Orioles Arizona Fall League: How is Baltimore’s contingent performing?

Jun 17, 2019; Omaha, NE, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks outfielder Heston Kjerstad (18) singles in the eighth inning against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2019 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 17, 2019; Omaha, NE, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks outfielder Heston Kjerstad (18) singles in the eighth inning against the Texas Tech Red Raiders in the 2019 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports /
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Towards the end of October, let’s check in on how the Orioles prospects in the Arizona Fall League are doing.

The only baseball being played for the Baltimore Orioles right now is the Arizona Fall League. The Orioles have seven prospects this fall playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. Outfielders Heston Kjerstad and Reed Trimble, infielder César Prieto, and pitchers Noah Denoyer, Nolan Hoffman, Easton Lucas, and Nick Richmond are the contingent representing the Orioles in Arizona. Since there’s a bit of a gap in news right now, I figured it would be worthwhile to give an update on how things are going for the Orioles prospects in Arizona.

Entering play on Wednesday, the Scorpions as a team sit in a tie for 4th place in the AFL standings out of six teams. They have a 9-10 record and a tie in the standings with the Peoria Javelinas, who they happen to be playing Thursday. They are three games behind first place Surprise, and a game and a half lead on last place Salt River.

Leading the charge for the Orioles has most notably been Kjerstad, the highest ranked prospect in Arizona in their farm system. He has been tearing it up, hitting .373 with a very good 1.075 OPS, cranking five home runs with 17 RBI’s, drawing four walks in 15 games.

Fellow outfield prospect Trimble, who isn’t in MLB Pipeline’s top 30, is not having anywhere near the success Kjerstad is. He’s stumbled to a .143 average and .505 OPS, with just one extra base hit among four total hits in 28 at bats spread over 11 games.

Rounding out the position player side is Prieto, the 18th ranked prospect in Baltimore’s system. Prieto hasn’t fared much better than Trimble, hitting .189 with a .649 OPS and one home run, adding one double and two triples in 11 games.

Oct 22, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Noah Denoyer plays for the Scottsdale Scorpions during an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Baltimore Orioles pitcher Noah Denoyer plays for the Scottsdale Scorpions during an Arizona Fall League baseball game at Phoenix Municipal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Moving on to the pitching side of things, Denoyer is first up to talk about. A righty pitcher who made five starts in 21 total appearances in 2022, Denoyer has been exclusively a starter with the Scorpions this fall. Denoyer has made four starts, authoring a 6.43 ERA and a .281 opposing batting average in 14 innings pitched.

Hoffman is next, and his numbers aren’t too different from Denoyer. The righty reliever has made a half dozen relief appearances this fall, posting a 5.40 ERA and 1.32 WHIP, with opponents also hitting .281 against him. A key thing that has to be taken into account here is that Hoffman has only thrown 8 1/3 innings, so it’s a pretty small sample size.

The next pitcher to talk about is the lefty Lucas, who was the return the Orioles got when they traded away Jonathan Villar in the 2019 offseason. Like Hoffman, Lucas has appeared in six games, authoring an impressive 1.17 ERA with opponents hitting .259 against him in a 7 2/3 inning sample size, another small one.

The final member of the Orioles contingent to talk about is Richmond, wrapping up his first season in the Orioles system with a stint in Scottsdale. Richmond has appeared in seven games, allowing more runs than innings pitched, with nine runs allowed in seven innings for a 10.29 ERA. It’s another small sample size, but it’s not a good sign either, as opponents are hitting .321 against Richmond this fall.

It is worth remembering that the Arizona Fall League is very hitter friendly, and teams are averaging over six runs per game.  That means that all baseline statistics for both pitchers and hitters should be taken with a tablespoon of salt.

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