Results tagged ‘ catchers ’

Top 40 Countdown: Potential Keys

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By: Derek LeComte

The days are getting longer, the temperature is getting (somewhat) warmer and you know baseball season is close – but not close enough! As winter transitions to spring and our April 6th home opener draws closer, we’re going to do our best to give you your baseball fix.

Leading up to our April 6th start, everyday at 11:30 AM, we’re going to countdown the 40 players we feel have a chance to play for Frederick this season. Super-stud top-prospect Dylan Bundy seems destined for Frederick, but will Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop be back in town this year? How about other top-ten prospects Parker Bridwell, Jason Esposito and Nicky Delmonico? Do they have what it takes to make the jump up to Frederick?

The Keys had the best team ERA of any full-season minor league team, posting a 3.22 ERA as they were the key (pun intended) ingredient in helping the Keys take home the 2011 Mills Cup. But, how many of those players will be back in 2012? Will there be a severe drop-off in pitching talent? Or, assuming Bundy comes along, will the pitching prospects be even better?

To start our countdown off, we’re going to take a look at those pitchers first and try and analyze who will likely appear at Harry Grove Stadium. From there we’ll look at the catchers, corner infielders, middle infielders and then outfielders we think will be a part of the 2012 Keys.

2. Trent Mummey, OF (4th Round Pick in 2010 Draft)

Injuries have slowed down Mummey's progress, but the O's and their fans are hopeful he's 100% for the duration of 2012

We’d love to see what Mummey can do without the injuries. He only played in 29 games in 2011, but he’s another guy that has put up solid numbers every step of the way. To give you an indication of his work ethic, one of his injuries occurred when he dove head-first into the wall diving for a ball. He suffered a concussion on the play, but it’s an example of Mummey’s all-0ut effort on the field. Barring another injury, he’s certain to land in Frederick at some point this season.

Bio:

Ranked as the #27 prospect in the Orioles organization by Baseball America entering the 2012 season, Mummey had an injury-filled 2011, limiting him to just 29 games played between Delmarva and Frederick. Mummey’s first injury was a scary one as his head collided with the wall while diving for a ball at Harry Grove Stadium. Taken off the field in an ambulance, Mummey missed a month with a concussion, then in five games after his return, he tore his hamstring. Yet in Mummey’s limited action, he posted excellent numbers, hitting .292 / .373 / .478 in 2011 between both Frederick and Delmarva. In his first game with the Keys, Mummey went 4-for-6 and was a homerun shy of hitting for the cycle as he drove in five runs.

Mummey was a First-Team All-SEC selection for Auburn despite missing 28 games with an ankle sprain in 2010. Hitting .366 with an alarming .797 slugging percentage, Mummey finished with 15 doubles, 17 homeruns and 54 RBI as he guided Auburn to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005. Selected twice to the SEC All-Defensive team, Mummey committed just two errors in his collegiate career.

Drafted by the Orioles in the 4th round of the 2010 draft, the Pinson, AL native began his professional career with Aberdeen on June 26. In his 14th career game, Mummey had a night to remember. Facing the Auburn Doubledays, he went 3-for-4 with a double, triple, and finished the evening with a walk-off grand slam. Promoted to Delmarva on August 22, Mummey finished his 62-game rookie campaign with 16 doubles, five triples, three homers, and 29 RBI.  His 16 doubles were tops of any Aberdeen player in 2010.

3. Kipp Schutz, OF (19th Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

Schutz has put up big numbers along every step of the organizational ladder, but must be more consistent in Frederick to move up

Until getting to Frederick, Schutz has had a ton of success everywhere he’s gone. He put up great numbers with Aberdeen and then Delmarva, but really hit a road block when he got to Frederick. He went from a .381 / .429 / .568 line in 38 games with Delmarva to a .212 / .266 / .346 line with Frederick. All players, however, seem to need time so they can adjust to a higher level of play. For Schutz, it’s the same thing. So expect him back in Frederick to start the year where he’ll work on his strikeout numbers, which ballooned to a 22.3% rate with the Keys.

Bio:

Schutz rolled through Delmarva after hitting .381 / .429 / .568 in 38 games, and earned a promotion to Frederick in late May. Schutz was unable to find the same level of success, however, as his numbers dropped to .212 / .266 / .346 and had a strikeout rate of 22.3% with the Keys.

