Baltimore Orioles Top Prospects: Who's Hot and Who's Not as of May 26
It's now been almost a month since we last saw 2010 No. 3-overall pick Manny Machado take the field, and while most of the focus on the Orioles minor-league system has been on him, that's not to say that there haven't been any bright spots in his absence.
Start with Mike Flacco, brother of Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, who took home South Atlantic League Hitter of the Week honors after an awe-inspiring performance.
There's also Tyler Townsend, who did a lot of damage over the past few days, and has continued to look like the most solid first-base candidate in the entire organization, even surpassing the 2010 break-out start of Joe Mahoney, who is still on the DL.
Unfortunately, there's also a fair share of players who have had terrible showings in the past week, including Ronnie Welty (.133), Matt Angle (.229) and Brenden Webb (.231).
So, without further ado, let's get into who's hot and who's not.
Hitter of the Week
Mike Flacco, 1B, Delmarva Shorebirds (Low Single-A)
Flacco had a very strong week, and for his efforts, he is not only noted here, but he was also awarded with the South Atlantic League's Hitter of the Week honor.
Going 18-for-33 will earn that for just about anyone.
In addition to his gaudy .545 average over the past week, Flacco (yes, Joe's younger brother) also has rapped six doubles and driven in five runs.
For the season, Flacco has upped his average to .316. He has surpassed Manny Machado and now has 23 RBI, good for third on the team. He has also shown a renewed approach at the plate. His BB-to-K ratio stands at an impressive 19-to-22.
Anyone who says that the O's didn't get a bargain with Flacco, who was a 31st-round pick back in 2009, is out of their mind.
Yes, he's too old, at 24, to be knocking around with these 18 and 19-year olds, but he's finally starting to look and, more importantly, hit like his own age.
Pitcher of the Week
Bobby Bundy, RHP, Frederick Keys (High Single-A)
Maybe it's the impending draft that has convinced Bundy he needs to turn on his afterburners, or maybe it's excitement at the prospect of the Orioles adding his brother to their stash in less than three weeks.
Either way, something has gotten into Bundy and he's finally starting to pitch like the guy that the team thought it was getting when it went over-slot to sign him back in 2008.
In his past two starts, Bundy is 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA.
On May 15th, he tossed six shutout innings, giving up only four hits and two walks. He struck out three, but was aided by a ton of ground-balls and some great offense from the Keys lineup.
Six days later, in his most recent start, Bundy threw eight magnificent innings in what was probably his best start as an Oriole. He gave up only three hits, surrendered one run and didn't walk a batter. He struck out eight batters, and most of the ones he didn't strike out, he retired on ground balls.
It seems like sometime between the end of last season and the beginning of the 2011 campaign, Bundy rediscovered his feel for pitching. His control (43:8 K:BB) has been outstanding and he's been incredibly tough to hit (.232 average against).
For the season, Bundy is 4-3 with a 2.42 ERA in eight starts.
Triple-A Norfolk Tides
Rhyne Hughes, 1B, 27 years old
Norfolk hasn't exactly been a hitter's haven this year, but Hughes has rebounded nicely from a slow start, hitting .310 over the past week with two home runs and eight RBI, including at least one in each of his last five contests. He's also added in four doubles in that span and has posted an even 4-to-4 BB-to-K ratio. For the season, Hughes is hitting .272 with six home runs and 24 RBI in 29 games.
Matt Angle, OF, 25 years old
Angle continues to scuffle in his first full season at Triple-A, although he did notch at least one hit in all but two of the past week's games. Still, he averaged just one hit every game, leaving his average for the week at .229. Fortunately, that number is good enough to boost his average for the year up to .185, and he looks poised to make a run at .200. And on another positive note, he hit his first home run of the season a few nights ago.
Double-A Bowie Baysox
Robbie Widlansky, 1B/OF, 26-years old
Before there was Kipp Schutz, there was Widlansky. The then 24-year-old hit .340 with 31 doubles, seven homers and 59 RBI in High Single-A in 2009. Now at Double-A, Widlansky heated up this past week, hitting .292 and putting together an eight-game hit streak that included three multi-hit contests. He drove in 11 runs in just nine games and rapped three doubles. For the season, Widlansky is hitting .256 with 14 doubles (tied for the organizational lead) and 28 RBI.
