This year’s Baysox season brings excitement as six of the Baltimore Orioles’ Top 30 Prospects will begin the season in Bowie. The Orioles Double-A affiliate is headlined by young Orioles’ sluggers Heston Kjerstad ranked at No. 6 and Coby Mayo at No. 10. Top 20 pitching prospects Cade Povich (No. 13) and Chayce McDermott (No. 19) will also toe the rubber. Here is an in-depth view at which young Birds you can watch at Bowie this season.
Several exciting Baltimore Orioles prospects will play in Bowie in 2023
The Baysox pitching staff is headlined by lefty Cade Povich and righty Chayce McDermott. Last year both players were acquired through trades with Povich coming over from the Minnesota Twins in a swap involving Jorge Lopez and McDermott arriving in the Trey Mancini deal with the Houston Astros.
Povich is a former third round pick and fired 12 scoreless innings when he arrived in Aberdeen last year. He made his way to Bowie last August and was a little rocky allowing 18 runs in 23.1 IP. He ended the season with a 4.50 ERA and 148 K over 114 innings across time in high- and double-A. This year he’ll look to make an adjustment to the higher level and show why he is ranked so highly in the system.
This season will be McDermott's third year in pro ball. In 2021, he showed signs of elite pitching with an ERA of 2.95 and 40 K over 21.1 innings in the lower levels. Last year was a bit bumpier for the former fourth rounder as he pitched to a 5.56 ERA over 103.2 innings. However, the Ball State product again racked up a mighty total of 160 strikeouts.
Other Bowie pitchers to keep an eye on are Xavier Moore and Connor Gillispie. Last year Moore pitched to a 1.36 ERA while Gillispie went 8-5 with 113 strikeouts in 97.1 IP with Aberdeen.
Heston Kjerstad is not only the systems No. 6 ranked prospect but also is listed at 80 among MLB Piepline’s Top 100. The 2020 first round pick crushed the ball this spring at big league camp with 4 home runs and 9 RBI en route to a .381 AVG. In 2022, his first season of pro ball, the outfielder hit .309 with an .851 OPS across time with Delmarva and Aberdeen. With how little the outfielder has played, it will be fun to see Kjerstad in action with the Baysox this season. It is possible Kjerstad even makes his MLB debut by 2024, if not this season.
Third base prospect Coby Mayo is beginning the year in Bowie after spending some time with the team last year. In 2022, the former fourth rounder bashed 19 home runs and 20 doubles with a .247 AVG. Many eyes will be on the 21 year old in the hot corner this season.
Cuba native Cesar Prieto is also rejoining the Baysox this season. Last season the Orioles 18th ranked prospect spent time with Aberdeen and Bowie slashing 11 home runs with a .273 AVG. The shortstop was a highly touted international prospect when the Orioles signed him in January of 2022.
Other fun hitters to watch include outfielders John Rhodes and Donta’ Williams. Rhodes is ranked No. 21 in the system while Williams was drafted in the fourth round in 2021 and hit a home run during his 3 games with Bowie last year.
Players that could arrive in Bowie later
Throughout the season, you can expect a lot of movement among the league's best minor league system. Among the most likely Orioles prospects that you may see at some point in Bowie include hitters Jackson Holliday and Dylan Beavers and pitcher Jean Pinto.
Holliday is listed at No. 12 among the MLB Top 100 and as the No. 3 player in the organization. It’s obvious that last year’s top MLB Draft selection has a lot of potential. The 19 year old shortstop shined at big league camp this spring hitting .429 with an OPS of 1.056 over 14 at bats. Last season, Holliday split time between the Florida Complex League and Delmarva, slashing a home run, 5 doubles and 9 RBI en route to a .297 AVG over 64 at bats. To start 2023, Holliday will begin in Delmarva.
Ranked at No. 11 in the system, Dylan Beavers is beginning his season with the IronBirds. Beavers was selected 33rd overall in last year's draft and climbed three levels splitting time between the FCL, Delmarva, and then Aberdeen to end the year. Beavers was impressive especially with the Shorebirds where he raked 7 doubles and 2 triples accumulating a .359 AVG in 64 at bats.
Venezuela native Jean Pinto is another prospect starting in Aberdeen but could end up in Bowie rather quickly. The right handed pitcher caught the eyes of Orioles personnel in 2021 when he pitched to a 2.30 ERA in rookie ball and class-A. Pinto has always struck batters out effectively and last year he totaled 103 K over 91.2 innings pitching to a 3.83 ERA with Aberdeen.
Last year's top 100 draft picks Max Wagner (ranked No. 14) and Jud Fabian (ranked No. 17) also are likely to rise to Bowie this summer. They are both beginning their seasons at High-A Aberdeen.
This year the Baysox will be managed by Kyle Moore for the second straight season. Moore will embark on his fourteenth season with the organization and brings a strong track record. With Delmarva in 2019, he led them to a minor league-best 90 wins en route to South Atlantic Manager of the Year honors and the Shorebirds being named MiLB.com’s Team of the Year.
The BaySox begin their season Thursday, April 6 at the Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies Double-A) for a three-game series before returning home to Prince George’s Stadium Tuesday, April 11 to face the Akron Rubber Ducks (Cleveland Indians Double-A).
This year will be a fun one for the Orioles farm system once again as talent is distributed across the organization. Norfolk began their season with a 3 game sweep over the weekend, but in case you’d like to get caught up with what’s going on with them, Birds Watcher contributor Cameron McGuire wrote a Tides Preview. Be on the lookout for previews of the Aberdeen IronBirds and Delmarva Shorebirds later this week.