Shorebird of the Week – July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comment 

While it is an everyday occurrence for some player somewhere to account for all of his team’s runs in one game, generally that’s in a range from one to four runs. So putting up seven is a cause for celebration, and to make it even better the last four came as a walk-off grand slam.

Welcome to the Monday night Logan Uxa had – a sacrifice fly, two-run triple, and the grand slam accounted for everything in the 7-3 win over Hagerstown. But it wasn’t like Logan was scuffling before that, as he raised his average to .268 in the game – as of last night he’s batting .258/3/15/.870 OPS in 18 games here. (Earlier this season with Frederick, Uxa was .265/1/2/.831 OPS in 13 games.)

At this time last year, though, Uxa wasn’t even playing organized ball. A 32nd round selection by the Reds in 2013 out of Arkansas State, Logan mainly toiled in the AZL (equivalent to the Gulf Coast League) that season, posting good numbers (.281/1/28/.818 OPS) there and getting a few games at high-A Bakersfield as a reward. However, Uxa did not make a team out of camp in 2014 and after extended spring finished in June the Reds let him go. It took until January for Logan to sign with a team to try out for, and the Orioles have used him as they often do with the guys they consider “organization players” that fill holes in a team’s roster. He’s bounced between being active and inactive for Delmarva and spent the larger part of June in Frederick.

While we know Uxa can hit, he does come with a few disadvantages he’ll need to work on. Through his career, he’s exclusively played first base but the Orioles like to have more flexibility. This is particularly true since Uxa is a little subpar in the field. I suspect his further advancement in the system depends on that, since he is somewhat older than his peers (Logan is already 24, when most SAL layers range from 19 to 23.) Baseball-Reference has an interesting split of older vs. younger pitchers and Uxa has 93 of 108 plate appearances against younger hurlers. So maybe some reps in the outfield are in his future.

Yet Logan is the underdog you can’t help but root for, and on Monday night he came up sevens.

Shorebird of the Week – June 25, 2015

June 25, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comment 

A last-minute addition to the North team, Garrett Cortright becomes my fourth and final SAL All-Star to be a Shorebird of the Week this season. Not that Cortright wasn’t deserving to go – a first half that featured a 1.50 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 30 innings is solid stuff, especially when you’re unscored upon in your last seven outings covering 9 2/3 innings. Opponents were -for-June against him until (ironically enough) Tuesday night’s SAL midsummer classic, when he gave up a run in 1/3 of an inning. Since it doesn’t count on the seasonal stats it’s a good time for a blemish.

You probably recall Garrett from the tail end of last season, a time when he pitched effectively (1-3, 3.94 in 19 games) for the Shorebirds and was my last SotW for the season. With a second tour of duty allowing Cortright to get almost a full season at Delmarva, we get a clearer picture of how he would fare at this level: overall with Delmarva he’s 3-4 with a 2.76 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 62 innings. Not bad for an afterthought in the 2013 draft as a 40th-round selection from Canisius College in New York. (It’s a school, though, which is gaining a reputation: 3 players were drafted from there in the first 15 rounds this year.)

Since Garrett has already put in close to a full season here, it would not surprise me if he’s not promoted in the next couple weeks (if not when second half rosters are set tonight.) The crop of All-Stars from last season had several immediate advancements among them, so the trend is there for experienced players to make the jump. With numbers like this Cortright has as good of a case as anyone else on the team.

The midseason review 2015

June 23, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comment 

If you follow my Shorebird of the Week feature, or any of my other Shorebird coverage, you likely recall that just before the season I tried to predict who would make up the team’s roster this season. I was hoping to beat my mark from last season, and I suspect the rash of new players added over the last month will help my percentage.

Early on I lost 2 of my 25 players as infielder Federico Castagnini and pitcher Augey Bill were released. I checked to see if they latched on with any of the independent league teams and apparently they have not, so I presume they have called it a career. As for the others on my list, here’s where they are. (Bold denotes they have been a Shorebird of the Week.)

Pitchers who have spent time with Delmarva include Tanner Chleborad (who made one start before going on the DL in April), Stefan Crichton, Dariel Delgado (who was promoted to Frederick briefly in late May and returned a couple weeks ago), Brian Gonzalez, Ivan Hernandez (just brought up from extended spring), John Means, Nik Nowattnick (sent to Frederick early on), and Max Schuh (also a June callup.)

