All-Star Break Blog: Rodriguez and Chavez and more O’s draft review
Tonight in San Jose, Keys Zane Chavez and Eduardo Rodriguez will don the Carolina League All-Stars uniform as they take on the California League All-Stars. The oldest and youngest members of the Keys have both posted impressive first halves and were voted to the game by Carolina managers, front offices and members of the media.
*A closer look at the Eduardo Rodriguez:
- Tied for second in the Carolina League in wins (6), is third in innings pitched (78.1) and seventh in ERA (2.99). Has induced 10 groundball double plays this season.
- Rated by Baseball America as the fifth-best prospect in Orioles organization and third-best pitching prospect behind 2012 Keys Dylan Bundy & Kevin Gausman.
- Potentially could be the first Venezuelan player signed, developed and promoted to the majors by Baltimore. At age 20, Rodriguez is the youngest member of the Keys.
- Has pitched at least six innings in 10 of his 13 starts.
- Went 5-0 with a 2.23 ERA in May, holding batters to a .208 batting average. He was named Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month.
- He carried a no-hit bid into the seventh inning on May 1 against Myrtle Beach, a game he won after allowing just three hits. Ashley Marshall talked to him after the game. An excerpt:
“This was the best outing of my career,” Rodriguez said. “I felt good today, awesome. I was throwing inside with my fastball and then on the outside corner, and I was working ahead.”
- Watch Rodriguez fan Myrtle Beach’s Rougned Odor here.
*A closer look at Zane Chavez:
- In his first season of affiliated baseball, Chavez, 26, leads all Carolina League catchers in homers (4), RBIs (27), and is second in batting average (.268).
- He took over as the everyday catcher for the Keys in mid-April, when Michael Ohlman went to the disabled list. In May, he hit .305 in 24 games, driving in 18 runs, walking 20 times and posting an OPS of .889.
- A slow start to June (1-for-21) got worse when he strained his oblique last week and was placed on the DL. As a result, Chavez won’t play in the all-star game tonight, but he will be in the dugout in uniform.
- That one hit was a big one, though, a walk-off homer on June 4 to beat Lynchburg in the 10th inning.
- Greg Swatek caught up with San Diego-native Chavez on his baseball journey in today’s Frederick News-Post. An excerpt:
On Feb. 1, Chavez finally received what, it seemed, he had been working his entire life for. The Orioles purchased his contract and invited him to spring training in Sarasota, Fla. At last, he was going to get the chance to play for an affiliated team.
“If I was younger, I would have been bouncing off the walls. I got my shot!,” he said. “But I have been playing ball for so long and I’m a little bit older now. So, getting the call was really just the next step in my career.”
The first person Chavez called to share the news was his mother.
“She was ecstatic,” he said. “She took it way better than me. She was at work. I was like, ‘Mom, your
son is an Oriole now.’ She cried. She expressed more emotion than I did.”
- Listen to a May 18 interview with Chavez below:
*Orioles draft overview, part two
The O’s picked 41 players in this year’s first-year player draft, 14 high schoolers and 27 college players, a lot of whom will don the Keys jersey in the next several seasons. Jeff Kurkjian looks at Baltimore’s second 10 picks:
- Austin Wynns, C (Rd. 10, 309th Overall)- He has been known as a blocking machine behind the plate and keeps the runners in check with his arm. He is a below average hitter but solidly built at 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds.
- Steven Brault, LHP (Rd. 11, 339th Overall)- Ranked 419th in Baseball America’s Top 500, Brault went 8-3, 2.63 with 103 strikeouts and 18 walks in just 79 innings while playing at Division II, Regis in Colorado. His fastball sits around 88-90 MPH topping around 92. He also has a nice slider but needs to work on his change-up. Little known fact, Brault is also a vocal performance major so he can not only start a professional baseball game but he can sing the National Anthem before it.
- Jake Bray, RHP (Rd. 12, 369th Overall)- At Feather River JC, Bray was the first baseman and closer for the team but the scouts see him more as a pitcher. His fastball sits around 92-94 MPH, topping out around 96 MPH. He also has a good change-up and a decent slider. He has always been a bullpen boy but the Orioles system will most likely get him a starting position and see how he does. Bray was ranked 288th in Baseball America’s Top 500.
- Jimmy Yacabonis, RHP (Rd. 13, 399th Overall)- A junior from St. Joseph’s University, this 6-foot-3 relief pitcher originally from New Jersey broke the school record for saves with ten in one season. He posted a 1-2 record with a 2.02 ERA in 35.2 innings and 26 appearances.
- Mike Yastrzemski, OF (Rd. 14, 429th Overall)- Ranked 251st in Baseball America’s Top 500, the grandson of Hall of Famer, Carl Yastrzemski, Mike batted .402 in his senior year at Vanderbilt. Yastrzemski is one of the SEC’s top base runners and a very skilled an outfielder.
- Tyler Walsh, SS (Rd. 15, 459th Overall)- The shortstop from Mater Dei HS in Evansville, Indiana is the first middle infielder the Orioles selected. He has committed to Belmont University in Nashville in November. The 6-foot-5 infielder had played all positions on the diamond and is very versatile.
- Randolph Gassaway, 1B (Rd.16, 489th Overall)- The 6-foot-four first baseman just graduated from Riverwood High School in Atlanta, Georgia. He was chosen for the Rawlings All Americans and All Regions 2013 Southeast All Region 1st Team. He is a born power hitter and compliments it with his 6.65 time in the sixty.
- Caleb Kellogg, RHP (Rd. 17, 519th Overall)- This Kentucky native standing at six-feet tall, both pitched and played in the outfield in high school. He then attended University of Louisiana in Lafayette and served as the team’s closers for two years. Opposing batters hit only .202 against him his sophomore year. He pitched 35.2 innings, struck out 41 batters and posted a 2.52 ERA.
- Reed Reilly, RHP (Rd. 18, 549th Overall)- Ranked 191st in Baseball America’s Top 500, scouts have reported Reilly throwing as high as 95 MPH however he usually throws around 89-93 MPH. His secondary stuff is not that great according to scouts but his size and durability should allow him to learn and improve.
- Dylan Rheault, RHP (Rd. 19, 579th Overall)- The Central Michigan sophomore broke out after his redshirt freshman year finishing with a 2-2 record with 44 strikeouts. The 6-foot-9, 245-pound right-hander appeared in 15 games in 2013, starting in four, and was 1-4 with a 6.07 ERA in 40 innings of work.
*When the Keys start the second half of the season Friday night at The Grove against Myrtle Beach, Sgt. Slaughter will be here for our annual Fredneck Night. Get your tickets and get excited. Saturday is Scout Night and Sunday is pajama night.
But back to Sgt. Slaughter (I recommend turning the sound down):
*Shake your Keys.