Schutz had an excellent year in 2010 with Aberdeen, finishing ninth in the New York-Penn League with his team-leading .313 batting average and his 83 hits were fourth-most in the league. Schutz saw more success at pitcher-friendly Ripken Stadium, hitting .360 at home as opposed to .262 on the road.

Drafted by the Orioles in the 26th round in 2006, Schutz attended Indiana University instead, but was drafted by the Orioles again, this time in the 19th round in 2009. Schutz missed his freshman year due to a shoulder injury, but the next year hit .317 with six home runs—tops among Big 10 freshmen. A First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2009, he finished third in the conference with a .392 average. In 2008-09, Schutz walked-on to the IU basketball team, appearing in six games and scoring six points.

4. Steve Bumbry, OF (12th Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

To start the year, expect Bumbry to be back in the outfield of Harry Grove Stadium

Bumbry led the Keys in almost every offensive category, and we’re pretty confident he’ll start the year in Frederick for 2012. While he has a superb 14.8% walk rate, he strikes out way, way too much. With a 27.4% strikeout rate, he’s entering Mark Reynolds territory and that’s never a good thing. Already with a high on-base percentage (.364), his numbers could really take off if he just cuts down his strikeout rate to below 20%. Yet other than his strikeout numbers, Bumbry will serve as a great asset to the Keys to start the year.

5. Johnny Ruettiger, OF (8th Round Pick in 2011 Draft)

Johnny, the nephew to Rudy Ruettiger, can make it big on the diamond

Is the last name familiar? If you’ve seen one of the best sports movies ever, then it should be. The nephew to Dan ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger, who inspired the movie Rudy, Johnny, unlike his uncle, has a lot of natural ability. He crushed the ball at Arizona State, hitting .341 / .446 / .455 and has even spent time in big league camp this spring. He’s been praised for his speed and while he hasn’t had a lot of professional at-bats, with his talent level, we’re certain Ruettiger will land with the Keys at some point this season.

6. Glynn Davis, OF (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2010)

Davis was a steal for the Orioles organization

The story behind Davis is great. No scouts really knew about Davis or his ability except the Orioles. After he torched the junior college ranks and in the summer bat leagues, the Orioles took notice of him in part because he was playing for Catonsville, which is right in the Orioles’ backyard. What they saw was a player with top-ten round talent – and they stated as much publicly. They signed him as an undrafted free agent, and Davis made good on the O’s bold claim. In his first pro year, he hit .284 / .351 / .362 and Baseball America lists him as the O’s 19th-best prospect and the organization’s fastest baserunner. These are the types of hidden gems the O’s would love to find more of, and it would be an incredible boost if he pans out to be a major league regular.

Bio:

Davis is considered a hidden gem inside the Baltimore Orioles organization. Ranked as the 19th-best prospect in the O’s system by Baseball America, Davis wasn’t even drafted. Signed out of Catonsville Community College after putting up stellar numbers in the junior college ranks, Davis, who was draft eligible, wasn’t taken by anyone despite a big year at Catonsville. Yet after  hitting over .400 in the All-American Amateur Baseball Association, a wooden bat summer league featuring college players, the Orioles decided to sign the promising 18-year old. Before shining over the summer in the AAABA, Davis hit .430 with ten homeruns and 35 stolen bases with Catonsville as he was a 3rd Rank Region XX All-American Nominee and the Catonsville Community College Male Athlete of the Year.

After signing, Davis was considered to have top ten round talent by Orioles scouts and he proved them right after an incredible first year. Blowing through the GCL after hitting .435, Davis continued his great play in Aberdeen, hitting .271 with a .337 on-base percentage. His 23 stolen bases were also a team high and is ranked by Baseball America as the organization’s fastest baserunner. Defensively, Davis was responsible for four double plays from the outfield.

MIDDLE INFIELDERS:

7. Mychal Givens, SS (2nd Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

The Orioles are hoping Givens can resemble the top prospect he was projected to be

Showing a lot of promise in 2010, Givens had a very disappointing 2011. Hitting just .243 / .318 / .290 in what was his first full professional season, there’s already a lot of worry and fear among Orioles fans that Givens – who was taken very high in the draft – won’t pan out. Now, he showed a lot in an injury-filled 2010, hitting .286 / .402 / .452 in 23 games, so there’s hope that he regains form and develops into a solid player. If he does bounce back, there’s no doubt he’ll get a look at Frederick in the second half of the year.