As for the other hurlers: Augey Bill was released, Keegan Ghidotti and Kevin Grendell are with Aberdeen, and David Hess and Austin Urban were both promoted to Frederick to begin the season. Out of 13 pitchers, 8 have played here and potentially 4 others could – Urban is pitching well enough, though, that I don’t see him back this year.

Moving behind the plate I got both correct – Jonah Heim and Alex Murphy split catching duties for a time until both were hurt. I also correctly tabbed Tanner Murphy as the third catcher. The latter Murphy, though, was reassigned to Aberdeen June 9 but is not on their active roster. Now I’m up to 10 for 15.

On the infield, it’s a mixed bag. The only consistent Delmarva player of the six I named is Jomar Reyes. Austin Anderson has resided on our restricted and disabled lists all season, while Ronarsy Ledesma has had spot duty with the Shorebirds before being sent down to Aberdeen. We just added Derek Peterson to the roster this month as well.

Going the other way, unfortunately, are both Castagnini and Hector Veloz, who was released from Aberdeen’s roster last week. That gives me 3 of 6, with the chance at a fourth later this season. 13 for 21.

Finally, in the outfield I was correct on Jay Gonzalez, T.J. Oleschuk (as of earlier this month), and Riley Palmer – although Palmer has mainly played first base rather than the outfield. Oswill Lartiguez has begun the season with Aberdeen.

This means that, out of 25 players, I have 16 correct and the potential for up to 6 more if they play well (or poorly) enough.  I’m finding out, though, that baseball is an inexact science.

Going into this season I thought my Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame would have one more lean year before many of the crop of good players from 2014 start to break through. Instead, I have three already enrolled in the Class of 2015, and who would have bet on Scott Copeland to be the first when he debuted for Toronto in early May? Within a week later that month, I had the second and third: Oliver Drake for the Orioles and Eduardo Rodriguez for Boston. There’s a chance for a fourth if Mychal Givens gets into a game while with the Orioles, and Eddie Gamboa also spent time with the team.

So I have a lot to watch for in the second half. Hard to believe we are midway through another year, isn’t it?

Building a three-headed monster

Yesterday I posted on Third Friday, a monthly event that’s become so successful that it spawned a similar spin-off called First Saturday and may have pushed downtown redevelopment over the hump. Similarly, there are some new businesses and apartments going up on the northern edge of the city along U.S. 13, and even the venerable Centre of Salisbury – venerable as a 27-year-old mall can be, I suppose – has the promise of something Salisbury has longed for, a Cracker Barrel restaurant. It’s slated to be built in the parking lot outside the abandoned J.C. Penney store. (Shoot, I was happy when Buffalo Wild Wings finally made it here from Ohio.)

But there is one prime area that has all the ingredients needed for success – plenty of traffic, good visibility, and reliable city utilities. Yet it sits vacant and unused because its plans for development came along at a bad time.

Several years ago, before my unplanned exile from the building industry, I helped draw up a proposed project which would have established a third attraction for Salisbury. Obviously we know the Centre of Salisbury was a retail destination point and at the time the downtown area was being discussed as something which, as it turns out, it is in the process of becoming – a place where visual and performing arts serves as the draw, along with a handful of local eateries.

But the plot of land just south of Perdue Stadium had its own node, with a guaranteed gathering of anywhere from 500 hardy, weather-tested souls to overflow crowds of over 8,000 people 60 to 65 times a year during the spring and summer. Add in the thousands of travelers driving by and there was the potential for a destination of its own; close enough to the beach to be a viable alternative for budget-concious travelers looking for something with a slower pace, yet with the attractions to enjoy a summer evening without the need for driving around.

As originally envisioned, the development had several key elements for success: office space for workday usage, restaurants for both travelers and those seeking a place to have a business or casual lunch, and lodging for those who wanted to have an anchor point to explore the area yet not have to deal with beach crowds. Its misfortune was beginning the development process at a time when we were entering the Great Recession of 2007-whenever. (Some may argue the area is still in one based on employment numbers.)

