Beginning with the first week of the 2006 Delmarva Shorebirds season, I began a feature on monoblogue called “Shorebird of the Week.” Before I decided to bring the feature to an end in 2016, I’d selected a total of 211 players (and one manager) for the honor, some twice in two different seasons. Since then I’ve made it a monthly post as Shorebird Pitcher and Position Player of the Month, adding another 27 players to the SotW roster.
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 (although that may be cut to just 600 or so in the near future) 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. (I must note though: in 2019 the 1/1 Adley Rutschman was an exception, as he came here at the very end of the season and participated in both of our playoff games. But he was not selected as a Shorebird of the Month because his time here was too brief.)
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One indication of how long this page has been around is that there are some players who are no longer active.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. I have also shortened the seasonal descriptions in favor of linking career statistics at baseball-reference.com. In 2016 I did more tweaking, with shorter summaries of inactive players as the length of this page continues to grow. Even though the Shorebird of the Week has slowed to the Shorebird Pitcher and Position Player of the Month, I anticipate there will many more members of the Hall of Fame before all is said and done.
My first inductees made up the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2009.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 4th round pick in 2004 draft, from Foothills High School in Santa Ana, California.
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 – Carlos Quentin was his first to close out the opening inning.
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. He had allowed 6 hits and 3 earned runs in a pair of Norfolk starts covering 11 innings before his promotion, splitting two decisions with a 2.45 ERA and 0.82 WHIP on a 9-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Career: 12 seasons in organized baseball, 4 in major leagues (Baltimore 2009-12, Arizona 2012.) Career WAR: 3.2. Inactive as player since 2017.
Brad spent the 2006 and 2007 seasons here in Delmarva. A promising pitcher thought to be a future mainstay of the Orioles rotation, he never quite lived up to the expectations brought on by his rookie year that was cut short by injury, eventually being waived by the Orioles in 2012. He finished his major league career that season with the Arizona Diamondbacks, who used him exclusively out of the bullpen. While Brad pitched in the big leagues for most of his four-season run from 2009-12, he never avoided at least some time in the minor leagues each season. Nor could be avoid being sidelined with ailments: his one season pitching in Japan (2013) as well as an abortive independent league comeback attempt in 2015 both ended with maladies. But he returned a year later as a brief appearance in winter ball led to a contract with the independent Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League for 2017 – a season he managed to complete without injury, if not great success.
Beginning in 2018 Brad moved into the coaching ranks with the Lakewood BlueClaws, a fellow SAL team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was promoted a level to Clearwater of the Florida State League for 2019 and another level to AA Reading once the 2020 season finally begins. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: April 27, 2006.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 16th round pick in 2005 draft from Consumnes River Junior College in Sacramento, California. He was previously drafted by the Rockies in 2003 and Diamondbacks in 2004.
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 (including Miguel Cabrera as his first), 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.
Between Norfolk and Bowie, David made 12 starts, going 3-2 with a 3.23 ERA and 1.03 WHIP. His 83-19 K-BB ratio was very impressive in only 61 1/3 innings.
Since: Hernandez began the 2010 season as a starter but it was found he could be a valuable late-inning reliever as the season wore on. This increased his value to the extent that the Arizona Diamondbacks were willing to trade slugging infielder Mark Reynolds for Hernandez and fellow pitcher Kam Mickolio in December, 2010.
Hernandez became a mainstay in Arizona’s bullpen for the next three seasons, dominating in 2011 and 2012 and sliding back a little in 2013. However, he lost his 2014 season to injury and didn’t get back to the majors until the middle of 2015. For 2016, David signed as a free agent with the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies, only to become a free agent again at season’s end and eventually signing with the San Francisco Giants on February 14, 2017. When it became clear he would not make it with the Giants, Hernandez opted out and signed a minor league pact with Atlanta March 26, which turned into a cash deal with the Los Angeles Angels a few weeks later on April 24 and a return to the big leagues. David was once again traded at the deadline for minor league pitcher Luis Madero, reuniting with the Diamondbacks and pitching in the 2017 NLDS against the eventual NL pennant-winning Dodgers.
In 2018 Hernandez was reborn as a top reliever after signing a two-year pact with the Cincinnati Reds, setting a career low WHIP and getting back to his 2011-13 form. Unfortunately, David faced some setbacks in 2019, losing his spot with the Reds and washing out of the Yankees’ minor league system as well. In early January, though, he inked a minor league pact with the notoriously close-to-the-vest Washington Nationals. Somewhere in the twilight of the delayed 2020 season, he was let go only to be signed on July 3 by the Cleveland Indians. Career stats.
Just one new player comprised the Class of 2010, but he distinguished himself as the first position player.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 1st round pick in 2005 draft from Westfield High School in Virginia.
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. The first hit would come the following evening against Marc Rzepczynski of the Toronto Blue Jays, an RBI single.
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.
Since: Brandon played briefly with the Orioles in 2011, but spent time as a prototypical “AAAA” player with the Texas and Boston organizations from 2012-14, not making it to the majors in 2014. In 2015 Brandon suited up for one game with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League before rejoining the Orioles’ organization – however, he never made it out of Bowie. Snyder inked a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves for 2016, and parlayed that into his first MLB action in three seasons as he split time between the Braves and AAA. Again a free agent after the season, Snyder signed a minor league pact with the Washington Nationals for 2017 but spent the campaign at AAA Syracuse before again declaring free agency. One distinction about 2017: his first two career pitching appearances, both to mop up blowout losses but both scoreless.
After signing in the 2018 offseason with Tampa Bay, Brandon made it back to The Show for a few days early in the season but was outrighted to Durham in May. He did assist the Bulls in winning the IL pennant, including driving in the game-winning run to knock my Mud Hens out of the opening series. But even after a pedestrian 2019 season in the Nationals’ organization, Brandon will try again to get back in 2020 with a curly W on his hat. Career stats.
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.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 1st compensation round pick in 2006 draft from St. Petersburg College in Florida. He was previously drafted by the Mets in 2005.
How acquired by debuting team: Drafted by the Mets from the Orioles in the 2010 Rule 5 draft.
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: After finally getting his first K out of the way on April 11 (Chris Iannetta of the Rockies was the victim), Pedro went on to set a Mets record by not allowing an earned 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.
Since: An injury-plagued 2012 season found Beato being traded from the Mets to the Boston Red Sox, with only a handful of big-league appearances to show for it. Pedro bounced back and forth between AAA Pawtucket and Boston in 2013 and AAA Gwinnett and Atlanta in 2014 – after the Cincinnati Reds let him go as a late spring training cut that season. Beato returned to the Orioles fold for both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, putting up stunningly similar statistics each season, but never reaching the big club. He certainly has become a familiar figure in the International League, though: Buffalo (Mets) 2011-12, Pawtucket (Red Sox) 2012-13, Gwinnett (Braves) in 2014, Norfolk (Orioles) 2015-16, and Lehigh Valley (Phillies) in 2017-18. At least Pedro got to return to the big leagues for a few days during that stretch, making one appearance for Philadelphia in 2017 before injuring his hamstring.
After drifting down to Mexico to begin 2019 and returning stateside to pitch in independent league ball, whether he’ll be back in the IL or not for 2020 depends on whether he can once again latch on with an affiliated team. However, in January he was quoted on a Mets fan blog as “leaning toward retirement.” Career stats.
Zack Britton (FKA Zach)
Shorebird of the Week: August 7, 2008.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 3rd round pick in 2006 draft from Weatherford High School in Texas.
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. Elliot Johnson was the first of his six strikeouts, Zack walked three.
Rest of season: Zack 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. Zack 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.
