The Baltimore Orioles sent seven prospects to the Arizona Fall League. Birds Watcher reviews how each of those prospects performed.
The Baltimore Orioles were represented by pitchers Cody Carroll, Dean Kremer, David Lebron and Alex Wells as well as infielders Rylan Bannon and Mason McCoy and outfielder T.J. Nichting in the 2019 Arizona Fall League. The seven played for the Surprise Saguaros, a team comprised of prospects from the Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, the Texas Rangers, and the Washington Nationals, in addition to the aforementioned Orioles prospects.
Nichting was a late addition to the team as the original plan was for outfielder Austin Hays to join the Saguaros, but that plan changed based on his performance and number of at-bats with the Orioles in September.
The Saguaros finished the season with a 17-12 record and played the Salt River Rafters for the League Championship this past Saturday. While the team fell short in the Championship game, it is worth looking at how the Baltimore prospects performed overall.
Bannon appeared in a team-leading 22 games and led the Saguaros in at-bats with 85. He produced a slash line of .200/ .258/ .247 with nine runs scored, one double, one home run, nine RBI, six walks and 18 strikeouts while stealing three bases in four attempts.
McCoy, who was named to the Fall Stars team, slashed .219/ .333/ .281 over 17 games played with eight runs scored, two doubles, one triple and five RBI. He stole just one base and was caught stealing once as well. In a limited number of at-bats against southpaws (15) McCoy struggled (.067 BAA LHP) but he did realize a respectable .265 BAA RHP.
Nichting, who due to his late arrival, managed to play in just eight games and generate a .273/ .304/ .318 slash line with three runs scored, one double, one walk and three strikeouts in a small sample size. He was also 1-2 in steal attempts.
While the hitters did not find much success, the pitchers fared better. When evaluating the performance of the pitchers it must be kept in mind that the team had 22 pitchers on the roster and that group had to cover over 250 innings of work.
Carroll did not produce a record but did throw 8.2 innings over nine appearances. He managed a 2.08 ERA while walking seven and striking out 11; he held AFL batters to a .219 batting average.
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Kremer, also a Fall Star, represented himself very well. Making five starts among his six appearances, the right-hander produced a 1-1 record with a 2.37 ERA, four walks and 23 strikeouts over 19.0 innings pitched. He did surrender two home runs among the 13 hits he allowed, however, he held opponents to a .206 BAA. He made the second-most starts for the Saguaros while finishing third in both innings pitched and strikeouts.
Lebron recorded one save over his nine appearances and 13.2 innings of work. He pitched to a 3.29 ERA while walking five and striking out 12. Lebron allowed five earned runs, four in his first appearance of the season, and actually pitched a total of 10.0 scoreless innings over the course of the AFL season.
Wells, who was surprisingly left off the Fall Stars roster, performed the best of all the Baltimore prospects. Over a span of nine appearances (one start) and 15.2 innings of work, he allowed one lone earned run to finish with a 0.57 ERA (second-best in the AFL among qualifiers). He finished with a 3-0 record and his three wins tied him for both the Saguaros and AFL lead in that category. Wells walked two, struck out 15 and did not allow a home run, even though AFL hitters managed a .263 batting average against him. Additionally, Wells finished the season 4th on the team in innings pitched and tied for 6th in strikeouts.
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The AFL season was certainly a mixed bag of results for Orioles prospects but as Kremer and Wells showed, Baltimore pitching prospects are knocking on the door of Oriole Park at Camden Yards.