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Orioles minor league recap 4/9: Rodriguez starts the season strong

O’s affiliates were 3-1 on Friday, with strong offense at every level.

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
The last thing you’ll see before you strike out.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Triple-A: Norfolk Tides 12, Charlotte (White Sox) 1

Grayson Rodriguez walked the leadoff hitter, and then it was like he got mad at himself and then mad at the other team. He retired the next ten batters he faced, including a stretch where he struck out five batters in a row. This is going to be fun. Rodriguez was lifted after four innings with 61 pitches thrown, having allowed just one hit and one walk. We can assume this is part of the O’s carefully ramping up Rodriguez. It’s going to be fun when he can be unleashed.

After the outcome was well settled, minor league Rule 5 guy Cole Uvila pitched a scoreless ninth to end the game, striking out two batters. He’s thrown two scoreless innings so far this season. He’s one of my fringe guys I’m rooting for this season.

Tides batters scored four runs in the first inning and were able to just keep on piling on the offense from there. Rylan Bannon was the star of the show, grabbing four of Norfolk’s ten hits, driving in as well as scoring three runs. Bannon hit his first home run of the season in the game, as did outfielders Robert Neustrom and Johnny Rizer. Terrin Vavra led off the game with a triple and picked up another hit; Yusniel Diaz had a hit and a walk. They’ve split their first four games with Charlotte.

Box score.

Double-A: Richmond (Giants) 7, Bowie Baysox 5

The other, lower-ranked, lower-level pitching prospects making their 2022 debuts were not able to follow the Rodriguez path. Lefty Drew Rom, the #15 prospect on our composite prospect ranking started the Bowie opener. Things did not go well for Rom, who ended up pitching just three innings here. That was still long enough for him to allow three runs on six hits and two walks. If you want to feel better, he did strike out five guys.

Later on, reliever Tyler Burch, acquired for Freddy Galvis last summer, gave up another three runs in a two inning outing. This put Bowie in a hole as large as 6-0 at one point. They gamely tried to hit their way back into it, including with a ninth inning rally that brought the tying run to the plate before the game ended, but it was just too much to overcome.

Outfielder Hudson Haskin - tied for 18th on our composite list - had three hits for the Baysox, with infielder Jordan Westburg adding a pair of hits, including an RBI hit in that ninth inning. It took until the ninth for Gunnar Henderson to grab his first hit of the year. It surely won’t be his last. Shortstop Joey Ortiz is still looking for his first hit.

Box score.

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 11, Jersey Shore (Phillies) 10

This one was a donnybrook. Aberdeen was able to squeak out the win with a three-run ninth inning rally to take the last lead of the game. The final score was so close despite outhitting the BlueClaws by a 19-9 margin. That’s the way it goes sometimes. One thing that helped Jersey Shore along is they got a lot of free bases by stealing. Catcher Connor Pavolony, last year’s seventh round pick, was savaged. They stole nine bases off of him through the game. Poor Pavolony also had a throwing error and a passed ball.

Dudes who you give a crap about blasted off for the IronBirds. That included big power prospect Coby Mayo going yard in his first at-bat of the season. It was his only hit in five at-bats, but he also walked for a .333 OBP. First rounder Colton Cowser picked up three hits to close a homer shy of the cycle. He started the ninth inning rally with a single, and stole a base later on.

Third rounder John Rhodes had a three hit night as well, including the game-tying double. You know who else had three hits? Recent international signing Cesar Prieto, who singled in the ninth for the go-ahead RBI. Whew! This will hopefully continue to be a fun lineup to follow until guys get promoted and make the Bowie lineup fun to follow instead.

Jean Pinto, who is a very popular guy with the Orioles prospect hounds you might find on Twitter, had an even worse debut game than Rom. Jersey Shore got him for four runs in only two innings; he walked three and allowed three hits. Tough going, but at least there’s room for improvement.

Box score.

Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds 9, Fredericksburg (Walgreens) 6

This is not a team that’s starting out the season stocked up with names everyone will recognize among Orioles prospects, but it does have a bunch of guys who, if they make some noise, their names will get known. Two of these players did quite well for themselves in their 2022 debuts: shortstop Darell Hernaiz drove in three runs with three singles in the game, and center fielder Mishael Deson, once acquired from the Rockies in the Mychal Givens trade, had three hits of his own, including a double.

All of this added up to a late comeback win for the Shorebirds. They trailed 5-1 heading into the seventh inning stretch, then put up a five spot in the seventh and scored three more in the eighth. In all, they had 14 hits on the game and went 7-20 in chances with runners in scoring position. The big league team needs to borrow some of those clutch hits, you know?

Box score.

Saturday’s Scheduled Games

  • Triple-A Norfolk: vs. Charlotte, 6:35. Starting pitcher: Kyle Brnovich
  • Double-A Bowie: vs. Richmond, 1:05. Starting pitcher: Brandon Young
  • High-A Aberdeen: at Jersey Shore, 4:05. Starting pitcher: TBD
  • Low-A Delmarva: vs. Fredericksburg, 7:05. Starting pitcher: Conor Grady