Baltimore Orioles Minor League Recap: The First Weekend

Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Baltimore Orioles Photo Day / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages

The 2023 Minor League Baseball started last Friday, with the Orioles Triple A Affiliate Norfolk Tides on the road against Durham and we have a mix of feelings. With only three games, this recap will be a focus on performances by Orioles prospects and journeymen.

Game 1: Tides 6-4 Bulls

Firstly, the Opening Day with the best pitching prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, on the mound. Unfortunately, he didn't have a good outing. He pitched four innings and had only two strikeouts. The control issues from Spring Training was present with four walks. Note: GRod didn't walk more than three in one game last year. He'll play next Thursday and hope to a rebound against the Stripers.

On offense, a Home Run by Connor Norby and Josh Lester plus two-hit performances by Jordan Westburg, Ryan O'Hearn and Maverick Handley. Josh Lester, Daz Cameron and Greg Cullen had two walks each. It's the first Opening Day win by Norfolk since 2007.

Game 2: Tides 13-4 Bulls

The first three Home Run performance in 2023 on Tides. Courtesy by Josh Lester. One candidate to Opening Day roster had his best game. Last year, Ryan McKenna and Kyle Stowers had three roundtrippers, too. Outfielder Hudson Haskin hit his first AAA Home Run in a three-hit performance. Greg Cullen was perfect (3-3) with two walks.

Baltimore's own Bruce Zimmermann pitched 4.2 innings with seven strikeouts and only one walk. The pitching staff as a whole had 13 strikeouts and three walks on the day.

Game 3: Tides 7-4 Bulls

Solid performance by the offense. Westburg and O'Hearn had one Home Run each plus two hits by Westburg and Norby. Only Haskin didn't reach base. Handley had a three walk performance! Overall, Tides had seven free passes and seven strikeouts.

On the mound, a solid outing by Spenser Watkins (5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) and the bullpen secured the win with another scoreless inning by Nick Vespi. A sweep to start the season.

The other affiliates will start their seasons on April 6. Our friend Timmy and I will post about Bowie, Aberdeen and Delmarva rosters. Stay tuned!