not caught up on who’s pitching when early in the season. If the rotations follow the same order as last time, we’ll see Dylan Bundy trade pieces in action, with Kyle Bradish at Bowie and Kyle Brnovich for Aberdeen. Bradish followed Hall the first time around, and Brnovich came after Stallings.