Manny Machado, SS
The Orioles 2010 first-round pick has looked as good as advertised in 12 Low-A contests. Showing an excellent approach at the plate and a line-drive stroke, he has failed to reach base in only three games. He's hitting .295 with three doubles, a triple, eight runs scored and six RBI. And he's got an impressive eight walks and only seven strikeouts. Even more impressive for a player with only 76 professional at-bats, teams are pitching around him at a ridiculous rate. He was walked four times in the night-game of April 9th's doubleheader, including once intentionally.
Jason Gurka, LHP
Gurka has always been a strikeout machine. He racked up 46 Ks last season at Aberdeen in only 38.1 innings, but what he did on April 9th almost defies all logic. Pitching in relief, Gurka struck out ten batters in only 3.2 innings of work.
After loading the bases in the eighth-inning, Gurka retired the heart of the Greensboro lineup on three consecutive strikeouts. In case you were wondering, his strikeout-rate is 17.2 batters per nine innings. Gurka was a 15th-round pick in 2008, and has 14 Ks in 7.1 innings and a 2.45 ERA.
Kipp Schutz, OF
Schutz came to the Orioles as a 19th-round pick in 2009, out of Indiana University, where he hit .392 his junior season, earning all Big-Ten honors. The 23-year-old has continued his hot-hitting ways since graduating to pro-ball. That included a NYPL All-Star season last year at Aberdeen, where he hit .313 with 11 doubles, five triples, four homers, and 45 RBI in 68 games.
This season, the O's understandably bumped Schutz up to Low-A ball, where he has continued to rake, hitting .370 with four doubles, one triple, two homers and a team-leading 12 RBI in only 11 games. His finest game came on April 10th. Schutz went 4-for-5 at the plate, with a three-run homer, a two-run double and an RBI single. He also scored two runs. You can make the argument that Schutz is playing at a very high level, but you also have to take into consideration that he's a 23-year-old playing in Low-A ball, so dominating is exactly what he should be doing.
Trent Mummey, OF
Mummey was the team's fourth-round pick last year after showing an excellent combination of speed and power at Auburn. He had a great debut last summer and he's carried that momentum over into this season. Through 13 games he has 10 steals and two homers, while maintaining a solid .294 average. He's been especially hot over the past six games, hitting .409 with two homers, four RBI and seven steals. Like Schoop and Machad, Mummey has showed excellent discipline at the plate, walking nine times.
Mychal Givens, 2B
Givens has already had to endure playing second fiddle to Machado AND a position change (SS to 2B), and it looks like it's affecting his play early in 2011. Hitting high in the Shorebirds lineup, Givens is 5-for-43 (.116), posting the worst average on the team through 13 games. He doesn't have any extra-base hits, only two RBI and 10 strikeouts.
Tim Berry, LHP
It's hard to have a worse full season debut than Berry had last week. Making his first ever start, Berry lasted only 1.1 innings. He did, however, spend a good amount of time on the mound. The 20-year-old lefty walked six batters and surrendered five earned runs, all while giving up only one hit. Go figure. Berry was sensational out of the O's GCL squad's bullpen last year, striking out 23 batters in 20 innings, but he did flash some control issues (14 walks). His second outing was a little bit better (5 IP, 1 ER), but he did surrender his first homer of the season and issued four walks to only one strikeout. His ERA sits at 8.53.