Minor League Recap: August 25-September 1

The minor league season came to an end on Labor Day, and with Norfolk, Bowie, and Frederick all missing their respective postseasons, this will be the final installment of the weekly minor league recap for the 2014 season. Don’t worry, it will return next year with some old faces and some new faces, and possibly a revamped format.

With the end of the minor league season also comes the expanded rosters in the major leagues. The Orioles decided to bring up pitchers Evan Meek, Joe Saunders, and Ryan Webb, along with catcher Steve Clevenger and outfielder Quintin Berry. Additionally, the team made trades for Kelly Johnson and Alejandro De Aza. I discussed each of those moves (and more!) in a post yesterday up on Camden Depot.

Each of these affiliates played at least 9 games over the last week and a day of the season, so there’s a lot to get to.

Weekly Summary

Norfolk (AAA): 4-5 (W-L), 30 RS, 29 RA

Bowie (AA): 5-4, 46 RS, 47 RA

Frederick (High-A): 6-4, 48 RS, 37 RA

The Good:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): OF Dariel Alvarez – 10/29 (H/AB), 4 2B’s, 1 3B, 3 BB, 3 SO’s

Alvarez finished the year very strong in AAA, and has now claimed this spot for the 3rd week in a row. What’s been even more impressive is that he’s been walking more in AAA (4.4% BB rate) than he has in AA (3.4% BB rate). Ok, so he’s still not walking a lot, but at least it’s a little bit of progress. Unless he learns to control the strike zone a little bit more, he’s not going to be very useful to the major league club.

Bowie (AA): OF Chris Marrero – 14/34, 2 2B’s, 1 3B, 2 HR’s, 3 BB’s, 3 SO’s

Here’s another guy in the system that has finished the year strong, taking the top hitter of the week award at AA for 2 of the last 3 weeks. He’s been much better after I called him a release candidate in early August. Maybe he read it and it lit a fire under him. Probably not though.

Frederick (High-A): 2B Jerome Pena – 11/27, 3 2B’s, 1 3B, 2 HR’s, 1 BB, 9 SO’s

Pena had some strong competition this week from Jason Esposito (another strong finisher), but ultimately his total bases advantage was too much for Esposito’s additional 2 walks (although looking at Pena’s 9 strikeouts right now is making me consider changing my mind).

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Mike Wright – 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7 SO’s, 3 BB’s

Add Wright to the list of Baltimore minor leaguers who finished the season strong. I went into a little more detail about his strong finish 2 weeks ago, so you can go ahead and update those numbers yourself. Wright, who was one strike away from a no hitter two weeks ago, came very close to pitching a no hitter again last week (in a 7-inning game), which led to every Orioles beat writer tweeting out this tidbit…

Bowie (AA): RHP Eddie Gamboa – 8 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 7 SO’s, 3 BB’s Gamboa had the knuckle ball working in his last start of the season, punching out 7 while walking 3, which is a little more than you’d want, but not so much that it will necessarily hurt you. Aside from the PED suspension, Gamboa pitched decently, but can still allow too many free passes. The knuckleball takes time to perfect, and it will be interesting to see how long the Orioles stick with Gamboa.

Frederick (High-A): RHP Parker Bridwell – 14 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 19 SO’s, 3 BB’s, 1 HR

Two weeks ago Bridwell was terrible, but he was downright dominant over his last 2 starts of the season last week. He finished the year striking out over a batter per inning, but needs to have better command, as he also walked nearly 4.5 batters per 9 innings as well. I’ll be interested in seeing what scouts have to say about him during the Arizona Fall League against some of the better minor league bats.

The Bad:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): 3B Michael Almanzar – 0/10, 0 BB’s, 2 SO’s

The Orioles drafted Almanzar in the Rule 5 Draft this offseason, he spent time on the disabled list, was designated for assignment when he was activated and offered back to the Red Sox, who took him back. The Red Sox must have been reluctant to take him though, as he returned to the Orioles with Kelly Johnson in a trade last week. He took the collar last week, and as regular readers know, that gets you on the naughty list. As I stated earlier, I wrote a more words about the Johnson/Almanzar trade at Camden Depot yesterday (but not much more).

