After a four-day break during All-Star week July 10-13, the Orioles’ minor league affiliates each resumed their schedule with a mini three-game series followed by a usual six-gamer. And folks, things went quite splendidly. The four clubs combined to go 22-14, with all but Delmarva posting winning records, thanks to standout performances from many of the prospects you’ve heard of (and maybe a few you haven’t).
Let’s take a look at those who stood out during that nine-game stretch in Camden Chat’s latest minor league week (and a half) in review.
Triple-A Norfolk Tides
- Since last time: 2-1 vs. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees), 3-3 at Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
- Coming week: vs. Nashville Sounds (11-8, Brewers)
- Second-half record: 12-8, tied for second place (1.0 GB) in International League East
The Tides’ regular lineup includes the Orioles’ #7 through 10 prospects — Joey Ortiz, Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, and Heston Kjerstad — and all of them have played well since the All-Star break. Ortiz has been the star, collecting 11 hits and scoring 11 runs in nine games, including two homers. Overall he’s slashing .335/.394/.573 with seven homers in 52 games this year. It sure feels like he could be starting for plenty of major league teams — and, with the trade deadline coming up, perhaps he’ll soon be getting that chance somewhere, if not likely in Baltimore.
Kjerstad kept motoring along with a team-leading 13 hits in the nine-game stretch, though he didn’t homer. Norby homered twice and walked five times, most on the club. And Mayo, in his debut stint with Norfolk, had a pair of big performances — going 5-for-10 with seven RBIs in the first two games of the Gwinnett series — but finished the week in an 0-for-11 drought. Veteran Daz Cameron hit three homers, trying to work his way into the Orioles’ outfield plans if Aaron Hicks misses time with the leg injury he suffered last night.
Drew Rom (#18 tied) was the only pitcher to start three games, though the first was just a planned one-inning outing to ramp him back up after the break. He followed up an outing of five scoreless innings by giving up six runs in five innings the next time out. His ERA is 5.49 and he’s walking nearly five batters per nine. Bruce Zimmermann, with a pair of solid five-inning outings, remains a frequent passenger on the Norfolk-to-Baltimore shuttle. And Chayce McDermott (#18 tied) made his Triple-A debut, giving up four earned runs in eight innings. He had 11 strikeouts but an ugly seven walks, including six in one game.
And in case you missed it, 2013-16 O’s lefty T.J. McFarland is back in the organization after signing a minor league deal July 22. In his first appearance for the Tides in seven years, McFarland worked a scoreless inning Sunday.
Double-A Bowie Baysox
- Since last time: 2-1 vs. Akron RubberDucks (Guardians), 5-1 vs. Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
- Coming week: at Somerset Patriots (11-9, Yankees)
- Second-half record: 12-9, tied for second place (0.5 GB) in Eastern League Southwest
The Baysox took advantage of an extended homestand, winning seven of nine and taking both series. The promotion of Jackson Holliday to Bowie brought immediate dividends, as the #1 prospect in baseball led the team with 13 hits in his first nine games and socked his first Double-A homer. Call him up to Norfolk! (I’m kidding.) (But am I?)
Jud Fabian (#13), after destroying High-A pitching, is still trying to make the adjustment to Double-A. He’s just 4-for-28 since the All-Star break, albeit with two homers, and has no multi-hit games in July. His slash line in 24 games for Bowie is .173/.270/.418. In better news, outfield prospect John Rhodes (#23 tied) bashed four home runs, giving him nine on the year. Outfielder Billy Cook, a 10th-round pick in 2021, homered thrice, and infielder Joseph Rosa, signed as a minor league free agent in May, reached base 15 times in eight games.
On the mound, right-hander Alex Pham continued his breakout season with seven innings of one-run ball across two appearances, allowing only two hits. In 17 games across two levels this year, Pham has a 2.14 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 11.48 K/9, though his walk rate is a bit high at 4.04 per nine. The most notable pitching prospect at Bowie, lefty Cade Povich (#12), gave up five runs in 10 innings over two starts. Povich’s strikeout rate is stupendous — 13.06 K/9 — but like Pham he’s walking a few too many hitters (4.06 BB/9). And righty Carlos Tavera, the first pitcher the O’s drafted (fifth round) in 2021, struck out eight in five scoreless innings, giving up one hit.