One other proposal envisioned for the site was the construction of a new Civic Center on the opposite side of the Perdue Stadium parking lot. Besides the obvious plentiful parking available, a new Civic Center would have the advantages of making beer sales at events possible (a deed restriction for the property of the current Wicomico Youth and Civic Center prohibits alcohol sales as a condition of having it donated to the county for its use) and could be configured for more seating than the current arena to attract larger acts.

Any action on that, however, is several years to a decade away. Yet the county is putting money into 20-year-old Perdue Stadium and the owners of the Delmarva Shorebirds are committing themselves to another two decades as the station’s prime tenant. In short, the main attractions aren’t going anywhere.

Yet this valuable land sits as a part of Salisbury time and economics seemingly forgot.

I understand the emphasis our city fathers have placed on revitalizing downtown and trying to make it a close-by gathering place for both young professionals and Salisbury University students. With a transit system already in place to ferry students from campus to downtown several nights a week and grand plans to spruce up the Business Route 13 corridor from SU to the east edge of downtown, city visionaries and elected officials have it covered. Meanwhile, the part of town encompassing the Centre of Salisbury up toward Delmar seems to be doing just fine although admittedly some of that retail may be getting long in the tooth and due for upgrades. The closing of J.C. Penney was just another pockmark on a facility which may need its own transformation in the next decade lest it suffer the fate of the old Salisbury Mall it replaced.

But that rebirth can be set on the back burner for now. Downtown development may be the place where the cool kids go, but there are other assets Salisbury can put in play with the proper foresight and investment. Imagine what could be there now if things had proceeded a decade ago, and work to make it a reality in the next few years. The infrastructure is already there thanks to the aborted previous plans, so let’s get this diamond in the rough to shine.

Shorebird of the Week – June 18, 2015

June 18, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comment 

DSCF1103

As I’ve often pointed out in this feature, the relievers who immediately back up the starters from the 5th or 6th inning on are also an important part of the staff. Oftentimes they are the starters in waiting and get their own rotation of sorts; one which may have a slightly shorter cycle than every fifth or sixth day.

So while he has made just one spot start this season (as part of an April doubleheader) Stefan Crichton has proved to be one of our most effective relievers. Until his last outing against Kannapolis Monday night, Stefan had driven his ERA below 2, and if there ever was a time for a letdown inning having an 11-2 lead might be that time. When it’s his turn Crichton generally keeps the Shorebirds in the game or holds the lead, as he has two multi-inning saves to his credit this season.

Stefan is one of those who is slowly rising through the system. While he went to a well-regarded program at Texas Christian, Crichton wasn’t selected by the Orioles until round 23 of the 2013 draft and began his career with a stint in the Gulf Coast League. Last year he remained in short-season ball with Aberdeen, so this year was Crichton’s first taste of spring baseball since college. It also lags him as a slightly older player than league average, although he’s only celebrated five actual birthdays (Stefan has the distinction of a February 29 birthday.)

For the season, Crichton’s record is only 1-2 with a 2.72 ERA. However, he has a very solid 1.13 WHIP and that’s mainly because he rarely walks a batter – just 7 this year in 39 2/3 innings and only 17 in 107 professional frames. Last year at Aberdeen he had a 40/7 K/BB ratio in 44 1/3 innings, so while the strikeouts are harder to come by at this level he’s also cut down on hits allowed from 56 last season to just 38 so far this go-round. Allowing less than one hit per inning is a good way to cut the WHIP and ERA, and he’s done both from his 2014 season with the IronBirds.

As we reach the halfway point of the season, I would expect Stefan to have a chance at promotion but could also see him leading what’s become a depleted staff due to a rash of injuries. While he has pitched as many as six innings in a game in his career, the Shorebirds don’t seem to be stretching him out to be a starter as he was in his professional debut season. Crichton seems to have found his niche and there’s not much reason to change him now.

Shorebird of the Week – June 11, 2015

June 11, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

The last of the triumvirate of Shorebird SAL All-Stars to be a Shorebird of the Week, it’s not that I planned on waiting to include Steve Wilkerson, but he was sidelined by an injury the last couple weeks and one of my “rules” is that a player needs to be on the active roster.

