Minor League Recap: March 31-April 6

With the new season back in full swing, it’s time for the return of the weekly installment of the Minor League Recap, which looks at the performances of Baltimore’s AAA (Norfolk Tides), AA (Bowie Baysox), and High-A (Frederick Keys) minor league affiliates. Since this was an idea that came to me with 2 weeks remaining in the 2013 minor league season, there have only been 2 previous installments. However, I’m planning on making it a weekly post in 2014. This first week is a light one, with each of the team’s playing only 4 games.  If you remember back to when I began doing these posts last season, the following is based on a player’s on-field performance for the current week only, and is not to be considered a list of prospects or future major league contributors.

Weekly Summary

Norfolk (AAA): 1-4 (W-L), 7 RS, 10 RA

Bowie (AA): 4-0, 35 RS, 14 RA

Frederick (High-A): 2-2, 20 RS, 14 RA

The Good:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): 2B Jemile Weeks – 6/12 (H/AB), 2 3B’s, 2 BB’s, 2 SO’s

Weeks was in the mix to make the opening day roster as the starting second baseman or the backup middle infielder.  He landed in Norfolk instead, despite the extra roster spot in Baltimore due to Manny Machado’s knee rehab placing him on the DL to start the season.  Weeks is off to a hot start in the first few games, even getting a start in CF.  He has a good chance to be the first player called up if J.J. Hardy hits the DL or Ryan Flaherty continues to struggle.

Bowie (AA): SS Sharlon Schoop – 6/7, 2 2B’s, 2 BB’s, 1 SO

Sharlon is the older brother of Jonathan Schoop, who is currently spending his time playing second and third base up in Baltimore.  He didn’t get as many at-bats as some of the others Bowie hitters, but when he did, he made it count.  Schoop’s already 26 years old and not really considered a prospect, so one shouldn’t get their hopes up about his chances of producing in the major leagues.  There were a lot of good performances by the Bowie hitters this week, as they scored 35 runs in only 4 games, but Schoop gets the nod.

Frederick (High-A):  OF Glynn Davis – 8/17, 2 2B’s, 2 BB’s, 6 SO’s

The speedy outfielder was on base a lot, but 66% of the outs he made were on strikeouts.

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Kevin Gausman – 4.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 6 SO’s, 2 BB’s

Gausman was the no doubt winner this week as he had a very strong performance.  While it may not look all that great, there’s no need to fret about Gausman’s low inning count for his first start of the year.  It’s early, the weather is still on the cooler side, and I doubt they’ll let him pitch deep into games anyway.  They’ll want to keep his inning count low enough so he can be a worthwhile contributor in Baltimore as the season continues.  Similar to Weeks, he is likely the first one up to the big club if there is a need.

Bowie (AA): LHP Tim Berry – 7 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 7 SO’s, 1 BB

Berry had a fantastic first outing for the Baysox, striking out a batter an inning while only allowing 4 batters to reach base.  The one run he gave up was unearned.

Frederick (High-A):  RHP Branden Kline – 5 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 4 SO’s, 0 BB’s

Kline was the Keys opening day starter and put in a solid line.  The 7 hits shows that he wasn’t dominant, but when you combine that with zero walks, you don’t put yourself in as bad a position to allow those hits to plate too many runs.

The Bad:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): OF Henry Urrutia – 2/14, 1 BB, 2 SO’s

Bowie (AA): OF Chih-Hsien Chiang – 3/13, 2 2B’s, 2 BB’s, 1 SO

Bowie’s offense was so good this past week that even Chiang (who was in my opinion their worst performer) didn’t have a bad week.  He only recorded 3 hits, but 2 of those 3 were doubles, and he walked more than he struck out.  He even accumulated 4 RBI’s if you’re in to that sort of thing.

Frederick (High-A):  IF Tucker Nathans – 3/18, 1 BB, 5 SO’s

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Tim Alderson – 3.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 SO’s, 0 BB’s

No one really stuck out as having a terrible first week on the Norfolk pitching staff.  They only gave up 10 runs in the 4 games that were played.  Unfortunately for Alderson, he gave up 2 of them in the 3.1 innings he pitched.

Bowie (AA): LHP Eduardo Rodriguez – 5 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 2 SO’s, 2 BB’s

As good as Gausman’s start to the season was, one of the Orioles’ other top pitching prospect’s was not.  Rodriguez averaged 2 baserunners an inning during his 2014 Bowie debut, and only punched out 2 batters in his 5 innings of pitching.  One of those runs was unearned, but that doesn’t really make his overall line any better.

Frederick (High-A):  RHP Parker Bridwell – 4 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 SO’s, 6 BB’s

The good news is that Bridwell only gave up 4 hits in the 4 innings he pitched.  The bad news is he combined that with 6 walks. And when you walk more than a batter per inning, you don’t need many hits to allow the other team to put some runs on the board.  The even worse news is that the “good news” I mentioned earlier isn’t even all that good.

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