A few years ago I set out to predict the opening 25-man roster of the Shorebirds. It was an outgrowth of a comment I received from one of my biggest SotW fans, and for a couple years I tried to pick the most likely players, with mixed success. I stopped for a time as the number of games I could attend dwindled, but better circumstances led me to make a decent number of contests last season so I thought I’d bring this back on a more limited basis. (More limited in the sense it will just be a roster and not capsules of each player.)
The big difference this time around is the new regime running the Orioles, which seems to favor a somewhat different sort of player than the previous one did. There also seems to be a larger influx of new players than normal, which is going to affect the Shorebirds in a couple instances – for example, I think one trade will eventually affect them this season and two others might be players we’ll see in 2020.
But to start opening day? Here are my wild guesses:
Starting Pitchers (6)
It won’t be a six-man rotation but I think they are going to piggyback one of the other five with last year’s first rounder Grayson Rodriguez so each gets 3 to 4 innings in a game. It might be Drew Rom with that task.
Gray Fenter (R), Hector Guance (R), Matt Hammonds (L), Blaine Knight (R), Grayson Rodriguez (R), Drew Rom (L)
Relief Pitchers (7)
Ryan Conroy (R), Nick Gruener (R), Tyler Joyner (R), Kevin Magee (L), Zach Matson (L), Victor Romero (R), Ryan Wilson (L)
Alfredo Gonzalez (R), Cody Roberts (R)
Seamus Curran (1b – L), J.C. Escarra (1b – L), Adam Hall (ss – R), Zach McLeod (util – R), Alexis Torres (2b – R), Willy Yahn (3b – R)
Jaylen Ferguson (R), Nick Horvath (R), Robert Neustrom (L), Robbie Thorburn (L)
A projected Opening Night lineup
- Adam Hall, ss
- Willy Yahn, 3b
- J. C. Escarra, 1b
- Nick Horvath, cf
- Robert Neustrom, rf
- Seamus Curran, dh
- Robbie Thorburn, lf
- Alexis Torres, 2b
- Alfredo Gonzalez, c
- Matt Hammonds, sp
So we will see how well I guess this. I think the Shorebirds will do okay this season, but I’m very anxious to see what kind of draft they have this June and how well Aberdeen does. Here’s hoping the Orioles system begins to have the type of success new Orioles GM Mike Elias helped the Astros chain to achieve in 2018:
- All six of their domestic teams were first or second in their division. Five of the six (their top 5, from short-season A ball on up) made the playoffs.
- Of those five, class A Quad Cities lost a quarterfinal play-in game, AA Corpus Christi lost in the semifinals, and AAA Fresno lost in the league finals.
- However, Advanced-A Buies Creek was second overall in its division but won the Carolina League pennant and short-season A Tri-City was the New York-Penn League champion.
Conversely, not a single Orioles affiliate made their league playoffs.
But in one week we will find out, and Delmarva gets to watch whatever ceremony the defending league champion does because we open at Lexington, who was the SAL pennant winner last season. (Until last season the Legends had a similar playoff drought to the one Delmarva is experiencing.) It doesn’t get much easier: we play the two Northern Division playoff squads from last season to finish the opening roadtrip (at Kannapolis) and start the home schedule (Lakewood.) Our first 14 games are against teams that made the playoffs last season so it will be a good test.
Let’s play some ball!