But since coming off the disabled list after a 2 1/2 week stay, Steve is 2-for-5, increasing an already stellar average to .313 (although earlier in May he was up to a .323 mark.) It’s been a complete turnaround from his initial pro season, where Wilkerson stumbled to a .190/2/15/.519 OPS slash line with Aberdeen last year.

However, the Georgia native by way of Clemson University seems to have figured things out over the winter as he’s brought his OPS up from that anemic .519 mark to a solid .820, well above average. (An “average” OPS, which is the sum of on-base percentage and slugging percentage, is around .700 or so.) Bumping the batting average up over 100 points is a good way to help that statistic out, but he’s also drawn 21 walks in just 33 games, compared to 14 last season in 60 contests. That increase in on-base percentage is powering his game and has led him to be selected as an SAL All-Star.

Wilkerson, who turned 23 in January, is another Shorebird player who spurned a draft offer out of high school, turning down the Red Sox to go to Clemson as a 15th round pick in 2010. Four years later, he came out as an 8th round selection of the Orioles, so there are some pretty big expectations from Steve. It also may explain why he got another chance despite a subpar initial season where a lower-round pick may not have.

Unlike a number of other infielders in the Orioles system, Wilkerson has primarily played second base during his tenure, occasionally filling in at shortstop. His fielding has also improved over last season, making him a prime candidate for promotion before the end of the year. Having played only 33 games, though, the powers that be may decide he needs to string together several weeks of action before the decision is made.

If Steve keeps his average around the .300 mark, though, his performance will make the choice to promote quite easy.

Shorebird of the Week – June 4, 2015

June 4, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

Jay Gonzalez finally stood still long enough for me to get a good shot of him.

As the person who brings speed to the top of the Shorebird lineup, Jay has made a nice transition from Aberdeen to Delmarva. Aside from lacking a triple so far, Gonzalez’s numbers have improved across the board from 2014 to 2015 – a higher average, better strikeout-to-walk ratio (leading to a significantly higher on-base percentage) and 17 stolen bases in only 48 Delmarva games (against 14 in 59 contests with the IronBirds last year.) In short, so far last year’s 10th round pick has shown himself a solid player.

A native of California, it’s somehow appropriate that Gonzalez hasn’t been a master of staying in one place too long – he graduated from high school in Florida and attended Auburn University for three years before transferring to Mount Olive College in North Carolina for his final year. The Orioles were actually the third team to draft him, as Jay was selected by Boston out of high school in the 27th round and by Texas in 2013 as a college junior, down in round 39. Because he spurned the first two offers, he’s a little older than the average SAL player as Jay will turn 24 in December.

Yet there is more than just the speed you would expect from the guy who leads the team in stolen bases (by far). Gonzalez also leads the team in drawing walks, which is a great trait for a leadoff hitter, and game in and game out makes his share of solid to spectacular plays in center field. I’ve seem him make a number of diving catches in the field this year, balls that some of our other center fielders may have had to chase down. He seems to have a knack for the position, as he has made just one error so far in his pro career (it came at Greensboro May 16.) Arguably Jay may be the best center fielder to come along for the Shorebirds this decade based on his range factor and fielding percentage. While a .267 batting average and no power isn’t going to run him up the prospect lists, he does have potential to be a good defender along the line – the prototypical fourth outfielder.

The chances are reasonably good that Jay will stay for the summer, although he may be one of those who gets a late-season cup of coffee in Frederick. But if you like watching good defense, you may want to see this guy come pick ‘em before the end of the season.

Shorebird of the Week – May 28, 2015

May 28, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

After a very shaky start, this season’s been an uphill climb for Matthew Grimes. Tagged with an ERA that flirted with double-digits after the first couple starts, he began whittling it down in earnest upon an April 28 start in Savannah that saw him allow just one hit in five innings while fanning 11. Even as he was roughed up a little in his last start at Hickory, most of the runs he allowed were unearned so his ERA dropped to a season-low 4.57 to go with a 3-2 record.

Matthew is an interesting case – drafted out of a Georgia high school by the White Sox in the 4th round in 2010, he instead chose to go to Georgia Tech. Grimes was drafted again in 2013 by the Phillies as a 31st rounder and finally the Orioles picked him up in the 18th round last season. One could argue he left a lot of money on the table, but obviously college was important to him and Matthew is still on track development-wise as an older 23-year-old at this level (he will turn 24 just before season’s end, on September 4.)