8. Manny Machado, SS (1st Round Pick and 3rd Overall in 2010 Draft)

Machado projects to be a future MLB all-star, but will he ever be back in a Keys uniform?

Rated the 11th-best prospect in baseball, Machado projects to be an all-star MLB shortstop. Keys fans were able to see this future star help the Keys win the Mills Cup as he hit .344 / .447 / .563 with nine RBIs in nine playoff games. The question, though, is will we get to see him in 2012? That all depends if the Orioles feel he’s ready for Double-A ball. Keep in mind he put up rather pedestrian numbers during the regular season, holding a line of .245 / .308 / .384 with Frederick, and he battled a knee injury that kept him out a month. So there is a great chance he starts out back in Frederick for this season. He’ll be battling fellow super prospect Jonathan Schoop for that shortstop position in Bowie, so even if Machado gets the call to Double-A, Keys fans will still be treated to seeing Schoop.

9. Michael Rooney, SS/2B (30th Round Pick in 2010 Draft)

An outstanding defensive player, Rooney will likely be back with Frederick to improve his offense.

With the announcement of Machado and Schoop both playing shortstop, this is one player that will be greatly affected. Rooney will now get much more of a look at second base, where he excels defensively. The CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2010, his defensive skills translated nicely over to the professional ranks where he put up a .979 fielding percentage with Frederick last year. He needs to show more offensively, as he holds a career .230 / .324 / .282 slash line. But everywhere Rooney has been – from Short-Season A ball to college – his on-base percentage is generally 100 points higher than his batting average. If he can generate more offense and power with the bat, he will then start to hold a lot more value. Expect Rooney back in Frederick for 2012 competing at second base.

10. Jonathan Schoop, SS/2B (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2008)

Is top prospect Schoop coming back to Frederick?

This is one of the brightest prospects in the game. Recognized by Baseball America as the 82nd-best prospect in all of baseball, Schoop has the chance to become a future star. After torching the Low-A level with a .316 / .376 / .514 line at just 19 years old, he was bumped up to Frederick and put up a respectable .271 / .329 / .375 slash line at the Advanced-A level. At a young age, he’s proven he can hit and hit for power, but his work with the glove is also spectacular. Despite never playing second base in his career, he put up a .975 fielding percentage to go along with a 4.34 range factor per game. As a double play combo with fellow top prospect Manny Machado, they were superb. However, new general manager Dan Duquette has recently stated Schoop will be placed back at shortstop where he has a career 4.77 RF/G. That breaks up the pairing of Machado and Schoop and also means that Frederick will see either Schoop or Machado – not both. So, it’ll be either Schoop or Machado in Bowie and then the other in Frederick.

11. Garabez Rosa, SS (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2006)

Getting back to Frederick would be a great sign for Rosa and the Orioles

Rosa at one point was a highly-touted prospect out of the Dominican Republic, but he has regressed. His lack of plate discipline (1.6% walk rate with Frederick in 2011) prevents him from getting on base and being an impact player offensively. Defensively, his glove has also regressed, accumulating a .934 fielding percentage in 2011. However, he had a respectable 4.36 RF/G last year, so it shows he is athletic and can cover plenty of ground defensively. The Orioles organization is hoping Rosa can bounce back in a strong way and show why he was signed as a 16-year old in the Dominican Republic. Getting back to Frederick in 2012 would mean Rosa is on the right track and starting to develop his potential.

12. Bobby Stevens, UTILITY (16th Round Pick in 2008 Draft)

There's a chance Stevens could be back in Frederick for 2012.

Stevens has spent a lot of time in Frederick in his career and we could see him back again for 2012. Being a super utility player, he’s able to play a whole host of positions, which adds a lot to his value. His ability to get on-base also helps his cause. For all four years in his minor league career, he’s generally had an OBP 100 points higher than his batting average, hovering right around the .350 range. He may lack power (career .356 slugging percentage), but because he’s able to play anywhere on the field and keep that OBP around .350, he’ll stick around.

