The Aberdeen Ironbirds, the Orioles Short-Season A class affiliate, and reigning McNamara Division champions season started Friday, June 13th in Hudson Valley, against the Renegades, an affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The home opener was played last night against the Brooklyn Cyclones, an affiliate of the New York Mets.
The Renegades swept the Ironbirds in four games, and the Birds dropped one more game against the Staten Island Yankees before winning their first, and so far only game, of the season on Wednesday.
On Thursday, June 20th, the Ironbirds lost their home opener to the Brooklyn Cyclones at Ripken Stadium, home to the new orange “Ripken Wall”. The old green outfield wall pads have been replaced with orange wall pads, and in right-centerfield numbers 3, 7, and 8 are painted for former Orioles infielder Billy Ripken, manager Cal Ripken Sr., and Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. Cal Ripken, Jr. currently owns the team.
Although the Ironbirds are of to a 1-7 start, eight games is a small sample size, and there are some promising starts from a few prospects. Catcher Alex Murphy, 19, the Orioles 2013 sixth-round pick, has played all eight games with the Ironbirds and owns a .375 batting average, 17 total bases, and a .925 OPS through 32 at-bats. Outfielder Sam Kimmel, 24, the Orioles 2012 18th round pick, has played in six games and owns a .316 batting average with a .944 OPS through 22 at-bats. Janser Severino, 22, a 2010 Dominican signee is 0-0 with a 1.93 ERA through 9.1 innings and two games started. He’s struck out eleven batters and walked 4. Current top prospect, Dylan Bundy has returned to Aberdeen for a number of rehabilition starts as he looks to return to the Orioles after undergoing Tommy John surgery last year. In his first rehab start last week, Bundy gave up a run and was credited with the loss, striking out six while scattering five hits over five innings.
Although no 2014 draft picks have been assigned to Aberdeen, it is likely that Orioles top picks Brian Gonzalez, a left-handed pitcher, and Pat Connaughton, a right-handed pitcher will join the Ironbirds, just as top 2013 pick Hunter Harvey, top 2012 pick Kevin Gausman, and top 2011 pick Dylan Bundy did before them. Both Gonzalez and Connaughton have already signed with the Orioles.
Aberdeen finishes off their series with Brooklyn tomorrow and finishes their first homestand Tuesday with a two-game series against Staten Island.