Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Second baseman Buck Britton could see time on the same club as his older brother.
Cuban defector OF Henry Urrutia was riding a six-game hitting streak before an 0-for-4 performance last night. Prior to his oh-fer, Urrutia had racked up hits in 10 of his last 21 at-bats.
For the month of June, the 26-year-old is hitting .391 with three home runs, 11 RBI and 10 runs in 11 games. He now sits atop the Eastern League with a .347 average, and he ranks in the top 10 in on-base percentage (eighth) and slugging percentage (fifth) despite appearing in just 44 games.
His performance this month shouldn't come as a total shock. After all, he did put up a .348/.417/.478 line in May. The front office is insistent on leaving Urrutia with Bowie, citing the two-year layoff he had before joining up with the club prior to the 2013 season, although at some point his performance will force a promotion. And don't think a late-season call-up to Baltimore is out of the question.
From a hulking presence in Urrutia to a diminutive baseball rat in 2B Buck Britton.
Britton has been nearly as good as the Cuban so far this month, raking to the tune of a .379/.406/.517 in 58 June at-bats. He's already rapped five doubles and driven in eight runs, which is quite the accomplishment for a guy who checks in at 6'1'' and 160 pounds.
The brother of current Oriole Zach, the younger Britton has raked at every level, hitting .297 with 63 RBI in 2011, .289 with 54 RBI in 2012 and now .304 with 42 RBI this season. He isn't exactly the kind of prospect the O's are looking for to fill Brian Roberts' spot at second base, but don't be surprised if he gets a shot to prove his worth before the year is over.
The O's drafted C Caleb Joseph mostly on the strength of his bat six years ago, and it was that bat that got him to Triple-A last season. He didn't hit too well and was sent back to Double-A this year, and his bat has really responded. He's put together a .365/.382/.558 line during the month of June, and his two home runs have boosted his season total to a career-high 13.
Joseph currently ranks 14th in the Eastern League with a .299 average, and he checks in inside the top 10 in hits (10th), doubles (sixth), home runs (second), RBI (second), total bases (third) and slugging percentage (fourth).
On the mound, RHP Tim Bascom has finally made a reappearance. Pitching out of the bullpen full time now, he's excelled, allowing just four earned runs all season in eight appearances spanning nearly 20 innings.
Bascom made 128 starts for various affiliates the past six years, producing average results.
Remember when LHP Zach Clark won 15 games last season while holding down a sub-3.00 ERA?
Regardless of whether you do, you have to be disappointed by the 29-year-old's encore. In 11 appearances this season in the minors, he's 2-6 with a 6.52 ERA. He wasn't helped by his two most recent starts. He surrendered four runs on nine hits against New Britain and then two runs in two innings in his most recent start, which he was forced to leave due to an undisclosed injury.
Rumor has it that Clark is going to be sent to Sarasota this summer to learn the art of the knuckleball, a project that fellow rotation-mate Eddie Gamboa has already begun.
The bump from Frederick to Bowie has been a rough one for RHP Devin Jones, Baltimore's ninth-round selection in 2011. He's been hit hard in every one of his 12 starts with the Baysox, and it looks like the abuse is finally getting to him.
In three June starts, he's given up 20 hits and 13 runs (10 earned) in just 17 innings. He's been especially weak against right-handed hitters, serving up six of his eight homers on the season to them. For the season, Jones' ERA is up to 4.84.
As bad as Jones has been, LHP Jake Pettit has been worse. Much, much worse.
The lefty went through a solid stretch in which he went 8.0 and then 7.2 innings in back-to-back starts, but since then he has allowed 12 runs on 13 hits in just 7.2 innings. His last start saw him forced out before he could finish the fourth inning. He gave up nine runs and compounded his issues by walking five batters, tying a season high. The two rough outings raised Pettit's ERA for June to 9.98 and for the season to 5.20.
Like Jones, his strong start to the season has been all but forgotten.
The Baysox's bad luck has extended to their relief corps as well, even touching the previously unhittable LHP Jason Gurka. The former 15th-round selection (2008) pitched to a 2.08 ERA in April and posted a 1.96 mark in May. In that period, he racked up 35 strikeouts in 21.1 innings and walked just 11.
He's made only three appearances in June, and he's already walked five batters and pitched to a 6.00 ERA. Don't expect the rough stretch to last much longer, as Gurka has been arguably the top reliever in the system for the past two years.