CORNER INFIELDERS:

13. Tyler Kelly, 3B/OF (13th Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

Kelly is the prototypical Moneyball player

Kelly is an on-base machine. He’s considered by Baseball America as having the best strike zone discipline in the entire Orioles organization, and last year acquired the rare feat of having more walks than strikeouts. His 12.5% walk percentage in 2011 was Moneyball-esque as was his low 11.8% strikeout rate. Seeing as new Orioles Dan Duquette highly values players like Kelly, he might move through the organizational ladder a lot quicker and we’re confident he’ll get a look in Frederick this year. His power numbers for a third basemen are low, having just a .055 ISO last year, but his career .360 OBP — which incredibly is 94 points higher than his career average — will keep him around.

14. Jason Esposito, 3B (2nd Round Pick in 2011 Draft)

Esposito will be one of the bigger prospects to come through Frederick this year.

This very well could be one of the best hitting prospects to come through Frederick in 2012. Despite just getting drafted out of Vanderbilt, Esposito has enough talent to start the year in Advanced-A. He shattered the baseball at Vanderbilt, putting up a line of .330 / .405 / .514 in his three-year career, with his best year coming as a sophomore when he posted an incredible .599 slugging percentage. He was taken in the second round of the draft for a reason, and with him being a plus defender at the hot corner, this is a very valuable asset to the Orioles organization.

15. Tyler Kolodny, 1B/DH (16th Round Pick in 2007 Draft)

With an injury sustained last year, expect a repeat year in Frederick for Kolodny.

An injury last year will all but likely put the 24-year old Kolodny back in Frederick. After starting 2011 with the Keys, he put up decent numbers, which included a .402 on-base percentage. Then an injury caused his numbers to plummet and he was eventually put on the DL. Kolodny has shown decent power numbers in the past, getting a .552 slugging percentage and .292 ISO in Delmarva. His fielding has held him back a bit and relegated him more as a DH, but when healthy, he can be an asset with the bat.

16. Tyler Townsend, 1B (3rd Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

Injuries have kept this highly rated prospect from advancing past Frederick.

In a perfect world, Townsend at this point would be competing for a spot at AAA Norfolk. Yet, the world is never perfect. Townsend, who has put up monster numbers throughout his pro career, has been bogged down by injuries. In 67 games with Frederick last year, he hit .317 / .358 / .583 with a spectacular .412 wOBA and .266 ISO. However, a hamstring injury put him on the DL twice in 2011 and has stunted his growth as a player. He’s had injuries in 2010 and 2009, making the injury bug a frustrating one for a player with this much talent. He could very well start the year in Bowie and never be in Frederick again, but if he’s not fully recovered from his hamstring, he may very well be back in Frederick to start.

17. Aaron Baker, 1B (Traded from Pirates in exchange for Derrek Lee)

Acquired from Pittsburgh in exchange for Derrek Lee, Baker adds instant power to the Orioles organization.

Traded for at the deadline in exchange for big league veteran Derrek Lee, Baker added a much-needed power bat to the Orioles’ organization. His first stop after being traded was in Frederick and he just killed it. In 12 games, he had a slash line of .386 / .472 / .591. That gave him an immediate promotion up to Bowie, but his production went to a screeching halt thereafter. Yet to start the year back at Double-A, he’ll have to compete with a healthy Tyler Townsend, and as Keys fans know, he’s quite the first basemen himself. We wouldn’t be surprised if Baker is starting the year in Frederick, which would give the Keys a solid bat in the middle of the lineup.

18. Michael Flacco, 1B (31st Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

Expect Flacco back in Frederick for 2012

Here’s a name that’s familiar to anyone who lives in or near Maryland. Michael, the younger brother to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, will likely see time with the Keys again this year, although he may have to start in Delmarva. There’s a logjam at first base, and that may put Flacco down in Delmarva for the third straight year. In 50 games with Frederick, he had an ISO of .173 and slugging percentage of .473, which are behind his competition of Aaron Baker (.188 ISO, .481 slugging) and Tyler Townsend (.266 ISO, .583 slugging). Yet it’s very possible Baker and Townsend will be out of Frederick by May – or even earlier – leaving room for Flacco to showcase his skills in Frederick this year.

CATCHERS:

19. Joe Oliveira, C (15th Round Pick in 2010 Draft)

In terms of offensive numbers, Oliveira's production is greater than a lot of other prospects.

