Baltimore Orioles: A Recap Of The First Half Of 2019 In Delmarva And Frederick
The first half of the 2019 season is in the books for the A-Level affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles, the Delmarva Shorebirds (Low-A) and the Frederick Keys (A-Adv.). Here’s a look at how each team performed.
The Delmarva Shorebirds and the Frederick Keys both completed the first half of play on Sunday finishing with records of 48-21 and 29-40, respectively. The Baltimore Orioles Low-A affiliate in Delmarva finished in first place by four games in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division while Frederick was 15.0 games behind in fourth place in the Carolina League’s North Division.
Delmarva Is Playoff Bound
By virtue of their first place finish, the Shorebirds are guaranteed a place in the South Atlantic League’s post-season. They will face the either the Northern Division’s second half first place team or the Northern Division’s Wild Card team (if the Shorebirds finish 1st in the second half) in a best of three opening series. The Shorebirds are returning to the post-season for the first time since 2005 and have recorded the franchise’s best first half record, a mark previously held by the 1996 team that finished 47-23.
The team spent 60 days in first place and just four in second. Their longest wining streak was 10 games in early April (4/9-4/18) and their longest home winning streak was 12 games long (4/11-4/27).
Surprisingly, the team endured it longest losing streak of the year, five games from 6/9 to 6/13, when it was looking to clinch the Division title. The Shorebirds clinched the title after a 1-0 loss to the West Virginia Power (Seattle Mariners affiliate) by virtue of Greensboro’s (Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate) loss to Hickory (Texas Rangers affiliate).
The Shorebirds, as one would expect, lead the Sally League in several categories. The team is first in batting average (.249), ERA (3.09), strikeouts (708) and saves (30) and is in the top-10 in runs, doubles, home runs and stolen bases.
Eight players will represent the Shorebirds in the All-Star game on June 18th. They are pitchers Grayson Rodriguez, Drew Rom, Ofelky Peralta and Zach Matson, catcher Daniel Fajardo, infielder Adam Hall, outfielder Doran Turchin and designated hitter Seamus Curran.
Individually, the one player that stands out is Hall who is in the league’s top-10 in batting average, on-base percentage, hits, runs and stolen bases. The pitchers are no slouches either as Rodriguez is in the leagues’ top-10 in wins (6) and relief pitcher Tim Naughton is top-10 in appearances (22) and saves (12).
The Shorebirds produced one of Minor League baseball’s best records and winning percentage in the first half and it will be interesting to see what the second half has in store for the team.
Frederick Limps To First Half Finish
The Keys did not have the first half that the Shorebirds did. Frederick finished with its worst loss of the season to date: a 16-2 drubbing at the hands of the Salem Red Sox (Boston Red Sox affiliate). They are in the midst of a six-game losing streak and have lost 14 of their last 15 games.
To date the Keys longest winning streak is four games (5/9-5/14) while the team’s longest losing streak is eight games (6/2-6/11).
It was not all doom and gloom, however. The Keys are tied for first in batting average (.258) and are first in hits (577) in all of the Carolina League. Willy Yahn continues to pace the Frederick offense and is currently top-10 in the league in batting average (.296), slugging percentage (.426) and RBI (35). RHP Michael Baumann is tied for first in the league in strikeouts (77) as well.
Frederick will host the Carolina League All-Star Classic on Tuesday, June 18th and will be represented by a league high nine players. Named to the All-Star team were pitchers Baumann, Steven Klimek, David Lebron, Luis Perez and Cody Sedlock, infielders Sean Miller and Yahn and outfielders Cole Billingsley and Zach Jarrett.
The Keys last hosted the All-Star game in 2005 so Tuesday’s affair is sure to be an exciting and memorable event.
Both Delmarva and Frederick start the second half of the 2019 season on Thursday, June 20th. What will be interesting is if any roster changes or promotions are made prior to then by Baltimore Orioles General Manager Mike Elias. There are players worthy of moving up the ladder, the question is will they and whom.