Beginning with the first week of the 2006 Delmarva Shorebirds season, I began a feature on monoblogue called “Shorebird of the Week.” Through 2014, I’d selected over 150 players for the honor, some twice in two different seasons.
As is the usual fate of those who pursue the dream of playing major league baseball when they sign their first contract and report to their first minor league team, most of those selected didn’t make it to The Show. Each year over 1,000 amateur players are drafted by the 30 major league clubs, with hundreds more who live around the globe signed as free agents. All this to be one of the players available at any one time during the season to take the field in a major league game.
Generally it takes two to three years for a good player at the South Atlantic League level to advance to the major leagues. Most “can’t miss” prospects start at higher levels, so it’s rare for us to get a top draft choice unless he’s selected out of high school.
So it is that it took until season number four of doing the SotW for a player I selected to become part of a major league team. But on April 21, 2009 I took advantage of a rain delay at the Shorebirds game to watch my first inductee take the mound at Camden Yards and create the need to begin this page on my website. He was later joined by another selection, bringing to two the first class of inductees to the SotWHoF.
One indication of how long this page has been around is that there are some players who are no longer active. What I have decided to do is eliminate the photo for inactive players as I try to keep the active ones current to their last major league team or organization, if I can find a suitable picture.
My first inductees made up the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2009.
Major League debut: April 21, 2009. Bergesen was called up from AAA Norfolk to replace the injured Alfredo Simon in the rotation and drew the start at home against the Chicago White Sox.
In that contest, Bergesen became the second of four O’s 2009 rookies to win their big league debut as the Orioles prevailed 10-3. Obviously a rain delay at the start didn’t affect Brad’s nerves too much as he allowed three runs (one earned) and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, leaving with the Orioles leading. Bergesen allowed two walks and struck out four.
Rest of the season: Bergesen stayed in the big leagues until an injury he suffered July 30 against Kansas City ended his day and eventually his Orioles season. During his run Brad was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts and appearances, allowing 126 hits in 123 2/3 innings. Brad fanned 65 while walking 32 (a 1.28 WHIP) and even went 1-for-5 at the plate in 2 National League park starts, with a single against Washington. His best outings came mostly in the stretch between Memorial Day and July 4th, where Brad was 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA over 7 starts.
2010: In his second season with the Orioles Brad struggled at the beginning, and was briefly demoted to Norfolk and to the bullpen to work out some issues. But Bergesen was lights out after August 1, wrapping up the season with a 5-2 record and 2.78 ERA over his last 10 starts. Overall he had an 8-12 record and 4.98 ERA, allowing 193 hits in 170 big league innings, walking 51 and striking out 81 in 30 appearances (28 of them starts.)
Even with his early-season struggles, Brad had a couple gems. His best outing was 6 2/3 shutout innings in a 2-0 win over Minnesota on May 6th. But fans could breathe a sigh of relief that the Bergesen who wowed Oriole fans as a hot-shot rookie in 2009 was back when he stymied Cleveland in a complete-game two-hitter on August 11, 3-1.
2011: Brad again rode the shuttle between Baltimore and Norfolk, pitching well at the AAA level but not able to excel in the American League. After working almost exclusively as a starter his first two seasons, Brad was demoted to the bullpen when on the Orioles’ roster. Overall, Bergesen made 34 appearances with the Orioles, including 12 starts and one complete game, a sparkling 6-0 whitewash of Tampa Bay on May 14 where he allowed just four hits and one walk. He pitched 101 innings, allowing 119 hits and an alarming 16 home runs. The topline numbers were 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA on the year for Baltimore, but 2-1 with a 1.64 ERA in 3 Norfolk starts.
2012: Early on it became apparent that Brad no longer fit into the Orioles’ plans. After being demoted to Norfolk out of spring training, Brad was on the Baltimore roster for one day (July 17) and did not appear in a game. The next day he was designated for assignment and on July 20 Brad was scooped up from the waiver wire by the Arizona Diamondbacks. In Arizona, the reverse was true as Brad made all but one of his subsequent appearances for the big club (one was with Reno, their AAA affiliate.) In 22 games and 10 starts for Norfolk, Brad went 4-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 80 1/3 innings; his other AAA game with Reno saw Bergesen go 3 2/3 innings in his one start, allowing a hit and a walk while fanning three. For Arizona Brad went 2-1 with a 3.64 ERA out of their bullpen, making 19 appearances covering 29 2/3 innings.
However, the Diamondbacks released Bergesen on November 30. It appears he will become the first SotWHoF member to go international, signing that day with the Chunichi Dragons in Japan.
2013: Indeed, Brad spent the season in Japan with Chunichi, pitching in 14 games (11 starts) covering 53 1/3 innings. His record was 2-2, with a 3.71 ERA, he allowed 61 hits, struck out 22, and walked 16. A report suggested Bergesen was having some shoulder issues late in the season, which makes sense since his last appearance for the Dragons came July 26. He was released by the Japanese team in September.
2014: Whether it was the undisclosed shoulder ailment which reportedly ended his 2013 season or just a lack of interest, it appears Bergesen didn’t play professionally in 2014. If this is indeed the end, Bergesen leaves with a 19-25 big league record and 4.61 ERA in 102 appearances (59 starts) covering 424 innings, with 225 strikeouts and 122 walks. He also allowed 55 home runs.
Shorebird of the Week: April 27, 2006
Major League debut: May 28, 2009. Hernandez was summoned from AAA Norfolk to fill the roster spot of reliever Chris Ray and the starting slot of injured Koji Uehara. Against the Detroit Tigers, David pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up all five hits and the lone run in the Orioles’ 5-1 win. Hernandez gave up four walks and struck out three, and was the fourth of the four O’s hurlers to win their debut.
Rest of the season: David bounced back and forth between Baltimore and Norfolk, spending most of the season in the Orioles’ rotation. Just as Bergesen did, Hernandez made 19 starts (with one relief appearance) but finished 4-10 with a 5.42 ERA.
David pitched well until August, after which he staggered home by finishing the last weeks of the campaign 0-6 with a 7.65 ERA. For the season, Hernandez pitched 101 1/3 innings with the O’s, allowing 118 hits (including 27 home runs) and walking 46 while striking out 68. This gave him a WHIP of 1.62.
2010: Hernandez spent nearly all season with the Orioles (save for a quick rehab trip to Bowie) but found himself evolving from a mediocre starter to a presence in the bullpen. A 1-5, 5.31 mark as a starter was more than erased by a 7-3, 3.16 mark as a reliever, where he converted two saves in six opportunities.
