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Orioles minor league week in review: Bowie fights for playoff spot as seasons wind down

Coby Mayo, Jud Fabian, and Samuel Basallo all had multi-homer weeks for their teams

Akron RubberDucks v Bowie Baysox
Coby Mayo is now with Norfolk and he spent the week hitting big dingers.
Photo by Diamond Images via Getty Images

The minor league seasons are winding down towards the end. The lowest two full-season Orioles affiliates, Aberdeen and Delmarva, have just one more week of games to go before they wrap up. Bowie plays on for two weeks, plus playoffs if they can make it, with Norfolk having three more weeks plus a playoff series.

This limited time remaining has still provided enough time for the Orioles to get a few of their prospects some experience at new levels. On Sunday night, the O’s were reported to be promoting Jackson Holliday, last year’s #1 overall pick, up to Triple-A, with 2023 draft picks Enrique Bradfield Jr., Mac Horvath, and Matthew Etzel getting a last-week bump from Delmarva to Aberdeen. Good luck to these guys at their new levels.

How did things go with the other prospects in the Orioles minors this past week? Here’s your roundup:

Triple-A Norfolk Tides

  • Past week: 5-1 at Worcester Red Sox
  • Coming week: vs. Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (32-25 second half, Marlins)
  • Second half record: 33-24, fourth place (two games back) of ten teams in International League East. Norfolk clinched a playoff berth with its first half division title.

One of several recent positives at Norfolk is Coby Mayo ripping piss missiles all over the place. He struck again over the past week of game action, blasting three bombs in six games, plus seven walks and a stolen base. Mayo is now up to nine homers and an .864 OPS in 44 games at this level and is over 1.000 OPS over the last calendar month. When I’m talking about piss missiles, I mean stuff like this:

The Statcast data on that bad boy is 108.8mph off the bat with 441 feet of distance. A righty power hitter doesn’t have to worry about the wall so much if he can hit it 441.

Mayo wasn’t even the Tides batter with the highest OPS for the week, as teammate Connor Norby went 9-26 at the plate with a pair of home runs of his own. Add four doubles and walks to those homers and he pipped Mayo at the line: 1.183 OPS for the week to Mayo’s 1.175.

Since Cade Povich and Chayce McDermott arrived in the organization in separate trades at last year’s trade deadline, they’ve been easy to think about together. It was a “one good, one bad” kind of week for that duo, which is to say that McDermott was good and Povich wasn’t. The righty McDermott struck out seven batters in a seven inning start where he allowed just one run. He’s got a 2.56 ERA and 0.985 WHIP in his nine games at this level.

Povich has not had as good of a time at the level, at least in terms of his results. He had a pair of starts against Worcester over the past week. His first crack went poorly, allowing five runs (three earned) in a 2.2 inning start. Later in the week, Povich got another shot against the WooSox and allowed three runs in five innings while striking out six batters. Walks have been killing him: He walked six in 7.2 IP this week and has issued 20 free passes in 28.2 IP with Norfolk overall.

Others of note:

  • OF Heston Kjerstad - Overshadowed by Norby and Mayo this week but still not too shabby, 9-27 hitting plus his ninth homer in 69 AAA games. .886 overall OPS with Norfolk.
  • IF Joey Ortiz - Did not add to the prospect glory, 4-21 hitting over his five games. Has only homered once since the start of August.
  • LHP John Means - Smooth outing for what figures to be his penultimate Tommy John rehab game - five scoreless with a hit and two walks allowed, plus six strikeouts.

Norfolk season-to-date stats.

Double-A Bowie Baysox

  • Past week: 2-4 at Akron (Guardians)
  • Coming week: vs. New Hampshire Fisher Cats (24-30 second half, Blue Jays)
  • Second half record: 30-27, third place (three games back) of six teams in Eastern League Southwest.

There are two kinds of Jud Fabian weeks. One kind, he strikes out too much and doesn’t do much to make up for it. In the other kind, he hits homers and draws walks in addition to the strikeouts. This was the good kind of week for Fabian, who hit two homers and drew eight walks over the six game set. He’s hit 14 homers in 55 games for the Baysox but only has a .172 batting average. Fabian with a homer swing:

Unsurprisingly, Jackson Holliday was the other big standout for Bowie this week. Holliday was 9-21 in his last six games before the promotion, with a couple of stolen bases just for fun. He heads to Norfolk with a .338/.421/.507 batting line in 36 games here. It’s really something.

