Baltimore Orioles Prospects off to the Most Shocking Hot Starts

Drew Reynolds@dreynoldsawlContributor IIIApril 25, 2013

Baltimore Orioles Prospects off to the Most Shocking Hot Starts

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    With Dylan Bundy's health a concern, the Baltimore Orioles and their fans are collectively holding their breath, hoping for positive news.

    However, the Orioles have plenty of other prospects other than Bundy.

    Some of those prospects have struggled so far to begin 2013. Top fielding prospect Jonathan Schoop is having some trouble adjusting to Triple-A, while pitching prospects Mike Wright and Brandon Kline have ERAs over 6.00. Even last year's fourth overall draft pick, Kevin Gausman, has had a couple a rough outings so far this season.

    Still, a few prospects who have been extremely impressive in the early stages of the season. Here are the Orioles' prospects who are off to the hottest starts.

L.J. Hoes

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    Team: Triple-A Norfolk

    Position: OF

    Age: 23

    A third-round pick by the Orioles in 2008, L.J. Hoes' numbers in the first couple week were quite mundane.

    But after three straight multi-hit games, where he's gone 8-for-12 with six RBI, his average now stands at a healthy .292 through 17 games. He's also picked up 13 RBI while scoring 12 runs.

    After hitting .300 in 2012, Hoes' start isn't the most shocking of the bunch. Still, he's been impressive nonetheless, and he's now clearly the Orioles' top outfield prospect over Xavier Avery.

Zelous Wheeler

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    Team: Double-A Bowie

    Position: 3B

    Age: 26

    Despite not being considered a top prospect, Zelous Wheeler was off to a scorching start before being placed on the seven-day DL.

    Wheeler was claimed off waivers by the O's at the beginning of the 2012 season and spent most of the year as Bowie's starting third baseman.

    While he hit .275 last season, Wheeler's been much better to start 2013. So far in nine games with Baysox this season, Wheeler has gone 15-for-38, which is good for a .395 average. He's also picked up five doubles, a couple a steals and seven RBI.

Kyle Hudson

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    Team: Double-A Bowie

    Position: OF

    Age: 26

    The name, Kyle Hudson, should ring a bell to many Orioles' fans, as the 26-year-old spent time with the Birds back in 2011. And after spending a year split between Philadelphia's and Tampa's Triple-A affiliates, Hudson is back in the Orioles' system.

    While the fourth-round pick by the O's in 2008 was never known as much of a hitter, and despite the fact that 18 of his 20 hits this year are singles, Hudson's stat line impresses. Through 16 games, the 26-year-old is averaging .364, while driving in nine RBI and scoring 11 runs. He's also stolen four bases.

Caleb Joseph

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    Team: Double-A Bowie

    Position: 1B/C/DH

    Age: 26

    It seems that not catching every day, but instead being Bowie's everyday DH, has been extremely beneficial to Caleb Joseph.

    A seventh-round pick back in '08, Joseph caught 81 games in 2012. Through 17 games this year, he's only been behind the plate twice.

    While his numbers were respectable last season (.272, 12 homers) split between Triple-A and Double-A, Joseph's numbers this year stand out. He's hitting at a .313 clip, while slugging .657. He's leading the Baysox with five homers and 21 RBI.

Nick Delmonico

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    Team: Advanced-A Frederick

    Position: 3B

    Age: 20

    One of the Orioles top hitting prospects, Nick Delmonico has had a very nice beginning to the 2013 season.

    Delmonico was a sixth-round pick out of high school by the O's in 2011 and struggled some of 2012 with Single-A Delmarva, hitting only .249. But 2013 has been much nicer to the 20-year-old.

    Though an injury has limited Delmonico to 11 games with the Keys, his line stands at .325/.471/.600. He's hit two homers, driven in nine and leads the team with five doubles.

Matthew Hobgood

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    Team: Single-A Delmarva

    Position: P

    Age: 22

    The fifth overall pick in 2009's draft, the Orioles had high hopes for Matt Hobgood. But after struggling most of his first three years in professional baseball, Hobgood missed the entirety of 2012 injured.

    Now fully recovered, the 22-year-old is back and has been better than ever.

    In six relief appearances for the Delmarva Shorebirds, he has gone 11 innings and has yet to allow a run. Walks continue to be a slight issue, but Hobgood has only allowed five hits and has been impressive regardless.

Creede Simpson

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    Team: Single-A Delmarva

    Position: OF/2B

    Age: 23

    Despite being relatively unknown, Creede Simpson's performance for the Shorebirds so far garners attention.

    A 25th round draft selection out of Auburn in last year's draft, he spent last year in the O's organization struggling with Aberdeen, the Orioles Short-Season-A affiliate.

    This year the 23-year-old is greatly improved. Simpson leads the Shorebirds in average and in every power category. Through 16 games, his line stands at .389/.460/.611. He's hit three homers and has driven in an impressive 17 runs.


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    After barely missing out on the opening day roster, Zach Britton has started off nicely in Triple-A. Despite control issues, he's carrying a sub-2.00 ERA through three starts.

    Many of catchers have been impressive in the Orioles organization. Luis Martinez and Brian Ward have been splitting time in Bowie and both are averaging well over .300. While in Delmarva, Wynston Sawyer is helping propel the Shorebirds offense with his .367 average.

    Delmarva, as a team, has been rather impressive hitting-wise. Other than Simpson and Sawyer, shortstop Joel Hutter and first baseman Christian Walker have also been impressive, as both are hitting well over .350.

    Prospects Tim Berry and Eduardo Rodriguez have easily been Frederick's best two starter pitchers.

    While Matt Taylor and Josh Hader both have very solid sub-2.50 ERAs starting for Delmarva.