One key for David in the transition was the rapid decline in walks per nine innings. He walked 28 in 42 1/3 innings as a starter (or about 6 per nine innings) but cut the rate nearly in half as a reliever, allowing 14 walks in 37 relief innings. Put it all together and you get a 8-8, 4.31 season where David allowed 72 hits in 79 1/3 innings, walking 42 but fanning 72 (almost one per inning.) He’s counted on to be a power arm out of the bullpen for 2011 and was mentioned as trade bait – indeed that was his fate as he was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks on December 6, 2010 with pitcher Kam Mickolio for 1B-3B Mark Reynolds.
2011: In his new Arizona home David became a mainstay in the Diamondback bullpen, leading Arizona by making 74 appearances during the regular season, compiling 11 saves and finishing sixth in the National League with 23 holds. He allowed just 49 hits in 69 1/3 innings (a .193 average against) and fanned 77 while walking 30. Mostly handling the eighth inning chores for Arizona’s NL West-winning team, Hernandez amassed most of his saves during a mid-season stretch when D’back closer J.J. Putz went on the disabled list. He’s easily become the most established member of the SotW Hall of Fame, and perhaps evened out the trade for Mark Reynolds a little bit insofar as Arizona is concerned.
2012: David had a second consecutive outstanding year in the Diamondbacks’ bullpen; in fact, he pitched even better than in 2011 in several key categories. Hernandez was 2-3 with a 2.50 ERA, allowing just 48 hits in 68 1/3 innings and fanning 98 while walking only 22. For the second straight season hitters failed to crack the Mendoza line against him as they hit just .190 collectively. While David only had 4 saves in 10 opportunities, his 25 holds ranked 9th in the National League.
2013: The season was more of a struggle for David, who spent about a month in the minor leagues after the Diamondbacks demoted him to AAA Reno. As one can guess, the topline numbers were far more pedestrian (5-6 record and 4.48 ERA) but Hernandez maintained a good ratio of hits allowed to innings (50 in 62 1/3 innings) and walked just 24 while striking out 66. The difference seemed to come after a June 11 appearance against Los Angeles where David threw 29 pitches only to get just two outs and allow three runs. From that June appearance to his demotion in August, Hernandez made 22 appearances covering 21 innings and allowed a sickening 22 earned runs for a 9.43 ERA. Half of the 10 home runs he allowed came in that stretch.
But once he returned from Reno, where he gave up just one run in 9 2/3 innings, striking out 12 but walking 5, David made his last 14 appearances with the D-backs and allowed just one earned run. The 5.59 ERA on his departure melted down to 4.48 as batters hit just .130 against him.
2014: Hernandez was prepping for a return to the Arizona bullpen when he injured his elbow in late March, an injury requiring Tommy John surgery and costing him the entire 2014 season. A probable timetable for his return would be the latter half of 2015. He was pitching well in spring training, putting up a 2.16 ERA in 8 appearances.
Just one new player comprised the Class of 2010, but he distinguished himself as the first position player.
Major League debut: September 10, 2010. Snyder was inserted as a defensive replacement at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game the Orioles won 6-3 at Detroit.
Two days later, Brandon would get his first at-bat against the Tigers in a 6-2 loss, getting the start and batting ninth. He popped out to short and went 0-for-3 on the day.
Rest of the season: Brandon eventually got into ten games, going 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles and three runs batted in. He struck out three times and was caught stealing once during his brief stint. The highlights for Brandon were two-hit performances at Toronto on September 24 (with his first double and an RBI) and against Detroit on October 1.
2011: By any stretch of the imagination, 2011 had to be a disappointing campaign for Brandon and his fans. He managed to spend a brief period of time with the Orioles in May and June, but was not among the plethora of September callups made by the Orioles. Brandon went 3-for-13 in 6 games with Baltimore, with a double and RBI to show for it. With AAA Norfolk, Snyder had a reasonably decent year, getting into 114 games and putting together a .261/14/71 campaign for the Tides – the 71 RBI paced the Tides’ offensive attack. Yet with depth at first base at the big league level, Snyder didn’t fit into the O’s future plans anymore so he was traded to the Texas Rangers on January 3, 2012 for cash considerations.
2012: With his new team came a new opportunity for Brandon, and he responded by playing the bulk of the season in a Texas uniform. Breaking camp with the Rangers, Brandon only played a month in the minors (optioned out August 2 and recalled when rosters expanded September 1.) In 40 games in Texas Snyder went 18-for-65 (.277) with a respectable .755 OPS in the limited playing time. Brandon also hit his first three big league home runs during 2012. While his first came May 2 at Toronto, home run #2 came in a career day for Brandon as he showed up his old team on May 7, knocking in 6 runs in a 14-3 pummeling of the Orioles. His third and last of the season came May 15 at home against Kansas City. Getting more regular playing time at AAA Round Rock, Brandon hit .253/2/9 in 23 games there. However, Brandon only played in two September games, meaning his position is far from secure – yet the Rangers resigned him as a free agent December 12 as a non-roster invitee to spring training before releasing him once again March 27, 2013.
2013: We pick up Brandon’s story on March 31, when he was signed by the Boston Red Sox to play first base for their AAA team in Pawtucket. Brandon was recalled from the minors by the end of June, though, and spent the rest of the season with Boston aside from a brief August side trip to the disabled list and four rehab games in Pawtucket. Brandon didn’t perform all that well with Boston, hitting .180 (9×50) in 27 games, with 2 home runs and 7 knocked in. During his first, more lengthy stint of 21 games at the major league level, Snyder played mainly third base, but on his September return he moved back over to first, with one game in left field. He ended the season in an 0-for-13 slump. Moreover, Snyder struck out 16 times in his 52 plate appearances but drew nary a walk. With Pawtucket Brandon’s numbers were pretty good, as he hit .261/10/37 in 68 games. He struck out 69 times in 277 plate appearances but walked 20 times.
After Boston left him off the playoff roster, Snyder elected to become a free agent at season’s end; however, Brandon signed a minor league deal with the Red Sox on November 22.
2014: Brandon began the year at AAA Pawtucket but only played in 35 games before being shelved by a foot injury in early June, missing out on the Show for the first time since 2009. His .206//8/19/.728 OPS slash line wasn’t great, but there was time to improve on it until he was sidelined for the season. Snyder again became a free agent on November 3.
The Class of 2011 remains my largest, and featured my first player to make his debut with another organization.
Shorebird of the Week: May 10, 2007.
