Now that the second month of the baseball season is in the books it’s a good time to check back in on the prospects and their progress so far. Listed below I have the top 10 Oriole prospects according to MLB.com and the numbers they have put up so far this season. Based on those numbers and my observations I’ll award each player a letter grade for his play in May. The numbers in parenthesis indicate each statistics change since my April Report Card…
1. Manny Machado, SS, Bowie Baysox (AA)
.251 AVG (+.010), 2 HR, 17 RBI (+7), 5 SB (+3), .349 OBP (+.009), .380 SLG (-.018), .729 OPS (-.009)
Machado’s numbers in May were very similar to his numbers in April. He saw slight increases in batting average and on base percentage but struggled in the power statistics. He didn’t hit any home runs in May, had only 7 RBI and had his slugging percentage took a slight dip despite a higher batting average. Machado has also scuffled a bit in the field, commiting 12 errors already in 2012. He should get some time at third base soon, I think that’s a more natural position for him. Manny hasn’t really excelled like some thought he would right away, but he has been solid and is still a month away from his 20th birthday (July 6th).
2. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Frederick Keys (A+)
2-0, 0.51 ERA (+.51), 35 IP (+18), 11 H (+10), 46 K (+21), 2 BB, .37 WHIP (+.19)
Bundy went 30 innings without allowing a single earned run in the low-A South Atlantic League before getting the call up to High-A Frederick. In his first start with Keys Dylan allowed more hits (6 to 5) than he had in all 8 starts with Delmarva and his first 2 earned runs as a pro, but he still looked dominant. He struck out 6 without walking a single batter, running his K/BB ratio to an unthinkable 23 to 1 (46 K/2 BB). I’ve said this before but i’ll say it again, Bundy is every bit as good at 19 as Strasburg was at 22. His combination of amazing stuff and unbelievable control will make him on of baseball’s best arms for a long time.
3. Johnathan Schoop, 2B, Bowie Baysox (AA)
.246 AVG (+.036), 2 HR (+1), 13 RBI (+9), .301 OBP (+.040), .323 SLG (+.014), .624 OPS (+.054)
Schoop’s May was a big improvement over his April, as he saw big jumps in both batting average and on base percentage. Schoop also drove in 9 runs, which is pretty potent for a guy like Johnathan without a lot of power. However, his numbers accross the board arn’t very impressive for a top prospect and his lack of speed at a position usually reserved for the fleet of foot is discouraging (0 SB in 2 attempts). Not to pile on but Schoop hasn’t been great defensively either with 8 errors in his 45 games. The good news is for Johnathan is May was certainly a step forward and at just 20 years old he has plenty of time to develop.
4. Nick Delmonico, INF, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.271 AVG (+.024), 5 HR (+3), 32 RBI (+14), 3 SB (+1), .357 OBP (+.009), .431 SLG (+.041), .788 OPS (+.050)
The 19 year old 3rd baseman had the best May of any of the Oriole’s top 10 prospects not named Dylan Bundy, as he saw statistical increases accross the board in his 2nd month as a pro. Delmonico hit 3 homers, drove in 14 runs and saw a large increase in slugging percentage as a result. Nick has already proven himself to be the Shorebirds best hitter thus far but he needs to get better in the field. He has already commited 11 errors in 50 games but he has had to learn 2 new positions on the fly (1B, 2B). That 30+ error a season pace simply isn’t going to get it done but he’s only 2 months into his pro career, he won’t be that bad for long.
5. Jason Esposito, 3B, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.238 AVG (+.017), 1 HR (+1), 19 RBI (+11), 4 SB, .313 OBP (-.017), .306 SLG (+.050), .619 OPS (+.033)
The 21 year old third baseman out of Vanderbilt looked a lot more comfortable at the plate in May then he did in his first month as a pro in April. He hit his first home run, drove in 11, and managed significant increases in both batting average and slugging percentage. In April he looked very tentative at the plate (which is understandable for a guy in his first month as a pro) taking a lot of hittable pitches but now he seems to be more confident and has been more aggressive at the plate. Defense has been an area of concern for Esposito as it has been for many of the Oriole’s (or any other team’s) young prospects, as he has commited a Mark Reynold’s-like 11 errors already this year. Overall May was a nice step forward for Jason.
6. Xavier Avery, OF, Norfolk Tides (AAA)
.217 AVG, 0 HR, 4 RBI, 4 SB, .299 OBP, .317 OBP, .615 OPS (Stats with the Orioles)
The 22 year old Avery got his first crack at the big leagues this month when he was called up on May 13th. He burst on to the scene with a few big games early on, displaying his great speed and surprising plate discipline. However, he wasn’t able to sustain that high level of play for long, batting .205 in his last 10 games before being demoted back to triple-A Norfolk. The good news for Avery is he got his feet wet in the majors at just 22 and he may be back with the big league club soon with Nick Markakis hitting the DL.
7. Parker Bridwell, RHP, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
2-3, 4.87 ERA (+.82), 44.1 IP (+24.1), 45 H (+26), 29 K (+15), 21 BB (+14), 1.49 WHIP (+.19)
May wasn’t a very good month for 20 year old right hander Parker Bridwell. He saw his era jump almost a full run and he had just one more strikeout than walk for the month. I don’t really have a silver lining for Bridwell other than his young age, as he was pretty unimpressive in April and got worse in May. However, he was 2-8 with a 5.26 era in 2011 so I guess he has seen a modest improvement in 2012.
8. Glynn Davis, OF, Delmarva Shorebirds (A)
.271 AVG (-.006), 0 HR, 13 RBI (+7), 13 SB (+4), .357 OBP (-.013), .323 SLG (+.022), .680 OPS (+.009)
The 20 year old Baltimore native has had a bit of a rough month of May. Davis’ slugging percentage did increase slightly but almost every other statistic had a slight drop. He’s not a guy that’s going to really hit for any power so he needs to get his average closer to .300 to have any value (especially at low-A ball). Davis did continue to be a terror on the base paths with another 4 steals but that’s significantly less than the 9 he had in April. Glynn’s defense has been a bit of a problem also, as he already has 4 errors in 49 games as an outfielder. Hopefully Davis will get back on track in June.
9. Robert Bundy, RHP, Bowie Baysox (AA)
2-7, 5.06 ERA (-.82), 53.1 IP (+27.1), 53 H (+22), 37 K (+20), 19 BB (+7), 1.35 WHIP (-.30)
May was a nice month for the lesser known of the Bundy brothers. The 22 year old right hander dropped his era almost a full run and dropped his WHIP a very significant amount. Bundy allowed just 29 baserunners in 27.1 IP for a 1.06 WHIP, compared to 1.65 in April. I think for Bobby it’s just a matter of getting comfortable pitching to double-A hitters (who are much better than the single-A hitters he dominated in 2011) and I think his success in May will go a long way towards that. If he continues to pitch with confidence and demonstrate solid command he has good enough stuff to excel at double-A.
10. Dan Klien, RHP, Bowie Baysox (AA)
N/A – Disabled list
Klien has yet to pitch in 2012, recovering from a torn labrum in his shoulder. The Orioles hope he will be back healthy enough to pitch at some point this season.
Note: Statistics accurate as of May 31st