Since: Zack went from an inconsistent starting pitcher during the 2012 and 2013 seasons to one of the American League’s most dominating closers when he was handed the job early in 2014. Britton made the All-Star team in 2015 and 2016, was designated the Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year in 2016, and finished fourth in Cy Young voting. When Britton ran out of options after the 2013 season, the Orioles got creative and it paid off huge. Some of the blame for the Orioles’ 2017 slide can be placed on Britton’s injury-plagued year, and his Orioles’ future became a question as free agency loomed. Making matters worse: in late December 2017 Zack underwent surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles, meaning he missed the first couple months of the 2018 season and, as a pending free agent on a team needing a rebuild, was shipped off to the New York Yankees on July 24, 2018 for minor league pitchers Cody Carroll, Josh Rogers, and Dillon Tate – the former two of whom debuted with Baltimore in 2018, with Tate coming forward in the 2019 season. In January 2019 Britton re-upped with the Yankees for at least the 2019-2021 seasons, with a fourth option year possible, too. He also re-established his birth name of Zackary during the 2018-19 off-season. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: August 14, 2008.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 2nd round pick in 2006 draft from Jesuit High School in New Orleans.
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.
At AAA Norfolk Ryan played in 94 games, putting together a solid .284/10/37 line with a .794 OPS.
Career: 9 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2011.) Career WAR: (-0.3). Inactive since 2015.
Ryan played his lone season with Delmarva in 2008 as he advanced steadily through the system. But injuries forced him to miss out on The Show the season after his debut in 2012, spending his year mainly with AAA Norfolk. Compounding matters, at season’s end he also drew a 25-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, which he would have served in 2013 had a team signed him – the Orioles allowed him to walk as a free agent. Skipping the 2013 campaign, Adams signed a minor league pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014 but was released at midseason. Adams attempted brief comebacks in 2014 and 2015 with independent league teams, but only played a total of 18 games as his career closed. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: July 27, 2006.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 4th round pick in 2006 draft from Cal State-Fullerton. He was previously drafted by the Indians in 2005.
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’s Edinson Volquez 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 (and only) 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 was taken off the O’s 40-man roster.
At AAA Norfolk Blake got into 62 games, hitting .280/5/27 with a .706 OPS.
Career: 10 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2011.) Career WAR: 0.1. Inactive since 2015.
Blake made his pro debut with the Shorebirds in 2006. He worked his way up the Orioles chain, but after his 2011 cup of coffee Davis never made it back to the major leagues. His offensive numbers began to decline the next season with Norfolk, and did not rebound sufficiently in the Brewers or Pirates organizations to allow him an opportunity with those teams. His career ended after one final season in independent league baseball in 2015. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: April 24, 2008.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 7th round pick in 2007 from Ohio State.
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 bunt single at Minnesota (and pitcher Anthony Swarzak) 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.
Career: 9 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2011.) Career WAR: (-0.4). Inactive since 2015.
Angle came to the Orioles from the 2007 draft and was in Delmarva the next season, 2008. He advanced through the system, getting his one shot in the latter half of the 2011 season. But after the Dodgers claimed Matt off the waiver wire he became a AAA mainstay with the Dodgers and Marlins organizations before being demoted to AA with the Athletics chain. He was released during the 2015 season from that level. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: June 18, 2009.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 4th round pick in 2008 from the University of Illinois.
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.
Career: 8 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2011.) Career WAR: (-0.4). Inactive as player since 2015.
Kyle played his lone season with the Shorebirds in 2009 and was promoted to Frederick by season’s end. After just over a season with Frederick, Hudson rocketed through AA and AAA in just 96 games before debuting with the Orioles. Hudson was one of the first casualties of the Dan Duquette era, though, and it turned out that he became something of a nomad, spending one spring training with Texas in 2012 and part of that season in the Tampa Bay chain before a minor league trade sent him to the Philadelphia organization later that summer. After a year’s absence, Kyle returned to the Orioles’ fold just before spring training of 2013 but was demoted to AA Bowie for the season. He would latch on for part of the 2014 season with the Los Angeles Angels at that level before a mid-season release. The next season Kyle was plucked from the volunteer college coaching ranks to participate in an experiment: the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking to train designated stealers. He was one of five players signed for what was dubbed a “speed camp” but the experiment for Hudson only lasted a few weeks before an injury derailed the plan. Kyle’s biggest career distinctions: zero home runs in 2,753 plate appearances and a career high of just 33 RBI in a season (2013 with Bowie.)
In 2017, Kyle graduated from volunteer coach at his alma mater, the University of Illinois, to professional coach for the single-A Lynchburg Hillcats, a Cleveland affiliate. Hudson moved down their chain a notch to Lake County in 2018 but leapt back to the cusp of the Show as a coach at AAA Columbus for 2019.
Pedro Florimon, Jr.
Shorebird of the Week: April 3, 2008.
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent by Baltimore, June 18, 2004.
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.
Since: Minnesota started Pedro out slowly after acquiring him for the 2012 campaign, but Florimon ended up being their primary starting shortstop by the end of 2012 and held on to that position through 2013. But a rough start in 2014 sent him back to the minors and eventually on to the Washington Nationals, for whom he never played thanks to being picked up in the midst of a pennant race (and after the minor league season concluded.) Before the 2015 season, Florimon was waived by Washington and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he made brief appearances in 2015 and 2016 while spending most of those seasons at AAA Indianapolis. At season’s end in 2016, Florimon was once again outrighted to AAA by Pittsburgh. He then opted for free agency and signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies for 2017 and was rewarded with an August promotion and regular playing time until a severe ankle injury ended his season prematurely. While he was again a free agent, Florimon quickly re-upped with the Phillies for 2018 with a minor league deal and spent plenty of time there (even playing the mop-up pitcher in a couple blowout losses) when not battling the injury bug.
After becoming a minor league free agent at the end of 2018, Pedro spent 2019 with Atlanta’s AAA Gwinnett team, missing the Show for the first time since 2010. Florimon became a free agent at the 2019 season’s end and has yet to be signed by any team. Career stats.
The Class of 2012 had 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.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 2nd round pick in 2008 from Cedar Grove High School in Ellenwood, Georgia.
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 was ripe for a little more seasoning in 2013.
Career: 11 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2012.) Career WAR: (-0.3). Inactive as player since 2018.
Once considered to be a speedy center field prospect, Xavier spent the full 2009 season with Delmarva before jumping the rest of the way in just over two seasons. Unfortunately, it turned out his time in the Show would be over before his 23rd birthday and he became a AAA nomad after being shuffled off to Seattle in a 2013 deadline-day trade to Seattle for outfielder Mike Morse. Avery spent just over one season in the Mariners’ chain before a whirlwind 2015 sent him to Toledo, Sacramento, and Rochester, opting out of deals once their deadline for promotion passed.
He came back to the Orioles for one Norfolk season before spending his final two seasons playing close by his hometown with the Braves’ AAA Gwinnett team. But averaging over a strikeout a game, combined with a modest .260 lifetime average at the AAA level, held back his career and consigned him to the purgatory of AAA. Career stats.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 6th round pick in 2007 from the University of Richmond in Virginia.
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. 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.
Career: 7 seasons in organized baseball, 2 in major leagues (Baltimore 2012, Miami 2013). Career WAR: 0.0. Inactive since 2013.
Mahoney played most of 2 seasons with Delmarva, struggling in 2008 before finding his stride in 2009 and being promoted to Frederick late in the campaign. Joe moved up the ranks at a good pace, but his major league debut was somewhat accidental and he wasn’t kept around after the season. He began 2013 on a high note, playing briefly with Miami in April (and finally getting that first big league hit on April 20 against Cincinnati’s Bronson Arroyo as a pinch hitter) before an injury derailed his campaign. By season’s end, though, he was out of a job and decided to retire as the first Hall of Famer to leave active playing when no one offered him a deal to play the 2014 season. As of February 2016 he was back in a baseball-related job, per MASN Sports.
