As the Baltimore Orioles prove their winnings ways, will their MiLG Affiliates follow suit?
Opposite to the Baltimore Orioles, the O’s farm system has had a rough start to their 2016 season, since Opening Day April 7th. The Norfolk Tides (AAA) are sitting dead last in the Int South at 3-8, the Bowie Baysox (AA) are sitting second to last in the EAS Western at 4-7, and the Frederick Keys (A-Adv) are second to last in the CAR Northern with 5-7 record.
Of course there is still plenty of time for all three to make up some ground and find success this year, especially for Bowie, who is looking to have a repeat year after winning the 2015 Eastern League Championship. The Baysox were presented with the trophy during the first series of the season vs. Akron, in which they were swept. The good news is that Bowie is on a three game winning streak with hopes to extend it.
As much fun as it has been to watch the Orioles so far this year, the State of the Farm continues to worry me. I put a lot of emphasis on the farm system because it plays such a vital role in the development and growth of the Orioles future, so I’m taking some time to fill the fans in on how we’re looking and what are bright spots are.
So far the primary concern for the Norfolk Tides would seem to be the starting pitching. The Tides starting rotation has a combined ERA of 9.31 to start the season. Todd Redmond had looked the worst of the bunch with a 27.00 ERA causing the Orioles to release him. Terry Doyle is the benefactor here as he was promoted up from Bowie to take Redmond’s place, pitching 5.1 innings and giving up 4 runs with only two SO.
As expected, Christian Walker has carried his hot Spring over into the AAA season, leading all Tides hitters with 24 Total bases, 3 Homeruns and 8 RBI’s. He seems to be making progress in his new found Outfield role. With Hyun-Soo Kim’s future still undecided, if Walker can hone in on his defense, he may just find himself spending more time in the big leagues this year, if a roster spot happens to open up.
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So far the Bowie Baysox’ defense seems to be their Achilles Heel, although their starting pitching has looked good either. The Baysox’ committed five errors in their first two losses of the season and have committed ten more since, bringing their total to 15 Errors in only 8 games. With the Baysox giving up 5.8 runs a game and producing that many errors, it’s hard to win a game.
Also as expected, Trey Mancini is looking very impressive and again would be considered the highlight of the Bowie organization. The 24-yr old slugger is leading the Baysox in nearly every statistical category and in those he doesn’t he sits second only to Garabez Rosa . Mancini is hitting .308 with 30 Total Bases, 13 Runs, and of course 5 Homeruns with a .760 Slg %. I wouldn’t doubt seeing him promoted to AAA before the seasons end.
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The Frederick Keys are looking average at best but there is a lot of young talent in the organization that has gone relatively unrecognized. I especially like the arm of Orioles prospect Matthew Grimes. This 6’-5” 185lb hurler was picked in the 18th round of the 2014 draft. He is out to prove himself early, in the two games he’s pitched he has accumulated 13 SO in only 11 IP with a .082 ERA. Something tells me we’ll be hearing name mentioned a lot this year.
So although our Minor League affiliates haven’t looked great to start out the year, I do feel they will still turn out a solid season and continue the winning mentality that Buck has been developing throughout the Orioles organization. Baltimore is about to begin an important series against the interdivision rival Blue Jays. Strength comes from the top, so as the Orioles look to continue their winning ways I’m sure the Minors will follow suit.