When trying to look at the organizational depth chart for the Orioles, finding a catcher who fits at Frederick is tough.  Ohlman and Dalles have high draft pedigrees, making them likely candidates to get time behind home plate, but they’ve lacked any offensive production. That’s where Oliveira comes into play. Although he has just a career 27% caught stealing percentage and .982 fielding percentage, his offensive numbers were better than a lot of other catching prospects. In nine games with Frederick last year, he hit .308 / .357 / .538 and with Delmarva, he hit .325 / .389 / .438 before he ended the year on a 8-for-55 slump. With Ward all but gone to at least Double-A Bowie, Oliveira will get more of a chance with Frederick this year. He can hit just fine, but if his defense improves, we could see a lot of Oliveira this year.

20. Justin Dalles, C (6th Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

Dalles, a solid defensive catcher, could be the Keys' primary catcher to start the year.

Drafted four consecutive times from 2006 – 2009, there’s always been a lot of promise around Dalles. From high school to junior college to the University of South Carolina, the catching prospect put up big offensive numbers. So far, that hasn’t translated to the professional level as he’s hit .215 / .275 / .303, but has shown something defensively last year at Frederick, throwing out 46% of runners trying to steal, which is comparable to Brian Ward’s incredible 53% caught stealing percentage last year. Dalles will likely start out at Frederick for the year, but whether he becomes the Keys’ primary catcher is entirely too unpredictable.

21. Michael Ohlman, C (11th Round Pick in 2009 Draft)

A vicious car wreck hopefully won't hinder Ohlman's future.

Just a week ago, Ohlman suffered a vicious car wreck. Flipping his truck three times, it landed on its roof after a reckless driver crashed into him leaving the Orioles’ minor league spring training complex. Ohlman only injured his shoulder in the crash, and as fortunate as he was, that’s still a big blow to a big Orioles’ investment. Ohlman was given just under one million dollars as a signing bonus – a record amount for a player taken after the tenth round. Yet so far, the results have been a mixed bag as he’s hit just .217 / .312 / .301. He’s showed a bit defensively, but the Orioles are hoping he starts to emerge in 2012 as goes up to Advanced-A. Unfortunately, that brutal car wreck complicates matters as to where he’ll end up.

PITCHERS:

22. Dylan Bundy, RHP (1st Round Pick and 4th Overall in 2011 Draft)

Bundy, the fourth overall pick in the draft, has 'star' written all over him.

This is the next great pitcher in MLB. When scouts say (anonymously) that Bundy, who is fresh out of high school, might be the best pitcher in the Orioles big league camp, that’s saying a lot. He has previously hit triple digits on the radar gun and has five pitches – yeah five – in his arsenal to work with. Bundy’s high school numbers are just silly. A 0.20 ERA with 158 strikeouts and five walks through 71 innings in his senior year is laughable. If you’re doing the math, that’s a K-rate of 20.0 per nine innings and walk rate of 0.63 per nine. Players out of high school don’t normally start in Frederick, but there’s a great chance this stud prospect is your Frederick Keys opening day starter on April 6th at Harry Grove Stadium. If so, bring your camera and get several autographs because he is that special.

23. Clay Schrader, RHP (10th Round Pick in 2010 Draft)

If Schrader gets his command issues settled, he's staring at an extremely quick promotion out of Frederick.

If Schrader is back in Frederick for 2012, it probably won’t be for long. Aside from control issues, Schrader has put up spectacular numbers. For his two-year pro career in the minors, Schrader has a 1.71 ERA and an astounding 4.2 H/9 and 13.8 SO/9. He’s ranked as the Orioles’ 12th-best prospect and scouts love his fastball and curve, which are both seen as plus pitches. Also, despite being more of a fly ball pitcher (44.7 GB%), he’s only given up three homeruns in his career, demonstrating how tough it is to make solid contact on his pitches. He does have command issues (career 5.9 BB/9), which will likely necessitate a return back to Frederick. But once he gets that under control, Schrader will really take off.

24. Nick Haughian, LHP (9th Round Pick in 2008 Draft)

With the added pitching depth at the top of the Orioles' organization, there may be a chance Haughian is back with the Keys to start 2012.

