It’s almost been a weekly occasion this season for Orioles prospects at one of the minor league levels to earn the player or pitcher of the week honors each of their leagues hands out. The last week was no exception, with Coby Mayo taking Eastern League Player of the Week and Cade Povich earning Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Good work, dudes.
A whole slew of players will be climbing one rung up the ladder before this next week of action. As reported on Sunday by MASN’s Steve Melewski, these guys are on the move within the system:
- 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
That’s four players in the group from the top 30 we’ve been focusing on in this series, and a couple of others who might find themselves on the next updated incarnation of prospect lists if they keep playing well. Not bad.
Each week on Camden Chat, we check in on the Orioles full-season minor league affiliates.
Triple-A Norfolk Tides
- Last week: 2-4 vs. Worcester Red Sox
- Coming week: at Nashville (37-31, Brewers)
- Season record: 45-23, first place (6.5 game lead) of ten teams in International League East. Magic number of two to clinch first half division title.
Are you here for the good news about Heston Kjerstad? Whether you are or not, there’s good news. This was a great week for the 2020 first rounder, his second week at this level. Kjerstad went 8-21 over these six games, and what’s even more fun about that is this included two doubles, a triple, and two home runs. That’s a lot of power - an .857 slugging for the week, to be precise. He showed off his arm, too:
Are you also here for good news about Colton Cowser and Jordan Westburg, two prospects who many in Birdland want to believe will be imminently joining the Orioles? Alas, not quite as much good news for those guys. Cowser batted 7-18 over five games, though all of his hits were singles. Westburg was just 4-21, and while he added three walks, that’s still a tough week. He added no home runs, so he’s still sitting on “only” 17 dingers.
He doesn’t count as a prospect any more due to his big league playing time, but Grayson Rodriguez is still a guy Orioles fans will want to track back in the minors. Rodriguez’s start this week saw him strike out 11 guys over six innings, with just two hits and two walks allowed. That’s the good stuff, but he’s probably going to need to fire off some more like that to convince the team to let him try it again facing big leaguers.
Others of note
- IF Connor Norby - 11 strikeouts in 24 at-bats this week, with only four hits. Sitting on a .776 OPS for the season.
- OF Hudson Haskin - Just one hit in 15 at-bats, and he hasn’t walked in two weeks since returning from the injured list.
- LHP Drew Rom - Five runs allowed (three earned) over a five inning start this week. As is often the case with Rom, good K/BB stats: six strikeouts, one walk, but with seven hits and a hit batter there was still a lot of traffic.
- RHP Dillon Tate - Rehabbed here this week and uh, he walked six guys in 1.1 innings, including Sunday where he walked four batters and retired zero. Yikes.
Double-A Bowie Baysox
- Last week: 4-3 vs. Richmond (Giants)
- Coming week: at Altoona (31-30, Pirates)
- Season record: 27-35, last place (6.5 games back) of six teams in Eastern League Southwest
Mayo earned those player of the week honors in part because he blasted three home runs. He went for ten hits in 24 at-bats overall, plus drew four walks. That’s a 1.475 OPS over seven games, now with a .979 OPS in 60 games. If you’re wondering why he didn’t get the promotion to Norfolk, yeah, me too. In the meantime, he’s hitting walkoff dingers for the Baysox like this:
COBY MAYO SENDS EVERYONE HOME! pic.twitter.com/alOGeQ7zW9— Bowie Baysox (@BowieBaysox) June 17, 2023
Mayo now has a 32-game on-base streak.
Mayo’s fellow infielder Prieto earned his way up to Norfolk with a week where he notched nine hits. Prieto’s something of a hitting machine, with a .364 average for the Baysox before the promotion. Will that work with light power, including just one double this week? The next test will be Triple-A.
The outing that earned Povich the pitcher of the week honors was an unquestionably brilliant one. The lefty struck out 13 men while allowing just a hit - and no walks! - across a seven inning start. That’s the good stuff. Armbruester heads up to Norfolk on the strength of a seven inning start of his own, though his came with just three strikeouts.
Others of note
- OF John Rhodes - A decent week that included 5-21 hitting with three extra-base hits, plus three walks and a stolen base. .783 OPS for the season.
- RHP Chayce McDermott - Double digit strikeouts for him as well, with 10 struck out over 5.2 innings where he mostly scattered three hits and two walks. McDermott’s BB/9 for the season is 5.4, so controlling that is going to be the big question for him.