With Aberdeen last season his numbers were pedestrian – 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA in just 22 innings spread over 10 appearances (five starts.) The Orioles used him very gently as none of his outings lasted over three innings, so stretching him out as a starter this season is a little surprising. So far in 2015 his longest outing has been 5 2/3 innings at Augusta; however, Grimes has consistently turned in five or more innings. Just one of his last seven starts has gone fewer than five frames and that was a four-inning start at home, also against Augusta.

If there’s a knock on the Grimes resume, it’s that he tends to give up a lot of hits: 57 in 43 1/3 innings so far this season, leading to a WHIP of 1.62. It’s surprising because he has strikeout capability, having fanned 40 vs. 13 walks in those 43 1/3 innings. Naturally, the cat-and-mouse game is on; as the league adjusts to him Matt will have to refine his offerings.

My suspicion is that Grimes will become more of a reliever as his career progresses, as he seems to do better facing batters just once. But he may surprise us and become a pitcher who misses bats more often in the second half. There was a lot of promise for Grimes out of high school, so we’ll see if that hype was well-placed or not.

Shorebird of the Week – May 21, 2015

May 21, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

Let’s face it – if a minor league player puts up a slash line of .196/12/67/.635 OPS, comes from a relatively small and unheralded baseball program, and wasn’t drafted until the 29th round, the chances of extended employment generally are bleak. Yet all three describe Conor Bierfeldt, and the Orioles’ faith in him after his struggles with Delmarva last year has been rewarded thus far with an improved average and the South Atlantic League RBI lead for Conor, who leads his now-injured teammate Alex Murphy, 36 to 28. No one else has more than 26 knocked in.

It’s not that Bierfeldt can’t drive in runs – the 67 he drove in last season led the Shorebirds and he was among the NYPL leaders in both home runs and RBI when he played with Aberdeen in 2013 – but the average had to be a concern, particularly when he hit .264 with the Ironbirds. While “on pace to” is always a dangerous assumption, so far Conor is working toward 15 or more home runs and well over 100 RBI over a full season. In 208 pro games Conor has 29 home runs (and plays home games in a notoriously tough park for home runs, as just 5 of his 17 Shorebird home runs have come at home), so it’s obvious the longball potential is there.

So it looks like Bierfeldt is making the adjustments needed to maximize what Buck Showalter likes to call the “contact to damage ratio.” A team can live with a .236 batting average if those hits drive in runs – as an example, I snapped the photo above after his only hit of yesterday’s game, a 2-run triple. The 1-for-4 performance only fractionally affected his average, but the 2 knocked in allowed him to pad his league lead and opened the scoring for the day, staking Delmarva to an early 2-0 lead (although they eventually lost 6-5.)

If you look ahead for Bierfeldt, there’s a reasonable chance he may not be here the full season to see if he can secure that RBI title. Making the adjustments to increase his average is the key to moving up, and there are a couple weaker links in Frederick’s outfield which could be replaced. We’ll see if Conor rewards the Orioles’ patience with him as the season develops.

Shorebird of the Week – May 14, 2015

May 14, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

Bennett Parry

I can’t believe I’m picking Bennett Parry as my Shorebird of the Week – again.

You see, at the tail end of the 2013 season when I originally tabbed Bennett, he was in the midst of some great starting pitching. Here we are in May of 2015 and Parry is doing the same thing for Delmarva, shutting out Asheville for six innings on two hits last Thursday before Tuesday’s almost as stellar losing effort against Augusta, where two consecutive doubles did him in for a 1-0 tough luck loss. Parry allowed just three hits in five innings in that start, and has allowed only 23 in 31 2/3 innings pitched so far this season. He’s only given out eight walks against 25 strikeouts, leaving himself a sub-1 WHIP for the season.

So why hasn’t my 2013 forecast that Parry was “a contender for Frederick’s starting rotation (in 2014)” come true? Beats me. If you look at Parry’s Delmarva body of work over those parts of the last three seasons he’s been here, you really can’t argue that with an ERA under 3, strikeout-to-walk ratio of better than 2.5-to-1 (with about a strikeout per inning), and overall WHIP of 1.22 – mainly as a starter, by the way, so he’s facing batters multiple times per game – he doesn’t deserve a shot at the next level. Yet in five pro seasons Bennett has never gotten past Delmarva.

