While the Major League Orioles are scuffling, the minors continue to play on, and specific prospects find success, while others are not so lucky.
Today we have the third edition of the Who’s Hot and Who’s Not Series for the Orioles 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’s determine who is hot right now and who isn’t.
Who’s Hot: Creed Willems, C
.350/.450/.824, 1 HR, 1 2B, 2 3B, 1.274 Ops.
Wow, what a turn from form last year. It seems like the young catcher is starting to figure it out because look at those numbers. Willems is hitting for some serious power right and making a ton of contact. Willems looks comfortable at the plate right now, and that is a scary sight for opp0sing pitchers. He has some serious power and a vicious left-handed swing that can eradicate baseballs. Willems has already thrown out six runners so far, so he is showing his power on defense and offense. This is an exciting prospect, and he will be fun to watch for a while.
Who’s Not: Luis Valdez, SS
.100/.182/.150, .332 Ops, Two Hits, 1 2B
The Shorebirds are hot right now, after a very slow start, so this was a bit tough to say who wasn’t hot. However, Valdez won out due to his low number of hits and walks this week. He didn’t put the ball in play this week, nor did he walk or hit the ball hard. Valdez was off to a hot start, so this is disappointing. He is still a threat on the base paths and good defensively, so he can make up for his lack of offense. This bad week happens sometimes, so let us hope Valdez bounces back next week like his teammate.
Who’s Hot: Cesar Prieto, SS
.389/.421/.500, .921 Ops, Seven hits, 2 2B
Prieto has been itching to be on an edition of this series. He was dealing with an injury, so he hasn’t made it onto the list quite yet. Now that he is back, he hasn’t been wasting any time. Prieto looks amazing and is much more advanced than the High-A level. He should be promoted pretty soon because he is too good for this level of pitching. Prieto also has a great arm with smooth footwork in the infield. It feels good to include Prieto in one of these articles, and I’m hoping he gets moved up soon because he just looks too advanced for the level.
Who’s Not: Donta’ Williams, OF
.111/.111/.333, .444 Ops, Two hits, 1 HR, 1 2B
Donta’ Williams is a defense-first outfielder, so it might not be that surprising he is scuffling right now. However, Williams was hitting decently well this year, so this looks like a slump he is going through. Williams is a tremendous defender and runner, but he needs to get on base more so he can unless his full potential. As a pretty patient hitter, he could easily break out of this slump. Williams is a good prospect and this should just be a bump in the road.
Who’s Hot: Gunnar Henderson, SS
.263/. 444/.842, Five hits, 3 HR, 6/4 BB/K
I never said that prospects couldn’t make multiple appearances on these lists. Gunnar is putting himself into some serious company with his excellent play over these last couple of weeks. He is the Birds’ most talented prospect outside of Adley and Gray Rod right now, and he deserves to be in any MLB top 30 prospects list. Gunnar has one of the most coveted abilities in baseball: being patient and hitting for power consistently. Henderson also has some insane arm strength at either short or third base with great glove work. This guy is special, and he has done nothing but impress this year and deserves to get called up to Triple-A soon.
Who’s Not: J.D. Mundy, 1B
.250/.294/.313, .607 Ops, Four hits, 1 2B
The Baysox are another hot team, so it is hard to find one prospect that is struggling. I decided on Mundy. He is better than this, so he could easily break out of this slump next week, but he earns the place this week. J.D. just didn’t do enough damage this week and couldn’t get on base enough.
Who’s Hot: Grayson Rodriguez. P, 5.1 Innings pitched, Three hits allowed, 11 K/3 BB
Sometimes you run out of things to say about prospects, and they have nothing left to prove. Grayson Rodriguez is one of those prospects. Gray Rod is back to being nasty, and he looks better than ever. He is feeling his off-speed pitches right now, causing his strikeouts to spike over his last two starts. Gray Rod is just too powerful for Triple-A and deserves to be in the majors. When is that date? Nobody knows; it could be next week or two weeks; it just depends on when the front office feels his innings are at a point where he deserves to get called up.
Who’s Not: Cadyn Grenier, SS, .118/.286/.176, .462 Ops, Two hits.
Let’s get one thing straight; if Cadyn Grenier had above-average offense he would be in the majors by now because man can he field at short. He is so slick at short that he might be the best defensive shortstop in the system. The main issue is his offense is holding Grenier back from not only making the majors, but it might be costing him his future with the organization. Every year we go into a season hoping his offense takes a step forward to at least make him a piece for the future, yet it never happens. Grenier just isn’t hitting right now, and it doesn’t seem like he ever really will. His profile of a defense-first shortstop still fits in the majors, so maybe he becomes that, but I don’t know where he will get that opportunity. It could be with the Orioles, but it is hard to predict where he fits in with the budding stars in the minors at short right now.
Thank you for reading, and come back next week for another update.