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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles Minor League Weekly Recap: April 23-28

Updated: May 1

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

It was a busy week in the Orioles' farm system. Here is a brief breakdown of how all four Orioles Minor League affiliates did this past week.

AAA Norfolk Tides

The Tides returned home for a 6-game homestand against Chop Nation's Triple-A club, the Gwinnett Stripers (Braves). Talk about an even draw. The series ended with each team picking up three wins each, and there was no such thing as outscoring the other team in this one. Each team scored 20 runs the entire series.

The Tides' first win of the week came in front of a packed house on Friday night as the members of last year's team received their 2023 Triple-A championship rings. In a 5-1 win, Kyle Bradish closed out his rehab assignment and tossed 5 innings of 1-run ball, striking out 6 batters and collecting the win. Justin Armbruester came in behind him and fired 4 scoreless relief innings, striking out 6 along the way and allowing just one lone hit.

Justin Armbruester threw four scorless innings in Friday's win. Photo: John Topoleski

The main headline of the week for the Tides was the return of No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday, who was optioned back to the Tides after a brief sample size in the big leagues that saw him go 2-for-34 with 18 strikeouts. He went 1-for-8 in his first two games back in Norfolk. Many young guns like Holliday face adverstiy early on in their careers and especially in their first taste of the MLB, so this is just the beginning steps towards Holliday's success. He needs these Triple-A reps as a confidence boost, and he'll find his groove with the Tides. Don't panic, everyone, because he'll be back in Baltimore as soon as you know it.

The Tides improve to 12-15 and sit at 8th place in the International League. Here are three players who stood out from this previous week of Tides baseball.

  • RHP Justin Armbruester: the tall right-hander absolutely dealt behind Kyle Bradish on Friday. He went 4 scorless innings, struck out 6 batters, and held the Stripers to just one hit.

  • OF Daniel Johnson: the 28-year-old swung the bat well for the Tides. He went 4-for-15 (.267) in 4 games for the Tides last week, smashing 2 home runs and collecting 4 RBIs along the way.

  • LHP Andrew Suarez: a former second round pick of the Giants in 2015, the southpaw appeared in 2 games for the Tides last week. He tossed 2 scorless innings, holding Gwinnett to just 1 hit in those two outings.

The Tides hit the road this week and take on the Nashville Sounds in Nashville, Tennessee.

AA Bowie Baysox

After taking down the Altoona Curve the previous week 5-1, the Baysox traveled to Richmond, Virginia feeling good for their 6-game set with the Flying Squirrels. Unfortunately, they could not carry their success from the previous week and fell to the Flying Squirrels 4-2. They swung the bats well as they collected 36 hits and had just a 2-run differential the entire series (Richmond outscored Bowie 22-20). The pitching, with the exception of Thursday's 9-0 win, got hit hard this week. Kyle Brnovich got tagged for 4 runs and 2 homers in Saturday's loss. In 6.1 innings of work (2 starts), Orioles No. 10 prospect Seth Johnson surrendered 7 runs (4 earned) while walking 4 batters and giving up 8 hits. Southpaw Ryan Hennen is trying to figure out things on the mound after getting hit hard again on Friday (2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER). Right-hander Trace Bright is still collecting swings and misses, but is also still struggling with command and walking batters.

Samuel Basallo capped off a great week with a 2-homer game on Sunday. Photo: Grant DeVivo

Moving forward, even though some arms are throwing extremely well for Bowie, the pitching as a whole is going to have to sort things out and work hard if they want to give their team a chance to win games. Either that or the offense, which is hot as is, is going to have to kick it

up a notch and hit with the rest of the offenses in the Eastern League.

Bowie is still above .500 as they sit at 11-10 and are 2 games behind the Akron Rubberducks (Guardians AA) for first place in the Eastern League. Here are three players who stood out for the Baysox this past week.

  • RHP Carlos Tavara: the right appeared in 2 games for Bowie last week, but his outing on Sunday stood out in particular. He relieved Johnson for 5 innings and shut down Richmond, holding them to 1 hit and striking out 6.

  • C Samuel Basallo: MLB's No. 17 prospect seems to be finally breaking through after a rough start to the season where he hit just .235 prior to the Richmond series. He went 5-for-18 (.313) last week and put together his first career multi-homer game in his pro career on Sunday.