Bowie (AA): 3B Niuman Romero – 3/21, 1 2B, 0 BB’s, 4 SO’s

Romero, who’s had a really good year didn’t have a good final week of the season. Everyone has a bad week every once and a while. Cheer up Niuman, you were named to the Eastern League All-Star team!

Frederick (High-A): 1B Joel Hutter – 3/18, 1 BB, 4 SO’s

I WANT to have something to say about this, but I don’t.

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Steve Johnson – 2.2 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 SO’s, 3 BB’s, 1 HR

Steve Johnson was a nice contributor during the playoff run in 2012, but he will be sitting this round out as this basically amounts to a lost season for him. Both the rotation and the bullpen in Baltimore are pretty full at the moment, so I’m not sure what the organization has in store for Johnson moving forward.

Bowie (AA): RHP Branden Kline – 11.2 IP, 15 H, 10 R, 7 SO’s, 9 BB’s, 1 HR

Kline’s line from last week is ugly. How ugly is it? It’s so ugly that it gives Freddy Krueger nightmares (somehow I thought an old “Yo Momma so ugly” style joke could easily be applied here, but it’s tougher than I thought).

Frederick (High-A): LHP Matt Taylor – 5 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 2 SO, 8 BB’s

Even I could have pitched 5 innings and not given up 8 walks. Then again, I probably would have allowed way more than 6 hits and 6 runs. But at least I would have made the opposing team earn it.

Transactions

8/25/2014 RHP Miguel Chalas promoted to AAA
8/25/2014 RHP Robert Coello (AAA) placed on inactive list
8/25/2014 RHP Alex Santana promoted to AA
8/25/2014 RHP Marcel Prado (AA) placed on inactive list
8/25/2014 RHP Ivan Hernandez promoted to High-A
8/26/2014 C Zane Chavez (AA) activated from DL
8/26/2014 2B David Adams (AA) placed on 7-day DL
8/27/2014 C Steve Clevenger recalled to MLB
8/27/2014 RHP Robert Coello (AAA) activated from inactive list
8/27/2014 C Pedro Perez (High-A) activated from DL
8/27/2014 C Wynston Sawyer (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
8/28/2014 3B Jimmy Paredes recaled to MLB
8/28/2014 C David Freitas promoted to AAA
8/28/2014 C Austin Wynns promoted to High-A
8/28/2014 RHP Matt Price (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
8/29/2014 RHP Marcel Prado (AA) activated from inactive list
8/29/2014 OF Gregory Lorenzo promoted to High-A
8/29/2014 OF Brenden Webb (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
8/30/2014 INF Cord Phelps outrighted to AAA
8/30/2014 RHP Suk-min Yoon outrighted to AAA
8/30/2014 RHP Matt Bischoff promoted to AAA
8/30/2014 RHP Josh Stinson demoted to GCL
8/30/2014 3B Michael Almanzar assigned to AAA (received in trade)
8/30/2014 2B Jemile Weeks (AAA) traded to Boston Red Sox
8/30/2014 2B Ivan De Jesus (AAA) traded to Boston Red Sox
8/30/2014 RHP Miguel Chalas (AAA) traded to Chicago White Sox
8/30/2014 C Joel Polanco (AA) activated from DL
8/30/2014 C Pedro Perez demoted to GCL
8/30/2014 LHP Mitch Horacek promoted to High-A
8/30/2014 RHP Mark Blackmar (High-A) traded to Chicago White Sox
9/1/2014 RHP Evan Meek recalled to MLB
9/1/2014 LHP Joe Saunders contract selected by MLB
9/1/2014 C Joel Polanco demoted to GCL
9/1/2014 LHP Tim Berry (AA) activated from DL
9/1/2014 RHP Dylan Bundy (High-A) activated from DL
9/1/2014 RHP Matt Hobgood (High-A) placed on 7-day DL

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