I’ve seen Bennett pitch a few times over the last three seasons, including a couple starts this year. One thing I notice is that he’s the kind of pitcher you watch for awhile and realize, hey, he’s in the fifth inning and throwing a shutout (or at worst keeping the team in the game.) It’s not flashy, but he does get his outs and they add up to innings and suddenly you’re applauding another solid six-inning effort.

I will concede to my above point that Bennett is a little older than the league now (he turns 24 in August) and was drafted in the 40th round in 2011. (Under current draft rules, that would be the final round.) When you’re 1,205th on the totem pole, nothing comes easy and apparently it hasn’t for Bennett, either. But here’s hoping that, for the second half of the season, Parry finally gets to try his luck at the next level and see if he can compete there.

Shorebird of the Week – May 7, 2015

May 7, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · 1 Comment 

A pleasant surprise on the offensive side of the ledger for the Shorebirds has been shortstop Jared Breen.

The name is familiar to Delmarva fans because Breen spent the latter half of 2014 with the Shorebirds, getting into 70 games but only putting up a slash line of .217/0/29/.569 OPS. Considering Breen was only a 24th round pick from Belmont University, one would not have been surprised to see the Orioles cut him loose over the winter given he had played over 130 games and hit barely .220 with no power. I’ve seen players with better stats and draft position let go.

Instead, the Orioles gave him another season here and so far Jared has taken advantage, bumping his average up to .296 in the first quarter of the season. You won’t confuse him with a power hitter, since Breen only has four doubles among his 25 hits, but he’s done a good job of getting on base and keeping innings going with a .393 on-base percentage. The recent road trip to Savannah and Augusta was great for Breen, who hit .400 (10-for-25) in his native state. That pushed his average over .300, although an 0-for-2 return home (with 2 walks) dropped him back down under that mark.

There’s no question this is the make-or-break season for Breen, who will turn 24 next week. While third base seems to be the premier position up and down the line for the Orioles, shortstop has been more of a mixed bag over the years. Aside from Manny Machado, a converted shortstop who has moved over to third base, the cupboard is relatively bare at that position in the organization. (Adrian Marin, a Shorebird in 2013, is the only shortstop listed among the top 30 prospects and he’s 21st.) So Jared could open a few eyes if he continues to do well with the second chance.

Shorebird of the Week – April 30, 2015

April 30, 2015 · Posted in Delmarva items, Delmarva Shorebirds, Sports · Comments Off 

Early on, pundits were convinced that Jomar Reyes would be the Shorebirds’ third baseman this year. The obvious question, though, was how the bonus baby – to the tune of $350,000 when signed just weeks before his 17th birthday in January 2014 – would handle himself in full-season baseball after a season with the Gulf Coast League Orioles last year.

It’s a small sample size, but through the first 19 games Jomar is playing quite well. His .284/1/4/.799 OPS slash line is very comparable to his GCL numbers (.285/4/29/.758 OPS in 53 games) and it took him until last night in game #19 to commit his first error (after committing 13 in 45 games last year.) You may not get the defensive wizardry of Manny Machado, but it appears Reyes can hold his own.

Another “wow” factor is his transition from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Most often, players from that nation spend at least a season with the Orioles’ Dominican League teams, but Reyes began his career here in the States and is playing full-season ball just a couple months past his 18th birthday as one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League. According to Baseball Reference, Jomar is 3.5 years younger than the average SAL player, who is often a year removed from college or three years out of high school. Many kids his age are playing as seniors in high school.

The high expectations for Reyes began early, but so far he’s on track to meet them. And while some believe he may be in Frederick by mid-season, I don’t think there’s any rush to move Reyes up. Currently manning third base at Frederick is another gifted hitter fans may be familiar with in Drew Dosch, so unless the upper levels are ravaged by injury or a series of poor performances I wouldn’t be surprised if Reyes stays here all year and gets the opportunity to grow into some monster numbers. It only took him a couple weeks to move up the batting order from seventh to fifth, and I think he could be a solid #3 hitter by season’s end. Let’s see how he does now that the weather is getting warmer.

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