High-A Aberdeen IronBirds
- Last week: 3-3 vs. Brooklyn (Mets)
- Coming week: at Wilmington (28-34, Nationals)
- Season record: 31-31, fourth place (5.5 games back) of six teams in South Atlantic League North
BEAVERS! It was a Dylan Beavers kind of week for Aberdeen, as he led the way for the offense with two home runs and eight runs driven in. Beavers was 6-18 overall and drew four walks. Him finding some power would be nice - he’s hit five in 58 games so far, and is OPSing .722 for the season.
The now-promoted Fabian makes his way up to Bowie after striking out ten times in 20 at-bats. Walking five times is nice, though still just a .570 OPS for the week. Fabian closes out his Aberdeen time with a .281/.392/.490 batting line. Looks good.
All three of the pitchers who are headed up to Bowie along with Fabian had some nice outings to take with them to the next level. Pham, a 19th round pick from 2021, struck out nine batters in six innings with only a solo homer allowed. Pinto, acquired for José Iglesias, allowed two runs on a pair of solo homers in a five inning start. Gillies, a reliever drafted in the 15th round two years ago, tossed two innings with only two unearned runs allowed. Gillies had a 0.54 ERA in 15 games before the promotion. He’s 25, so quite old for the level. Good luck in Bowie to all of these guys.
Others of note
- SS Jackson Holliday - An uncommon down week for the #1 pick, just 4-20 at the plate. He still walked (6) more than he struck out (5) and stole two bases.
- IF Max Wagner - 3-19 hitting, though like Holliday he added a bunch of walks (5). .728 OPS - but with a .361 OBP - for the season.
Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds
- Last week: 2-5 at Salem Red Sox
- Coming week: vs. Augusta (30-33, Atlanta)
- Season record: 27-36, sixth place (10.5 games back) of six teams in Carolina League North
Samuel Basallo is still hitting. The catching prospect who signed two years ago blasted his sixth homer of the season in a game this week, one of six hits he picked up in 20 at-bats. Basallo showed the plate discipline by drawing five walks as well. He’s at an .801 OPS for the season. Of course you want to see the homer:
Samuel Basallo with his 6th home run of the season!— The Verge- An Orioles MiLB Podcast (@BSLOnTheVerge) June 18, 2023
Seven footer Jared Beck had a scoreless four inning outing with seven strikeouts. This is a Delmarva roster that continues to mostly be guys looking to play themselves into the picture, and the team’s record reflects that. At least that’s better than Bowie with a similar record but they’ve had many more actual prospects on the team this season.
Bonus Florida Complex League
Early on in the FCL schedule, the Orioles team has a 5-6 record, including a 1-0 victory yesterday. The player I’ve got my eye on the most to start out is Maikol Hernández, a shortstop who also received a seven-figure bonus in the same signing class as Basallo. He’s played in nine games, batting .263/.333/.500 so far. Another million-dollar bonus prospect on the team: Braylin Tavera. Tavera has an .827 OPS through eight games.
DL Hall got sent down to this level. The Baltimore Banner’s Andy Kostka explained that the rationale behind this is so he can do the workouts he was not able to do over the offseason due to his back injury, which will allow him to regain his velocity. He’s down about 3mph compared to last year.
Double Bonus Dominican Summer League
There are a pair of teams in action at this level. Orioles Orange is off to a 9-2 start. Orioles Black is 4-7. Unfortunately, this year’s big-dollar international amateur, Luis Almeyda, is hurt and out for a few weeks. Among the fresh class of signees, there aren’t really any early standouts in their performance.
Plenty of worthy contenders for our own player of the week voting this week. Last week, the now-promoted Fabian waltzed to victory with 93% of the vote on a three player poll. He joins this list of weekly winners this season: Holliday (twice), Norby, Kjerstad, Cowser, and Lewin Díaz.
A repeat winner is possible this week. Will you make it happen? The power is yours.
Who was the Orioles minor league player of the week for 6/13-6/18?
This poll is closed
Heston Kjerstad, Triple-A (2 HR, 5 XBH, 1.292 OPS in 6 games)
Coby Mayo, Double-A (3 HR, 1.475 OPS over 7 games)
Cade Povich, Double-A (7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K)
Dylan Beavers, High-A (2 HR, 4 BB, 1.101 OPS over 6 games)