We’ve already mentioned how players like Kenny Moreland, Scott Copeland and Jacob Pettit, who are older and have proven themselves at the Advanced-A level, will still have to repeat at Frederick for 2012. Well, we think the same will happen to Haughian. Despite being 25 years old and putting up solid numbers for the Keys last year (3.67 ERA, 1.289 WHIP), the addition of so many pitchers at the top of the organizational ladder will make it a lot tougher for Haughian to start out in Double-A Bowie. However, it would be great for Keys fans if they’re able to have a proven 25-year old starter on the mound.

25. Kyle Simon, RHP (4th Round Pick in 2011 Draft)

A huge frame and spectacular results in his first pro year, Simon has become a valued prospect with the Orioles.

Simon is a very promising prospect inside the O’s organization. After overpowering batters while at the University of Arizona, Simon stepped right in to the pro ranks and found instant success, posting a 2.16 ERA and 0.840 WHIP in 2011. Scouts love his 6-foot-5 frame and Baseball America has Simon listed as the 18th-best prospect in the O’s organization. Simon may not start out in Frederick, but if he continues his excellent play, it won’t be long at all until he reaches the Advanced-A level.

26. Jesse Beal, RHP (14th Round Pick in 2008 Draft)

Despite missing all of 2011 with an injury, we wouldn't be surprised to see Beal get back on track with his development.

At just 19 years old, Beal was one of Delmarva’s best pitchers in 2010, putting up numbers equal to top prospects Bobby Bundy and Ryan Berry. Named a SAL all-star after putting together a 3.86 ERA and tying for the team lead in wins, Beal put himself on the map in a big way. Then, all the hype ended after he injured his shoulder. Forced to miss the entire 2011 season, Beal will have to prove himself once again. Yet at 21 years old, he’s still young and if he can bounce back strong, he’ll still be considered a great prospect. With that in mind, we wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Beal jump up to Frederick in 2012.

27. Tim Berry, LHP (50th Round Draft Pick in 2009 Draft)

Being drafted in the 50th round, Berry is turning into a steal for the Orioles, showing top-ten round talent.

It’s rare finding a 50th round draft pick being considered an organization’s better prospect. Yet for Berry, ranked by Baseball America as the O’s 20th-best prospect, that’s exactly the case. To be fair, he’s not really a typical 50th-round pick. After torching batters in the San Diego area as a junior in high school, he suffered an injury his senior year, limiting him to just a few games. Most teams stayed away from Berry, who needed Tommy John surgery after his senior year, but the Orioles decided to take him in the last round of the draft. The risk has paid off so far. Showing top-ten round talent, he’s impressed scouts so far. If he shines in Delmarva to start the year, he’ll likely move up to Frederick but he has to cut down drastically on his walk rate, which in his two pro seasons, stands at 4.9 BB/9.

28. Matt Hobgood, RHP (1st Round Draft Pick and 5th Overall Pick in 2009 Draft)

Is this the year Hobgood comes up to Frederick?

Is this the year Keys fans get to see Hobgood? Drafted fifth overall in the 2009 draft, the Orioles had high hopes for Hobgood, but so far, he hasn’t got past Low-A Delmarva. A career 4-15 record and 5.48 ERA, Hobgood especially struggled last year, posting an 8.76 ERA. It was discovered he was pitching with a slight tear in his rotator cuff during the season, so there’s hope that if Hobgood can get healthy, he can get his fastball velocity back to 95 mph, which is where it was during high school. If he can get back to full health and have things ‘click’ for him this season, you can bet he’ll be up to Frederick in 2012.

29. Kenny Moreland, RHP (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2008)

Despite proving his value at the Advanced-A level, we're predicting Moreland will start out with Frederick in 2012.

Moreland is in a tough spot. He’s excelled at the Advanced-A level, putting up a 3.41 ERA and 1.088 WHIP last year with Frederick, but like a lot of pitchers in the Orioles’ system this year, there’s nowhere to go. With the Orioles adding so many new pitchers to the organization this off-season, it puts a guy like Moreland in a tough spot. He’s talented and he’ll be 26 years old by opening day, which is pretty old for Advanced-A, but he’s being bogged down by all the new pitchers at the top of the organizational ladder. We’re predicting Moreland to repeat in Frederick, which is good for Keys fans considering his age and career 1.086 WHIP and 1.2 BB/9, but not ideal for Moreland.

