I began a few weeks ago previewing the teams in the 2016 Sal with a look at the Asheville Tourists. The Augusta Greenjackets, Charleston Riverdogs, and Columbia Fireflies followed. Which brings me to the Delmarva Shorebirds as I continue around the league alphabetically.
The Shorebirds are a Baltimore Orioles farm team and when putting this preview together I scoured the Aberdeen Ironbirds and the GCL Orioles rosters. Then I talked to Orioles prospectors Dillon Atkinson Twitter @DAtkinsonOU of O’s Uncensored, and BB Essential and Carl from Orioles Hangout, on Twitter @OriolesHangout and both were very helpful in regards to how the O’s handle promotions in the low minors and roster construction in general.
Dillon Atkinson said:
“The majority of high school players that the Orioles take in the early to mid rounds of the draft have either had a brief stint in Low-A Aberdeen, or they just completely skipped it.”
“It’s a different story for the top college players Baltimore selects, however. Aside from the right-handers we know on the Orioles now — like Kevin Gausman, Tyler Wilson, and Mike Wright — the majority of the college players selected made at least a brief stint in Delmarva, if not a full season.”
Tony echoed Dillon’s thoughts saying:
“Obviously draft status and money will affect placement, especially the first full minor league season. Top draft picks (first few rounds) whether high school or College will most likely start their first full season in Delmarva (Low-A). Some top college prospects could start the year at Frederick but that’s rare. ”
The official rosters won’t be available until the beginning of April so this is speculation.
Notes from the Sally is a scouting site and I only do live in person scouting reports. I typically go to 1 or 2 games a week, once I see Delmarva (I think I get my 1st look May 10th) you can expect to see reports on most of these players
Stewart was selected 25th overall by the Orioles out of Florida St. A short and stocky left fielder Stewart is probably best known for batting stance as he hits with an extreme crouch he sprays line drives all over the yard but some scouts question how much power he’ll generate.
Mountcastle was selected 35th overall out of high school in Winter Springs Fl (Orlando area). Listed 6’3″ 185 Excellent bat speed, he could hit for average and power. Played SS in rookie ball likely long term home is either 3rd base or OF corner
McKenna was the O’s 4th rd selection out of high school in Dover, NH listed 5’9″ 175 lbs, McKenna is athletic center fielder and a plus runner and shows good bat speed. He only got into 10 games after the draft as he missed time with a pulled hammy but he was back in time for instructs.
Heinrich LF-RF. The O’s 5th round selection out of New Port Richey, Fl (Tampa area) listed 6’1″ 205 lbs. Heinrich is a strong young man who can send the ball a long way but he’s raw offensively. Defensively he projects well at either corner.
Fenter RHP Was the O’s 7th round draft pick from West Memphis Ar. listed 6’1″ 210. Baseball America said “Strong-bodied RHP Gray Fenter (7) got the largest signing bonus ($1 million) of any pitcher Baltimore drafted and has the highest upside, with a fastball that sits 90-94 mph and has reached 97.”
Around the Diamond
One or both of Alex Murphy and Jordan Heim could return to Delmarva as they both missed significant time in 2015. Both are worth keeping an eye on as up and coming backstops. And when you factor in Chance Sisco and Yermin Mercedes the Orioles have some good depth at the catchers position. Also in the mix for the 2016 Shorebirds are 2015 draft picks Chris Shaw and Stuart Levy, also undrafted free agent Allan Bencid
In addition to Mountcastle at shortstop we might also see Guillermo Salas return and Ricardo Andujar get some reps, he also got some reps at 3rd last year. Irving Ortega will most certainly start in Aberdeen but he might see some time in the 2nd half. If that happens they might slide Mountcastle to 3rd or promote him.
2nd base 14th round pick Drew Turbin and last years 15th rounder Alejandro Juvier both look interesting. Juvier also saw time at 3rd last year so that might be an option. Others in the mix are Yariel Vargas, Trevor Sprowl and Jack Graham.
Kervin Moesquit the Orioles 24th rd selection is the most logical choice for 3rd base. Others in the mix are Juvier, Andujar and Austin Pfeiffer. Branden Becker might be an option but he likely starts in Aberdeen.
Seamus Curran was the Orioles 8th round selection in the 2015 draft. The 1st Base job will likely be his if he’s deemed ready for the level. Others that will likely see time there are Steve Laurino and Carlos Diaz.
Centerfield will be interesting as in addition to Ryan McKenna there’s also 13th rounder Cedric Mullins, also in the mix is 9th rounder Jaylen Ferguson who’s likely ticketed for Aberdeen.
In LF we’ll likely see DJ Stewart and Jason Heinrich in RF. Others in the mix in the corners, Oswill Lartiguez could return, Randolph Gassaway could also be in the mix at 1st base, 16th rounder Mike Odenwaelder and Henrys Blanco.
In addition to Gray Fenter we might see 10th rounder Reid Love, and 12th rounder Robert Strader. Also in the mix: Travis Seabrooke, Jean Cosme, Zach Albin, Francisco Jimenez, Christian Avarado, Ofelky Peralta, Juan Valdez, Mike Costello and Jeong-Hyeon Yoon.
I enjoyed diving into the Orioles minors, while they’re probably not the most talented squad they’re not void of it either. The outfield will be among the best in the Sally and catcher and middle infield will be very good as well.
I’ll be back soon with a look at the Greensboro Grasshoppers (Marlins)