Major League debut: April 1, 2011. After being selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft and making the team out of spring training, Beato was immediately thrown into the fire by pitching in relief on Opening Day at Florida. Coming on to begin the sixth inning of a game the Mets trailed 5-0 Pedro pitched two scoreless innings, allowing three hits, including a double to John Buck – the first pitch Beato threw. The Mets eventually lost 6-2.
Rest of season: Pedro went on to set a Mets record by not allowing a run in the first 18 2/3 innings of his MLB career – a stretch that included Pedro’s first MLB win April 27 in Washington. In 60 appearances, Pedro went 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, allowing 59 hits and 27 walks, fanning 39. However, Beato faded in the stretch with a 6.23 ERA after August 1.
2012: It wasn’t completely unexpected that Pedro would spend some time in the minor leagues after his Rule 5 immunity ran out at the end of 2011, but 2012 had to be a disappointing sophomore campaign for Beato. On April 4 Pedro was sent to the disabled list by the Mets for shoulder stiffness, which wiped out his first month of the season. The news was worse when he went to the 60-day DL on May 8. Next, Pedro was optioned to AAA Buffalo June 8 and recalled from there July 5, only to be sent back July 24 and traded to Boston on August 16. Most of his time in the Red Sox organization was spent in Pawtucket, but Pedro made a few appearances with the Red Sox as well.
In all, Pedro spent time with five different teams, ranging from three rehab appearances at high-A St. Lucie to 24 games and 37 innings at Buffalo (4-4, 4.14 ERA), and 4 games and 5 innings with an unearned run allowed at Pawtucket. For the Mets Pedro gave up five runs and hits in 4 1/3 innings over seven games (0-0, 10.38 ERA) but he was more respectable for Boston with a 1-0, 4.70 ERA line in 7 2/3 innings, fanning seven, walking three, and giving up six hits. Overall, his big league line was 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in 12 innings.
Beato was designated for assignment by Boston on December 19 and outrighted to AAA Pawtucket two days later.
2013: Pedro began the season with AAA Red Sox affiliate Pawtucket (as a teammate of fellow SotWHoF member Brandon Snyder) but returned to the majors in June. He made a total of 10 appearances with the Red Sox between June and August, going 1-1 with a quite respectable 3.60 ERA in 10 innings, allowing 12 hits and 2 walks while fanning 5. At Pawtucket, Pedro was an effective late-inning guy, making 34 appearances covering 51 1/3 innings, allowing 46 hits, and striking out 45 vs. 24 walks. But Beato wasn’t one of the September callups to a playoff-bound Boston squad and was designated for assignment on October 23. He was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Reds on October 31, so presumably will be looking for a spot in the Reds’ bullpen.
2014: Pedro spent his spring training with the Reds, but was designated for assignment on March 30. Obviously the Reds hoped to sneak him down to their minor leagues, but instead Pedro was claimed by the Atlanta Braves on April 2 and less than a week later found himself pitching for the Braves. It would be the first of two stints in Atlanta for Pedro, who was added to the roster April 4 and optioned to AAA Gwinnett five days later after one Braves appearance.
His second stint with Atlanta was even shorter, being recalled June 17 but placed on the disabled list two days later with a right elbow sprain. It wasn’t severe, though, and on July 8 Pedro was sent to Gwinnett for a rehab stint before being taken off the DL and outrighted there on July 11. Pedro was not among the September callups, although he didn’t allow a run in 3 Atlanta appearances covering 4 1/3 innings, striking out and walking three apiece for a 1.39 WHIP. Beato was very effective with Gwinnett, going 2-0 in 42 appearances covering 48 1/3 innings with a 4.10 ERA and six saves. He finished with a 45/17 K/BB ratio and 1.24 WHIP as one of Gwinnett’s late-inning specialists.
After a long stint on the shelf as a free agent, Pedro came full circle on March 5 when the Orioles signed him to a minor league deal.
Shorebird of the Week: August 7, 2008.
Major League debut: April 3, 2011. It wasn’t supposed to happen quite that soon, but when Brian Matusz was scratched from his first start of the season down in Tampa the Orioles called Britton up to replace him in the rotation. Britton allowed a run on three hits in a six-inning start as Baltimore finished a surprising three-game opening sweep, 5-1.
Rest of season: Zach made 28 starts for the Orioles, and as one would expect from a highly-touted rookie he had his ups and downs. Some of the high points were a 5-1, 2.63 opening in his first six starts and a dominating three-hit shutout of the Seattle Mariners on May 12. But the lows were deep valleys – being sent to AA Bowie after giving up 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning to Boston July 8 only to return and be shelled for nine runs in just 1/3 of an inning at New York July 30. He also spent a few weeks in August on the disabled list. Overall, it averaged out to an 11-11 mark with a 4.61 ERA. Zach allowed 162 hits in 154 1/3 innings, striking out 97 while walking 62. His overall WHIP was 1.45.
Interestingly enough, Britton proved to be no slouch at the plate, going 5-for-8 (.625) with a home run he hit at Atlanta. It was the first home run by an Orioles pitcher since Kris Benson hit his lone career home run in 2006.
2012: Zach was figured as a member of the starting five in the Orioles’ original 2012 plan, but was shelved in spring training with a shoulder impingement. After being cleared for pitching, Zach was sent to Norfolk in June and didn’t make his Baltimore debut until July 17. He bounced back and forth between Bowie, Norfolk and Baltimore the remainder of the season.
Britton made two starts for Bowie, going 1-0 with an 0.75 ERA in 12 innings; nine starts for Norfolk (4-2, 4.91), and went 5-3 with a 5.07 ERA for the Orioles in 12 games (11 starts.) In 60 1/3 innings Britton gave up 61 hits and 32 walks while striking out 53 and allowing a .260 average against.
2013: Britton rode the shuttle once again between Norfolk and Baltimore, but was rather ineffective in his Oriole opportunities. In 8 appearances with the big club (including seven starts) Zach was 2-3 with a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings. More worrisome was his 18-to-17 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which was his worst yet. Most of the starts came in a stretch between mid-June and early July, when Zach was that elusive fifth starter the Orioles couldn’t pin down – his performances ranged from the solid (2 runs in a season-high seven innings in a July 4 loss to Chicago) to the maddening (the very next start against Texas, where he allowed 5 runs in as many innings.) Britton also had one poor start in late April and two forgettable September appearances.