30. David Walters, RHP (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2009)

Walters nearly broke Delmarva's single-season save record in 2011 and he'll get his chance to prove his worth this year in Frederick.

Once again, here’s another very successful non-drafted free agent in the Orioles’ system. Despite not holding any high-round draft pedigree, he earned the closer’s role in Delmarva and he shined brilliantly in the position. Earning 30 saves in 2011, he nearly broke Delmarva’s save record of 33. Walters is a groundball machine, holding an astonishing 73.8% groundball percentage last year, and better yet, he doesn’t walk batters, holding a career 2.1 BB/9. It’s pretty certain Walters will get a shot with Frederick in 2012, but with last year’s closer Sean Gleason all but assured of starting with Bowie or Norfolk, it could very well be Walters on the mound closing out games for the Keys.

31. Jason Gurka, LHP (15th Round Draft Pick in 2008 Draft)

Despite lacking a lot of the things scouts love, Gurka is a highly effective pitcher who can move up in the organization so long as he produces.

Gurka is a player who has completely gone off a lot of people’s radar screens. Despite putting up a 1.088 WHIP and incredible 6.09 SO/BB ratio last year between Delmarva and Frederick, he doesn’t get a lot of mention from scouts or analysts. Of course, it doesn’t help that an injury in 2009 forced him to miss the entire year, or that he’s a bit short at 5-11 and his fastball doesn’t blow anyone anyway. Yet, when healthy, Gurka is extremely effective.  For his career, he holds a 1.151 WHIP and very impressive 3.93 SO/BB walk ratio. As good as he was in Frederick, it’s very unlikely he’ll start out in Bowie, so expect to see Gurka back in a Keys uniform to start out 2012. And although he doesn’t have the analysts drooling over his height or fastball velocity, he can force his way up the organizational ladder as long as he produces.

32. Ashur Tolliver, LHP (5th Round Draft Pick in 2009 Draft)

A high draft pick, Tolliver came into his own last year, but expect him back in Frederick for 2012.

Being taken in the fifth round, there’s a lot invested into Tolliver. So after the reliever struggled as a 22-year old in short-season ball, there was room for concern. Yet the power lefty has since played a lot more like a fifth round pick, cutting down on his walks and improving his strikeout numbers. From 2010 to 2011, his SO/BB ratio went from 1.81 to 3.06, and that improvement earned him a promotion to Frederick in mid-August. Yet he’s almost certain to start out in Frederick for 2012 until he can fully prove himself at the Advanced-A level, which might not take long considering his potential and mid-90s fastball.

33. Scott Copeland, RHP (21st Round Draft Pick in 2010 Draft)

Although Copeland dominated in Frederick in his short time here in 2011, he's almost certain to repeat with the Keys in 2012.

After getting promoted to Frederick in August, Copeland was in cruise control. In six starts, Copeland had a 2.14 ERA and 1.188 WHIP and carried that over to the playoffs, going 2-0 with a 2.24 ERA as he was a big part of the Keys’ championship run. Yet as good as he was in Frederick, it’s unlikely he’ll start the year in Bowie. Six starts is too small of a sample size, so expect to see him in a Keys uniform to start the year where he’ll have to prove himself again. He has an insane 73.0% career groundball rate, but being a groundball pitcher and not a strikeout artist, you’d like to see his 4.0 BB/9 get a little lower. If he can do that, it would elevate his game to another level, making it very difficult to keep in Frederick much longer.

34. Matt Bywater, LHP (7th Round Draft Pick in 2010 Draft)

Bywater made a name for himself in college after dominating at Pepperdine University. Now, it's only a matter of time before this talented prospect reaches Frederick.

Considered an advanced college pitcher, Bywater seems destined to land in Frederick in 2012. He had great numbers while pitching for Pepperdine University, finishing with a 2.40 ERA his last year in Malibu as he led the nation with four complete game shutouts. 2011 was his first year in pro baseball and while he struggled with his command (6.1 BB/9), his 10.1 SO/9 rate demonstrates he has the ability to also strikeout plenty of batters. Bywater may repeat at Delmarva to start the year, but this prospect has too much talent to not eventually get his chance in Frederick for 2012.

