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Orioles minor league recap 9/8: Adley Rutschman hits his 20th homer of the season

Two of the four Orioles affiliates were winners Tuesday, with strong performances from a number of top prospects.

2021 Sirius XM Futures Game
Adley Rutschman now has 20 minor league dingers in 2021.
Photo by Mary DeCicco/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 3, Durham Bulls (Rays) 1

Adley Rutschman hit his 20th home run of the season! This was just his second home run in 23 Norfolk games played, a solo shot in the eighth inning of this game that put the Tides up 3-1. Also homering in the game was erstwhile Oriole Tyler Nevin, his 13th of the minor league season. Nevin had two hits in the game.

Nevin’s home run came against Durham starter Tobias Myers, the Orioles sixth round pick in the 2016 draft. Myers was sent to Tampa Bay in the deal that brought Tim Beckham to Baltimore in 2017. The former O’s prospect struck out ten batters in his five inning outing, with two runs allowed on four hits and three walks. Now 23, Myers has a 5.26 ERA in eight Triple-A starts.

This game marked the Triple-A debut for freshly-promoted Kyle Stowers. The outfielder walked once and struck out twice. Another surprise 2021 outfielder, Robert Neustrom, had a hit and walk in the game. Tip of the cap to a Tides pitching staff that was able to hold the Bulls to five hits even with the originally-scheduled starting pitcher, Mike Baumann, being called up to Baltimore on short notice.

Double-A: Bowie Baysox 7, Harrisburg Senators (Nationals) 3

Bowie is going to have to come pretty close to running the table to make the playoffs, so every win is important for ensuring that at most they will lose no ground. The team they’re chasing, Somerset, also won on Tuesday, leaving the O’s affiliate 1.5 games back with 13 games left to play.

Baysox batters were willing to be patient in this game, drawing a total of nine walks. That helped them to score their seven runs on just seven hits. They were able to score that many even with 12 men left on base and just 3-14 hitting with runners in scoring position. The bottom of the lineup delivered, with #7 hitter “Old Toby” Welk and #8 hitter Shayne Fontana scoring three runs apiece. Welk homered for the 12th time this season, 10 of which came for Bowie.

Of the more prospect-y players on the Baysox, shortstop Jordan Westburg was on base twice despite going hitless, picking up a walk and a hit by pitch. Through 18 games here, his bat has not gotten going yet.

Terrin Vavra had a hit in two at-bats and was pinch hit for in the fourth inning, which is hopefully not a sign of an injury putting Vavra on the shelf. Starting pitcher Kyle Brnovich, from the Dylan Bundy trade, allowed just an unearned run in five innings, mostly scattering five hits. Brnovich struck out six, giving him 65 in 51.2 Double-A innings.

High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals) 6, Aberdeen IronBirds 2

Aberdeen batters struck out 14 times and went just 1-10 with RISP. Seven of the nine batters in the lineup had a hit, though none had multi-hit games. Despite two doubles and two triples among their seven hits, they still had just the two runs.

Late blooming outfielder Lamar Sparks doubled, walked, and stole a base. He has an .855 OPS in 17 games since being promoted here. Sparks, a 2017 fifth round pick who’s battled a lot of injury problems, will be 23 later this month, so he’s going to have to do more than this to get on the radar, but still, he’s slightly more interesting than he was a month ago.

Gunnar Henderson had a triple in four at-bats. Adam Hall, playing second base, went 1-5 with a double out of the leadoff spot. Aberdeen’s Griffin McLarty, a 2019 eighth round pick, allowed a run while striking out six in a four inning start. The relievers who followed him did not do so well.

Low-A: Fredericksburg Nationals 7, Delmarva Shorebirds 6

The Shorebirds are like the Baysox in that they need to run the table. It’s not going to help them to be dropping games like this to the worst team in their division. They are now 3.5 games back of Down East for a playoff spot.

For the Orioles prospect watcher, one can easily be happy that half of Delmarva’s eight hits were collected by Colton Cowser and Coby Mayo. Two singles apiece for those guys, and each stole a base. It was a bit of a track meet for Delmarva, with five players grabbing a steal in the game. Mayo also drew a walk. Fourth round pick Donta’ Williams drew four walks. Four!

Cowser’s OPS with Delmarva so far is .911. Mayo tops him at .992. Above both of these guys is 6’6” 13th rounder Jacob Teter, 2-5 with a walk in this game, now sporting a 1.055 OPS in 15 games. If you spoonerize his name, it is Tacob Jeter, which is, if nothing else, a Hall of Fame last name.

Bonus Florida Complex League

Orioles Black beat Pirates Black, 14-9. 2021 20th round pick Trendon Craig was 2-5 with a pair of RBI. Through 20 pro games, Craig has an .868 OPS. Orioles Orange lost, 13-0, in a five inning game, so we won’t talk about them much.

Complete box scores from the full season affiliates can be found here.

Today’s Scheduled Games

  • Norfolk: at Durham, 6:35. Starter: Kevin Smith
  • Bowie: at Harrisburg, 5:00. Doubleheader, each team home/away once. Starters: Gray Fenter, David Lebron
  • Aberdeen: at Wilmington, 7:05. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Fredericksburg, 7:05. Starter: TBD