Shorebird of the Week: April 14, 2011.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 1st round (3rd overall) pick in the 2010 draft from Brito Miami Private School in Miami, Florida.
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.
Since: 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 and has overcome surgery to both knees in separate seasons to be named to three All-Star teams and secure both Gold and Platinum Gloves. For most of six seasons Manny cemented the left side of the Orioles’ infield. In 2015 he was the lone major league player to play in all 162 games, and only missed a few from 2016-2018. For 2018 the big news was initially a shift to his natural shortstop position to replace the departed J.J. Hardy and returning to the Mid-Summer Classic after a year’s hiatus, but it ended up being his July 18 trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a trove of five players (minor league prospects Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, and Zach Pop and big-leaguer Breyvic Valera) as well as his comments about not being “Johnny Hustle” during the World Series – Manny became the first SotWHoF member to reach that grand stage, beating Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez by six innings. On February 21, it became official: Machado signed one of baseball’s richest deals ever, a ten-year pact with the San Diego Padres. However, year one of that pact was a little bit on the subpar side for Manny as he hit his lowest mark ever, a .256 average for the season. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: April 19, 2012.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 1st round (4th overall) pick in the 2011 draft from Owasso High School in Oklahoma.
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 was the first Shorebird (excepting rehab stints) to play 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 was 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. At that point, it was figured that Dylan wasn’t quite through with the minors yet, but was only a half-season to perhaps the next September away.
Since: But a series of injuries over the 2013 through 2015 seasons stalled Bundy’s progression to the point where he was no longer the Orioles’ top prospect – working only 65 1/3 innings over three seasons will do that. Bundy was out of options in 2016, so he began the year in the bullpen but moved into the starting rotation in July and went 8-5 as a starter. That 2016 success added to expectations that he would be a staff ace for 2017, and by and large Bundy delivered as he led Baltimore starters in wins, ERA, and WHIP. Bundy was rewarded by being the Orioles’ Opening Day starter for 2018, but not much else went well in a lost season for Dylan where he led MLB in the dubious categories of losses and home runs allowed. The numbers improved in 2019, though, and that made Bundy a possible trade piece as the Orioles rebuild. Sure enough, on December 4 he was dealt to the Los Angeles Angels for four right-handed pitching prospects. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: July 2, 2009.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 3rd round pick in the 2008 draft from St. John’s High School in Washington, D.C.
Major League debut: September 25, 2012. Hoes had to wait two long weeks from his September 11 callup to finally 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 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, LJ struck out 76 times on the season but walked 65. 20 steals didn’t hurt his cause, either.
Career: 10 seasons in organized baseball, 4 in major leagues (Baltimore 2012-13, Houston 2013-15). Career WAR: 0.0. Inactive since 2017.
After just one season in Delmarva, Hoes steadily moved up the ladder (with a quick rehab detour to Aberdeen in 2010), arriving in Baltimore as a September callup in 2012 and returning for a few games in 2013 before being dealt to Houston for pitcher Bud Norris on July 31, 2013 – a deal that also included pitcher Josh Hader, an eventual SotWHoF Class of 2017 member and the draft pick that became Derek Fisher. The deal 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.
Hoes stayed with the Astros for the remainder of the 2013 season and put up decent numbers, but slumped badly to begin 2014 and by season’s end was a rarely-used September callup. The major league playing time dwndled in 2015 and LJ was kept on the minor league shelf that September.
It was thought an off-season acquisition would bring Hoes back to the Orioles’ roster for 2016, but a roster crunch led the Orioles to designate him for assignment on January 26. After season at AAA Norfolk, Hoes became a free agent but made the career-ending mistake of getting a 50-game suspension handed down by Major League Baseball in February 2017. LJ played one season in the independent leagues, but was out of baseball in 2018 except for being signed by the Orioles to a minor league deal simply as a way of clearing the 50-game penalty in hopes of a 2019 deal that never came. Career stats.
The Class of 2013 was 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 were only then reaching the AA level. One member reflected the value of perseverance and the other had more raw talent and tools.
Shorebird of the Week: August 9, 2007.
How acquired: Signed by Baltimore as an undrafted free agent, May 26, 2006. Zach played for the University of Maryland – Baltimore County.
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. This would be his only major league appearance.
Rest of season: There are some interesting tidbits about Clark: he is (to date) the oldest inductee into the SotWHoF by almost two years and when inducted 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.
Career: 10 seasons in organized baseball, 1 in major leagues (Baltimore 2013). Career WAR: (-0.1). Inactive since 2015.
Zach was a rare breed these days: an American undrafted free agent who was an organization player that succeeded – even if for just one day. He was part of the 2007, 2008, and 2010 Shorebird squads, although he only pitched one game here in 2010 – the bulk of his time here was in 2007. Except for 2011, Clark pitched with at least 2 teams each year he was with the Orioles, spending time with every one of their domestic minor-league squads from Bluefield to Norfolk. (Zach was in Bluefield once, Aberdeen twice, Delmarva three times, Frederick and Norfolk five times, and Bowie six straight seasons from 2008-13.) With the ill-fated knuckleball experiment not working out, the Orioles released Clark after extended spring training in 2014, and he pitched in the independent Atlantic League for another season-plus before calling it quits. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: April 21, 2011.
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent by Baltimore, August 20, 2008.
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.
Since: Schoop may have been overmatched a little bit during the 2014 season for the Orioles, but once he overcame an injury Jonathan turned in a solid 2015 season for Baltimore, improved for 2016, and that success grew even more in 2017 with his first trip to the All-Star Game and selection as Most Valuable Oriole. But 2018’s rebuild and the prospect of raking in prospects for a player of Schoop’s caliber made it enticing for Schoop to be shipped off to the playoff-pushing Milwaukee Brewers, who sent minor-leaguers Jean Carmona and Luis Ortiz (who later debuted with Baltimore) and veteran Jonathan Villar to Baltimore for Schoop – who barely hit .200 for the Brew Crew and was 0-for the playoffs. That performance (or lack thereof) led the Brewers to non-tender Schoop on November 30, making him a free agent. Schoop landed a one-year pact with the Minnesota Twins for 2019, but playing time dwindled as the season went on and now Jonny Baseball awaits his 2020 debut as a member of the Detroit Tigers, signing on just days before Christmas on December 20. Career stats.
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.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 4th round pick in the 2012 draft from the University of South Carolina. He was previously drafted by the Dodgers in 2009.
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. To that point only Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy had progressed more quickly.
Since: In 2015 Walker was blocked from significant playing time in Baltimore by the resurgent Chris Davis, which led to a position change to the outfield for 2016. While Christian got into a handful of games with the Orioles in 2015, he didn’t make it back in 2016 as the Orioles loaded up on experienced outfielders for the stretch run. There was a strong possibility Walker would either be on the trading block or simply dropped off the 40-man roster as others have moved past him on the depth chart; indeed, after the Orioles signed two veteran outfielders Christian was designated for assignment on February 21, 2017 and claimed off waivers by the Atlanta Braves four days later. However, his stay with the Braves was short: when they tried to sneak Walker through waivers, the Cincinnati Reds snapped him up on March 6 – in turn, their waiver wire effort was thwarted by the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 28. He parlayed that new opportunity and change of scenery into a 2017 MVP award for the Pacific Coast League and several brief stretches with the Diamondbacks over the 2017-18 seasons, although 2018 ended prematurely for Christian thanks to being hit in the face by an errant pitch.
