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Orioles minor league recap 5/31: Rutschman homers twice, Bradish gets first Triple-A win

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The Orioles top prospect and his former college teammate Cadyn Grenier each went yard twice in a doubleheader sweep, part of a perfect 4-0 day on the farm.

MLB: FEB 18 Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
It’s not the camera angle. Adley’s bat is just that big.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 4, Charlotte (White Sox) Knights 1

The once-listless Tides are showing signs of life with five wins in their last six games, including a 4-1 series win over Charlotte that was sealed by, coincidentally, a 4-1 score. Kyle Bradish’s second start since his promotion to Triple-A went a lot better than his first, as he held the Knights to one run in five innings, racking up as many strikeouts (five) as baserunners. He earned his first win for Norfolk. Thomas Eshelman did solid duty in long relief with three scoreless innings.

The Tides scored all four of their runs in the second inning, with recently promoted left fielder Willy Yahn ripping a two-run double in his first Triple-A at-bat, followed by a Mason McCoy two-run homer. McCoy is quietly leading the team in OPS (.830).

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 6, Harrisburg (Nationals) Senators 5 (Game 1)
Bowie 9, Harrisburg 2 (Game 2)

The Baysox continue to throttle their competition, this time by sweeping a doubleheader against Harrisburg with one walkoff win and one blowout. As the Baysox Twitter feed noted, Bowie (17-5) now has the best winning percentage in all of minor league baseball at .773. And the Orioles’ top prospect, Adley Rutschman, is leading the charge.

Rutschman crushed two home runs yesterday, one in each game of the twin bill. He’s got six homers, 20 RBIs, a .293 average, and 1.039 OPS, and seems to have pretty well mastered the Double-A level. Real talk: he would make the Orioles a better team if they called him up right now. They won’t, of course, but lord knows his arrival would light a huge spark under an O’s team that desperately needs one (and desperately needs a competent catcher, for that matter).

Cadyn Grenier, Rutschman’s teammate at Oregon State in 2017-18, was perhaps inspired by his friend’s success and mashed two homers of his own, one in each game. Grenier also won the opener with a walkoff infield single in the eighth. His doubleheader performance boosted his OPS nearly 200 points, from .554 to .753. Also, Joey Ortiz, fresh up from Aberdeen, made his Double-A debut and collected a hit in each game.

Let’s not forget the pitchers, as two top-10 O’s prospects made starts. Mike Baumann, working his way back from a flexor strain, went three innings in the opener, giving up a run, two hits, and three walks. DL Hall brought the hammer in the nightcap, twirling five scoreless innings, racking up eight strikeouts, and allowing just one hit. He also walked three. Hall’s ERA sits at 2.14.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds at Brooklyn (Mets) Cyclones, postponed

On Saturday the IronBirds were the only O’s affiliate to play while everyone else got rained out; Sunday was just the opposite, with Aberdeen the lone washout. No makeup date has been announced.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 8, Lynchburg (Indians) Hillcats 0

Guess who’s just half a game behind the Baysox for the best record in the minors? Yup, the Shorebirds, who are now 17-6. Delmarva used a team effort to blank the Hillcats, as right-handers Ignacio Feliz and Brandon Young each threw four scoreless frames with a perfect Adam Stauffer inning sandwiched between. The trio allowed just six baserunners and struck out nine.

The Shorebirds put the game out of reach early with a five-run first inning that included a Jordan Westburg RBI single and a Gunnar Henderson steal of home. Westburg went 2-for-4 with four RBIs in what would turn out to be his final game for the Shorebirds, as the O’s announced his well-earned promotion to Aberdeen along with first baseman J.D. Mundy.

Complete box scores from Sunday’s games can be found here.

There are no games scheduled for Monday.