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  • Writer's pictureGrant DeVivo

Orioles Minor League Weekly Review: April 16-21

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

*Cover Photo Credit: John Topoleski

Orioles Minor League baseball saw a ton of action this week. Here's an in-depth look at how each of the Birds' four Minor League affiliates performed this past week.

Heston Kjerstad's red hot hitting has earned him a second chance at the MLB level. Photo: John Topoleski

AAA Norfolk Tides

It was another rough week for the Norfolk Tides, who saw their losing streak extend all the way to Thursday, April 18. Except for Wednesday's 16-4 blowout loss, they did however manage to hang on tight with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp for the early portion of the series, as they lost two of those opening games by just one run. The Tides finally snapped a dreadful 10-game losing streak with a 4-1 win on Friday, April 19. They collected 9 hits, and MLB's No. 32 prospect Heston Kjerstad remained hot with a 3-for-5 showing and two more long balls. The next night, they recollected again for an 11-5 win, and MLB's No. 30 prospect Coby Mayo showed out with a 2 homer 6 RBI performance.

The Tides ultimately dropped the series 4-2. They sit at 8th place in the International League with a 9-12 record. They continue to make it difficult to choose just three key performers of the week, but here are three players that stood out.

  • OF Heston Kjerstad: what hasn't he done yet? Kjerstad just kept on mashing, going 8-for-25 (.320) with 3 HR and 3 RBI while posting a 1.094 OPS. He's now batting .349 with 10 HR and 30 RBIs this year at Triple-A, and he has new been rewarded with a promotion to the Baltimore Orioles.

  • RHP Chayce McDermott: The O's No. 9 prospect got into 2 games this past week (one start). He struck out 13 batters in 8.2 innings of work while posting a 2.08 ERA.

  • LHP Tucker Davidson: the lefty appeared in one game for the Tides during the Jumbo Shrimp series and tossed 2 scoreless innings of relief on Thursday.

Note: Kyle Bradish started the Sunday series finale as a part of his Minor League rehab assignment. He went 3.1 innings, allowing 4 runs on 6 hits with 3 walks and 4 K's.

Norfolk opens a 6-game homestand tonight against the Braves' AAA affiliate, the Gwinnett Stripers. Purchase tickets here.

AA Bowie Baysox

After dropping the previous week's series at Hartford, the Baysox rebounded nicely with a 5-1 series win against the Altoona Curve infront of the home crowd. The series was defined by clutch and timely Baysox offense in addition to some crucial help from their recently red hot bullpen. Relievers like Trey McGough and Dan Hammer really stepped up and gave the Baysox offense a chance late in games. The series was also defined by some sloppy Altoona play in which base running mistakes and poorly executed pitches cost them throughout the entire week. Orioles No. 12 prospect Jud Fabian had the defining moment of the week with a clutch walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the 9th of Saturday's electrifyig 6-2 win.

Jud Fabian's incredible week got better after his wak-off grand slam on Saturday. Photo: Grant DeVivo

The Baysox are now 9-6 in the Eastern League, 0.5 games behind first place and the Erie Seawolves (Tigers AA). They are currently the lone Orioles Minor League affiliate above .500. There are too many players who deserve to be recognized after the incredible week that Bowie had. Picking three guys was difficult, but here is who stood out in particular this past week.

  • OF Jud Fabian: his walk-off grand slam was just part of his incredible week. He went an incredible 7-for-15 (.467) while posting a 1.312 OPS.

  • OF Dylan Beavers: the 33rd pick of the 2022 draft, Beavers went 4-for-15 (.357) with a homer, 2 2B, and 3 RBI.

  • LHP Trey McHough: the Mount St. Mary's alumni held batters to a .167 batting average in his 5 innings of work this past week. He only allowed one run while striking out 6 and walking none.

Bowie hits the road this week for 6-game series at the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants AA).

High-A Aberdeen Ironbirds

Creed Willems remains the Ironbirds' hottest hitter. Photo: John Topoleski

The Ironbirds paid a visit to the Hudson Valley Renegades for the first High-A version of the Orioles-Yankees showdown this season. The Renegades ultimately ended up winning the series 4-2, and their first three wins of the series came via the walk-off. It's needless to say that the Ironbirds are hanging in there with the competition that they are facing, and they are either a pitch away or a swing away from pulling out infront. Eventually, there will be someone or a group of batters that get the offense hot. The team is batting just .211 with a .655 OPS, both of which rank 7th in the South Atlantic League. It is their pitching that has kept them in ballgames, as they have a solid 3.52 team ERA and 155 team strikeouts (both 5th in SAL).

Aberdeen sits at 6-9, and they are in last place in the South Atlantic League. Even amidst the series, there were still some great performances from the past week for the 'birds. Here they are.

  • C Creed Willems: the 20-year-old catching prospect who won SAL Player of the week the week prior just continues to keep swinging a hot stick for Aberdeen. He collected 3 RBI this past week and added 4 doubles to his 2024 statline.

  • RHP Cameron Weston: the righty won the SAL Pitcher of the Week award the week prior, and they could have easily given it to him again this week. He started the Wednesday nightcap and went 4 scoreless innings, holding Hudson Valley to 2 hits while punching out 4.

  • LHP Edgar Portes: the young lefty is once again nominted for Learning To Fly Player of the Week for Aberdeen after going 4 innings last Wednesday, striking out 5, and allowing just 1 run. In 11 innings of work this season, he has a 0.909 WHIP and a 1.64 ERA. There is a lot to like about this young gun from the Dominican Republic.

Aberdeen returns home this week for a 6-game homestand against the Blue Claws. Purchase tickets here, and find me at tonight's game!

Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds

Stiven Acevedo went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI in the series finale. Photo: John Topoleski

The Shorebird are still looking to get the ground running and click together. They dropped yet another series this past week, losing to the Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers -A) 4-1. The final game of the series was cancelled due to rain. This is the ebs and flows of a new group of Minor Leaguers though. This is a culture shock to them, and they are fresh into the professional baseball world after coming from college somewhere or out of the Florida leagues. As soon as they shake out all of the nerves and blend together more as a team, there should be nothing to stop this new squad of Baby Birds in the near future.

Delmarva is now 2-12 this season and sit in last place in the Carolina League. Here are three players that stood out this past week for Delmarva even amidst the series loss.

  • OF Stiven Acevedo: the 6'4" outfielder had a nice showing in the series finale, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs.

  • RHP Michael Forret: the 20-year-old from Matthews, North Carolina started the series finale and pitched well, going 5 shutout innings while allowing just 3 hits and striking out 8 batters.

  • RHP Trey Gibson: the righty threw the final 5 innings of Wednesday's game. The Wood Ducks failed to score against him as he struck out 8, walked one, and surrendered no hits.

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