High-A Aberdeen IronBirds
- Since last time: 2-1 vs. Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nationals), 5-1 vs. Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays)
- Coming week: at Jersey Shore BlueClaws (10-14, Phillies)
- Second-half record: 16-7, second place (0.5 GB) in South Atlantic League North
Like the Baysox, the IronBirds made hay with nine games at home, going 7-2 to continue their impressive second half. The Aberdeen pitching staff led the way with a stellar performance, posting a sensational 2.09 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, .188 opponents’ batting average, and 101 strikeouts in the nine games, all the best marks in the South Atlantic League. The IronBirds didn’t allow more than three runs in any game until the series finale, when they gave up four. The bullpen was especially stout; 13 different relievers, in 22 appearances, combined for a 1.37 ERA.
The most impressive of the bunch was right-hander Daniel Lloyd, who worked seven scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts in two games. Lloyd now has thrown 21 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, dating back to June 27. Seems good! The 22-year-old, a 14th round pick in 2021, has slashed his ERA from 4.63 to 3.19 in that span. Among starters, Kyle Brnovich — the former Dylan Bundy trade acquisition who’s working his way back from 2022 Tommy John surgery — is looking good in his rehab, striking out 11 batters in seven innings of one-run ball in two appearances for the IronBirds.
On offense, Aberdeen was led by Dylan Beavers (#11 prospect), who played all nine games and batted .414/.500/.655 with 12 hits and six walks. He’s OPSing 1.206 in July. First baseman Maxwell Costes hit two of the club’s five home runs.
Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds
- Since last time: 2-1 at Salem Red Sox, 1-5 vs. Charleston RiverDogs (Rays)
- Coming week: at Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (11-13, White Sox)
- Second-half record: 11-12, tied for third place (2.0 GB) in Carolina League North
The Shorebirds were the only O’s affiliate not to have success out of the All-Star break, getting trampled by the RiverDogs in their full series. The normally strong Delmarva offense managed just a .658 OPS over the nine games. Top O’s international prospect Samuel Basallo (#14), at least, had a solid week, with two doubles, a triple, and a homer. He left Saturday’s game early after limping off the field but was back in the lineup Sunday, so, crisis averted.
The Shorebirds’ nine starts were split between nine different pitchers, and four of them — Moises Chace, Luis De Leon, Edgar Portes, and Deivy Cruz — delivered outings of four or more scoreless innings. Cruz added five shutout frames in a bulk relief performance, giving him nine scoreless in a week’s span. Encouragingly, the 19-year-old lefty, who is averaging more than a walk every two innings, issued only one free pass in those nine frames.
The Shorebirds also pulled off a triple play this week, which is neat.
In our last weekly roundup July 12, Grayson Rodriguez became the first pitcher this season to win the Player of the Week poll, after a sterling three-start stretch for Norfolk that ultimately earned him another chance in the majors. Position player winners include Jordan Westburg (three times), Mayo (twice), Holliday (twice), Norby, Kjerstad, Fabian, Colton Cowser, and Lewin Díaz. Like Rodriguez, two of those guys are currently with the big club and hopefully won’t appear in another minor league poll this year.
This week’s field of four players features three who haven’t yet won, including another pitcher. Who gets your vote?
Who was the Orioles’ minor league player of the week-plus from July 14-23?
This poll is closed
Joey Ortiz, Norfolk (11 H, 11 R, 2 HR, .344/.417/.688 in nine games)
Jackson Holliday, Bowie (team-leading 13 hits, .400 OBP in Double-A debut)
Dylan Beavers, Aberdeen (12 H, 6 BB, .414/.500/.655 in nine games)
Daniel Lloyd, Aberdeen (7 IP, 0 ER, 13 K; extended streak to 21 IP without an earned run)