Orioles Prospect Update: Connor Norby, Chayce McDermott, Tavian Josenberger goes deep

A rough week overall for the #1 farm system in the MLB, but still some notable performances from the likes of Connor Norby, Dylan Beavers and Carter Young-- among others
Baltimore Orioles Photo Day
Baltimore Orioles Photo Day / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

Seems like this first week of July was a hot one for everyone except the Orioles' minor league squads. After wrapping up June on a high note, the four affiliates largely fell flat to start out the new month. Better days ahead, but some individual performances worth celebrating in the meantime.

Norfolk Tides
Lost series with Durham Bulls 2-4

Veteran Garrett Cooper needed a real splash to have any chance of leapfrogging a bigger name, such as Coby Mayo, for a promotion. After a solid first series versus Charlotte, he exploded for a .421/4/10 line against Durham. Given his modest history of production at the major league level, plus an opportunity to further extend a younger guy's service time, don't be surprised if Ryan Mountcastle's lingering injury inspires Elias to make an unpopular decision involving Cooper.

Speaking of Mayo, the power hitting righty cranked out home run No. 21 on Tuesday in the midst of a 5 RBI night. Barring a move up, he's well on his way to smashing his previous career high of 29, a total he achieved in 77 more games last year.

The organization's top prospect, Jackson Holliday, responded to news of his downgrade to No. 2 on Baseball America's top 100 list by going 5-15 on week with a solo dinger. He also managed to reach base nine times via walk, continuing to display the elite patience and discipline at the plate he's becoming known for.

10 hits in 29 at-bats for Connor Norby against Bulls' pitching, plus 3 homers and 9 driven in. Given the current logjam at middle infield, it sure feels like he's on audition as trade bait over the next month. Another couple of series like this should really boost his stock for the Birds.

This week felt like a perfect microcosm of Chayce McDermott's season: 12 strikeouts over a dominant 7 innings on Monday night, followed up by an absolute stinker on Saturday where he couldn't escape the first. Even with Cade Povich's recent struggles in the majors, there's no way McDermott is currently more trustworthy.

Trey McGough's quietly acclimated nicely to AAA ball, rocking a 2.57 ERA through 28 IP since his call up to the Tides. He allowed 1 earned run over 4.2 strong in 2 appearances against Durham, cementing himself as one of the few reliable relievers for Norfolk.

Bowie Baysox
Tied series with Richmond Flying Squirrels 3-3

Last month had it's struggles for TT Bowens, but he's off to a good start this July after posting a .286/1/1 line on the week. If he can continue to make regular contact like this, a look at Norfolk would feel justified before the end of the season.

If you look past an 0-6 Saturday, Dylan Beavers had a really solid showing against Richmond, collecting 6 hits in the first four games of the series. It's an optimistic development for the O's sixth ranked prospect, who started 2024 with a scorching .329 April before hitting just .199 over May/June.

Up and coming phenom Samuel Basallo will be representing Baltimore in the upcoming MLB Future's Game. He didn't do much damage to the Flying Squirrels, driving in 4 on 4 total hits, but is one of the purest hitters you'll see at the minor league level. Excited for his opportunity to show off his skillset on a national level. He'll be 19 for another month too, giving him a nice long timeline to continue his growth.

Kyle Brnovich improved to 6-2 after 5 shutout innings on Tuesday, allowing 3 hits and no walks on the evening. Since the beginning of June, he's given up just 9 earned runs over 6 starts-- 5 of which came in a tough outing versus Bowling Green. With his Rule 5 status ending at the conclusion of the season, it may be a prudent move to see what he can do in AAA.

Welcome back to Bowie, Peter Van Loon! The tall righty was shaky in his three rehab starts for Aberdeen, but seemed to return to form Friday night, striking out 6 over 4.1 scoreless.

Some fantastic work out of the bullpen by the Baysox on the series. Nick Richmond didn't allow a run over his 4-shutout innings, while Dylan Heid refused to surrender a hit over his 4.1 frames. It's pretty clear what guys like Wandisson Charles and Kade Strowd are bringing to the Tides, would much rather see a new face like Heid or Richmond get those looks moving forward.

Aberdeen IronBirds
Lost series with Greensboro Grasshoppers 1-5

If Tavian Josenberger can find a way to keep hitting like this...what a weapon he could become. Lightning fast, a solid defender and recently has been showing that he's got some pop in his bat too. Two more long balls this week to bring his season (and career) total up to 6-- plus a perfect 3 for 3 on stolen base attempts, raising his success rate in 2024 to 89%.

Forget the Mendoza Line, Carter Young was barely hitting over .150 for nearly half of this season. He's turned it on though over the last few weeks, a trend that carried over into July as the 17th rounder collected a hit in every appearance versus Greensboro, going 6-19 overall on the series.

Shout out to Adam Retzbach for a dignity-saving, go-ahead grand slam to salvage the IronBirds sole win in the final game of this series. The dramatic moment capped off an insane 8-run ninth inning where Aberdeen clawed back from a 9-3 hole to pull out an unlikely 11-10 victory. It was one of just two hits on week for the backup catcher-- both home runs.

44 runs total allowed by Aberdeen pitchers this week, good for 7.3 per game. That's a prime recipe for going 1-5.

Kyle Virbitsky was objectively awful for the first two months of the season, entering June with an ERA just below 7 and opposing batters slashing .444 off of him. Since a move back down to High-A, the righty has surrendered just 11 hits and 3 earned runs across 15 innings, looking like the promising arm we saw in 2023. His next move up must produce better results, or he won't be long for this system.

Delmarva Shorebirds
Lost series with Fredericksburg FredNats 0-6

It was pretty apparent from the jump that this wasn't going to be the Shorebirds' series to win, accumulating just two total hits in the first two games. They've struggled with consistency all season offensively, but this was a particularly bad showing.

Another prospect update, another blip about Aron Estrada. He went 8-22 with a home run and 3 RBI this week against the FredNats, only raising more questions about when we'll get to see him in an IronBirds uniform.

Wishing a quick recovery for Thomas Sosa, who exited Tuesday night's game early with a shoulder injury. Outside of Estrada, the O's No. 22 prospect has been one of the few regular contributors for this Delmarva lineup.

Trey Gibson was the team's top starter of the week, although that's admittedly a low bar. The 22-year-old totaled 7.2 IP across two starts, striking out 12 and giving up 4 earned runs-- all on Monday. The undrafted free agent has had a solid '24, currently rocking a 3.40 ERA across 16 appearances.

Blake Money stayed locked in on the bump Tuesday, increasing his scoreless inning streak to 9. He's allowed just 2 hits and no walks during that span while striking out 11. The former LSU Tiger has become a really reliable arm down on the shore-- in the rotation and out of the pen.