Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Delmonico was putting together an incredible campaign for Low-A Delmarva last year when he suffered a knee injury that limited him to just 95 games. Still, finishing the year with 22 doubles, 11 homers and 54 RBI, to go along with a 47:73 BB:K, is quite an impressive feat for a 19-year-old in his first professional season.
This year, Delmonico has been even better against better competition, hitting .333/.467/.611 in 10 games for Frederick. He's got four doubles, two homers and nine RBI and has once again shown incredible plate discipline, drawing more walks (nine) than strikeouts (eight). And he's been an absolute beast with runners in scoring position, hitting .455 with eight RBI.
Delmonico's production is all the more impressive when you consider that he's one of three lineup regular's hitting above .241.
Left-hander Tim Berry has been sneaking up on people for a couple of years now, but this might be the year that he explodes. Through three starts, Berry has racked up 21 strikeouts in 17 innings, ranking him second in the Carolina League. In his most recent start, which was arguably his most inconsistent, he struck out 11 batters in six innings in a losing effort.
In his two previous starts, the former 50th-round pick (2009) allowed just two runs in 11 innings while getting 10 punchouts.
Berry checked in at No. 12 on MLB.com's list of the O's top 20 prospects before the year.
The transition of Brian Matusz from historically-bad starting pitcher to top-notch reliever has opened the eyes of several O's prospects and given hope to many who thought they were destined to be forever stuck in what baseball people call the "AAAA" zone. Former seventh-rounder (2011) Trent Howard is getting the jump on the process before that becomes his fate, making the move to the bullpen this year and like Matusz, the results have been brilliant.
In three appearances, spanning six innings, Howard has yet to allow a run and has surrendered only three hits. He's got nine strikeouts and has issued just two walks. It's still early, but Howard has the look of a loogy (lefty one-out guy) who could help the O's as early as this year.
It's not often that one sees a experienced Vanderbilt product struggle so mightily in the big leagues, especially one who was as prolific as Jason Esposito was for the Commodores. Still, since signing as the team's second-round pick back in 2011, Esposito has underwhelmed dramatically. Coming off a season in which he hit .209/.260/.277 in 123 games, the 22-year-old is back at it, hitting a paltry .194 with 10 strikeouts in 36 at-bats.
And that speed that allowed him to steal 66 bases in three seasons for Vandy has been nowhere to be found, resulting in just eight steals, including none this year, in 132 games for the organization.
Few pitchers in the organization are thought of as highly as 22-year-old Jesse Beal, so much in fact that he was the one tabbed to make a impromptu start late in spring training for the Orioles. That game went badly for Beal. Unfortunately, the season so far has gone worse.
In four appearances, all in relief, Beal has been shelled. All of the damage has come in the last two outings, which have included 11 hits, three walks and nine earned runs in 4.1 innings.
Beal, a former 14th-round pick (2008), made the full-time conversion to relieving last year and while he looked good at times he did give up a fair share of hits (71 in 59.1 IP).