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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles MiLB Weekly Recap: June 11-16

A look at how all four Baltimore Orioles Minor League affilates performed this past week

As we hit the halfway mark in the month of June, the Orioles of tomorrow keep on rolling as they make their climb to the show. Here's a look at how each Orioles affiliate performed throughout all of last week.

AAA Norfolk Tides

The Tides returned home to Harbor Park to take on the Memphis Red Birds (Cardinals AAA) and old friend, former Orioles prospect Cesar Prieto. They are trying to find a break through and get on a hot stretch that pulls them further away from .500 in the win column. However, after finishing with just a series split with Memphis, they still hover just a single game above .500.

Some of Norfolk's issues last week came from the bullpen and their inability to keep the Tides in ballgames, as well as give the offense an easier chance come from behind. On Tuesday, Tucker Davidson surrended a two-run home run in the top of the 9th to Nick Raposo that gave Memphis two big ensurance runs and helped them pull away with a 4-1 win. On Thursday, Nolan Hoffman could not escape a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 7th and surrendered a 2-RBI single to Matt Koperniak, thus again adding more insurance runs for the Red Birds and also spoiling Chayce McDermott's solid day. Both of those runs were charged to him.

Justin Armbruester threw a solid 5 innings of one run ball last Wednesday. Photo: Kate Kirsch

There were still positive takeaways from last week's series, however. No. 20 prospect Justin Armbruester, who had been roughed up for a 10.40 ERA prior to the series, had a great start on Wednesday night as he went 5 innings with just one earned run in Norfolk's 5-4 victory. Minor League signee and MLB veteran Julio Teheran had a rebound outing and yielded just two earned runs on 4 punchouts in Saturday's 6-2 win. No. 30 prospect Billy Cook had a perfect 3-for-3 day that same game with his 6th homer as a Tide. While it was still a well-played series by Norfolk, they still ended with a 3-3 split, now own a 35-34 record, and are still searching for the key turnaround of events that will get this tea hot and back in playoff contention for the International League.

As the Tides sit with that 35-34 record and now 13 games out of first place, here is a look at three standout performers from last week for the Tides.

  • IF Nick Maton: the 27-year-old offseason acquisition went 6-for-17 (.353) with just a single homer and RBI, but he worked 7 walks and struck out just 3 times which demonstrated a great mix of patience and competitiveness out of the veteran infielder.

  • UT Billy Cook: there is just no slowing Cook down right now. The Orioles' No. 30 prospect had another great week as he went 9-for-22 (.409) with 3 HR, 6 RBI, and a triple.

  • RHP Justin Armbruester: the top prospect pitcher had a great start on Wednesday as he went 5 innings, allowed just one earned run, struck out 3 batters, and allowed just 4 hits. He needed 86 pitches and fired 46 of them for strikes.

The Tides head north for a 6-game road trip to the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (Phillies AAA) starting tonight with a 7:05 pm first pitch.

AA Bowie Baysox The Baysox and the first place Harrisburg Senators (Nationals AA) squared off for the first time this season at FNB Field in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, making this the first Double-A version of the Battle of the Beltways this season. Unfortunatley for Bowie, Harrisburg claimed the first matchup between these two with a 4-2 series win.

John Rhodes went a ridiculous 5-for-5 with 6 RBI on Father's Day. Photo: Grant DeVivo

Many things frustrated the Baysox this week,and a lot of it was just good baseball from the Senators. The Baysox were walked off on back-to-back days on Friday and Saturday. In those two games combined, they went just 4-for-24 with runners in scoring position and stranded go-ahead and insurance runs in each of the 10th innings of those walk-off losses. The other frustrating factor of the series for Bowie was that they had no answer to some excellent Senators pitching this week. Brad Lord tossed 7 shutout innings on Wednesday, striking out 10 and surrendering just 2 hits. On top of all of that, several of Harrisburg's hitters happened to heat up at the right time for them but the wrong time for Bowie, and it proved costly for the Baysox. Former LSU standout and former No. 2 pick Dylan Crews battered the Baysox with an 8-for-25 (.320) week and constant hard contact off the bat. 2021 No. 11 pick Brady House had a stretch of two games where he went 4-for-7 with a homer each day. Honestly, hats off to the Senators because they played great baseball all week. That's all it really was.

The Baysox were able to come out with the Father's Day win on Sunday, as they avoided further trouble in Sunnsylvania with an 8-3 win. No. 23 prospect John Rhodes had a ridiculous day as he went a perfect 5-for-5 with a 2-run home run and 6 RBI. Dylan Beavers and Matthew Etzel had an RBI each, and Ryan Higgins hd a 2-for-4 day. No. 25 prospect Alex Pham tossed 5 innings of 3-run ball, striking out 8 along the way. Lincoln Henzman and Ryan Hennen followed with four shutout relief innings.

Bowie falls back to .500 at 31-31, and they sit 4.5 games behind first place and Harrisburg in the eastern League. Here are three standout performers for Bowie from last week's Double-A beltway clash.

  • OF John Rhodes: the Kentucky alumnus got into four games last week, but he made them count. With just one strikeout over those four games, he hit .429 and had a 5-for-5 Father's Day on Sunday with 6 RBI. Hopefully his father was watching somewhere!

