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Orioles minor league recap 4/30: D.L. Hall dominates in season debut

The Orioles’ #5 prospect tossed four scoreless for Aberdeen, the only O’s affiliate to win on Friday.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Hall.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Triple-A: Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 8, Norfolk Tides 0

With their hottest hitter, Tyler Nevin, called up to the majors yesterday, the Tides’ offense suffered. Norfolk managed just four hits, three singles, as four Stripers pitchers combined on a shutout. Robert Neustrom provided two of those hits; the rest of the Norfolk lineup was 2-for-25. Kyle Stowers and Jahmai Jones each went 0-for-3 with a walk. Stowers, the Orioles’ #8 prospect per MLB Pipeline, is still OPS’ing .909.

Filling in for the promoted Kyle Bradish as Norfolk’s starter, Zac Lowther suffered another rough outing, giving up four runs, eight hits, and three walks in four innings to inflate his season ERA to 10.32. It’s been an unexpectedly poor start to the season for Lowther, who was expected to challenge for an Orioles rotation spot this year. Former Oriole Pat Valaika went 1-for-4 with a walk as Gwinnett’s designated hitter.

Box score

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 2, Bowie Baysox 1

Antonio Velez, the centerpiece of the Tanner Scott/Cole Sulser trade with Miami just before Opening Day, turned in his best outing as a member of the O’s organization. Velez worked five strong innings and held Richmond to just one hit and one walk, though the hit was a first-inning two-run homer that ultimately decided the game. Velez racked up seven strikeouts as well. He was relieved by a fellow former Marlins prospect, Easton Lucas, acquired in the Jonathan Villar trade in 2019. Lucas hurled three scoreless innings.

Despite the combined two-hitter by Velez and Lucas, the Baysox still lost, scraping out just one run on this night. That came courtesy of a Gunnar Henderson sac fly. Henderson (#3 prospect) also walked twice. Speedster Adam Hall (#28), batting cleanup, drew two walks as well. Jordan Westburg (#6) and Joseph Ortiz (#15) each took an 0-fer, but left fielder Dylan Harris continued his scorching start at Bowie, providing two of the four Baysox hits.

Richmond’s starting pitcher, by the way, was former Orioles prospect Gray Fenter. He threw three scoreless but also issued four walks and committed two errors on pickoff throws.

Box score

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 6, Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) 1

Oh yeah, now we get to the good stuff. And good stuff is exactly what #5 prospect D.L. Hall brought to the mound for the IronBirds in his 2022 debut. Hall, who’d been building up at extended spring training after a stress reaction in his left elbow cut his 2021 season short, didn’t miss a beat in his return to competition. Hall began the game by fanning the first four batters before D.J. Stewart — no, not that DJ Stewart — singled. That was one of just two baserunners Hall allowed in his four scoreless frames. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks, throwing 36 of 54 pitches for strikes. I’d say he’s ready to continue his progression at a different minor league level. Connor Gillispie took over in bulk relief and worked the final five innings, giving up just two hits and striking out seven.

Aberdeen’s lineup is loaded with prospects, as six of their nine hitters on this night were part of MLB Pipeline’s team top 30 list. That includes #1 prospect Adley Rutschman, who continued his rehab with a single and a walk. Recent international signing Cesar Prieto (#12) continues to tear to cover off the ball, crushing his seventh home run of the young season as part of a two-hit day. He’s batting .328 with a cool 1.079 OPS. John Rhodes (#23) also homered and drove in three.

Colton Cowser (#4), Coby Mayo (#7), and Connor Norby (#11) weren’t as successful, each going 0-for-4. Cowser struck out three times.

Box score

Low-A: Augusta GreenJackets (Braves) 6, Delmarva Shorebirds 4

A day after snapping their seven-game losing streak, the Shorebirds fell again, dropping to 6-13. A 1-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position ruined any chance for Delmarva to rally back from an early deficit. Darell Hernaiz blistered the ball again, going 2-for-5 and socking his fifth home run. He’s batting .322 with an OPS north of 1.000. The Orioles’ lone high school draftee in 2021, catcher Creed Willems, played his second game for Delmarva and went 0-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. Rough day for third baseman Noelberth Romero, part of the Andrew Cashner trade return in 2019, who went 0-for-3 and committed two errors.

Starting pitcher Dan Hammer got, well, hammered. He retired only four batters while giving up four runs, three hits, and three walks. A four-run second inning gave the GreenJackets a lead they never relinquished.

Box score

Saturday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: at Gwinnett, 6:05 PM. Starter: Cody Sedlock (2-0, 6.92)
  • Bowie: at Richmond, 6:05 PM. Starter: Zach Peek (0-1, 4.15)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Jersey Shore, 6:05 PM. Starter: Carlos Tavera (0-0, 5.79)
  • Delmarva: at Augusta, 6:05 PM. Starter: Moises Chace (0-0, 4.15)