Orioles minor league weekly recap: Mayo, Etzel thrive; DSL prospects take June honors (2024)

Here on Camden Chat, in addition to our daily minor league coverage, we’ll be stepping back every Tuesday morning to look at the bigger picture across a whole week of results and how the team’s prospects are faring so far. Most of the focus will be on players from Camden Chat’s composite top O’s prospects list, with mentions of some standout efforts from players who could be ranked on a future list.

I was on vacation last week and there was no minor league weekly recap, so this week’s edition of the article contains comments on the last two weeks worth of game action for the prospects.

Triple-A Norfolk Tides

  • Last week: 2-4 vs/at Durham (Rays)
  • Coming week: at Memphis (7-5 second half, Cardinals)
  • Second half record: 4-7, eighth place (5.5 games back) of ten teams in International League East

Norfolk claimed another International League Player of the Week crown this past week, with recent minor league signing Garrett Cooper blasting four home runs in his first seven games since joining the organization. He is 33 years old and is not a prospect.

Things have been going well for the actual prospects too, doing nothing to quiet the chorus of people who want to see these guys fit onto the big league roster soon. Coby Mayo? He’s batted over .300 since we last spoke, with four home runs, plus an equal number of walks and strikeouts (9). That’s a two week OPS of 1.134, bringing him up to .993 for the season. Even after missing a month at Triple-A due to his fractured rib, he’s still hit 18 homers for the season.

Jackson Holliday is back in action after missing a couple of weeks due to elbow inflammation. The Orioles have limited him to only serve as DH for now. Triple-A pitchers just don’t want to throw strikes to him; he walked 15 times in these nine games, and even with that he managed to get eight hits, five of which went for extra bases.

These past two weeks were long enough to have pitching prospect Chayce McDermott in action three times. If the last impression of him before this article was his July 1 outing where he pitched seven innings with one run allowed and 12 strikeouts, that would be fun. His actual most recent July 6 outing saw him retire just one batter while walking three guys and giving up two hits. He’s got 131 strikeouts in 83.1 IP, but then there’s the 5.4 BB/9.

Others of note

  • IF/OF Connor Norby - The erstwhile Oriole’s two-week split isn’t as gaudy as Mayo’s or Holliday’s, but 13-44 with three homers, six walks, and two stolen bases is still plenty impressive.
  • IF/OF Billy Cook - 2-21 slump, plus he hurt his hamstring and is now on the injured list.
  • LHP Trey McGough - This 26-year-old lefty, who went to college at Mount St. Mary’s, keeps on rolling in the Norfolk bullpen, adding 11.1 IP over five outings the last couple of weeks. 2.57 ERA and 1.159 WHIP since being promoted to the Tides.

Norfolk season-to-date stats.

Double-A Bowie Baysox

  • Last week: 3-3 vs/at Richmond (Giants)
  • Coming week: at Altoona (5-7 second half, Pirates)
  • Second half record: 7-5, tied for second place (2 games back) of six teams in Eastern League Southwest

Are we looking at the start of the Matthew Etzel adjustment with Bowie? Ten hits in 35 AB, with nine walks on top of that. Two each of doubles, triples, and homers. He stole three bases too, although he was caught four times; Etzel is 8/13 since joining this level. After he dominated Aberdeen, it’s going to be interesting to see where he settles in over a longer time in the Eastern League.

Futures Game representative Samuel Basallo is still rolling, too. He’s smoked another couple of long balls over nine games, raising his season batting line to .277/.341/.460. Really exciting stuff for a guy who’s age 19 in Double-A, and who spent most of the first month of the season recovering from an injury.

If you’ve been regularly reading these articles, you know I don’t know what to make of 40-man pitcher Seth Johnson. Here’s a two-week stretch with more of the same for that: Johnson totaled eight innings over two starts, allowing just two runs. That’s a fine 2.25 ERA, and for the season he’s at 2.94 ERA over 15 starts. He’s averaged fewer than four innings per start and has a 5.9 BB/9. Not really on a starter track but not doing relief either. I got nothing.

Others of note

  • OFs John Rhodes, Jud Fabian, and Dylan Beavers - Each a similar-tasting flavor of bad; Fabian struck out 18 times in 10 games played.
  • RHP Kyle Brnovich - At 26, he’s old for this level, but he keeps on plugging along, striking out more than a batter per inning while not having quite the walk problem of most of these other guys (3.6 BB/9). 2 ER over 10 IP this week.

Bowie season-to-date stats.

High-A Aberdeen IronBirds

  • Last week: 1-5 vs/at Greensboro (Pirates)
  • Coming week: at Asheville (7-7 second half, Astros)
  • Second half record: 8-7, third place (4 games back) of six teams in South Atlantic League North

Last year’s first round pick Enrique Bradfield went 10-30 across these games, with four walks. That’s two good numbers to start building an OPS. Zero of the ten hits went for extra-bases, so he gets the same .333 for SLG as BA. Can he carve out an eventual big league role like that? That’s the question. Seven steals in seven attempts, pushing him up to 41/49 on the season. It’s not as good as hitting a double, because you’ll get thrown out sometimes, but it’s something.

Second round pick Mac Horvath is another guy whose success feels important because he was an early round pick. I’m going to give you the bad news first, which is that he struck out 11 times in 33 AB. The good news is that five of his eight hits went for extra bases, so really only his OBP was bad over these two weeks. .733 OPS for the season.

