Shorebird of the Week – June 19, 2014

A few weeks back, you may have seen a Tweet about Houston Astros prospect Delino DeShields, Jr. and a nasty collision a fastball had with his face. Strangely enough, Anthony Caronia had a similar incident about a week before that, but since he’s not the son of a former big league player and not considered as much of a prospect, it didn’t attract nearly the notice.

The timing of Caronia’s injury wasn’t just bad luck, but it interrupted a promising start to a 2014 season where Anthony hoped to make the jump back to Frederick. In 2013 Anthony bounced back and forth between Frederick and Delmarva, but not getting a lot of playing time at the higher level meant he hit only .179 (5-for-28) in 13 games. This was in about six weeks on the Keys roster. While with Delmarva, though, Caronia hit .289/0/12/.665 OPS in 45 games, proving to be a reliable fill-in at three infield positions. This came after a 2012 season where Anthony, a 27th round draftee out of the University of Tampa, rocketed from the Gulf Coast League through Aberdeen to play seven games here at the tail end of the campaign, going 2-for-20.

With his solid start to 2014, Anthony was trying to shake the “organization player” tag as he got off to a 6-for-19 start to the season. But on April 11 he was hit in the face by a Domingo Herman fastball in a game against Greensboro. You may notice the additional guard in the upper photo as the pitch nearly hit Caronia in the eye socket. Anthony missed nearly eight weeks before finally returning to the lineup June 3. In eight games since, Anthony has kept up the good hitting, going 8-for-28. Also, unlike last year where his fielding was shaky at times, Anthony has an errorless streak ongoing for the season.

Obviously the question will be whether Anthony continues to reside in the lineup – he’s not doing a bad job but he’s also a little older than league average at 23 and this is his third season at Delmarva (although, including this season, he’s only played 67 games at this level which is less than a half-season.) He’s fit well into a Shorebird order which has done surprisingly well at the plate, so maybe this second half can be the springboard back to a better opportunity to play up the ladder.