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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles MiLB Weekly Recap: May 14-19

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

Cover Photo Credit: Hannah Reagle

It was an entertaining week down on the farm in Birdland. Here is a look at what each of the Orioles' Minor League affiliates was up to this past week.

AAA Norfolk Tides

OF Heston Kjerstad blasted a walk-of grand slam on Sunday enroute to a 5-3 Tides win. Photo: Kat Kirsch

The Tides and the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs (Phillies AAA) did battle for the first time this season. At first, all seemed lost for Norfolk in the first three games. They lost both games of the Wednesday doubleheader after being outscored 9-6 and out hit 15-12. In the three losses combined, Norfolk hitters went 3-for-18 with runners in scoring position and left 18 runners on base. Norfolk dictated the early portion of the series with their lack of coming through in clutch situations offensively.

They were able to recollect and finish the series with three consecutive wins, putting up 22 runs on 32 hits during that effort. The series could not have had a better ending as Heston Kjerstad, MLB's No. 22 prospect (according to MLB Pipeline's updated rankings), put an end to the game with a big walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 12th inning with the Tides down by two. The International League April Player of the Month now has 9 RBIs since returning to Triple-A Norfolk.

The Tides are now tied with the Rochester Red Wings for fourth place in the International League. Both teams are 6.5 games behind first place, and the Tides are now 23-22 on the season. Here are three standout performers from this series for the Tides.

  • OF Heston Kjerstad: the outfield prospect's clutch walk-off grand slam on Sunday made for a bizzare and electrifying ending to the 6-game set against Lehigh Valley. He also had 9 RBIs in the series, contributing to his season total of 39.

  • UT Billy Cook: the fan-favorite continued his unstoppable tear at Triple-A last week, going 8-for-22 (.364) with 3 RBIs and a .923 OPS. He only struck out three times.

  • RHP Wandisson Charles: Ironpigs hitters went hitless and scoreless against Charles in his two relief appearances. He struck out two batters along the way.

Norfolk hits the road this week for a 6-game set at the Worcester Red Sox.

AA Bowie Baysox

RHP Alex Pham to

The boys of Bowie are coming home this week feeling good after a 4-2 series win against the Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets AA). The series was highlighted by some incredible pitching. The arms shut out the Binghamton offense twice in wins of 4-0 on Wednesday and 3-0 on Thursday. Brandon Young and Kyle Brnovich combined to strike out 13 batters that day. Overall in the series, Binghamton hitters were just 4-for-39 with runners in scoring position, displaying Bowie's abilities to work out of trouble and come up clutch on the mound. They struck out 57 times against Baysox pitching, all while collecting just 35 hits and 8 runs in the six games last week. Needless to say, Bowie pitching was on point during the entire series.

Bowie sits at 21-17, 3.5 games out of first place. Let's take a look at some players who stood out from last week's series win.

  • RHP Alex Pham: the O's No. 24 prospect got the start on Saturday and pitched 4.2 innings, striking out 7 batters whole holding the Ponies to 2 hits and just one run.

  • RHP Carlos Tavara: the righty relieved Seth Johnson on Friday and turned in 4 scoreless innings. He struck out 6 batters and allowed just one hit.

  • OF Dylan Beavers: the top prospect outfield led the offensive charge for Bowie as he went 8-for-21 (.381) and had two home runs, RBIs, and doubles. He is a .302 hitter this season with an .890 OPS.

Bowie is home this weekend for a 6-game series against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA). Purchase tickets here, and find me at tonight's series opener! I'll be there!

A+ Aberdeen Ironbirds

RHP Edgar Portes tossed 5 perfect inningson Sunday and is dominating the SAL. Photo: Grant DeVivo

It was a tough week for the 'Birds. Their visit to Wilmington did not go their way as the Blue Rocks (Nationals A+) took the series 4-2. However, no game ended in any sort of blowout. The biggest run differential was by 4 runs, and that was in the Ironbirds' 6-2 win in the series opener. Other than that, the series was determined by games finishing with one, two, or three run differentials. If victory was ever so within reach, the Ironbirds surely felt that multiple times this week and sure had multiple chances to snag a couple more wins than they ended up getting. The good thing is that it could have gone a lot worse, and Aberdeen still competed hard with Wilmington all the way until the end on Sunday.

Aberdeen narrowly remains above .500, sitting at 20-19 and in a third place tie with Wilmington in the South Atlantic League. Each team is 3 games back from first place. Here are some star performers from Aberdeen who stood out last week. Usually I keep it to three players, but even amidst a series loss there truly are four players that deserve to be recognized here.

  • RHP Edgar Portes: this young righty has just been absolutely dominating the SAL offense this season. In the series finale, he got the start and threw 5 perfect innings while collecting 6 strikeouts. He now has a 2.35 ERA this season with a 1.01 WHIP. There is something special brewing with this 21-year-old from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

  • OF Elio Prado: after going hitless in his first two games of action against Wilmington, Prado finished strong by going 5-for-12 (.416) in the second half of the series. He had a 2-run home run on Sunday.

  • RHP Juan Nunez: the righty got the start on Tuesday and dominated through 4.2 innings of work. He gave up just 3 hits and one run while striking out 9 batters and walking none.

  • OF Enrique Bradfield Jr.: the wheels were on display last week for the Orioles' 2023 first round pick out of Vanderbilt. Bradfield went 5-for-20 (.250) with 2 triples, 2 stolen bases, a run scored, and a double.

Aberdeen returns home this week for another 6-game homestand against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (Phillies A+) and former first round pick Justin Crawford (Phillies No. 4). Purchase tickets here. Will you see me there this week? might just find me sitting at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium for one of these games.

A- Delmarva Shorebirds

All smiles after the Shorebirds beat Lynchburg last week 4-2. Photo: Hannah Reagle

Call your friends and tell them that the Shorebirds are hot right now! Delmarva is coming home happy as they won their first series of the year last week. A 4-2 series win at Lynchburg certainly has them in a bright mood as they return to their home at Arthur Perdue Stadium this week. The bats are starting to heat up for the Shorebirds. Though there is still work to be done (7-for-33 RISP & 23 LOB last week) and while they are not particularly blowing out opponents, it is a significantly better offensive showing as of late than it was to start the season. In their four wins, they scored 15 runs on 28 hits. They drew 8 walks and smashed 5 home runs along the way. The Shorebirds' most notable offensive performance came on Saturday, when they won 7-6. Outfielder Thomas Sosa went 3-for-5 with his second home run of the season and 3 runs scored. Outfielder Kevin Guerrero and shortstop Alfredo Velazquez picked up 2 RBI each.

Delmarva still sits in last place in the Carolina League at 13-25, but are still seeing improved results as of late. Here are the Shorebirds' top performers from last week.

  • OF Thomas Sosa: the 19-year-old went 4-for-9 in the final two games of the series with that home run he hit on Saturday. He also picked up a triple on Sunday.

  • IF Angel Tejada: the versatile infielder had a perfect Thursday, going 3-for-3 with a 2-run home run for his second of the year. He went 6-for-16 (.375) in five games played against Lynchburg.

  • RHP Braxton Bragg: the 23-year old out of Kansas City got the start in Game 2 of Friday's doubleheader. All Lynchburg was able to do against him in 4 innings was muster 3 hits. Otherwise, they struck out five times against him and did nothing else. Bragg dominated their lineup.

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