Nor did Britton set the world on fire in Norfolk, going 6-5 with a 4.27 ERA in 19 starts there. His best start there was his last, allowing just one run to Charlotte in seven innings on August 28. Britton walked 46 and struck out 75 in 103 1/3 innings with the Tides. Amazingly, the only 2013 appearance where he didn’t allow a single run was a four-inning relief stint in his last appearance against Boston – in each of his 26 others, Zach gave up at least one run.
2014: Britton came into the season being one of the Orioles’ question marks as to whether he would even stay in the organization as he was out of options. Not only did he stay, starting in May he became the dominant closer the Orioles were looking for after Jim Johnson left town. Before 2014, 46 of his 48 big league appearances were as a starter, but in 2014 Britton closed out 49 games among his team-leading 71 appearances. So while he sported a 3-2 record, it was secondary to his 37 saves, all achieved in a season where he had a 1.65 ERA and WHIP of 0.90, striking out 62 and walking 23 in 76 1/3 innings. Batters hit just .178 against Britton on the season.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t nearly as effective in the post-season, with a 3.86 ERA in 4 2/3 innings, striking out 5 and walking 5 for a WHIP of 2.14. While he saved two games in the Detroit series, he struggled in the ALCS and allowed 4 walks in three games there, including walking the bases loaded in Game 1.
Shorebird of the Week: August 14, 2008.
Major league debut: May 20, 2011. Getting the start at second base against the Washington Nationals, Ryan went 1-for-4, grounding out to third in his initial at-bat. His first hit in that 17-5 loss came in his next at-bat, a single off Washington starter Jason Marquis.
Rest of season: Ryan was sparingly used in the month’s time he was first on the Orioles’ roster, getting into just nine games and, not surprisingly, hitting just .217 (5-for-23) with just one run batted in. But once he was recalled to stay in late August, Ryan saw increased playing time and the average moved smartly upward. He finished with a .281 mark (25-for-89) with no home runs and seven knocked in. Oddly enough, all four of his extra-base hits (all doubles) occurred in a five-game stretch from August 23-28.
But Ryan’s strong finish was marred by missing the last few days of the season as he underwent surgery for a sports hernia. It’s expected he’ll be at full strength for the 2012 season.
At AAA Norfolk Ryan played in 94 games, putting together a solid .284/10/37 line with a .794 OPS.
2012: Ryan missed out on The Show in 2012, spending nearly the entire season in Norfolk save a few games for rehab purposes in the GCL and Aberdeen. But injuries and a .224/4/20/.665 OPS line in 65 Norfolk games led to Adams being outrighted to Norfolk on September 14, removing him from the 40-man roster. Further, his 2013 season will be impacted by a 25-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy in 2012.
2013: After being granted free agency in November 2012, no team signed Adams. He didn’t play in 2013, but was signed to a minor league deal by the Los Angeles Dodgers on January 18, 2014.
2014: Returning to pro ball after a year’s absence, Ryan made his debut on April 19 after opening the season on the DL with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts and performed rather well, hitting .310/1/12/.804 OPS in 44 games before returning to the disabled list on June 12. But after one rehab game with the AZL Dodgers (going 1-for-4) Ryan returned to the Lookouts on July 7 only to draw his release three days later.
His next stop was the New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League, where Ryan signed July 29 only to be released August 12. For the Jackals he hit .300 in 11 games (12-for-40) with 4 doubles, a triple, and 4 RBI, achieving an OPS of .814 in his two weeks there.
Shorebird of the Week: July 27, 2006.
Major League debut: June 22, 2011. Davis had a debut he may want to forget, going 0-for-4 and committing an error which allowed the Pirates to escape with a 5-4 win in Pittsburgh. Two fly outs, a ground out, and a strikeout were the extent of Blake’s line, along with the error. But you can’t completely blame Davis, for his error was in the bottom of the fifth and the Orioles had chances afterward.
Blake’s first career hit was two days later, a triple against Cincinnati which staked the O’s to an early 2-0 lead in a game they’d win 5-4.
Rest of season: Davis spent two months with the Orioles, putting together a serviceable .254 average (15-for-59) in 25 games. He managed to hit his first Major League home run on August 13 against Detroit, a game which was one of his three multi-hit games. Ironically, he was sent to Norfolk on August 22 in order to clear a roster spot for the return of Ryan Adams. Not among the September callups, Blake was instead designated for assignment on September 6 and is no longer on the O’s 40-man roster.
At AAA Norfolk Blake got into 62 games, hitting .280/5/27 with a .706 OPS.
2012: Like Adams above, Blake missed out on big league action in 2012. Spending the season in Norfolk, Davis hit .251/3/38/.646 OPS in 108 games with the Tides. He was signed as a minor league free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers on December 13.
2013: Blake spent the entire season with the AAA Nashville Sounds, primarily as their starting shortstop. Despite a torrid August, where he hit .425 in 13 games, Davis did not get a callup from the Brewers. Overall in 102 games Blake hit .256/2/31/.649 OPS. These numbers turned out very similar to his 2012 numbers, so he was granted free agency November 5. On January 25 Blake signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
2014: Davis spent the season with AAA Indianapolis in the Pirates’ organization, mainly in a utility infield role – Blake played 54 games at second base, 15 at shortstop, and 10 at third base. Offensively, Blake hit right around his career AAA average, putting up a .245/1/23/.599 OPS slash line for the Indians in 85 games. He became a free agent once again on November 3.
Shorebird of the Week: April 24, 2008.
Major League debut: July 17, 2011. Leading off and playing left field against the Cleveland Indians, Matt grounded out to short in his first at-bat to begin an 0-for-3 effort; however, Angle drew a walk in his final at-bat in an 8-3 O’s victory. He wouldn’t get his first major league hit until being recalled from Norfolk a month later, finally breaking through with a single at Minnesota August 25.
Rest of season: Aside from his brief July cup of coffee (0-for-7 in 2 games), Angle came up for good in late August. Once he returned, he predominantly started in left field although there were a number of games Angle appeared as a late-inning pinch-runner. On the whole, Matt only hit .177 (14-for-79) in 31 games, with his first major league home run coming September 24 at Detroit. Angle also batted in 7 runs and, more importantly, was 11-for-12 on the basepaths. That total was good for fourth on the team and only 2 off the lead; however Matt played in over 100 fewer games than any Oriole ahead of him.
Down at AAA Norfolk, where Matt played most of the season, he hit .271/4/33 in 108 games and swiped 27 bases in 30 attempts. That stolen base total led the Tides and tied for third in the International League.
