Orioles 4/30 minor league recap: DL Hall dominates early in the season

Triple-A: Gwinnett Stripers (Braves) 8, Norfolk Tides 0

With their best hitter, Tyler Nevin, called up to the majors yesterday, the Tides offense suffered. Norfolk had just four hits, three singles, while four Stripers pitchers combined on a shutout. Robert Neustrom provided two of those hits; the rest of the Norfolk lineup was 2 for 25. Kyle Stowers and Jahmai Jones each went 0 for 3 with a walk. Stowers, the Orioles’ No. 8 prospect MLB pipelineis still OPS’ing .909.

Replacing promoted Kyle Bradish as Norfolk’s starter, Zac Lowther endured another tough outing, giving up four runs, eight hits and three walks in four innings to inflate his season ERA to 10.32. It’s been a surprisingly poor start to the season for Lowther, who was expected to fight for a spot in the Orioles’ rotation this year. Former Oriole Pat Valaika went 1 for 4 with a walk as Gwinnett’s designated hitter.

The score of the box

Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants) 2, Bowie Baysox 1

Antonio Velez, the centerpiece of the Tanner Scott/Cole Sulser trade with Miami just before Opening Day, had his best outing as a member of the O organization. Velez worked five solid innings and limited Richmond to a single hit and a walk, although the hit was a first-inning two-run homer that ultimately decided the game. Velez also had seven strikeouts. He was relieved by another former Marlins prospect, Easton Lucas, acquired in the trade from Jonathan Villar in 2019. Lucas pitched three scoreless innings.

Despite Velez and Lucas’ two combined hitters, the Baysox still lost, scraping just one run that night. This came courtesy of a bag fly Gunnar Henderson. Henderson (#3 prospect) also walked twice. Speedster Adam Hall (#28), cleaning up at bat, also walked twice. Jordan Westburg (#6) and Joseph Ortiz (#15) each took an 0-iron, but left fielder Dylan Harris continued his scorching start at Bowie, providing two of Baysox’s four hits.

By the way, Richmond’s starting pitcher was former Orioles prospect Gray Fenter. He threw three scoreless pitches, but also walked four and made two errors on selection pitches.

The score of the box

High-A: Aberdeen IronBirds 6, Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies) 1

Oh yeah, now we get to the good stuff. And the good stuff is exactly what No. 5 prospect DL Hall brought to the mound for the IronBirds on his 2022 debut. Hall, who had built himself up in extended spring training after a stress reaction in his left elbow cut his 2021 season short, didn’t miss a beat on his return to competition. Hall started the game by fanning the first four batters before DJ Stewart — no, not DJ Stewart — was picked. He was one of only two baserunners allowed by Hall in his four scoreless frames. He finished with six strikeouts and no walks, throwing 36 of 54 pitches for strikes. I would say he is ready to continue his progression to another minor league level. Connor Gillispie took over in droves and worked the last five innings, allowing just two hits and striking out seven.

The Aberdeen roster is brimming with prospects, as six of their nine hitters tonight were on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 list. That includes No. 1 prospect Adley Rutschman, who continued his rehab with a single and a walk. Recent rookie international Cesar Prieto (#12) continues to tear up to cover the ball, smashing his seventh homer of the young season on a two-hit day. It beats .328 with a cool 1.079 OPS. John Rhodes (#23) also homered and drove in three.

Colton Cowser (#4), Coby Mayo (#7), and Connor Norby (#11) weren’t as successful, each going 0 for 4. Cowser hit three times.

The score of the box

Low-A: Augusta GreenJackets (Braves) 6, Delmarva Shorebirds 4

A day after ending their seven-game losing streak, the Shorebirds fell again, falling to 6-13. A 1-for-13 performance with runners in scoring position ruined any chance for Delmarva to regroup from an early deficit. Darell Hernaiz blistered the ball again, making it 2 for 5 and scoring his fifth home run. It beats .322 with an OPS north of 1,000. The Orioles’ lone high school freshman of 2021, wide receiver Creed Willems, played his second game for Delmarva and went 0 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Tough day for third baseman Noelberth Romero, part of Andrew Cashner’s 2019 trade comeback, who went 0 for 3 and had two errors.

Starting pitcher Dan Hammer was, well, hammered. He struck out only four batters while allowing four runs, three hits and three walks. A four-run second inning gave the GreenJackets a lead they never relinquished.

The score of the box

Saturday’s scheduled matches:

  • Norfolk: at Gwinnett, 6:05 p.m. Starter: Cody Sedlock (2-0, 6.92)
  • Bowie: at Richmond, 6:05 p.m. Starter: Zach Peek (0-1, 4.15)
  • Aberdeen: vs. Jersey Shore, 6:05 p.m. Starter: Carlos Tavera (0-0, 5.79)
  • Delmarva: at Augusta, 6:05 p.m. Starter: Moises Chace (0-0, 4.15)

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