When a guy has his own personal fan club, somewhere along the line you have to name him Shorebird of the Week – so why not right off the top to start the year with a bang! My first SotW for 2008 is infielder Pedro Florimon, Jr.
The Dominican native is beginning his fifth year in baseball, having started with the Orioles’ entry in the Dominican Summer League in 2004-2005 and working his way up the ladder once he came here to the United States. While there have been several of these seasons where Pedro has struggled at the plate (in 2007 Pedro hit just .197 here in 111 games and 371 at-bats, along with .213 and .200 marks in his two Dominican seasons over 330 at-bats) obviously the Orioles hope to see the 21 year old return to 2006 form, where he surprised observers by slapping the ball around at a .293 clip (66 for 225 between Bluefield and Aberdeen.) Last year Pedro did establish career highs in at-bats, home runs (4) and RBI (34) and was fourth on the squad with 16 stolen bases in his first full campaign.
This year will obviously be a key one for Pedro as he’s now relatively close in age to the league’s peer group. No longer will he have the excuse of being a little younger than the competition and maybe in a little over his head. But if Pedro can pick up the average to a more respectable level, the departure of fixture Miguel Tejada at the big-league level means the Orioles may be looking for another long-term fix at short and Florimon could get some notice.