Before spring training, however, Matt was designated for assignment by the Orioles and claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers on February 23.
2012: Angle spent the season on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster until he was outrighted to Albuquerque October 11, but he never made it to Los Angeles during the season. At AAA Albuquerque Matt had a solid season, hitting .303/5/47/.788 OPS with 13 stolen bases.
2013: Once again Matt spent the entire season with AAA Albuquerque, hitting a solid .283/8/62/.806 OPS with 22 stolen bases. He was granted free agency November 5, so will likely get a chance to make another team based on two good AAA seasons. That team will be the Miami Marlins, with whom he signed December 3.
2014: After being signed by the Marlins organization Matt reported to AAA New Orleans but never really got untracked, putting up a dreadful .213/1/16/.544 OPS slash line in 88 games before being released August 2. More tellingly, it was the first season he didn’t reach double-digits in stolen bases as he only had four for the season. Matt was, however, signed to a minor league deal by the Oakland Athletics in mid-January.
Shorebird of the Week: June 18, 2009.
Major League debut: September 4, 2011. Kyle became the quickest Shorebird of the Week to make the climb to The Show when he started in left field at Tampa Bay, batting eighth. Kyle would go 0-for-3, grounding into two double plays to begin his big league career as part of a forgettable 8-1 loss to the Rays. The next night, Kyle would get his first major league hit as he singled off Yankee reliever Scott Proctor.
Rest of season: Kyle got into 14 games, but hit just .143 (4-for-28) without an extra-base hit. He also struck out 6 times and batted in 2 runs. Unlike Matt Angle, the fleet Hudson stole only two bases in as many attempts but Kyle did see frequent usage as a pinch-runner down the stretch, too.
However overmatched Hudson seemed in his brief Oriole stint, it didn’t take away from a fantastic season which saw him leap all the way from single-A Frederick to the big leagues. At Frederick he hit .279/0/2 in 23 games and stole 8 bases, with Bowie Hudson had a .308/0/10 line with 7 steals in 28 games, and at Norfolk Kyle hit .297/0/11 with 26 steals, finishing fifth in the International League in that category despite playing only 68 games. Obviously the whirlwind tour caught up with Hudson at the end.
In a bit of a surprise Kyle was let go by the Orioles, released on January 19, 2012. He was signed to a minor league deal by Texas on January 28.
2012: Kyle had a whirlwind season which featured him in the agate type several times. Traded for cash to the Tampa Bay Rays on March 31, Hudson had a brief stay with their Durham AAA affiliate before being traded again on May 16 to Philadelphia for OF Rich Thompson. From there on Hudson played with AAA Lehigh Valley. At Durham Kyle hit .291/0/8/.696 OPS with 7 steals in 31 games, and in 78 Lehigh Valley contests Hudson was a .253/0/17/.592 OPS batter with 15 stolen bases.
After a year’s absence, Kyle returned to the Orioles’ fold just before spring training of 2013 by signing a minor league deal on February 7.
2013: Assigned to AA Bowie due to a glut of outfielders in the Orioles system, Kyle took awhile to hit his stride in a season marred by injuries. For the Baysox Kyle played in 98 games, hitting .292/0/33/.704 OPS with 26 stolen bases in 34 attempts. In 2,523 career plate appearances Kyle is still looking for that elusive first home run. He was also granted free agency November 5, later signing a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Angels on December 18.
2014: Assigned to AA Arkansas by the Angels, Kyle only played in 55 games there before being let go on July 1. His offensive totals weren’t great: a .244 average with just 5 extra base hits out of 48 total. Kyle drove in 15 runs and stole 11 bases for the Travelers, but the paltry .612 OPS suggests Kyle may well be finished for his career.
Pedro Florimon, Jr.
Shorebird of the Week: April 3, 2008.
Major League debut: September 10, 2011. Pedro went 0-for-3 in a 5-4 loss at Toronto, starting the game at shortstop and batting eighth. His three official at-bats were all strikeouts, although in his first plate appearance he laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Kyle Hudson, who had singled and advanced on an error.
Rest of season: Well, there wasn’t much to tell as Pedro only appeared in four games over the last 2 1/2 weeks. Pedro did get his first big league hit on September 25, a two-run double off Detroit’s Brad Penny. He ended up 1-for-8 (.125) with the double and 2 RBI, along with six strikeouts and a walk in four games.
Pedro spent the remainder of the season at AA Bowie, hitting .267/8/60 in 133 games for the Baysox, ranking among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category.
After the season, Florimon was placed on waivers by the Orioles on December 5, 2011 and claimed by the Minnesota Twins. The Twins then outrighted him to AAA Rochester a week later.
2012: While you may not have guessed this outcome based on 2011 results, it turned out that Pedro had perhaps the most big league impact of the SotWHoF Class of 2011 this season.
Coming out of spring training, Pedro was assigned by his new organization, the Minnesota Twins, to AA New Britain. But a month into the season he was promoted to AAA Rochester and on August 17 returned to the majors as Minnesota’s starting shortstop – a position he didn’t relinquish the rest of the season. In 43 games with the Twins, Pedro hit just .219/1/10/.579 OPS but hit his first major league home run on September 24 against New York. In his 30 New Britain games Pedro batted .283/2/8/.718 OPS and with Rochester his line was .251/3/27/.652 OPS in 83 contests.
2013: Becoming perhaps the only established major leaguer in his class – despite the humble beginning – Pedro was the opening day starting shortstop for the Minnesota Twins and stayed there the entire season. He played 134 games, hitting .221/9/44/.611 OPS. Pedro stole 15 of 21 bases and struck out 115 times (vs. 33 walks). And while Pedro was second in the league among shortstops with 18 errors, his range factor (both absolute per game and per 9 innings) was tops in the American League.
2014: After establishing himself as a young player to watch in 2013, Pedro’s career went in reverse this year. At the major league level, Pedro played in just 33 games, mostly early in the season – his last Twins appearance was on June 29, when his average fell to a miniscule .092 mark. It never rose above .150 for the season, and his lone RBI came in his second appearance in early April. Simply put, the Twins lost patience waiting for his bat to come around.
Florimon did achieve a reasonable half-season at AAA Rochester, hitting .257/4/29/.717 OPS, but instead of being called up to a Twins team which was well out of the race by September, he was instead waived. The Washington Nationals claimed him on September 18, but while he was on the active roster for the season’s last week Pedro didn’t see any game action. His stay with the Nationals was brief, as he was waived in November with the Pittsburgh Pirates claiming him on November 20. At the end of spring training, Pittsburgh designated him for assignment on April 5.
