Baltimore Orioles: Looking to the future Birds
By Mike Franz
The 2015 season is upon us. With just five days until Opening Day, the Orioles are making their final preparations for what they hope to be another successful season. While the major league roster is loaded with talent, the Orioles still have plenty of talent being molded and perfected in their minor league system.
Dylan Bundy, Christian Walker and Hunter Harvey are the team’s best prospects. However, there are some others that Oriole fans may see dawn the orange and black at some point this season.
Zach Davies is the team’s No. 4 overall prospect. Drafted by the Orioles in the 26th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, the right-handed pitcher has played the previous three seasons in Baltimore’s farm system.
Davies has put together back-to-back solid seasons on the mound. In 2014, he appeared in 21 games (20 starts) and posted a 3.35 ERA in 110.0 innings 109 with 109 strikeouts to his credit in Double-A Bowie. He mixes his three pitches very well to keep batters guessing. While his curveball and fastball are average, his changeup is his best pitch and is one of the best in the minor leagues.
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Davies is a groundball pitcher and uses his sinking fastball to induce such groundballs. Although he is not an ace by any means, he has the potential to become a No. 4 or 5 starter with enough work. Davies is expected to make his major league debut in 2015.
During spring training in 2015, Davies has appeared in two games–starting in one. He pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing just one run and striking out five in the Grapefruit League.
Tim Berry is another pitcher who is expected to make his major league debut this season. The No. 6 prospect has been a starter in the minor leagues for almost his entire career since being drafted by Baltimore in the 50th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
In 2014, Berry posted a 3.51 ERA with 108 strikeouts and 45 walks in 133 1/3 innings pitched at Double-A Bowie.
Like Davies, Berry has the ability to force groundballs with his hard-breaking curveball. During spring training this year, Berry appeared in four Grapefruit League games, pitching five complete innings and giving up four runs off seven hits.
The southpaw may be better suited for the bullpen when he makes it to Camden Yards. In 2013, Berry pitched effectively coming out of the ‘pen in the Arizona Fall League. It was apparent in those games that his pitches, especially his fastball, were crisper and more consistent.