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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Baby Birds Wheelin' & Dealin'

Four Orioles prospect pitchers are having phenominal 2024 seasons

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

Chayce McDermott is one of severl prospect pitchers having a big 2024. Photo: Kate Kirsch

You can never have enough pitching on a baseball team, let alone within a Major League organization.

The Orioles have plenty of pitching prospects developing in the Minor Leagues right now, both in the starting rotation and out of the bullpen. We've already seen one key pitching prospect reach the highest stage when No. 9 prospect Cade Povich made his Major League debut earlier this month. In the coming years, there will be more to follow thanks to both the impoved pitching development system and the outbreak of dominant performance many of the prospect arms.

Here is one pitcher on each affiliate's active roster that is dominating in the 2024 season. Make sure you pay close attention to these pitchers in the coming years.

AAA Norfolk Tides: Chayce McDermott (70.1 IP, 2-5, 3.84 ERA, 101 K, 43 BB, 1.464 WHIP)

I have always been a big Chayce McDermott fan. I have always been a big fan of how he pitches aggresively to hitters and how he is able to collect so many swings and misses. The strikeout numbers that McDermott puts up are through the roof. That is in large part to how well he executes both his fastball and his big overhand curveball that drops out of sight. While he may walk more batters than expected (5.5 BB/9 this season), he still wiggles his way out of trouble and keeps his team in games. Even though fans may beg to acquire a frontline starter at the trade deadline, the Orioles have known to stay in house with starting pitching before and it has worked with names like Steve Johnson, Miguel Gonzalez, and as of late, Povich. McDermott, the Orioles' No. 8 prospect, is definitely capable of being that next arm up.

AA Bowie Baysox: Dylan Heid (31.1 IP, 3-1, 1.15 ERA, 28 K, 12 BB, 0.957 WHIP)

In a stacked Baysox bullpen full of talented relievers, Heid has stood out as the best performing one so far. The 25-year-old may not rack up the strikeouts like his peer relievers, nor will he pump is north of 97 MPH like they do. However, he remains aggressive towards hitters no matter what part of the lineup he is facing, ad he utilizes all of his pitches to enduce weak contact and work quickly in either one or two innings of work. The offense has done little against him this season, and that says a lot considering that the Eastern League is typically one of the better hitting AA leagues in Minor League Baseball. Hitters are hitting just .167 against him with a .440 OPS. There could be a special future middle reliever for the Orioles in the makings in Heid, and he will definitely be given a shot at Triple-A Norolk before season's end.

A+ Aberden Ironbirds: Edgar Portes (50.2 IP, 3-1, 2.31 ERA, 66 K, 27 BB, 1.224 WHIP)

I saw Portes pitch for the first time in 2023 when I visited the Shorebirds for a day, and he wowed me. He has continued to wow me ever since, as well as several Orioles media members who have not been afraid to repost his highlight videos on social media. Portes throws hard and comes at hitters with the intent of striking them out, and the results show with his 11.6 K/9. He is coming off a ridiculously dominant month of May in which he posted an 0.44 ERA and 27 punchouts in 20.2 innings pitched. The 21-year-old from the Dominican Republic is a versatile pitcher who is a workhorse both as a starter and as a long reliever, and his durability as a pitcher will proove useful in the long run. I have always been a fan of this young pitcher, and I think the Orioles have a promising, underappreciated pitching prospect in the works right now in Edgar Portes.

A- Delmarva Shorebirds: Nestor German (29 IP, 1-2, 1.24 ERA, 35 K, 11 BB, 0.897 WHIP)

If you're looking to try to hit a home run against the Shorebirds right now, let alone get a hit, don't figure you'll do it against the 22-year-old German. An 11th round pick in 2023 from Seattle University, the righty has yet to yield a home run in 29 innings of work for the Shorebirds, and opposing hitters only have a .149 batting average against him. German has done an excellent job at limitting hits and walks as he has allowed just 15 hits and 11 walks all season. He has also done a great job at keeping the ball out of the air, as the majority of his outs have been made via the ground ball. He has 36 groundouts, 32 fly outs, and just 11 line outs. This young righty from Seattle, Washington has put on a masterclass with the Shorebirds this season even amidst a brief stint on the IL. If he continues the trend that he is on, expect to see him with the Aberdeen Ironbirds before the season is over.

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