The Class of 2012 has the distinction of two members who made the quickest rises from Shorebird of the Week to the SotWHoF – one was picked as an SotW in 2011 and one made the jump within a season for the first time. Two made some significant impacts while the others had modest beginnings.
Shorebird of the Week: May 14, 2009.
Major League debut: May 13, 2012. Almost three years to the day after being picked as a Shorebird of the Week, Xavier got the start at home against Tampa Bay, batting leadoff and playing left field. He started the home half of the first by grounding out to second, a feat which he accomplished twice more before striking out and being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the last inning of a 9-8 loss. He also made one putout in left.
Rest of season: The next night, Xavier would get his first big league hit, leading off the game against New York’s Ivan Nova with a double. Avery rode the shuttle from Baltimore to Norfolk the rest of the year, losing his #13 in the process to Manny Machado – in his last few games he wore #70. In the 15 May games where he was the temporary left field starter, Avery hit .217 (13-for-60) and his limited playing time thereafter only allowed him to bump up his overall big league numbers to .223 (21-for-94) with a home run he hit on June 29 against Cleveland, 6 RBI, and an OPS of .645 to go with 6 stolen bases. Down at Norfolk Avery hit just .236 in 102 games, so he may be ripe for a little more seasoning in 2013.
2013: Avery missed out on the majors in 2013; in fact, Xavier was deemed enough of a spare part that he was traded on August 30 to Seattle for outfielder Michael Morse. He was demoted all the way to Bowie to begin the season as the Orioles had a plethora of outfielders in the system, but after hitting .300/1/12/.798 OPS in 39 games there Avery was promoted to Norfolk. Unfortunately he hit just .237/2/23/.624 OPS there before his trade. In three games with AAA Tacoma Avery went 6-for-12, including a 5-for-5 performance in the season’s penultimate game on September 1. That game included his only Tacoma home run and 3 RBI. Between the three teams Avery stole 30 bases in 38 attempts, but he did not receive a promotion to the Mariners at season’s end.
2014: Xavier put together a nice AAA season for Tacoma in the Seattle organization, hitting .275/10/38/.756 OPS with 31 steals. All that wasn’t good enough to make the short trip to Seattle, though, and he became a minor league free agent on November 3, later signing a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers on November 21.
Major League debut: July 7, 2012. A lack of other healthy options gave Mahoney a surprise promotion just before the All-Star break. Playing first base and batting eighth in Los Angeles against the Angels, Mahoney had the unenviable task of facing Jered Weaver. But he flied out to right in his initial at-bat before grounding out to second and flying out to right again, going 0-for-3 in his debut. No one else was hitting much either in a 3-0 loss.
Rest of season: Insofar as big league action was concerned, the rest of the season consisted of a late-inning defensive substitution and lone at-bat in a game at Detroit August 17 where starting 1B Mark Reynolds was ejected. He lined out in his one plate appearance, finishing his 0-for-4 line in 2 major league games. (Thus, he has yet to make his Camden Yards debut.) Mahoney was returned to Norfolk the next day and didn’t receive a September callup as the Orioles were flush with first base-outfield types. For Norfolk Joe batted .265/10/56/.708 OPS in a team-leading 132 games.
As more evidence his place on the Orioles was tenuous, Joe was designated for assignment on November 28 and picked up off the waiver wire by the Miami Marlins two days later. It’s expected he will compete for a outfield/first base job with the rebuilding Marlins.
2013: After a short stint on the disabled list cost Joe the tail end of spring training in his new Florida home he rehabbed with the class-A Jupiter Hammerheads, going 7-for-16 in 4 games to prove he was ready to return to the big leagues, which he did on April 17. For ten glorious days Mahoney was the primary starting first baseman for the Marlins, going 8-for-29 with his first big league hit (in Cincinnati April 20 in a pinch-hitting role against the Reds’ Branson Arroyo) and smacking his first big league home run against the Chicago Cubs and pitcher Scott Feldman on April 26 – then he got hurt again.
A month later he was back in Jupiter rehabbing, suffering another setback in a 5-game, 3-for-17 stint and eventually being optioned to AAA New Orleans on June 10. For the Zephyrs, though, he struggled, hitting only .190/2/16/.462 OPS in 55 games. This sad decline eventually led Joe to also be granted free agency November 5.
2014: After not finding someone to sign him for 2014, I found a news story that indicated Joe has retired from the game. He leaves with 11 games over two seasons with Baltimore and Miami, finishing 8-for-33 (.242) with one home run and four RBI.
Shorebird of the Week: April 14, 2011.
Major League debut: August 9, 2012. The quickest to go from SotW to Hall-of-Famer (until that record was broken by the next inductee), Manny got the start at third base in his debut against Kansas City. Despite an 8-2 loss, Machado opened his career in the majors well: after grounding out to short in his first at-bat, Machado tripled and eventually scored off Royals starter Will Smith for his first hit before getting hit #2, an infield single off Smith. The eventful game ended with Machado’s pop out. He also handled three chances cleanly.
Rest of season: If the rest of the season is any indication, Machado may be in the bigs and never look back. He won an American League Player of the Week honor in his first week after a torrid start and, while his bat eventually cooled off, his season still was memorable as the phenom hit .262/7/26/.739 OPS in 51 games. He can be forgiven for a 3-for-19 performance in the playoffs, for it was really the first time he looked overmatched. Moreover, the performance was just as good as his 109 preceding games in Bowie, where he hit .266/11/59/.789 OPS as a raw 19-year-old in the Eastern League – a league generally populated by players half a decade older and more experienced.
2013: By far the most prominent member of this Hall of Fame, Machado blossomed into one of the finest young players in the game in 2013. He made his first All-Star team, won both a Gold and Platinum Glove for his work at third base, and hit .283/14/71/.746 OPS as a 21-year-old while leading the American League with 51 doubles. His season included a number of highlight-reel defensive plays that made Oriole fans think back to the days a young Brooks Robinson patrolled third base, and then some. The only sour note was suffering a gruesome-looking knee injury in the final week of the season, stopping his streak of 156 consecutive games in 2013 and 207 overall. He opted to surgically repair a knee ligament which had plagued him during his Delmarva days as well, meaning he’ll likely miss most of spring training in 2014 and may begin the season on a rehab assignment or extended spring.
2014: For the 2014 season, the story was Manny’s knees. As a carryover from 2013′s knee surgery, Manny got a late start in 2014, beginning his season with three rehab games in Frederick (and going 8-for-12 with an amazing 1.859 OPS) before joining the Orioles on May 1.