  • RHP Alex Pham: the Orioles' No. 24 prospect had two great starts last week. He compilled 11 innings, 14 strikeouts, 8 hits, and just one walk, and he tossed 6 shutout innings in the series opener on Tuesday.

  • OF Matthew Etzel: welcome to Bowie, Matthew! The 22-year-old Texan completed his first week in Double-A with a 5-for-18 (.278) showing. His 4 stolen bases raised his season total to a ridiculous 35.

Bowie returns home to face the Altoona Curve (PIrates AA) at home for a 6-game set. Hear me on the Baysox broadcast at some point tomorrow as I participate in the Baysox's 12 Days of Christmas ticket package special and broadcast an inning of Baysox baseball!

A+ Aberdeen Ironbirds

The Ironbirds had one dramatic and eventful series last week against the Hickory Crawdads (Rangers A+), one that they claimed 4-2. The series was defined by comeback wins, brutal offense, a rehab assignment gone beyond perfect, and a power surge from an unlikely power source.

First, the Ironbirds pulled off two great comeback wins last week. On Thursday, down 6-4 in the bottom of the 10th, Mac Horvath tied the game with a 2-RBI double and Creed Willems proceeded to end the game with a massive walk-off 2-run homer to seal an 8-6 win. On Father's Day, they were down 12-8 heading into the bottom of the 7th. They proceeded to put a seven spot on the Crawdads and won the game 15-12. That 7-run 7th inning was propelled by a game-tying single from Jalen Vasquez, a walk by Douglas Hodo III paired with a wild pitch resulting in the go-ahead run, and a 2-RBI ground-rule double by Randy Florentino.

Enrique Bradfield Jr. crushed his first two career professional home runs last week. Photo: Grant DeVivo

Amongst the winning festivities that occured this weekend in Aberdeen was the return of former Ironbird Coby Mayo. The Orioles' No. 3 prospect was making a weekend-long rehab appearance after suffering fractured ribs in May while with Norfolk. This weekend, he went 6-for-13 (.462) with 3 homers and 6 RBI, and included a 2-homer performance on Sunday. He is expected to be activated off of Norfolk's injured list tomorrow. Perhaps Mayo sent some encouraging words of advice for power-hitting to No. 5 prospect Enrique Bradfield Jr. The 2023 first rounder, who is known to hit for solid contact as opposed to power and is more recognized for his speed, finally got into the home run column last week. He clobbered his first professional home run on Wednesday night, then added another one on Friday night, a leadoff home run. Bradfield was already elite in every other aspect of the game in his position and now that he is in the homer column, if there are more to come, the rest of the league is doomed.

Aberdeen improves to 33-30 and they sit 3.5 games out of first place in the South Atlantic League. Here are three key performers from last week's series win for the 'Birds.

  • OF Enrique Bradfield Jr.: the Orioles' No. 5 prospect went 5-for-15 (.333) last week with 3 stolen bases, and he also collected his first two career home runs in professional baseball.

  • C/1B Creed Willems: the No. 29 prospect's walk-off bomb on Thursday night helped secure the Ironbirds' 8-6 victory. He went 6-for-24 (.300) the entire week and had a 3-for-5 showing the same night he hit the walk-off home run.

  • OF Elio Prado: the 22-year-old came through in some clutch situations for Aberdeen last week and went 8-for-21 (.381) overall with 4 RBI and 3 stolen bases.

Aberdeen heads to Wilmington to face the Blue Rocks (Nationals A+) for the High-A ball edition of the Battle of the Beltways. Their 6-game set begins tonight.

A- Delmarva Shorebirds

The Shorebirds stayed home last week having come off a series win against Lynchburg the previous week. They did battle with the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (White Sox A-) last week and finished with a series tie, as each team won three games a piece.

Jake Cunningham went 7-for-17 last week. Photo: Hannah Reagle

There was some great starting pitching all week for Delmarva. Several starters including Braxton Bragg, Daniel Lloyd (rehab), and Nestor German put in shutout outings. Riley Cooper allowed just 2 runs in his start on Saturday. In the end however, Kannapolis came up with the big hits and the extra runs when they needed to, and their pitching stiffled the Delmarva offense when they needed to do that as well. The Cannon Ballers were able to put a 5-spot in the top of the 9th last Tuesday as they pulled away with a 6-2 win. Throughout the series though,there were some notable offensive performances for Delmarva. Aneudis Mordan went 3-for-7 with 2 RBI in the first two games of the series, while Jake Cunningham had a 7-for-17 showing with 2 doubles. Aron Estrada had a 3-for-4 day on Thursday along with an RBI while Leandro Arias collected 4 walks that same day.

Delmarva gets over the 20 win mark and now sit at 22-40. They remain in last place in the Carolina League. Here are three standout performers from last week for the Shorebirds.

  • OF Jake Cunningham: the University of North Carolina alumnus had great week as he went 7-for-17 with 2 runs, walks, and doubles each.

  • IF Aron Estrada: the young, versatile infielder went 6-for-19 (.316) with a homer and 4 RBI last week. His 3-for-4 day last Thursday propelled Delmarva to a 6-0 shutout winover Kannapolis.

  • RHP Nestor German: the righty had a brief start on Friday, but it was effective. He needed just 31 pitches (23 strikes) to get through 2 innings in which 5 of his 6 outs were via the strieout and his only base runner was a walk.

Delmarva is on the road this week as they begin a 6-game set at the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Astros A-).

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