Triple-A: Jacksonville (Marlins) Jumbo Shrimp 11, Norfolk Tides 5
If any real pitching prospect had contributed to Norfolk getting blown out on its opening night, this would be a downer to start out with. That was not the case. The starting pitcher was Conner Greene, on whom the success of the rebuilding project is not in any way riding. Greene was tagged for seven runs in 1.2 innings, issuing four walks and giving up five hits.
Later on in relief, Cody Carroll gave up four runs in one inning of work. Dan Duquette might have thought Carroll had a role to play for a better Orioles era when he was part of the Zack Britton trade in 2018. It hasn’t worked out that way.
First baseman Tyler Nevin hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to turn the game from a blowout into slightly less of a blowout. Nevin had two hits in the opener. Infielders Jahmai Jones and Rylan Bannon were each 1-4 with a double. Jones committed a fielding error that led to one unearned run.
Double-A: Bowie Baysox 2, Altoona (Pirates) Curve 1
2017 first round pick DL Hall throwing pitches to Adley Rutschman is the most exciting thing there was going on the Orioles farm in the first day of minor league action. Hall did not disappoint, positively destroying Altoona hitters. Hall struck out ten batters in a 4.1 inning outing. 10 of 13 outs were strikeouts! 10 of 18 batters faced overall struck out. He walked two batters. This was a 74-pitch outing for Hall. It’s likely the O’s prospects will have shorter outings while their innings ramp up.
Altoona’s pitcher, Roansy Contreras, one-upped Hall with 11 strikeouts in five innings. Neither starting pitcher had a decision in the game.
Rutschman did not contribute much to the fun. He was 0-5 and struck out three times. Four Baysox hitters had multi-hit games, including second baseman Terrin Vavra, who drove in one of Bowie’s two runs. Deeper down the prospect lists, Cadyn Grenier and Robert Neustrom also started off 2-4.
High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 7, Wilmington (Nationals) 1
Grayson Rodriguez and Hall are two guys who will be mentioned together a lot, especially if the 2017 and 2018 first round picks end up pitching on the same day. Rodriguez didn’t have the gaudy strikeout number that Hall did over his four inning outing, but he did strike out five Blue Rocks while allowing just a hit and two walks. He was a bit more pitch-efficient than Hall, throwing 63 pitches through four. Not bad, but if he can get it lower, even better.
Aberdeen dropped 11 hits on Wilmington and never trailed in the game.
This team has a lot of Mike Elias’s 2019 college draft picks, a few of whom featured. 2019 second rounder Kyle Stowers had a three-hit night, including a two-run homer, with three runs driven in. Fourth rounder Joey Ortiz was a homer shy of the cycle in a 3-5 game, and seventh rounder Johnny Rizer added a pair of hits, including a two-run homer. And let’s not forget sixth rounder Maverick Handley, possible future Rutschman backup, who was 1-3 with a walk and also threw out a runner.
Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds vs. Salem Red Sox (suspended)
The O’s lowest full-season affiliate got to play all of one and a half innings before rain arrived in Salisbury and knocked their game off track. It was an eventful first inning, and not always in a good way, as Salem scored three runs in the top of the first against Zach Peek, one of the pitchers from the Dylan Bundy trade. However, in the bottom of the inning, Gunnar Henderson did this:
GUNNAR HENDERSON HOME RUN!!!! pic.twitter.com/AKWcAfF53P— The Verge- An Orioles MiLB Podcast (@BSLOnTheVerge) May 4, 2021
Henderson, as you may be aware, is a prospect that a lot of analysts have tabbed for a breakout into the top 100 lists as he gets to finally play a first full season as a professional. That’s the good stuff. The game will be resumed today with a seven-inning second game to follow.
Complete Orioles affiliate box scores from the first day of minor league action can be found here.
Orioles director of player development Matt Blood spoke to Orioles reporters on Tuesday about a few players whose debuts will be coming later on.
Michael Baumann is still in Florida, "managing some discomfort" related to the elbow injury that ended his season early last year, director of player development Matt Blood. The hope is he is active by the end of the month. #Orioles— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) May 4, 2021
Not to be a downer as we all bask in the first day of minor league games, but it doesn’t sound great to me that it’s six months later and Baumann is still “managing some discomfort” from the same elbow injury that shut him down last summer.
Lots of takeaways from Matt Blood’s Zoom with reporters this morning. See this thread:— Joe Trezza (@JoeTrezz) May 4, 2021
Heston Kjerstad (myocarditis) is at the alternate training site now, will report to extended Spring Training next week, per Blood.
No timetable right now for his official pro debut.
It would have been nice if this were different. O’s fans are going to have to be patient as the team makes sure Kjerstad can safely come back from the myocarditis. That means that even a Delmarva debut is, for now, an unknown amount of time away.
One bit of good news is that Keegan Akin’s sliced finger is healing so he will be lined up as the #4 starter in the Norfolk rotation.
Wednesday’s scheduled games
- Norfolk: at Jacksonville, 1:05. Starter: Josh Rogers
- Bowie: at Altoona, 6:00. Starter: Kyle Bradish
- Aberdeen: at Wilmington, 7:05. Starter: TBD
- Delmarva: vs. Salem, 5:05. Resumption plus a second game. Pitchers TBD.