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Orioles minor league recap 6/9: Grayson Rodriguez is still great

All four Orioles affiliates won their games on Tuesday night, with two offenses hitting double digits for runs. Pretty good!

MILB: JUL 17 Gulf Coast League - GCL Twins at GCL Orioles
Grayson Rodriguez is now playing for Bowie, and hopefully will soon be at a higher level.
Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 4, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins) 3

This was not a pretty one, though it still ended up in the win column for Norfolk. The team committed four errors. That included one by rehabbing big leaguer Austin Hays, and another by infield prospect Jahmai Jones, playing in his first game after returning from the injured list.

None of the errors ended up costing starting pitcher Dean Kremer an unearned run. Kremer started things off by being wild, walking the first two batters of the game. He eventually got through 4.2 innings allowing only another walk and one hit - but that still got him charged with three runs. That’s because Cody Carroll relieved him and gave up two hits to score two inherited runners. Oh well.

The Tides had to come from behind after a first inning sacrifice fly plated a run against Kremer. NASCAR scion Zach Jarrett hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to give the Tides a 2-1 lead that did not last very long. My current favorite Orioles non-prospect, Jarrett has now played in 13 games since being promoted to this level and is rocking a .911 OPS after he homered and drew a walk in this contest. I dig it. Hays homered in the sixth inning to tie things up, and Jones delivered the go-ahead RBI later that inning.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 12, Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets)

The best record in minor league baseball continues to belong to the Double-A club of your favorite baseball team and mine, the Bowie Baysox of the Baltimore Orioles organization.

Grayson Rodriguez got this party started, not that he even needed all of the runs that Bowie eventually scored. In 71 pitches over five innings, Rodriguez struck out six batters, giving up just two hits and two walks. That makes 14 strikeouts over his first two starts at this level, with just one run allowed. Not bad for Baseball America’s freshly-minted best pitching prospect in baseball. Cameron Bishop added four scoreless innings following Rodriguez.

If you saw those twelve Bowie runs and imagined I’d be regaling you about Adley Rutschman: Sorry, no. He had one hit in five at-bats. Terrin Vavra took an 0-4, drawing one walk. Bowie’s early-season standout Patrick Dorrian went 0-5.

It was the bottom of the Bowie lineup that really did the damage, with each of Johnny Rizer, Cadyn Grenier, and Robert Neustrom driving in three runs. Rizer collected four hits - with three doubles! - to give him 16 hits in seven games since being promoted. Grenier, with three hits, has pushed his OPS up to .839. Maybe he’s not out of the infield picture yet.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 10, Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays) 1

This was a 1-1 game through six innings after each team scored a run in the first inning. That makes pitching prospect Drew Rom’s outing even more impressive. It was tense the whole time he was pitching. Rom, the Orioles #25 prospect on the MLB Pipeline ranking, picked up seven strikeouts in his six innings pitched, holding the Hot Rods to just four hits. Even better: He didn’t walk anybody! After six Aberdeen starts, Rom’s WHIP sits at 1.012. I dig that too.

Aberdeen’s offense lit up for nine runs on nine hits in the final three innings. Four different IronBirds batters had multi-hit games, including recently-promoted shortstop Jordan Westburg, as well as Toby “Someone Made A Camden Chat Account Pretending To Be His Mom” Welk, Tommy Milone trade return A.J. Graffanino, and 2019 eighth round pick Andrew Daschbach. Welk’s .801 OPS is the best of a player remaining on Aberdeen’s roster.

This game was the 20th win of the season for the IronBirds. They are one of three Orioles affiliates to already reach this mark. Remember, minor league teams didn’t begin until May 4, and they never play more than six games a week.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 3, Lynchburg Hillcats (Cleveland) 2

The Shorebirds only got five hits in this game, which is usually a recipe to lose. Three Delmarva pitchers combined to hold Lynchburg to just three hits, though, so they pulled it off. Designated hitter Cristopher Cespedes hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning to put Delmarva on top, and Gunnar Henderson added an insurance run with a single in the eighth to help them hold on. Henderson, Hudson Haskin, and Darell Hernaiz - Triple H, if Vince McMahon’s son-in-law will allow it - had one hit apiece.

Delmarva’s pitching staff continues to be a bunch of anonymous guys who are just getting the job done, often while striking out a lot of guys. 2020 undrafted signing Noah Denoyer struck out five batters over five scoreless innings. Fellow 2020 UDFA Thomas Girard struck out four of the eight batters he faced, and 2019 16th round pick Shelton Perkins struck out six of seven batters. I wonder how long before some of these guys get kicked up a level to see what they can do.

With this win, the Shorebirds are now 21-9 on the season. Pretty darn good, and still not even the best winning percentage of an Orioles minor league team. The Mike Elias plan might be working, y’all.

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

Wednesday’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: at Jacksonville, 7:05. Starter: Alexander Wells
  • Bowie: at Binghamton, 6:35. Starter: Kevin Smith
  • Aberdeen: at Bowling Green, 7:35. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: at Lynchburg, 6:30. Starter: A different TBD