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Big Name Baby Birds Fall into Slumps

Colton Cowser spring training 2022
Colton Cowser (Craig Landefeld/GulfBird Sports)
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While the Major League Orioles are hot right now, the minors continue to play on, and specific prospects find success, while others are not so lucky.

Today we have the second edition of the Who’s Hot and Who’s Not Series for the Birds’ minor leagues. The numbers will be from the past week for the hitters, and for the pitchers, they need at least five innings.

From Low-A to Triple-A, let us determine who is hot right and who isn’t.

Delmarva Shorebirds

Who’s Hot: Juan De Los Santos, SP

27 innings, 1.67 Era, Five runs allowed, 28/11 K/BB ratio.

De Los Santos is one of the more underrated pitching prospects in the Orioles system. He is a massive human being, listed at 6’3 250 pounds. The 19-year-old has put up some impressive numbers so far in Delmarva, allowing just five runs this year while limiting the damage, as he does walk some batters. He has some really impressive strikeout stuff that he mixes in with his deceptive delivery. That delivery, mixed in with his height, makes him feel harder to hit than his pure stuff might suggest, which can be seen in the amount of strikeouts that he has produced. De Los Santos looks to be going down the same path as Jean Pinto as a young starting pitcher who was on nobody’s radar that puts his name on the map.

Who’s Not: Creed Willems, C

.067/.125/.067, .192 Ops, 0 HR, 5 K, 1 BB

This one hurt to put on this list. In some ways, it isn’t that surprising that Willems is struggling, as he’s an 18-year-old catcher still trying to adjust to full-season Baseball. He has explosive powe, and he has put in a lot of work on his defense as he gets better at his receiving and throwing skills. Defensively he looks solid this year; runners were testing him early when he first got to Delmarva, and he threw out all of those that tried to steal on him. Creed just needs time to adjust to full-season baseball; he is too talented to struggle offensively. I like that he has improved defensively, and I think that he can improve and is teachable.

Aberdeen Ironbirds

Who’s Hot: Jacob Teter, 1B

.417/.467/.583, 1.050 Ops, Two Doubles, 4 K/2 BB

Jacob Teter has an interesting profile. He is actually a good defensive First Baseman with the ability to get on base and spray line drives all over the ballpark. Teter showed his ability to drive the ball and get on base this week. I am not sure where he fits into the organization long-term, but he is a good defender at first as he can scoop balls out of the dirt and move better than his 6’6 frame suggests.

Who’s Not: Coby Mayo, 3B

.154/.267/.231, .498 Ops, Two hits in Thirteen At-Bats.

The Ironbirds don’t have many slumping hitters right now, so this one was a hard choice. It came down between Colton Cowser and Mayo, but I gave the edge to Cowser because of his better OBP. Mayo only had two hits this week but only had two strikeouts which is interesting. He just got unlucky this week as it seems that the majority of his at-bats were either groundouts or flyouts. He also didn’t hit anything hard this week while not walking. Though he went through a slump this week, I have no doubt Mayo bounces back offensively. Of course, Mayo is good defensively at third and made a couple of plays at third this week.

Bowie Baysox

Who’s Hot: Garrett Stallings P

6.0 IP, 5 K/2 BB, No Runs Allowed, No Hits Allowed, part of a No-Hitter.

When a pitcher throws a no-hitter, that is considered good, right? Being a part of a no-hitter should be an automatic lock on the Who’s Hot section. Stallings was another pitcher acquired by the Orioles from the Angels, and while it hasn’t all been pretty, he has been great this year, and being a part of this no-hitter was the icing on the cake for Stallings so far. He has been a grinder in this system, and it’s finally being rewarded with his success this year in AA. I hope to see more of him because the Orioles are going to need these pitchers to step up as graduations continue.

Who’s Not: Hudson Haskin, LF

.000/.235/.000, No Hits, .235 Ops, 4 K/2 BB

Haskin is the perfect transition from one no-hitter to another. In all seriousness having no hits in a week is tough. It is especially tough because of just how good he was at the start of the season, and having a week of no hits could potentially hurt his confidence. Of course, I hope this doesn’t happen because Haskin has potential. I have already talked a lot about what makes him so good, but he is a great contact hitter with good power and defense to back it up. This week was rough for Haskin, but I think he will bounce back. 

Norfolk Tides

Who’s Hot: Grayson Rodriguez. P, 5.1 Innings Pitched, Two Hits Allowed, Five Strikeouts to Three Walks.

If you thought GrayRod was slumping because of the Gwinnett scoreboard keepers and lousy defense, you have another thing coming. Rodriguez looked great in his last start, and he threw a season-high number of pitches. He is close to the majors, yet I can’t quite predict when he gets called up. I will say if the rotation starts to look a little leaky, promoting him would be the easiest way to fill it out. The question is, for who? Spenser Watkins looked rough last night and has been getting lucky this year, so maybe the rookie fits into Watkins’s rotation spot. The Orioles can and will make room for the best pitching prospect, and I can’t wait until I can see and write about GrayRod in the majors this year. Get excited, Orioles fans; they are almost here.

Who’s Not: Kyle Stowers, RF, .059/.111/.059, .170 Ops, One Hit in Five Games, 7 K/1 BB

Stowers was playing well this year, so it is disappointing to see him struggle like this. He still has his defense in right, but seeing him rack up the strikeouts again is sad because he has improved his plate discipline this year. Stowers can bounce back because he has it in him and his power will show eventually, but taking a step back in his plate discipline with some strikeouts was disappointing because he was moving in such a good direction.

Thank you for reading, and come back next week for another update.

Mike Elias on his laptop.
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