L.J. Hoes, 2B, 21 years old
Hoes recently joined Bowie after a tough 41-game stretch with Frederick, that saw him hit .241 with only 10 walks in 41 games. The promotion really jump-started his play, however, as he notched six hits in his first 12 at-bats. Two of them were doubles, and he drove in one RBI and swiped one base. Hoes is arguably the top infield prospect in the system, and the hot start at Double-A is reassuring for many who expected him to have a break-out year in 2011.
Steve Johnson, RHP, 23 years old
Back in the safe confines of Double-A, Johnson has continued to shine. This past week, he twirled seven scoreless innings for Bowie, allowing only three hits and picking up his second win of the year in eight starts. Johnson struggled to maintain any sense of control in two early-season Triple-A appearances, issuing six walks in 7.2 innings and surrendering 12 hits and nine runs. In Double-A, he's been much better, pitching to a 2.06 ERA and a 34-to-12 K-to-BB ratio in 35 innings.
Ronnie Welty, OF, 23 years old
Few O's farmhands had a worse week that Welty, who notched four hits in the week's first three games, and then went hitless in his next 15 at-bats, a streak that is still running. That comes out to a .133 average for the week, lowering his season number to .212, and while the power trade-off (seven HR in 44 games) is nice, Welty is going to have to maintain his average a bit better in order to be effective as he moves on to Triple-A and possibly the majors. Strikeouts have once again killed him, ending around 30 percent of his at-bats.
High Single-A Frederick Keys
Bobby Stevens, INF, 24 years old
It's a struggle to find someone at Frederick who had a great showing last week. Stevens comes the closest. The O's 16th-round pick in 2008 hit an even .300 over the past week with hits in all but one game. He hit two home runs and drove in three runs. For the season, Stevens is hitting .245, mostly in spot starts here and there. He has shown good pop, with four homers in just 49 at-bats. Sadly, this is Steven's third-straight year in High Single-A ball.
Tyler Townsend, 1B, 23 years old
Thanks to a stellar 4-for-4 showing last night, Townsend has upped his average for the week to .323, and back above .300 for the season. He hit nothing but singles last night, but for the year he's been an extra-base hit machine, pacing the organization with eight home runs and 14 doubles. He also has two triples. He ranks fourth in the system with 29 RBI as well, and if it wasn't for his 3-to-42 BB-to-K ratio, Townsend might be getting some serious prospect love.
Ryan O'Shea, RHP, 24 years old
O'Shea was having a sterling start to the 2011 season before becoming derailed in his last start on May 19. After five consecutive starts of at least five innings, O'Shea couldn't even make it out of the fourth. He was shelled to the tune of seven hits and nine runs, eight of which were earned and bumped his ERA from the mid-2.00 range to 3.79. It also marked the second-straight start that the right-hander had issued more walks than strikeouts.
Low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds
Kipp Schutz, OF, 23 years old
It finally happened. Schutz earned a promotion to High Single-A Frederick after contining his hot streak, hitting in all but one game over the past week, and notching multiple hits in two contests. He finished the week with a .368 average, keeping steady with his .381 mark for the season. On May 20, he had himself one heck of a ballgame, rapping three doubles, scoring twice and driving in one run. For the month of May, Schutz's average is hovering close to .400.
Tyler Kelly, 3B, 22 years old
Kelly has also maintained his pace that saw him win "Hitter of the Month" honors last week. He racked up 13 hits over the past week in only eight games. He was, of course, aided by a 5-for-5 day in which he also smacked a two-run home run. He had four multi-hit games for the week and drove in four runs. His average stands at .346 for the season.
Brenden Webb, OF, 21 years old
The O's thought they had a steal in Webb, a rangy, toolsy outfielder they scooped up in the 30th round in 2009. Sadly, he has failed to translate his tools into game play, struggling to hit above .200 for most of his career. This season has been more of the same. His average currently sits at .194, and that's after a pretty solid week that saw him hit .231. Still, he keeps racking up the strikeouts, and now has 52 in only 124 at-bats. That number leads the team by 17! Webb has also been sloppy on the base paths, getting caught in 3-of-7 attempts.