On the other hand, 2019 was the breakout season for Walker, who took advantage of Paul Goldschmidt’s free agent departure and an injury to his heir apparent Jake Lamb to nail down the first base job with the Diamondbacks. Career stats.
If you listen to the adage about “growing the arms” the Class of 2015 should be one of your favorites. All five of the inductees were pitchers, although one was a shortstop once upon a time for the Shorebirds.
Shorebird of the Week: May 5, 2011.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 21st round selection in the 2010 draft from the University of Southern Mississippi.
How acquired by debuting team: Signed as a minor league free agent July 24, 2012.
Major League debut: May 2, 2015. After having his contract selected from AAA Buffalo in a roster shakeup earlier in the day, Copeland made his debut at Progressive Field in Cleveland. Entering the bottom of the ninth inning with his Blue Jays holding a comfortable 11-4 lead, Copeland allowed a single to the first batter he faced, Jason Kipnis, but then retired the side in order afterward.
Rest of season: Scott made another scoreless relief appearance the next day in Cleveland before being optioned back to Buffalo. After spending 10 days in Toronto without an appearance later in May, Copeland went on a string of being recalled for a day to make a start before being optioned out again. This approach met with mixed success – after getting his first big league win by holding Miami to a run on six hits over seven innings June 10 (a 7-2 win), he returned 6 days later in New York against the Mets only to give up three runs in four innings to take a 3-2 loss.
But it was the last start against his old team that proved his unraveling, as Scott gave up 7 runs in 1 1/3 innings against Baltimore (but somehow escaped the loss in a 13-9 defeat.) The next day he was optioned to Buffalo and would not return. All told, Scott pitched 15 1/3 innings in his five appearances, allowing 11 runs and 24 hits, striking out 6 and walking just 2. The standard line is 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA.
Scott ended up being designated for assignment on September 13 and outrighted to Buffalo three days later. He was allowed to become a free agent November 6, but resigned with the club December 18. Despite the constant back-and-forth Scott had a nice season with the Bisons, going 11-6 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.25 WHIP, striking out 66 and walking 37 in 125 innings.
Since: Just as the 2016 season started, Scott was released to pursue a deal with the LG Twins in Korea. But when that didn’t pan out, Toronto took him back in July to fill AAA Buffalo’s staff and that’s where he finished the season. Signed by the Miami Marlins for the 2017 season, he spent it at Miami’s AAA New Orleans affiliate. 2018 looked like more of the same in the Mets’ organization, but he pitched well enough at AA Binghamton to be promoted to AAA Las Vegas and for one day (May 31) to the Mets – his first MLB action since 2015. Scott was allowed to be a minor league FA once again for the 2019 season, and he stayed in the NL East by signing a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals and spent the season at AAA Fresno. He remains unsigned for 2020 after declaring free agency once again. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 28, 2009.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 43rd round draft choice in 2008 from the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.
Major League debut: May 23, 2015. Taking the roster spot of another former Shorebird, Tyler Wilson, Drake came into the pressure-packed situation of a scoreless game in the bottom of the ninth at Miami against the Marlins. Drake took it in stride, retiring the Marlins in order. In the 10th Drake fanned Christian Yelich for his first K, but nearly lost the game after allowing a pair of singles. He was bailed out on a play at the plate after a pitch got away from Caleb Joseph, a tag play upheld on appeal. The 11th inning was uneventful in a game the Orioles eventually lost in the 13th 1-0. This debut came just a few days short of six years after his SotW selection, the longest wait among honorees to that date.
Rest of season: Drake got familiar with the Baltimore-to-Norfolk shuttle, bouncing back and forth a few times. He ended up making 13 Oriole appearances, pitching 15 2/3 innings and allowing 16 hits. He finished with a 2.87 ERA and 1.6 WHIP, striking out 17 and walking 9. This came amidst a dominating season at Norfolk, where Oliver made 42 appearances and pitched 44 innings. In those 44 frames he gave up only 23 hits and 16 walks, compiling a 0.89 WHIP and striking out 66. Drake added 23 saves, which ranked second in the International League.
Since: It was more of the same bouncing back and forth for Drake between Baltimore and Norfolk in 2016, although he bumped his appearance total to 14 (but threw just 18 innings.) Drake would have remained as a piece of Baltimore’s bullpen for 2017, but instead he was designated for assignment April 13 and shipped off to Milwaukee the next day in what turned out to be a cash deal. That trade allowed Oliver to set career highs in most of his pitching categories as he stuck in the big leagues all season.
But the bouncing around in Oliver’s previous career was nothing compared to 2018. Oliver earned the nickname “All Over” as, no longer having options, teams wishing to send him to the minors had to expose him to waivers and he kept being claimed. The first change, though, was being traded in a cash deal from Milwaukee to Cleveland May 5. But on May 31 Cleveland lost him on waivers to the Los Angeles Angels, who lost him on waivers to Toronto July 26, who lost him on waivers to Minnesota August 3. Making appearances with all 5 teams earned him the distinction of being the first player to play on five different teams in a single season (not to mention a handful of appearances for the Angels’ AAA affiliate in Salt Lake City.) And it wasn’t done at season’s end – when Minnesota tried to waive him November 1, he was claimed by Tampa Bay, who tried to pass him through waivers November 20 but were foiled by Toronto (the sequel) on November 26, only to subject Oliver to his eighth (!) transaction of the calendar year when the Blue Jays once again designated him for assignment December 30.
2019 began with Oliver’s contract being sold back to Tampa Bay in a cash deal on January 4. And stop me if you’ve heard this before: on January 18 the Rays designated him for assignment – but this time the wheel came to a stop and Oliver was outrighted to AAA Durham on January 24. Yet he came back by Memorial Day and stuck through the playoffs, making two appearances against Houston. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 31, 2012.
How acquired: Signed as an international free agent by Baltimore, January 28, 2010.
How acquired by debuting team: Traded to Boston for RHP Andrew Miller July 31, 2014.
Major League debut: May 28, 2015. Called up to make the start in Texas against the Rangers, Eduardo dazzled in his debut by tossing 7 2/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out seven. (Prince Fielder was his first victim to end the bottom of the first inning.) Never allowing a batter beyond second base, Rodriguez exited after allowing a consecutive walk and single in the eighth inning but holding a 5-0 lead in a game Boston won 5-1 for Eduardo’s first MLB victory.
Rest of season: Although he was pushed back to an extent at season’s end, Rodriguez became a member of the Red Sox rotation for the rest of the season. Overall, he made 21 starts for the Sox, going 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He ended up striking out 98 and walking 37. 12 of his 21 starts qualified as “quality starts,” with one of his best coming at the expense of the Orioles as he threw six shutout innings in his third start on June 9. (The Orioles got him back a few weeks later, tagging Rodriguez for six runs in 3 2/3 innings.) Other great outings came against Minnesota in his second start, where he allowed just a run and two hits in seven innings June 3 and against Detroit on July 26 where he allowed a run on three hits in seven innings as well.
With AAA Pawtucket Eduardo was 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA in eight starts, with a 1.10 WHIP and an eye-popping 44/7 K/BB ratio. Obviously the Red Sox were forced to see if the stuff would play in the big leagues.