This was not a good two-week stretch for basically any Aberdeen pitcher who has previously been mentioned in this space. Lefty Luis De León? Nine runs allowed in 8.2 IP, with nine walks. Jackson Baumeister? Seven walks in 7.1 IP, so the 13 strikeouts only go so far. Recently-promoted Michael Forret had a 5.11 ERA over three starts, though at least he struck out 17 batters in 12.1 IP. Even reliever Yaqui Rivera got tagged for three runs in 5.1 IP while walking four guys.

Others of note

  • OF Douglas Hodo - Yet another OF drafted last year, Hodo was 9-28 across 11 games, picked up 12 walks, and stole eight bases. Hodo sits at an .809 OPS for the season and has stolen 28 out of 33 tries.
  • C/1B Creed Willems - 8-34 with just one extra-base hit does not move the needle towards excitement. He’s got a .769 OPS in 69 games.

Aberdeen season-to-date stats.

Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds

  • Last week: 0-6 at/vs Fredericksburg (Nationals)
  • Coming week: at Lynchburg (6-9 second half, Guardians)
  • Second half record: 6-9, last place (6 games back) of six teams in Carolina League North

This was a rough week, with the Shorebirds losing four of the six games by five or more runs and never scoring more than three runs in any of the games in this split series.

The fact that just about every remotely interesting Delmarva position player other than Aron Estrada had a pretty bad two-week stretch is part of that. Estrada would stand out for his performance regardless of how his teammates did with 15-40 hitting, plus six walks to help the OBP too. That’s a .994 OPS across the two series, raising the 19-year-old switch-hitter’s season total to .810.

Thomas Sosa went 6-21 across the six games he played. The main news for him is that he’s now on the injured list with a shoulder strain, so this intriguing (to me, anyway) 19-year-old outfielder will have his effort to build some more prospect stock put on hold for a little while.

I try to say something nice each time about a pitcher at each full-season affiliate, even when, like Delmarva, there are no big- or even medium-name prospects around. Blake Money - who you may have heard has a brother named Cash (really) - was in action with bulk relief, logging nine innings over two games. Money was money, allowing zero runs and only two hits, with 11 strikeouts to zero walks. For the season, Money has a 3.99 ERA, which isn’t too interesting, but also a 4.67 K/BB, which is.

Others of note

  • OF Braylin Tavera - 4-36 with no extra base hits is some rough going. The big ticket international signing from two years ago is batting .157/.266/.187 for the season. At least there’s a good walk rate.
  • IF Leandro Arias - Tavera OPSed .384 these two weeks and Arias is below even that because he walked less often.

Delmarva season-to-date stats.

Bonus Dominican Summer League

The Orioles hand out minor league player and pitcher of the month awards for each full month of the season. DSL Orioles players were the recipient of both of these for the month of June, with the O’s choosing pitcher Keeler Morfe and outfielder Jordan Sanchez for these honors. Both of these guys are playing for Orioles Orange, which is 18-7 after a win yesterday. Team Black has a 10-14 record.

Morfe turned 18 years old last month. The Venezuelan is a righty listed at 5’8”, which is on the short side for pro pitchers. He signed with the O’s for a $210,000 bonus a season ago. In a repeat year in the Dominican, Morfe has pitched 16 innings across five games and allowed just a single earned run, with 29 strikeouts and only five walks.

Sanchez is also 18. He left Cuba last year and inked a deal with the Orioles in the fall for a $450,000 signing bonus. It’s good to leave a little extra money past January for any late arrivals on the scene. He’s been laying waste to this rookie level, dropping a .361/.465/.687 batting line with five homers in 23 games. 18 is old for the DSL, so this is grain of salt territory for each of these guys, but hopefully in each case it’s good stuff they can carry on to the next level.

In a previous year, I might wonder if we’d see these guys in the Florida Complex League, but that season only runs through July 25 this year, starting earlier and ending earlier than the complex level has done in the past.

FCL Orioles stats.

Orioles Orange stats.

Orioles Black stats.

**

There was no minor league player of the week poll last week while I was on vacation. Two weeks ago, readers voted the weekly honors to Delmarva’s Estrada. He took 57% of the vote in a three-way poll. Estrada joins a list of winners that includes Basallo, Brnovich, Etzel, Cade Povich, McDermott, Beavers, and Fabian. The lone repeat winner so far is current Oriole Heston Kjerstad.

Will we add another repeat winner this week? The choice is yours.

Poll

Who is your Orioles minor league player of the week(s) this time around?

  • 79%
    Coby Mayo, Norfolk (1.134 OPS thanks to four homers, nine walks)

    (208 votes)

  • 7%
    Matthew Etzel, Bowie (10-35 including 6 XBH)

    (21 votes)

  • 6%
    Aron Estrada, Delmarva (15-40 with a .994 OPS these two weeks)

    (17 votes)

  • 6%
    Keeler Morfe, DSL (Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the Month for June)

    (17 votes)

263 votes total Vote Now

Orioles minor league weekly recap: Mayo, Etzel thrive; DSL prospects take June honors (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Velia Krajcik

Last Updated:

Views: 5786

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (54 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Velia Krajcik

Birthday: 1996-07-27

Address: 520 Balistreri Mount, South Armand, OR 60528

Phone: +466880739437

Job: Future Retail Associate

Hobby: Polo, Scouting, Worldbuilding, Cosplaying, Photography, Rowing, Nordic skating

Introduction: My name is Velia Krajcik, I am a handsome, clean, lucky, gleaming, magnificent, proud, glorious person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.