The distribution of pitching prospects in the Orioles system right now doesn’t have any of the first- or second-tier guys on the Baysox right now. We can try to keep our eyes on guys who aren’t rated at the moment but are getting results anyway, like Trace Bright, the fifth round pick last year. He’s struck out a lot of batters in 4-5 inning starts between Aberdeen and now Bowie. This past week, he gave up four runs (two earned) in a five inning start, striking out six batters while allowing four hits, two walks, and one hit batter.

Others of note:

  • OF Dylan Beavers - A cromulent week: 5-21 with a double and a triple, plus three walks. .859 OPS through 25 games with Bowie.
  • IF Max Wagner - Hit in the head with a pitch in his one game this week and placed on the concussion list afterwards.
  • RHP Alex Pham - One start this week for the MLB Pipeline #30 Orioles prospect - three runs on five hits and two walks. 2.94 ERA and 1.038 WHIP in 12 games at the level.

Bowie season-to-date stats.

High-A Aberdeen IronBirds

  • Past week: 2-4 at Jersey Shore (Phillies)
  • Coming week: vs. Greenville Drive (27-33 second half, Red Sox)
  • Second half record: 28-31, fifth place (5.5 games back) of six teams in South Atlantic League North. Eliminated with combination of two losses or Brooklyn/Jersey Shore wins.

Samuel Basallo only got to play in two games for Aberdeen in this series after taking a foul tip off the mask last week. Two games was long enough for him to hit three homers and get five hits in seven at-bats. Greenville was understandably afraid of him, also walking him four times. This kicks his OPS at the level up over 1.000 for 22 games. He only turned 19 last month! Oh yeah, and he’s thrown out 35% of runners here too. This guy also hits tanks:

Among players who were active for the full week, Frederick Bencosme excelled in the series, batting 11-28 for the series. Bencosme carried a high batting average at Low-A last year but is only hitting .242 in 108 games for the IronBirds. It’d be nice to see him be able to close out strong.

Pitching prospect Seth Johnson got back to the High-A level on his own Tommy John rehab path. He allowed four runs in 1.1 innings. Moving right along.

Others of note:

  • RHP Juan Nuñez - Another arm from the Jorge López trade, the 22-year-old Nuñez allowed a run in four innings this week, with five strikeouts to two hits, two walks, and a hit batter. 4.65 ERA and 1.574 WHIP in 11 games here.
  • C Creed Willems - The other part of the young catching duo went just 4-22 this week, continuing struggle at this level; he’s got a .586 OPS in 70 games for Aberdeen.

Aberdeen season-to-date stats.

Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds

  • Past week: 3-3 at Columbia (Royals)
  • Coming week: vs. Fredericksburg Nationals (31-28 second half)
  • Second half record: 26-33, fifth place (9.5 games back) of six teams in Carolina League North. Eliminated from postseason.

The guys who got promoted did so because they’ve been doing well at this level. Enrique Bradfield Jr. has a .494 OBP and 20 steals in 20 games. Mac Horvath posted a .308/.422/.500 in 14 games. Matthew Etzel, the tenth round pick, was even above that with a .930 OPS in 21 games. Bradfield is fast:

These guys weren’t even the only strong performers for the Shorebirds this week. Fellow 2023 draftee outfielders Tavian Josenberger and Jake Cunningham were on fire. Josenberger hit 7-15 over his four games, adding five walks and two stolen bases. Cunningham was 4-13 with a double and a homer. If these two guys start 2024 off hot, they probably won’t have to stay here long before getting their own promotions to Aberdeen.

Another 2023 pick is pitcher Teddy Sharkey, a reliever who has an excellent name. He struck out four batters in two scoreless innings and now has nine in four innings in Delmarva.

Delmarva season-to-date stats.


In a two-player, pitcher-only poll last week, Connor Gillispie won the player of the week with 67% of the vote after a week where he pitched ten scoreless innings. Gillispie allowed two runs in five innings this past week, with seven strikeouts.

Gillispie joins this list of winners: Holliday and Jordan Westburg (three times), Mayo and Ortiz (two times), and Norby, Kjerstad, Fabian, Lewin Díaz, Grayson Rodriguez, McDermott, and Bright.

Will we add any more multi-winners to the list this week? The power is yours.


Who was the Orioles minor league player of the week for 8/29-9/3?

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Coby Mayo, Triple-A Norfolk (three homers, seven walks)
    (240 votes)
  • 1%
    Jud Fabian, Double-A Bowie (two homers, eight walks, two stolen bases)
    (5 votes)
  • 6%
    Frederick Bencosme, High-A Aberdeen (11 hits in 28 at-bats)
    (20 votes)
  • 16%
    Mac Horvath, Low-A Delmarva (8-19, five walks, seven stolen bases, promoted)
    (51 votes)
316 votes total Vote Now