Since: Rodriguez battled injury and ineffectiveness in 2016, spending time once again with AAA Pawtucket early on and not debuting with Boston until the end of May. While he had just one fewer start in 2016 (20 vs. 21) his overall numbers were quite a bit worse: a 3-7 record and 4.71 ERA were a step backward for Eduardo, but he rebounded in 2017 with a good campaign as the #5 starter for the AL East champions for most of the season, with just a short detour to AAA. While his 2018 start was delayed due to offseason knee surgery Eduardo still put his best season together, culminating in the first World Series ring won by a member of this Hall. (He was six innings behind Manny Machado as the second SotWHoF member on baseball’s biggest stage.) His 5 2/3 inning start in Game 4 wasn’t pretty but it was enough to preserve a bullpen taxed from an 18-inning loss the night before.
In 2019 Rodriguez stepped his game up even further, leading the Red Sox with 19 wins. He was denied the shot at a 20th win by the Orioles in the season finale. Career stats.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 2nd round draft choice in 2009 from H.B. Plant High School in Tampa.
Major League debut: June 24, 2015. After sitting for several days upon his recall from AA Bowie, Givens finally got his chance in a game Baltimore trailed 5-1 at Boston. Facing the heart of Boston’s lineup, Givens retired the side in order, striking out Mike Napoli for his first big league K to end the inning. The Orioles did not score in the ninth so the final was 5-1.
Rest of season: The next day, Mychal was optioned back to Bowie – a ride he would make one more time after a late July recall when he stayed for two appearances, including one against Detroit when Mychal got his initial MLB victory. That trip to Bowie was brief, as Mychal came back for good August 8. Overall Givens was 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 22 appearances, mostly in the middle innings. In 30 innings, though, Mychal only allowed 20 hits while striking out 38 and walking just 6 – that 0.87 WHIP was the best on the staff, even better than closer Zack Britton’s.
While he picked up no saves in Baltimore, with Bowie Mychal had 15 saves, pitching to a 4-2 record and 1.73 ERA. In 57 1/3 innings Givens had an outstanding 79/16 ratio of strikeouts to walks and a WHIP of 0.94.
Since: Givens had another effective season out of the Orioles bullpen in 2016, and even got his first two career MLB plate appearances. But Mychal wasn’t quite as dominant as he was in his rookie year, so he needed to make some adjustments in 2017. Turns out that he did, developing his pitches to a point where Mychal inherited the closer job when Zack Britton, Darren O’Day, and Brad Brach were all traded away in separate deals in July 2018. While he lost the full-time closer job in 2019 thanks to some ineffectiveness, Mychal was generally the pitcher most trusted to get key outs in the late innings. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: July 12, 2012.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 26th round draft choice in 2011 from Mesquite High School in Gilbert, Arizona.
How acquired by debuting team: Traded to Milwaukee for OF Gerardo Parra July 31, 2015.
Major League debut: September 2, 2015. Once major league rosters were expanded to 40, Zach was the first player called up by the Milwaukee Brewers from AAA Colorado Springs. He got the start the next night against the Pittsburgh Pirates, struggling for 4 1/3 innings by allowing 4 hits and 4 runs, with the big blow a three-run homer by Aramis Ramirez that wiped out an early 3-0 Brewer lead in the third. But Davies managed to get into the fifth holding a 5-3 lead before being replaced with two on and one out. His fourth run scored off reliever Cory Knebel, but those were the only four runs Milwaukee allowed in a 9-4 win. Zach’s first strikeout went to the Pirates’ Jung Ho Kang.
Rest of season: Zach finished the season in the Brewers’ rotation, making six starts and going 3-2 with a respectable 3.71 ERA in 34 innings. His 24/15 strikeout/walk ratio wasn’t overpowering, but allowing only 26 hits gave him a nice 1.21 WHIP. In his final two starts at Chicago and San Diego, though, Davies threw 13 shutout innings while giving up just 7 hits – 2 in 6 innings to the Cubs.
If you went by his stats at AAA Colorado Springs, though, you would wonder why Davies was recalled. He was only 1-2 with an ERA of 5.00 with the Sky Sox, but before his July 31 acquisition from the Orioles for outfielder Gerardo Parra Davies was 5-6 with a 2.84 ERA in 19 appearances (18 starts) at AAA Norfolk. His WHIP of 1.22 there was probably more representative than the 1.85 WHIP he put up in 27 innings in the PCL.
Since: Davies developed quickly into the staff ace for Milwaukee, winning a team-high 11 games in 2016 and following it up with an even better (if not quite as statistically dominant) 17-win season in 2017. While injuries ruined his 2018 campaign, Zach had a nice bounceback 2019 season, again picking up double-digit wins for the Brewers.
After the 2019 season Zach’s career took a turn westward when he was traded to the San Diego Padres in a five-player deal November 27, 2019. Career stats.
The Class of 2016 had promise to be the largest at one point, but still turned out to have a number of interesting honorees, including two minor league veterans who were among those who waited the longest from being Shorebird of the Week to his debut.
Shorebird of the Week: July 29, 2010.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 13th round draft choice in 2009 from the University of California – Davis.
How acquired by debuting team: Signed as a minor league free agent by New York Mets, November 19, 2015.
Major League debut: May 24, 2016. Taking the place of the injured Lucas Duda on the Mets roster, Kelly was inserted in the lineup as the third baseman at Washington, batting eighth. Facing Steven Strasburg, Kelly struck out looking in his first AB, and had little luck against the Nationals’ ace as he struck out twice more against him (Kelly was also Strasburg’s final batter of the day.) It wasn’t much better against Nationals’ closer Shawn Kelley, as he grounded out to second to end the game. While he had the 0-for-4 collar, Ty had two assists at third base in the Mets’ 7-4 loss.
Rest of season: Kelly would bounce back and forth the rest of the season between the Mets and AAA Las Vegas, and eventually recover from a slow start to hit .241/1/7/.697 OPS in 39 games. He finally got his first hit after an 0-for-9 start on May 30 against starter Jose Quintana of the White Sox. Ty was hitting just .148 with the Mets when he was sent out the first time, but went 8-for-21 in his second stint to raise his average to .250 before settling slightly after his September recall. He played six different positions in his time with the Mets, not quite matching his seven spots with AAA Las Vegas, where Kelly hit .328/2/35 in 81 games. Kelly also made an appearance in the NL Wild Card game, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the eighth and singling as one of four hits off the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner in a 3-0 loss. Ty was designated for assignment by the Mets on February 9, 2017 and outrighted to AAA Las Vegas four days later, but with a spring training invite.
Since: His stay with the Mets was brief – while he made the team out of spring training, one pinch-hitting appearance later Ty was waived and claimed by the Toronto Blue Jays, who sent him to AAA Buffalo. He appeared in just 2 games there before the Blue Jays recalled him, but he never appeared in a game before being designated for assignment and shipped off to Philadelphia in a cash deal. Kelly spent most of the remaining season in Philadelphia as one of several utility-type players on their roster. For 2018, however, he returned to the scene of his debut by signing a minor league deal with the New York Mets and appearing in a handful of games after they purchased his contract.
Ty signed a minor league pact with the Los Angeles Angels for 2019 but decided to retire before the end of the season. He wasn’t done with baseball, though – in September he helped the Israeli national team qualify for the 2020 Olympics. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: June 26, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 11th round draft choice in 2013 from Regis University in Denver.
How acquired by debuting team: As player to be named later in a January 27, 2015 trade with RHP Stephen Tarpley for OF Travis Snider. Brault was added February 20, 2015.
Major League debut: July 5, 2016. Replacing fellow rookie Jameson Taillon in the rotation for a spot start in St. Louis, Brault threw four innings in his first MLB outing, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits, striking out five while walking two. That first major league K came from Jhonny Peralta; moments later Brault allowed his first hit and run as Jed Gyorko singled in Stephen Piscotty, who reached on a 3-base error. That was the unearned run Brault allowed in the Pirates’ 5-2 win. Brault didn’t make the necessary five innings for the win – although he singled up the middle in his first MLB at-bat off Cardinals pitcher Mike Leake, manager Clint Hurdle chose to pinch-hit for Brault in the midst of a fifth inning Pirates rally that tied the game up 2-2, taking Brault off the hook.
