Minor League Recap: April 9-April 19

Minor league baseball is back, and with it is the return of the Orioles Proving Ground Minor League recap. Similar to previous years, the recaps will run weekly (for the most part) throughout the minor league season. I’ve said it before, but to reiterate, this exercise is not meant to be a scouting one, as these observations are based on the stat line for the week in question and nothing else. I’m not a scout and I don’t get to enough minor league games to draw a scouting conclusion on the players at hand. Having said that, I will occasionally add a scouting thought to some players based on what I have read or heard about a player’s major league expectations (if they exist).

Here we go.

Weekly Summary

Norfolk (AAA): 7-4 (W-L), 55 RS, 36 RA

Bowie (AA): 5-6, 42 RS, 54 RA

Frederick (High-A): 7-4, 44 RS, 43 RA

The Good:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): IF Chris Parmelee – 15/44 (H/AB), 4 2B’s, 2 HR’s, 7 BB’s, 11 SO’s

Parmalee struck out a lot in the first week-plus of the 2015 season, but when he hit the ball, he hit it with force, with 6 of his 15 hits going for extra bases. He’ll be a decent insurance policy should the major league team need a short term injury replacement for the bench, who is capable of filling in at first base (or corner outfield if you like to use your imagination).

Bowie (AA): 1B Mike McDade – 10/34, 5 2B’s, 6 BB’s, 9 SO’s

No one has really hit all that well for Bowie so far, but McDade was in my view the best. He’s leading the team in OBP (.390) and was only outslugged by recently acquired catcher, Chris O’Brien. O’Brien has a weird .167/.211/.444 line at the time of this writing, but I don’t want to talk too much about him here, because this is McDade’s space to shine.

Frederick (High-A): OF Brenden Webb – 11/40, 3 2B’s, 2 HR’s, 3 BB’s, 13 SO’s

I hate this pick because of the 13 strikeouts, but Webb mashed more than any other Keys player. He probably won’t be quite as lucky to receive this “honor” if it continues though.

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Oliver Drake – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 12 SO’s, 2 BB’s

It’s early, but Drake had an impressive start. That sentence can be taken two ways. I’m referring to the start of his season, not that he started a game. Drake is on the 40-man roster, so he gives the Orioles a good bullpen arm with the maximum flexibility that Baltimore loves (ie, he has 3 options remaining).

Bowie (AA): RHP Mychal Givens – 7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 12 SO’s, 1 BB

Givens handled the first 7.2 innings of the 2015 season just fine, keeping the walks to just one, while striking out 12. One of those runs was unearned, making his line just a tiny bit better.

Frederick (High-A): LHP Mitch Horacek – 12.0 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 12 SO’s, 3 BB’s

I literally know nothing about Horacek. And when I say literally, I mean that I’ve never even heard of the guy. So this is what I found out from extensive sleuthing (and by extensive sleuthing, I mean I looked at his player page on the Frederick Keys website). He’s a 23 year old left-hander from Colorado who the Orioles drafted in the 9th round of the 2013 draft. He’s pretty smart (it’s an assumption based on the fact that he went to Dartmouth) and you can follow him on twitter at @mhoracek14.

The Bad:

Hitters

Norfolk (AAA): 2B Jayson Nix – 7/39, 3 BB’s, 13 SO’s

The 32 year old journeyman didn’t start off the 2015 season well. I wouldn’t worry about it though, as he’s so far down on the depth chart that if he sees any time in Baltimore this year, something went seriously wrong.

Bowie (AA): 3B Jason Esposito – 6/27, 1 2B, 1 BB, 11 SO’s

Esposito finished the 2014 season in fairly strong fashion to bring his line to a .272/.301/.417 level. That didn’t necessarily mean a promotion to AA was warranted, but as a top draft pick, they needed to start moving Esposito to see what exactly they have in him (if anything). With regards to this weekly column, he’s back in a familiar place to start the 2015 season.

Frederick (High-A): OF John Ruettiger – 2/20, 2 BB’s, 4 SO’s

The thing about bad starts in the beginning of the season is that they look especially bad because it’s all you see. Had Ruettiger had this line at some random point in July it probably would go unnoticed (except for this website, because that’s the whole point of this series of articles). The good news is that there’s plenty of time to bounce back.

Pitchers

Norfolk (AAA): RHP Eddie Gamboa – 10.0 IP, 9 H, 7 R, 8 SO’s, 7 BB’s, 1 HR

The knuckle ball will dance out of the zone sometimes, and it certainly did in Gamboa’s first two starts of the season. When batters swung at it out of the zone, it helped get him 8 strikeouts. When they laid off, it helped contribute to his 8 walks.

Bowie (AA): LHP Tim Berry – 13.2 IP, 18 H, 13 R, 7 SO’s, 10 BB’s, 2 HR’s

Woof. Wha happen? I haven’t seen anything about Berry being hurt (or even potentially hurt), so maybe he just got hit hard? If that’s the case, then that’s ok. It happens from time to time. What’s not ok is the 10 walks, especially from a guy who needs his command to be effective at the upper levels of the game.

Frederick (High-A): RHP Jarrett Miller – 8.1 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 7 SO’s, 8 BB’s, 1 HR

If you reduce the 8 walks down to 1 (or even 2), you could probably make an argument that Miller just had some bad luck. But you can’t, so you can’t.

Transactions

4/9/2015 SS Rey Navarro (AAA) placed on 7-day DL
4/9/2015 RHP Dane De La Rosa (AAA) placed on 7-day DL
4/9/2015 LHP Frank Gailey (AA) placed on 7-day DL
4/9/2015 C Wynston Sawyer (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
4/9/2015 LHP Matt Taylor (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
4/10/2015 RHP Pedro Beato promoted to AAA
4/10/2015 LHP Ronan Pacheco (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
4/11/2015 RHP Eddie Gamboa recalled to MLB
4/12/2015 LHP Cesar Cabral promoted to AAA
4/12/2015 LHP Hector Daniel Rodriguez (AAA) placed on 7-day DL
4/12/2015 C David Freitas demoted to Low-A
4/12/2015 C Chris O’Brien assigned to AA (acquired from Dodgers)
4/12/2015 RHP Ben Rowen assigned to AA (acquired from Dodgers)
4/12/2015 OF David Lough assigned to High-A (rehab)
4/13/2015 RHP Eddie Gamboa optioned to AAA
4/14/2015 RHP Devin Jones promoted to High-A
4/14/2015 RHP Nik Nowottnick demoted to Low-A
4/16/2015 OF Josh Hart (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
4/16/2015 C Chance Sisco (High-A) placed on 7-day DL
4/17/2015 RHP Terry Doyle promoted to AA
4/17/2015 INF Jimmy Paredes assigned to AA (rehab)
4/17/2015 RHP Matt Hobgood (AA) placed on 7-day DL
4/18/2015 LHP Matt Taylor (High-A) activated from DL

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