The regular season ended for the minor league affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles on Labor Day. Although the results were overall a mixed bag, two players, in particular, stood out with their season-long performances.
While the Bowie Baysox are still competing for a Double-A championship title this week, the 2019 season has come to a close for the rest of the Baltimore Orioles affiliates, but not before many impressive individual performances.
We here at Birds Watcher watch a lot of minor league baseball, whether it’s posted up at home with MiLB TV fired up or spending the evening at one of the affiliate ballparks, we can’t get enough minor league baseball and the 2019 season was an especially fun year to follow the “Baby Birds.”
Before we talk about our prospects of the year, let’s recap how each affiliate ended 2019 and note some prospects who put up impressive numbers.
Norfolk Tides (AAA): Season Record 60-79
Just as in years past, the Tides were actually the 26th man for the Baltimore Orioles. A total of 36 players were on both the active rosters of the Tides and the Orioles and the team saw a record 241 player transactions in 2019.
The Tides really couldn’t get much going this season as their longest winning streak was just five games, something they did twice, and their longest losing streak was nine games. Players who stood out were outfielder Mason Williams ( .308/ .371/ .477, 18 HR, 67 RBI) and LHP Keegan Akin (6-7, 4.73 ERA, 131 K’s which led the International League).
Bowie Baysox (AA): Season Record 76-64
Despite a 7-23 start to the 2019 season, the Baysox finished the second half of the season with a 46-26 record to qualify for the Eastern League Playoffs. Infielder Rylan Bannon ( .255/ .345/ .394, 34 extra-base hits) and catcher Carlos Perez ( .251/ .302/ .434) played major parts in the offense all season long and reliever Cristian Alvarado (3-3, 13 saves, 2,66 ERA) stepped up when called upon. The Baysox will face off against the Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees affiliate) for the Eastern League crown this week.
Frederick Keys (A-Adv.): Season Record 53-84
In a word, the 2019 season was a struggle for the Keys. The team had losing records both at home and on the road, never won more than four games in a row and was able to get to two games above .500 when their record stood at 24-22 in mid-May. They finished the season by losing their final six games.
Delmarva Shorebirds (A-Low): Season Record 90-48
The Shorebirds were simply dominant all season long. They were the first team in 13 years to win 90 games in a Sally League season and won both halves (tied for 1st in the second half) of the season to qualify for the playoffs.
Infielder Adam Hall ( .298/ .385/ .395) and RHP Grayson Rodriguez (10-4, 2.68 ERA, 129 K’s) were solid all season long and played a vital role in the team’s success. Unfortunately, the Shorebirds fell to the Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers affiliate) in the first round of the South Atlantic League playoffs.
Aberdeen Ironbirds (A-Short): Season Record 42-33
The Ironbirds paced the New York-Penn League’s McNamara Division for most of the season. They were eliminated from the playoffs on the final day of the season when the Brooklyn Cyclones defeated the Staten Island Yankees.
Outfielder Toby Welk ( .344/ .397/ .500) led the offense despite being promoted to Delmarva on August 24th and pitchers Ryan Conroy (5-5, 2.64 ERA) and Kevin Magee (5-6, 2.04 ERA) anchored the pitching staff.