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The Prospect Pod – Baltimore On The Rise

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MLB Debut

Grayson Rodriguez BAL – The Baltimore Orioles called up the right-hander Grayson Rodriguez to start against Jacob Degrom and the Texas Rangers. Rodriguez went 5 innings striking out 5 batters and giving up 4 hits and 1 walk. It was a solid line for Rodriguez given the Rangers scored almost 30 runs on the Phillies a few days prior. Grayson kept batters to a .211 average against in his MLB Debut if he can continue to miss bats as he has shown in the minor leagues this will be an exciting pitcher to watch this season.

Baltimore On The Rise

Connor Norby BAL– Norby has hit the ground running in 6 games at AAA Norfolk slashing .308/.379/.538 with 2 HR, 8 R, and 6 RBIs in 26 ABs. What stood out to me was Baltimore is having Norby get work in LF in Norfolk. This gives Norby versatility and gives him better opportunities to stick at the major league level. There is no doubt the bat will play in the majors but now with the positional flexibility Baltimore will be able to flex the strong bats coming up the minors all over the diamond.

Samuel Basallo BAL– A name to watch this season in Baltimore’s slugging catcher Samuel Basallo. Coming out of the Dominican Republic Samuel Basallo has big power from the left side of the plate and took a step forward with the bat in 2022 with his contact skills. In rookie ball, Basallo slashed .278/.350/.424 with 6 HR, 32 RBIs in 43 games played. The walk rate was solid at 8% as well as the strikeout rate sat at 20.6% giving a good launching point into the 2023 season at A- Delmarva. In the first game played, Basallo crushed a home run to dead center in Salem Virginia, No small feat in a ballpark with walls 15-20 feet high. Basallo is a catcher for now but the Orioles have been working him at first base as well where the bat would play up best. Keep your eyes on Basallo this season as he should be primed to rise in rankings.

Heston Kjerstad BAL– Taken in the 1st round 2nd overall in the 2020 draft Kjerstad has had a difficult and scary path to where he is now. A viral inflammation of the heart kept Kjerstad out of game action until the 2022 season. In A- and A+ combined Kjerstad slashed .309/.394/.457 with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 5 home runs in 65 games played. After winning the Arizona fall league MVP Kjerstad looked primed for a quick rise in 2023 being assigned to AA Bowie to start the season. It didn’t take long for Heston Kjerstad to get his first home run, slugging an absolute rocket in the first game of the season, showing off what the Orioles expected when he was drafted 2nd overall.

Around The League

Wilmer Flores DET– AA Erie debut for Wilmer Flores was strong with 4 IP, 6 K’s, 2 hits, 0 ER with a swinging strike rate of 16.2%. Flores came on the scene strong in 2022 striking out 130 batters in 103.1 innings keeping batters to a .209 average against combined in A+ and AA. Flores features a four-pitch mix in Fastball, Cutter, Curveball and Change up that rack up the strikeouts. Flores Starts the season back in AA but could make the jump to AAA if he continues his hot start.

Sal Frelick MIL– With the call of Wiemer to the majors to join former top prospect Garrett Mitchell the last outfield piece in the minors is Sal Frelick. Sal wasted no time getting his season started at AAA. Frelick reached base 6 times as he had 2 hits including a triple, 2 stolen bases, and 3 walks. With the ability to hit for contact at every stop in the minors to this point it won’t be long till Frelick joins the outfield “Brew Crew”.

Ronny Mauricio NYM– Slammed his 3rd home run of the season in AAA Syracuse. Crushing it at 106 mph off the bat. Mauricio has made some swing adjustments over the off-season resulting in success in the Dominican winter league where he won MVP. Carrying that hype into spring training Ronny Mauricio did not disappoint, hitting the ball with authority and slamming 3 HRs in 7 at-bats. Now in Syracuse Mauricio is slashing .323/.344/.710 in 8 games played. Though it’s a small sample size it looks like the changes made to the swing are paying off and Mauricio needs to be a target as he makes his final push to join the Mets in 2023.

Assigned Prospects

Greensboro Grasshoppers (A+)– Anthony Solometo, Bubba Chandler, Sammy Siani, Hudson Head

Greenville Drive BOS (A+) – Marcelo Mayer, Blaze Jordan, Wilkelman Gonzalez, Eddinson Paulino

Richmond SFG (AA)– Luis Matos, Ryan Murphy, Mason Black, Patrick Bailey, Carson Seymour

Montgomery TBR (AA)– Mason Montgomery, Mason Auer, Cole Wilcox, Greg Jones, Heriberto Hernandez

Prospect Check in

Chayce McDermott BAL- McDermott has big strikeout upside as he has shown in the Astros organization and now with the Orioles. His most recent outing shows some of the upside he has as he went 4 innings with no hits, no runs and 2 walks and 6 strikeouts in a four inning save for AA Bowie. The walks have been the only major concern for McDermott who hasn’t had a walk rate below 4.9% at any stop (With more than 5 IP). The strikeout rate sits around 13.5% which would make him elite if he stays a starter though the walks will have to come down for that to happen. Either way there is big upside here for a prospect that hasn’t been talked about enough.

Maikel Garcia KCR- If you are looking for a close proximity prospect that has had MLB experience and should be the first one up in case of injury. Check out Maikel Garcia the infielder is currently at AAA slashing .367/.500/.567 with 3 doubles, 12 RBI’s, 1 HR and 2 stolen bases in 8 games played. The 23 year old is holding a 20% strikeout rate on par with his career average and walking a ton in the short sample size this season (25.7% currently but typically holds a 9% walk rate).

Emmet Sheehan LAD- Making his AA Tulsa debut Emmet Sheehan went 5 Innings striking out 8 while not allowing a hit, walk or earned run. Partially overshadowed by the big pitcher names in the Dodgers organization Sheehan has big upside and has been rising in rankings over the off-season. The 6’5” Sheehan had a strong season in A+ in 2022 striking out 101 batters in 63.2 innings pitched holding batters to a .178 average against. Sheehan finished the year in AA only pitching 4.1 innings to finish the season. Keep Sheehan on your watch list in 2023 as he should finish the year in AAA and make a push for a debut by year’s end.

Andrew Abbott CIN- Starting the season back at AA Chattanooga Andrew Abbott struck out the first 9 batters he faced to start his season. Abbott had impressive strikeout numbers in 2022 striking out 13.33% of batters at A+ in 27 innings pitched. The Reds promoted Abbott swiftly to AA Chattanooga where he kept a 11.77% strikeout rate over 91 innings pitched. Abbott struggled slightly with the walks as they jumped from 2.33% at A+ to 4.05% at AA. If Abbot can get the walks back down in 2023 he should be fast tracked to a Reds rotation that needs some help in the 4th and 5th starting spots.

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