After a slow start, Machado caught fire and was putting up nice numbers when the opposite knee went out. A few days of consideration and checking later, Machado decided to have season-ending knee surgery once again in order to be ready for the start of the 2015 season and have the benefit of a full spring training. While he wasn’t an All-Star this time around and lost a little bit of his fielding touch, Manny still made a few highlight-reel plays and hit .278/12/32/.755 OPS for the 82 games he got into.
Shorebird of the Week: April 19, 2012.
Major League debut: September 23, 2012. Never before had a Shorebird of the Week made it to The Show in the season he was originally picked, but Dylan Bundy defied the odds and made the big leagues in his first full professional season. He’s the first Shorebird (excepting rehab stints) who played for both Delmarva and Baltimore in the same season since Jim Hoey in 2006.
While he was actually called up a few days earlier (September 19) Bundy’s debut was somewhat anticlimactic, as he came on in the eighth inning at Boston to face pinch-hitter Ryan Lavarnway. Both he and the next batter, Danny Valencia, were retired on fly outs. Bundy’s line: 2/3 of a perfect inning, no strikeouts or walks in a 2-1 loss.
Rest of season: Let’s get the other big league appearance out of the way first: two days after his debut, he pitched one inning at home against Toronto, giving up a hit and a walk. The hit belonged to Anthony Gose and the walk to J.P. Arencibia. His total line is just 1 2/3 innings in two appearances, enough to get his feet wet.
But go back to the 26 in a row he set down to begin his career with Delmarva, or the 30 innings he pitched here, allowing zero earned runs. (Only five hits and two walks, along with two unearned runs, blemished his record here.) At Frederick he was 6-3 in 12 starts, allowing 48 hits in 57 innings while striking out 66. Bowie presented a bit of a challenge, though, as Dylan was 2-0 in 3 starts, but allowed 6 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, striking out 13 but walking eight. It’s probable that Dylan isn’t quite through with the minors yet, but probably is only a half-season to perhaps next September away.
2013: Like Machado, the beginning of Bundy’s 2014 season will be pushed back due to injury, elbow troubles which ended up scuttling his 2013 campaign before it really began. He never made it to the mound in a regular-season game, being shut down after four spring training appearances with the Orioles.
2014: Aberdeen isn’t that far from Baltimore in terms of distance, but it’s a long way and a lot of toil to play your way there. For Dylan, though, it was the first step in his return to the big leagues and on June 15 Bundy played in a game that counted for the first time since the end of the 2012 season in Baltimore.
Dylan made three starts for the IronBirds, pitching a total of 15 innings and allowing just 1 run on 10 hits for an 0.60 ERA (that 1 run led to his only decision, a loss.) He struck out 22 while walking just 3, so his WHIP with Aberdeen was just 0.87. Moving up to Frederick, Bundy made 6 starts with less success, going 1-2 with a 4.78 ERA, striking out 15 and walking 13 in just 26 1/3 innings for a more pedestrian 1.56 WHIP. But most of the damage was done in his first 3 starts, where he allowed 12 runs in 12 1/3 innings. Six innings of three-hit shutout ball in Myrtle Beach showed he could get the outs when he was consistent.
Unfortunately, Dylan was shut down in August after a lat strain he incurred while running in the outfield, so he missed out on perhaps 2 or 3 more starts. He’s expected to be fully ready for spring training, though.
Shorebird of the Week: July 2, 2009.
Major League debut: September 25, 2012. Hoes had to wait two long weeks from his September 11 callup to actually get into a game. His actual debut came in the 9th inning of a 4-0 loss to Toronto when he was called upon to pinch-run for designated hitter Jim Thome. One batter later, the game was over.
Rest of season: Like Bundy above, we can get the other big league appearance out of the way first. The next day against Toronto, Hoes pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth for Nate McLouth, grounding out softly to short against David Carpenter for his first and so far only big league at-bat. He also made his debut in the field, getting an inning out in left field.
Yet Hoes was certainly deserving of his brief cup of coffee, as he hit .265/2/16/.741 OPS at Bowie in 51 games before a promotion to Norfolk, where he batted .300/3/38/,771 in 82 games. More importantly, L.J. struck out 76 times on the season but walked 65. 20 steals didn’t hurt his cause, either.
2013: It was turning into a nice minor league season for L.J., who was hitting .304/3/40/.808 OPS in 99 Norfolk games (with 58 walks vs. 56 strikeouts as an added bonus) when he was recalled by the Orioles July 28. In his return to the majors that evening he went 0-for-3 against the Boston Red Sox. As it turned out, that would be his last game in a Baltimore uniform.
Three days later, the Orioles completed a trade which sent Hoes and minor league pitcher Josh Hader (a Shorebird of the Week during 2013) to the Houston Astros for pitcher Bud Norris. It led to perhaps the one and only time in major league history a player got his first major league hit off the pitcher he was traded for – on August 1 Hoes singled off Norris in the Astros’ 6-3 loss. Despite the slow start, Hoes had a good season in 2013, hitting .282/1/10/.696 OPS in 47 total big league games (1 with the Orioles, 46 with Houston) and swiping seven bases. (The home run came off the Angels’ Jason Vargas on August 18.) Obviously Hoes should be prominent in the Astros’ rebuilding plans for 2014.
2014: The promising end of 2013 turned into a struggle in 2014; a season which found L.J. passing between Houston and AAA Oklahoma City on several occasions. With just a .172/3/11/.517 OPS slash line in 55 Houston games, Hoes looked overmatched in a way he didn’t in 2013. After a good start where he hit .308 in his first 6 games, in late April and early May L.J. endured an 0-for-19 slump which sent his average well under the Mendoza line. After hitting .209 in 27 games, Hoes was sent to Oklahoma City May 23. Returning June 25, Hoes hit only .132 in his next 20 games before being demoted again in August, and got just 3 games in after a September callup, going 0-for-2. At AAA Oklahoma City, Hoes hit .297/2/15/.772 OPS in 35 games.
The Class of 2013 is the smallest since 2010, as the Orioles system found itself between established prospects like Machado and Bundy who rocketed their way up the ladder and a number of promising guys who are only now reaching the AA level. One reflects the value of perseverance and the other more raw talent and tools.
Shorebird of the Week: August 9, 2007.
