The Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2012

We interrupt the boring winter Hot Stove League routine to bring back a Thursday evening Shorebirds post. Once again I take the time to announce my SotWHoF page will be reopening at the conclusion of this post, as it will be updated with five new honorees.

Unlike last year, all five of these men made their debut with the Orioles. However, player movement being what it is I’ve already learned one will be starting over with a new organization next spring. That information is already in his 2012 summary, which I will continue to update from time to time until the opening of spring training next year.

Without further ado, here is the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2012, in order of major league debut:

  • Xavier Avery, who debuted May 13;
  • Joe Mahoney, whose first game was July 7;
  • Manny Machado, whose long-awaited first big league game was August 9;
  • Dylan Bundy, the boy wonder pitching prospect who debuted September 23;
  • L.J. Hoes, who waited two weeks after his recall to finally step into a game September 25.

Obviously the big stories among that quintet were those of Machado and Bundy. Manny achieved the quickest rise from SotW to the major leagues by doing so in less than 16 months – until Dylan Bundy topped that by achieving HoF status in the same season he was selected. Given the fact the top picks in the 2012 draft either skipped over Delmarva or are considered some distance away from Baltimore as longer-term prospects, it could be another several years before another wunderkind turns that trick. The last non-rehab player to get from Delmarva to the big leagues in the same season was Jim Hoey in 2006, so it’s a rare feat indeed.

Yet because Machado and Bundy were considered pretty much can’t-miss prospects, and based on the fact the Orioles may finally be at a point in their existence where they’re not considered a rebuilding team, it seems like the Hall of Fame Class of 2013 may be a lot smaller. Consider this: of the five SotWHoF inductees this season only two played in more than two games, so you can see that a team in a pennant race is much more difficult to crack. At this point, only Manny Machado would be considered a likely everyday starter in 2013, with Dylan Bundy given an outside chance to make the starting rotation. Avery and Hoes are figured as perhaps a year away.

Last year I used the twin gauges of who was placed on the 40-man roster at season’s end and who participated in the Arizona Fall League as predictors of who would be in the Class of 2012. It turned out that Joe Mahoney was there in both cases, and Avery played in the AFL in 2011. However, Oliver Drake missed most of the 2012 season with injuries and was removed from the 40-man roster, while AFL participants Sean Gleason only got as far as Norfolk and Cole McCurry went to the Atlanta Braves organization after a short stint with the Tides.

Since season’s end, former Shorebirds of the Week pitcher Zach Clark and infielder Jonathan Schoop have been added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster; meanwhile, those sent to the Arizona Fall League by the Orioles mainly skipped Delmarva on their way up the ladder or weren’t here long enough to be tapped as a Shorebird of the Week. (Schoop and Hoes played in this year’s AFL, though.) So the Class of 2013 may be a sparse one, with perhaps just one or two players.

But there are a couple others who could get a debut next year, with the most notable name being infielder Ty Kelly, who was here in 2010-11 but starred across two higher levels this season. Whatever the case, as I select a new crew of 2013 hopefuls many of those who came before will still be pursuing the dream of playing in the major leagues. I anticipate that in December of next year I will have several more worthy entries into the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame.