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Orioles minor league recap 6/19: Promotions within farm, top prospects keep hitting

According to MASN, infielder César Prieto and pitcher Justin Armbruester are among those going up a level.

MLB: Spring Training-Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Welcome to Norfolk, César Prieto!
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles have had so many prospects performing so well at their levels of play that it’s been an almost weekly occurrence to see some promotions announced within the farm. Before we get into the Sunday box scores, let’s run down the promotions that were reported by MASN’s Steve Melewski and confirmed by other Orioles beat reporters. These guys will join their new teams for the coming week’s games.

  • Bowie to Norfolk: IF César Prieto, SP Justin Armbruester, RP Wandisson Charles
  • Aberdeen to Bowie: SP Alex Pham, SP Jean Pinto, RP Keegan Gillies, OF Jud Fabian
  • Delmarva to Aberdeen: SP Juan Nunez

It’s pretty exciting to see Norfolk getting some starting pitching and back-of-the-bullpen reinforcement in Armbruester and Charles. And César Prieto, except for a cold spell in Bowie last year, has proven himself a gifted hitter at every level he’s played. It’ll be fun to see what he can do at the next level. I’d have thought Coby Mayo might get the call from Triple-A, too, but they don’t pay me the big bucks to say these things.

Triple-A: Worcester Red Sox 11, Norfolk Tides 5

This one was really close until … it wasn’t. Norfolk had fallen down 3-2, then pulled ahead 4-3 in the sixth inning after six solid innings from Bruce Zimmermann (6.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 2 K). Unfortunately, Dillon Tate showed up to pitch the seventh but left his command at home: he faced four batters and walked all of them. He was yanked, but Eduard Bazardo allowed everyone to come home, plus two runners of his own, on two hits and a Heston Kjerstad throwing error.

All in all, it was a six-run seventh inning for Worcester. In the eighth, Morgan McSweeney allowed a walk, triple and wild pitch and got charged with two runs himself. Nick Vespi pitched a scoreless/blameless ninth.

Well, what are you gonna do. The Tides had seven hits between them, two apiece from Colton Cowser, Daz Cameron (who doubled and homored), and Robbie Glendinning (2B, BB). Cameron is OPS’ing .835 now and Cowser is at 1.019. Heston Kjerstad singled and walked, and he is OPS’ing 1.025 in 11 games at Triple-A. Despite the lopsided box score, the prospects are continuing to flash.

Box score

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 10, Bowie Baysox 6

Sunday was a struggle for Baysox pitchers: Carlos Tavera walked four batters in the first with a three-run homer and a wild pitch sandwiched in between. He only got four outs and exited for Tyler Burch, who at least gave the Baysox some length: 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K. Houston Roth threw the fourth, and also looked command-challenged: his first run came on a walk-single-wild pitch, and he allowed three more runs on a string of hits in the fifth. Nolan Hoffman closed out the game with two innings and allowed one run.

To their credit, the Baysox still put up a competitive effort at the plate. Ramon Rodriguez knocked in three runs with a home run in the eighth inning. Coby Mayo extended his on-base streak to 32 games with a first-inning single, and he’d add another single and a walk to keep his OPS at an impressive .979. César Prieto had three hits, including a double, and he’s hitting .364. John Rhodes went 2-for-5. Billy Cook and TT Bowens each reached base once or more.

Box score

High-A: Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) 7, Aberdeen IronBirds 3

Aberdeen outhit the Brooklyn Cyclones, 8 to 6, but couldn’t drive them in. Neither team scored a run until the seventh inning, but Brooklyn did seven runs worth of damage against an Aberdeen relief team of Ignacio Feliz, Antonio Velez, Graham Firoved, and Dylan Heid.

The good news, however, is that it was a second day in a row of great starting pitching for the IronBirds. One day after Alex Pham allowed one run in six innings, Kyle Virbitsky one-hit the Cyclones, walking two and striking out five in five shutout innings.

Luis Valdez went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple and two runs batted in. Jackson Holliday knocked in the IronBirds’ third and final run with a ninth-inning single. Max Wagner and Creed Willems singled. And Frederick Bencosme went 2-for-5.

Box score

Low-A: Salem Red Sox 10, Delmarva Shorebirds 4

The Shorebirds notched nine hits, six of the extra-base variety, three of them home runs. Top Shorebirds prospect Samuel Basallo had three hits and homered, his sixth of the season. Outfielder Trendon Craig tripled and walked. Adam Crampton hit his first career home run. Ryan Higgins doubled, and Randy Florentino went yard, too.

Despite that, this game turned sour for Delmarva in the middle innings. Moisés Chace allowed a pair of runs (HR, 1B) in three innings. Yaqui Rivera allowed one more. Albert Vega didn’t have it together, allowing four runs in three innings to get tagged with the blown save. Alejandro Méndez also allowed more runs that he should have: three on two hits and a walk.

Box score

Tuesday’s scheduled games:

  • Norfolk: @ Nashville, 7:35 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Bowie: @ Altoona, 6:00 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Aberdeen: @ Wilmington, 6:35 PM. Starter: TBD
  • Delmarva: vs. Augusta, 7:05 PM. Starter: TBD