Major League debut: May 1, 2013. Clark took over for starter Wei-Yin Chen to begin the 5th inning of what would become an 8-3 loss at Seattle against the Mariners. Trailing 5-0, Clark got through his first inning all right despite a walk but fell apart in his second frame, allowing three consecutive hits and three runs charged to him. In 1 2/3 innings he struck out one (Jesus Montero) and walked two.
Rest of season: There are some interesting tidbits about Clark: he is by far the oldest inductee into the SotWHoF so far and he took the longest to make it at almost 5 1/2 years. And the season of his debut was perhaps the wildest roller-coaster ride any professional can make.
It all began with being placed on the 40-man roster in late 2012. Once the season began Zach made five solid, if not overly effective starts at Norfolk, where Zach was 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA, striking out 20 and walking 7 with a 1.44 WHIP in 25 2/3 innings. He then made his debut, only to be designated for assignment and demoted to Bowie – and that’s where the adventure really began.
His six Bowie appearances were the first in a conversion of Clark to a knuckleball pitcher, and the results the rest of the season weren’t pretty: 1-4 with an 8.62 ERA in 24 innings, allowing 32 hits and 20 walks there before another demotion to the rookie Gulf Coast League and an 0-2 record in 4 appearances. But there his numbers were somewhat passable – a 6.75 ERA and 21 hits in 17 1/3 innings, but only 6 walks against 8 strikeouts.
Finally, with Frederick, Clark went 1-7, 9.74 in 10 starts, giving up 51 hits and 42 walks in 44 1/3 innings. It’s a long way from his 2012 where he excelled at Bowie and Norfolk. But while he became a free agent November 5, the Orioles resigned him to a minor league deal on January 7.
2014: It’s always hard to say goodbye, but after going all the way through extended spring and not seeing a good place to put Zach, the Orioles decided to release Clark on June 13.
Clark eventually found his way to the independent Camden RiverSharks of the Atlantic League, where he scrapped the knuckleball he was experimenting with and returned to a more conventional mix of pitches. With Camden he went 2-3 with a 3.00 ERA in seven starts covering 36 innings (including a complete game shutout) while striking out 21 and walking just 8 for a WHIP of 1.17 – unfortunately, he missed the last two months of the season due to injury.
Shorebird of the Week: April 21, 2011.
Major League debut: September 25, 2013. While Schoop was one of several September callups by the Orioles, getting the nod the day after the minor league season concluded, his debut would not come until after the Orioles were eliminated from postseason contention, Getting the start, batting eighth, and playing second base against the Toronto Blue Jays, Schoop singled in his first at-bat off Toronto starter Esmil Rogers, scoring when Ryan Flaherty followed with a home run. He also hit into an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play before smashing his first home run off Kyle Drabek to lead off the sixth inning. Add in an eighth-inning walk – where he scored on a second Flaherty home run – and three assists and two putouts (including a double play) defensively, and it was an exciting debut for Schoop, reminiscent of Manny Machado’s in a 9-5 Oriole win.
Rest of season: Jonathan appeared in the last 5 Oriole games, going 4-for-14 (.286) with the home run and RBI, striking out twice and walking once. It followed an injury-plagued season which saw Schoop play 70 games with Norfolk, hitting .256/9/34/.697 OPS along with July rehab stints in the Gulf Coast League (9-for 25 with 3 HR and 9 RBI in 8 games) and Aberdeen (8-for-14 in 3 games, with 2 HR and 9 RBI.) Combined, his rookie level OPS was 1.408.
Schoop went on to play for the league champion Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, but hit just .177/3/6/.594 OPS in 16 games.
2014: With Manny Machado out at the beginning of the season, Ryan Flaherty started at third base and that created an opening for Jonathan to get playing time at second over others like Jemile Weeks and Steve Lombardozzi. Schoop even took a turn at third for a couple dozen games before Machado’s return, but eventually settled into being the everyday second baseman for the Orioles. So while his .209 average wasn’t great, he provided 16 home runs and 45 RBI as a bottom-of-the-order hitter, playing in 137 games. Schoop then went 3-for-10 against Detroit in the LDS before a 1-for-11 effort against Kansas City in the LCS.
Perhaps the highlight of Schoop’s season was a three-game series against Cincinnati in September where he hit a home run in each game in the Oriole sweep. After that, though, Schoop finished in a 7-for-58 slump which knocked him down from .223 to .209 by season’s end.
Now for the Class of 2014. I nearly had two people in this class because pitcher Tim Berry was called up to the Orioles in June but he did not pitch in the one game where he was on the roster. For the last couple months of the season after Berry went down with an injury, though, I was convinced the Class of 2014 would be barren. That changed with the suspension of Chris Davis in early September.
Shorebird of the Week: April 18, 2013.
Major League debut: September 17, 2014. With the Orioles clinching a playoff berth and Chris Davis suspended, it opened up an opportunity for the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. Walker drew the start against Toronto, batting seventh, and had a run-scoring opportunity in his first at-bat with one out and a runner on third. Alas, Walker struck out against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ. Later, Walker flied out to right against Happ before chasing him from the game with his first major league hit, a double to lead off the seventh inning. Walker was then lifted for a pinch-runner in Baltimore’s 6-1 victory. Christian handled eight chances flawlessly in the game.
Rest of season: Walker ended up in six games down the stretch, going 3-for-18 (.167) with a home run against Boston’s Rubby De La Rosa on September 20, part of his two-hit game against the Red Sox. He made one fielding error in the six games and struck out nine times in 18 at-bats at the big league level.
Walker got the chance to participate on the Orioles’ post-minor league season “taxi squad” by hitting .301/20/77/.884 OPS at Bowie for 95 games before 44 Norfolk tilts where Walker hit .259/6/19/.763 OPS. For the season Walker had 26 home runs compared to 27 other extra base hits (25 doubles and two triples), suggesting good raw power. Christian was one of the fastest risers in SotWHoF history, making it the very next season after being selected. Only Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy have progressed more quickly.
Images of David Hernandez and L.J. Hoes via Zimbio.
Image of Brandon Snyder via espn.com.
Image of Pedro Beato: David Zanine/USA Today Sports.
Image of Zach Britton via Amazon.com.
Images of Ryan Adams, Blake Davis, Kyle Hudson, and Jonathan Schoop via Wikipedia.
Image of Matt Angle: Chris Trotman/Getty Images North America
Image of Pedro Florimon: AP/Genevieve Ross.
Image of Xavier Avery: Yahoo Sports.
Images of Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy: Getty Images/Greg Flume.
Image of Zach Clark: USA Today/Dereck E. Hingle.
Image of Christian Walker via MLB.com.