  • RHP Ryan Long: the 6'6" right-hander is heating up in the Baysox rotation. He dominated Richmond on Thursday, going 4 scoreless innings and struck out 7 batters, and he has allowed just one earned run in his previous 2 starts (including at Richmond).

Bowie returns home for two consecutive home series. First up is a 6-game divisional dogfight against the Erie Seawolves, and both teams narrowly trail the Rubberducks in the Eastern League standings. Purchase tickets for the next two weeks here.

A+ Aberdeen Ironbirds

Matthew Eztel had a huge week and walked-off Jersey Shore on Sunday with a bases-clearing double. Photo: Grant DeVivo

It was an exciting home series for the Aberdeen Ironbirds who broke out the bats and took a 5-1 series win against the Jersey Shore Blue Claws (Phillies A+). It started with a phenominal 9-2 win on Tuesday night when Jalen Vazquez had a 2-for-3 night including his first homer of the season and Elio Prado came through with a bases-clearing double in the 5th inning. Cameron Weston's 4.2 shutout innings proved to be his final with the Ironbirds, as he was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Monday as a reward for his dominance in High-A. Saturday featured a 12-7 win where Aberdeen out-hit Jersey Shore 10-5 and got off to an early start with 6 runs in the first two innings. There was some late-inning magic to be had in the Sunday finale as Matthew Etzel played hero and walked-off Jersey Shore with a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the 9th. Aberdeen was down 6-4 at the time.

Aberdeen gets over .500 at 11-10 and are now just 2 GB for first place in the South Atlantic League. Here are three bats that stayed hot the entire week and make this week's Aberdeen player shoutouts.

  • OF Matthew Eztel: there is no more obvious selection to this list than Eztel, whose 3-for-5 day on Sunday and game-winning double propelled the Ironbirds to that magican 7-6 series finale win. He went 8-for-21 (.380) overall the entire week with a home run, 5 RBI, 4 walks, and 3 doubles.

  • C Creed Willems: there has been no slowing down for Willems, the Orioles' No. 30 prospect. Willems slugged a home run on Friday night, collected 7 RBI in the series, and went 4-for-13 (.307) in the final four games of the series.

  • 2B Mac Horvath: the Orioles' 2nd round pick last year had a 2 RBI game on Tuesday and went 5-for-15 (.333) in four games in last week's series.

The Ironbirds visit the Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets A+) next week for the first time this season.

A- Delmarva Shorebirds

The Shorebirds continued their early struggles as they dropped the series to the FredNats 5-1. Their area of weakness was the offense, as they were shutout for the first three games of the series even amidst 13 hits. The bats woke up for the remainder of the series as they put together 27 hits in the final 3 games. It still wasn't enough to do the job as they only claimed one of those last three games of the series, a 6-4 win on Friday. A lack of offensive showing has been the cause of Delmarva's early struggles. They are batting just .192 as a team with a meager .553 OPS. The pitching is what has kept them in ballgames. They have a respectable 3.96 team ERA and a 1.33 team WHIP. Shorebirds pitchers have also struck out an absurd 231 batters in 179.2 innings pitched this season.

Stiven Acevedo had himself another great week for Delmarva. Photo: John Topoleski

Overall, the pitching has what it takes to win Delmarva some ballgames. They need more support from the offense in order to get a chance, and it is simply not there right now. This is why they are 3-17 and dead last in the Carolina League.

Here are three Delmarva standout performers from last week.

  • RHP Luis De Leon: the young righty started Friday night's game and went 5.2 scoreless innings, striking out 8 batters and limitting the FredNats to just one hit. The FredNats had little to no answer against De Leon.

  • RHP Nestor German: the 22-year old from Seattle, Washington was a strikeout machine on Sunday. He punched out 7 batters in 5 relief innings on Sunday and held Fredericksburg to just one run.

  • OF Stiven Acevedo: the outfielder is nominated for a second week in a row after collecting 3 RBI on Friday and collecting 2 doubles in the series.

Delmarva is home this week for a 6-game set against the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Astros A-). Purchase tickets here.

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