Rest of season: Steven made another spot start on July 29, but came up for good once the Pirates shut down Gerrit Cole for the season in late August. Brault went 0-3 with a 4.86 ERA with the Pirates, making 8 appearances, 7 of them starts. (The Cubs shelled him in his last appearance, which came out of the bullpen. As a starter his ERA was 4.26.) Steven struck out 29 while walking 17 in 33 1/3 innings. He was also a respectable 2-for-8 at the plate.
With AAA Indianapolis Brault was 2-7 with a 3.91 ERA in 71 1/3 innings, putting up an 81/35 K/BB ratio. He also made a rehab start for the Rookie-level West Virginia Black Bears, allowing one hit and fanning five in four innings.
Since: Steven put together a superb AAA season as a starter in 2017 but started out as a bullpen piece for the Pirates, making four September starts including six shutout innings for his first win. The other September appearance was a three-inning save (his first) against the team that drafted him, Baltimore. Brault then spent 2018 as a swingman in the Pirates’ bullpen, making a handful of starts but generally pitching in long relief – useful in that regard as he’s a good-hitting pitcher who’s been used on two occasions as a pinch-hitter by the Pirates.
The Pirates took more advantage of his hitting talents by putting him back in the starting rotation for 2019 (plus giving him eight appearances as a pinch-hitter), lending to the talk of making Brault a two-way player in 2020. Instead, the delayed start to the 2020 season may give him time to recover from a March shoulder injury. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: August 14, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 27th round pick in the 2013 draft from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Major League debut: July 17, 2016. Looking at three straight left-handed batters to open up the bottom of the sixth inning in a game where the Orioles had just cut an early 4-0 deficit to 4-2, Buck Showalter handed the ball to Hart to get these outs, and he did: Corey Dickerson flew out and Hart got Kevin Kiermaier looking for his first major league punchout. When Tampa Bay turned to a right-handed pinch-hitter, though, Hart was out with just 2/3 of an inning under his belt in a game the O’s would lose 5-2.
Rest of season: Hart became the mainstay situational lefty out of the Orioles bullpen, making 22 appearances but only pitching 18 1/3 innings in doing so. He allowed only 12 hits and 6 walks while striking out 12, and if not for a home run by Boston’s Hanley Ramirez on September 22 he would have been unscored upon. 1 run in 18 1/3 innings makes for an 0.49 ERA without a decision.
Hart was used as a more conventional reliever at AA Bowie: in 40 appearances there he pitched 46 1/3 innings, allowing 41 hits and putting up a stellar 50-to-7 strikeout to walk ratio. His topline numbers were a 3-1 record with a 2.72 ERA and 1.04 WHIP (compared to 0.98 with the Orioles.)
Since: Donnie wasn’t nearly as effective the second time around in 2017 or on his third shot in 2018, posting much more pedestrian numbers overall and enduring numerous demotions on the shuttle from Baltimore to Norfolk. His MLB innings pitched declined from 43 2/3 in 2017 to 19 1/3 to 2018. That downward trend led to being DFA’d on March 1 in favor of re-acquired infielder Hanser Alberto, and a new team six days later as Hart was claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Later in 2019 the Dodgers would themselves waive him, leading to stints with both Milwaukee and the New York Mets. He signed a minor league pact with the Oakland Athletics on February 4, 2020. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: June 20, 2013.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 9th round pick in the 2010 draft from Hereford High School in Texas.
Major League debut: August 21, 2016. Relieving starter Yovani Gallardo to start the eighth inning in a Sunday afternoon game that started four hours late due to rain (becoming a Sunday evening game), Bridwell struck out Evan Gattis of the Houston Astros to begin his MLB career. But one out later he found out getting behind big league hitters doesn’t pay as Jake Marisnick, a defensive substitute who came in the inning before, crushed a 2-1 pitch out to left. It would be the only run Bridwell allowed in two innings of work, on two hits with two strikeouts in a 5-3 loss to Houston.
Rest of season: Three days later, in his second and final MLB appearance of the season, Bridwell was rocked by the Nationals for 4 runs in 1 1/3 innings of work, including a grand slam from Daniel Murphy. It created a save situation that Buck Showalter likely wasn’t anticipating when he put Bridwell in with a 10-3 lead to start the eighth inning. His MLB line for the year: no decisions, but a 13.50 ERA and 1.8 WHIP. He did strike out three while walking just one.
Because of an injury, Bridwell pitched with four Oriole affiliates during the season. He began it with Bowie, where he opened the season as a starter (although his initial appearance backed up a rehabbing Kevin Gausman) and went 1-1 with a 4.53 ERA in 18 appearances covering 55 2/3 innings, with a WHIP of 1.51 and 38-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After missing a month, Bridwell rehabbed in the GCL (2-0 in 3 games/6 innings, with no runs and 3 hits allowed and 7/3 K/BB ratio) and Aberdeen (1-1, 5.40 ERA in 5 innings, allowing the 3 runs on 2 hits, including a home run. There he struck out four without issuing a walk.) Bridwell then resumed his season in Bowie (picking up his first professional save) until August, making just one appearance with Norfolk before his promotion, then finishing the season with the Tides after being sent back down. With Norfolk Parker gave up just 2 runs and 4 hits in 10 innings pitched, amassing a stellar 14/1 K/BB ratio but not getting a return ticket to Baltimore.
Since: That tantalizing talent wasn’t enough for Baltimore to keep Parker on the 40-man roster, but when the Orioles designated him for assignment they ended up having to make a trade with the Los Angeles Angels in a cash deal on April 17, 2017. For a season it turned out to be an absolute steal for Los Angeles as they got a 10-game winner once Bridwell joined the rotation to stay in June. Despite that success, Parker was optioned to AAA Salt Lake City to begin the 2018 season – but quickly recalled and hammered hard. Injury detour and more ineffectiveness later, by season’s end Parker was designated for assignment November 20 and claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees on November 26 – only to be DFA on December 17 and reclaimed by Los Angeles four days later. Lather, rinse, and repeat on January 15 – but this time the script was flipped as division rival Oakland claimed Parker on January 22.
Released by Oakland in April, Bridwell came back to the Angels but was ineffective at AAA. On January 28, 2020 Bridwell signed a minor league pact with the Minnesota Twins with a ST invite. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 7, 2009.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 21st round draft choice in 2008 from the University of California – Davis.
How acquired by debuting team: Signed as a minor league free agent by Tampa Bay, January 19, 2016.
Major League debut: September 2, 2016. At long last, after being called up to the Orioles in 2015 but never playing in a game, Gamboa took the mound to begin the top of the eighth inning holding an 8-2 lead at home against Toronto. Facing the heart of the order, Gamboa struggled, allowing a single to Josh Donaldson and walking Edwin Encarnacion before fanning Michael Saunders for his first MLB strikeout. After walking Russell Martin, though, Gamboa was pulled with one out and the bases loaded – Donaldson would eventually score to give Gamboa an earned run in his 1/3 inning appearance, although the Rays would still win 8-3.
Rest of season: Eddie would eventually make eight relief appearances for Tampa Bay, pitching 13 1/3 innings and allowing nine hits, but eight walks against 11 strikeouts. He only allowed one other earned run in that stretch, giving him a 1.35 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. He lost both of his decisions, however. At AAA Durham Eddie was a swingman, making 12 starts among his 27 appearances and going 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 94 innings. With the Bulls he struck out 89 and walked 39. Thanks to the signing of free agent pitcher Nathan Eovaldi, Eddie was designated for assignment by Tampa Bay on February 14, 2017 and traded that very day to the Texas Rangers for a player to be named later, or cash.
