Shorebird of the Week – August 2, 2012

Michael Ohlman getting ready to perform his standard designated hitter duties.

To say the least, Michael Ohlman has endured a rocky 2012 season.

After being injured in a single-car accident during spring training near his Florida home, Ohlman then received the embarrassment of being suspended 50 games for violating the minor league baseball substance abuse policy. And even upon his return to the Shorebirds’ lineup last month, Ohlman has served strictly as a designated hitter.

So this truncated campaign for the 11th round Oriole pick in 2009 renewed itself in Florida as Ohlman played in a handful of Gulf Coast League games in June before being reassigned to Delmarva. As a member of the Gulf Coast League Orioles, Michael made his professional debut at first base, but only played 2 of his 8 games at that position and spent the rest as DH, similar to his Shorebird experience. This despite the fact he was a South Atlantic League All-Star last season as a catcher.

Whether this venture over to first base is a result of the shoulder problems brought on by his auto accident or an effort by the Orioles to make him more versatile, the fact remains that serving almost strictly as a DH may be helping Michael concentrate on improving as a hitter, as Ohlman is quietly enjoying a much better season at the plate than he has before. A career .217 hitter coming into 2012 – including a .224/4/51/.627 OPS season here last year – Michael is swinging an improved bat to the tune of .260 with Delmarva (19-for-73) and .265 overall counting his 8-for-29 in the GCL. Along the way he’s picked up a couple home runs and 12 RBI.

At 21 years old, it’s probable this somewhat lost season won’t be Ohlman’s last. But the remainder of 2012 may determine where he starts in 2013, while work over the winter could give Michael a new position to play wherever he goes.  We already have a catcher who’s versed at first base in Wynston Sawyer, so perhaps this is a trend the Orioles are willing to try in some of their young talent. Moreover, there’s also the factor of this being Ohlman’s third stint at Delmarva, so he may have finally mastered the SAL enough for a promotion.

2 thoughts on “Shorebird of the Week – August 2, 2012”

  1. Michael’s accident was not a single-car accident. The driver who cut in front of him was cited at the scene and again in a courtroom. He saved the 70 and 90 year old ladies from serious harm by swerving to avoid them in their 2 seater BMW convertible. Michael was lucky to escape with just a torn labrum after his truck flipped 3 times landing on its roof. Hence the reason he was “strictly” the DH. He has been rehabbing for 5 months and just returned to his catching position this week. Just wanted to provide the facts.

  2. I appreciate the update and correction. Obviously he was lucky to be playing this year after being in such a wreck.

    I noticed Michael was placed into the game last Thursday as the catcher after they shuffled the lineup around and got his first start there yesterday. But since the Shorebirds may be short a catcher because Wynston Sawyer will probably play more at first in Nicky Delmonico’s absence (depending on who is brought in to fill that roster spot) Ohlman may get a few starts behind the dish the rest of the way.

    Hopefully he continues to hit as well as he has and prepares for a healthier 2013.

Comments are closed.