35. Jacob Pettit, LHP (42nd Round Draft Pick in 2010)

Drafted in the 42nd round, a lot of teams and their scouts didn't think much of Pettit. Yet after posting a 7-0 record and 1.62 ERA in Frederick, he's proved them all wrong so far.

Here’s another hidden gem inside the Orioles’ organization. Drafted in the 42nd round, Pettit didn’t even play Division I baseball, but he’s torched the minor leagues so far. Pitching the second half of the year in Frederick, Pettit went 7-0 with a 1.62 ERA. We think Pettit will have to repeat at Frederick to start the year, but if he’s even close to how he was last year, he’ll get bumped up to Bowie in no time. Yet we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Pettit might be due for some sort of regression. His BABIP in Frederick was .247 with an %88.5  LOB rate, helping to bring about a 3.69 FIP – considerably higher than his 1.62 ERA.

36. Mike Wright, RHP (3rd Round Draft Pick in 2011)

Considered the 11th-best prospect in the O's system, expect Wright to make the jump to Frederick in 2012

Considered the 11th-best prospect inside the Orioles organization by Baseball America, there’s a great chance Wright will step up to Frederick in the latter portion of 2012. Wright had mixed results last year in what was his first taste of pro baseball, compiling a 5.72 ERA, but he was drafted in the third round for a reason. He dominated in his final year at East Carolina University and he has the tools to succeed. As long as he progresses, this highly regarded O’s prospect will land in Frederick some time this year.

37. Chris Petrini, LHP (Signed as non-drafted free agent in 2010)

A career 2.19 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in two pro seasons, Petrini has surpassed all expectations so far.

No matter where Petrini goes this season, his success in the pro ranks has been pretty remarkable. Going just 11-9 with a 5.29 ERA at Cal-Berkeley, Petrini didn’t impress anyone. He had Tommy John surgery and an ankle injury while in college, greatly limiting his ability. The Orioles signed him as non-drafted free agent and after becoming fully healed and making a commitment to working out – Voila! Petrini instantly transformed into a great reliever. Yet despite his 2.08 ERA and 10.0 SO/9 last year at Frederick, the added pitching depth in the O’s organization means the 25-year old will likely start out 2012 with the Keys.

38. Justin Moore, RHP (26th Round Draft Pick in 2007)

Justin Moore

With the Orioles adding to their organizational pitching depth, players like Justin Moore will likely have to repeat the year at Frederick.

With the Orioles signing so many new pitchers this off-season, Moore becomes a likely candidate to repeat the year at Frederick. Although he put up a decent 3.40 ERA and 6.6 H/9 as a reliever with the Keys, the added depth in the organization at the AAA level will make it tougher for a guy like Moore to move up. Also, factor in his high 4.37 BB/9, and it makes even more sense to have Moore repeat in Frederick for 2012. Yet don’t get us wrong, despite the control issues he had at the Advanced-A level, Moore has a solid track record. Through five professional seasons, the 22-year old has a career 2.93 ERA and 59.5 GB% to match a staggeringly-low 0.2 HR/9. He will eventually get his shot to move up to Bowie.

39. Tyler Wilson, RHP (10th Round Draft Pick in 2011)

Tyler Wilson

It's a small sample size, but in eight games as a pro, Wilson has blown people away. If he continues to progress, a stop in Frederick seems imminent.

After graduating from UVA last spring, Wilson stepped into the professional ranks in July and all he did was dominate. A tenth round pick, Wilson suited up for the GCL Orioles and Aberdeen Ironbirds and put together a 1.91 ERA and .727 WHIP through eight starts. He’ll likely start out at Delmarva, but unless he regresses, Wilson will likely make it up to Frederick in 2012. Furthermore, Wilson is a first-class player off the field, winning the prestigious Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, given to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I baseball.

40. Dan Klein, RHP (3rd Round Draft Pick in 2010)

Dan Klein

Despite dominating in Double-A Bowie, Klein will likely have to start the year in 2012 with Frederick due to a shoulder injury

If Klein didn’t have any injury concerns, then he doesn’t touch this list. Yet the injury bug seems to always pop up and bite Klein in the you-know-what. A torn labrum in his right shoulder derailed what was a spectacular 2011 season. Injuries plagued him when he pitched for UCLA, and for Orioles fans, they’re hoping he shakes the injury bug because he has serious potential to be a good MLBer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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