Since: Eddie didn’t see major league time in 2017 as he bounced between the Rangers and Dodgers organizations, with stops in Round Rock, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City. Returning to the Orioles organization, Gamboa spent most of 2018 with Norfolk and never sniffed Baltimore, returning to the free agent fold November 2 and making his customary Mexican Winter League appearance in the meantime. He remained in Mexico for the 2019 season, not pitching for an affiliated team during the summer for the first time in his career. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 29, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 8th round selection in the 2013 draft, from the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.
Major League debut: September 20, 2016. With backup first baseman Steve Pearce out for the season, the Orioles turned to Mancini to provide a spark as they attempted to keep their playoff hopes alive. As designated hitter against the Boston Red Sox, Trey flew out to right in his first plate appearance (against fellow SotWHoF member Eduardo Rodriguez) before blasting his first hit two innings later, a solo home run off Eduardo to cut Boston’s lead to 2-1. It made his mom proud. Later, Mancini would ground out before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth, trailing 5-2.
Rest of season: He wasn’t done with the home runs yet: Mancini became just the third player to hit a home run in his first three MLB starts, connecting in games against Boston two days later and against Arizona on September 24. (I happened to be at that game, which is the game from which I took the photo I used.) In 5 games Mancini was 5-for-14, with 3 home runs and 5 knocked in. His OPS was an eye-popping 1.471, double what you would expect from a decent MLB player.
All this came after a solid but not spectacular season with Norfolk, where Trey hit .280/13/54/.775 OPS in 125 games. He was promoted early on from Bowie because in 17 games there he was hitting .302/7/14/1.112 OPS, and ended up being among the leaders in practically every major offensive category for the Tides.
Since: People thought Trey would be blocked at first base due to the fat contract of Chris Davis, so Mancini did the next best thing: took to left field like a duck to water. By taking over that position and doing it so well, he alleviated the concerns of Orioles’ brass, made Hyun Soo Kim expendable at the trading deadline for pitching help (Jeremy Hellickson), and had a good enough campaign to finish third in the Rookie of the Year voting. Not a bad 2017, all things considered. A slow start to 2018 turned into a decent season, leaving Trey as a building block and closest thing to veteran leadership for a rebuilding team. In 2019 he was named Most Valuable Oriole and indeed became that clubhouse leader.
Unfortunately, his 2020 debut was put on an indefinite hold when Trey underwent surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon in mid-March. He’ll certainly open the season on the injured list. Career stats.
In the Class of 2017, we continue to see the prediction I made about the 2014 Shorebirds being a bumper crop for the HoF pan out as more of them made The Show. From my 2014 wrapup I quote:
Each year I have a difficult time picking a Shorebird of the Year, but one observation I have about this year’s crop is that there’s truly the potential for it to have six, seven, or perhaps even eight of its members get into the SotW Hall of Fame by making it to The Show.
It was a nicely varied group of six – another large class, and probably the last such class this Hall will have. And it brought the count from the 2014 Shorebirds up to five, with two others thought to be on the doorstep for 2018.
Shorebird of the Week: June 18, 2015.
How acquired: Baltmore’s 23rd round selection in the 2013 draft from Texas Christian University.
Major League debut: April 16, 2017. Crichton had actually been brought up three days earlier as a result of a whirlwind of pitching moves that, among other things, resulted in the departure of fellow SotWHoF member Oliver Drake in the trade to Milwaukee. Stefan had been optioned to Norfolk the night before without making an appearance only to have to turn around and come back when Zach Britton was placed on the DL. (After all, Stefan was rested.)
Fortunately, there was a nice low-leverage situation Crichton could be placed in – relieving starter Dylan Bundy at Toronto in the bottom of the 7th, Stefan enjoyed a 6-0 lead to play with. Facing Troy Tulowitzki to make his debut, Stefan gave up a single on a 1-1 count before Russell Martin followed with another base hit. Former Oriole Steve Pearce became Crichton’s first strikeout victim, but Chris Coghlin broke up the shutout with a sacrifice fly. Crichton would give up another hit in the inning, a double to Ryan Goins, before fanning Kevin Pillar to wrap things up. After the Orioles broke it wide open in the eighth with three home runs and a five-spot, Crichton would return but give up two straight hits after two were out to complete his evening, Tulowitzki’s second straight single off him closing his night. Stefan labored through 49 pitches to make 1 2/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 5 hits and striking out two; the Orioles would go on to win 11-4.
Rest of season: Crichton had already made a couple appearances for Norfolk when he was called up, and he would go back and forth between Baltimore and Norfolk nine times for the season. But on June 30 Stefan would be put on the shelf temporarily with a right shoulder strain, and spent part of July rehabbing in the GCL. Upon his return from rehab he went back to Norfolk but was not among the September recalls, and maybe for good reason – Stefan didn’t get a decision, but was rather ineffective keeping bats off balls as he allowed a staggering 26 hits in just 12 1/3 innings (an absurd .456 average against.) 8 strikeouts vs. 4 walks is okay, but a 2.43 WHIP is not. However, with Norfolk Crichton was quite good: 7-2 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 47 2/3 innings, with 50 strikeouts against 11 walks. He also allowed a run in 3 2/3 innings of rehab, with the only concern being five walks vs. two strikeouts. The walk rate also increased on his return to Norfolk, as 8 of the 11 he gave up came in the last two months in only 18 2/3 innings.
Since: The Orioles didn’t hold on to Crichton long in 2018, designating him for assignment on Opening Day and trading him off to Arizona for cash on April 2. Unfortunately, his stay at AAA Reno was just 16 ineffective innings before the Diamondbacks released him on June 23 after he came down with a shoulder injury – he was subsequently resigned to a strictly minor league deal four days later and sat out the remainder of 2018. However, Stefan recovered sufficiently to bounce back and forth between AAA and the Diamondbacks in 2019. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: August 2, 2012.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 11th round draft pick in 2009 from Lakewood Ranch High School in Bradenton, Florida.
How acquired by debuting team: Signed as a minor league free agent by Toronto on November 17, 2016.
Major League debut: May 9, 2017. Pressed into service after the Blue Jays released veteran backup catcher Jarod Saltalamacchia and lost starting catcher Russell Martin to a shoulder injury, Ohlman drew the start for a game at home against the defending AL champion Cleveland Indians. Batting ninth, Ohlman fanned against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco in his first AB before grounding out to short against him and popping out to first against reliever Nick Goody in the 6-0 blanking. If nothing else, Ohlman learned the staff well as the Jays trotted out six pitchers in the loss.
Rest of season: Ohlman would get one more start and three other appearances before being designated for assignment on May 20 when Martin came off the DL (and Saltalamacchia had been re-signed.) Included in that group of five games was his first big league hit, an RBI single off the then-Atlanta Braves veteran Bartolo Colon. And his last game before being DFA and outrighted the first time May 23 was at Camden Yards against the Orioles, when he came in as a defensive replacement in the 9th inning. So Mike finally made it to Baltimore.
But when Martin was injured again in August the Blue Jays recalled Ohlman on the 12th, putting him in late that night against Pittsburgh. One start against Tampa Bay later, catcher Miguel Montero came off the DL, Michael was DFA once again, and the process started anew. At season’s end Michael was granted free agency after going just 3-for-13 in 7 games with Toronto, with the lone RBI to his credit. Ohlman also hit .216/12/38/.735 OPS at AAA Buffalo, walking 48 times but striking out 115 in his only season in the Blue Jays organization. On January 10, 2018 Michael signed a minor league/ST invite deal with the Texas Rangers – they in turn sold his contract to the Boston Red Sox on March 24.
Since: In 2018 Ohlman spent a rather forgettable and uneventful campaign (aside from getting his most significant playing time at first base in several seasons) with Boston’s AAA affiliate in Pawtucket. Finding no takers on the free agent market, Michael became the starting catcher for the independent Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots and will presumably seek a return to AAA for 2020. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 30, 2013.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 19th round selection in the 2012 draft from Old Mill High School in Millersville, Maryland.
How acquired by debuting team: Traded from Houston to Milwaukee with RHP Adrian Houser, OF Brett Phillips, and OF Domingo Santana for RHP Mike Fiers, OF Carlos Gomez, and cash on July 30, 2015. Hader was earlier part of the trade with Houston involving fellow SotWHoF member LJ Hoes for Bud Norris in 2013.
Major League debut: June 10, 2017. Hader had received the call the day before to join the Brewers in Arizona, and came on in relief of starter Junior Guerra trailing 3-2 to begin the bottom of the seventh inning. Nerves may have gotten the better of Josh as he walked pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco to begin his MLB career; Blanco would later advance on a passed ball. That led to Hader’s second walk of the inning, a two-out intentional pass to Paul Goldschmidt, but he got Jake Lamb looking for his first strikeout to erase the threat and finish his evening as he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the eighth. The game ended as a 3-2 loss for Milwaukee.
Rest of season: Unlike a lot of other members of this Hall of Fame, once called up Hader was there to stay in 2017. While he was predominantly a starter in the minor leagues, Josh made all 35 of his Milwaukee appearances out of the bullpen and compiled a 2-3 record, 2.08 ERA, and 0.99 WHIP in 47 2/3 innings. Relying on a power fastball and what’s been described as a “wipeout” slider, Hader struck out 68 and walked 22, so to have a sub-1 WHIP meant his hits and batting average allowed were really low – 25 and .156 respectively. You wouldn’t have expected such success based on his numbers at AAA Colorado Springs, where he was only 3-4 with a 5.37 ERA in 12 starts covering 52 innings. The problem there was a lack of consistency – he would have a brilliant start one game only to be hit hard the next. And perhaps as a foreshadowing of his new role, Hader’s last two AAA starts were only 2 innings apiece, two stints where he was rather effective in small doses.
Since: Hader has arguably become the most dominant reliever in the game, putting up numbers that should be limited to video games: 349 strikeouts in 204 2/3 innings and just 102 hits allowed. In both 2018 and 2019, Josh was both an All-Star and won the NL Trevor Hoffman Award given to the top relief pitcher; however, he couldn’t defend his The Sporting News NL Relief Pitcher of the Year award from 2018, losing to San Diego’s Kirby Yates. The season for Hader ended on a down note as he blew a late lead in the wild card game to the eventual champion Washington Nationals. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 22, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 13th round pick in the 2013 draft from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia.
Major League debut: June 11, 2017. This marked the first time the Hall had been expanded on consecutive days. And there are worse places to make your debut than the successor to the House that Ruth Built, but in a season where the New York Yankees seemed to own the Orioles’ pitching staff it wasn’t ideal. Already trailing 10-3 to begin the bottom of the seventh, Jimmy’s debut started out well enough as the Yankees’ Chris Carter went down swinging on a 3-2 pitch. But consecutive walks to Ronald Torreyes and Brett Gardner set the table for Aaron Hicks to double them home, and eventual Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge then blasted his 21st home run off Yacabonis to make it a 14-3 count. Credit Jimmy for sticking with it, though, and retiring the next two batters to end the inning despite the four-spot that would complete the scoring.
Rest of season: Compared to some other relievers, Jimmy didn’t go through the revolving door between Norfolk and Baltimore nearly as much. His stint in June was just five days and he spent three days in July with the big club before being one of the September callups. All told, Jimmy made 14 Baltimore appearances, pitching 20 2/3 innings and allowing 10 runs (all earned) on 18 hits. His biggest flaw was allowing 14 walks against 8 strikeouts, but after staking himself to an ERA of 36 after one appearance it was down to a respectable 4.35 by season’s end, with a 1.55 WHIP.
Another highlight of his big league stint would be his first two plate appearances in a game at Milwaukee July 3. Pressed into long relief early on as starter Wade Miley was batted around, Yacabonis tapped the first pitch he saw enough to bring in what would be the Orioles’ only run that day from third in the 8-1 loss. While he struck out in his other plate appearance, Jimmy was the Orioles’ offensive leader for a day. Another interesting tidbit: Jimmy didn’t pitch in a home game until his September callup, and then pitched at home in 7 of his next 8 appearances. The road appearance in that string was a much more successful return to Yankee Stadium, with 2 scoreless innings to his credit.
Yacabonis was very effective with Norfolk, going 4-0 with a stellar 1.32 ERA in 41 appearances covering 61 1/3 innings. Although he only had 11 saves, Jimmy exhibited many traits of a dominant closer, allowing just 30 hits (a .144 average against) and 0.95 WHIP as he struck out 48 and walked 28. He also did not allow a home run in the minors in 2017, although it took just 5 big league batters to end his streak there.
Since: While Jimmy wasn’t a revolving door pitcher as a rookie, they probably should have allowed Yacabonis to use Buck Showalter’s #26 given the number of times he was pressed into service as the 26th man allowed on the roster for doubleheaders in 2018 – four of his six pre-September appearances in 2018 came in such games. Overall he was back and forth between Norfolk and Baltimore a total of six times before finally sticking around for more than a day or two once September roster expansion was allowed.
The starting experiment came to an end in 2019, though, as did Jimmy’s place on the shuttle between Baltimore and Norfolk: he was designated for assignment in August and outrighted to Norfolk a few days later. He became a minor league free agent after 2019 and signed a minor league pact with the San Diego Padres December 19. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: May 10, 2012.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 6th round selection in the 2011 draft from Farragut High School in Knoxville, Tennessee.
How acquired by debuting team: Signed as minor league free agent, February 11, 2015.
Major League debut: August 1, 2017. With outfielder Willy Garcia out with a concussion, Delmonico got the call from AAA Charlotte and was put in the five-hole against Marcus Stroman and the Toronto Blue Jays, playing left field. Stroman got him swinging on three pitches leading off the second inning, with the putout being made at first base. Two innings later, Nicky hit into a 3-6 fielder’s choice that eventually put him in position to score Chicago’s first run, and would ground out in the sixth 4-3, all against Stroman. In the eighth inning Nicky broke through with his first hit, a single off Toronto’s Ryan Tepera. Delmonico would also handle two chances in the field, both putouts, in the 8-4 loss.
Rest of season: Aside from a period of about 11 days he sat out with a wrist injury as August turned into September, Nicky spent the remainder of 2017 with the rebuilding White Sox – a team that had the American League’s worst record when he came on board but one that outplayed four AL teams down the stretch to escape the basement. In 43 games Nicky hit .262/9/23/,856 OPS, although before the injury he was hitting .307 with a 1.002 OPS. Overall a 31/23 strikeout to walk ratio was a pleasant surprise, too.
It turned out Nicky had matching major league and AAA averages as he hit .262 at both, but with 12 home runs and 45 RBI in 429 Charlotte plate appearances (vs. 166 for Chicago.) The OPS was only .768 at Charlotte, though, where he predominantly played third base rather than the outfield. (His efforts at second base with Delmarva are a distant memory.) 73 strikeouts and 46 walks at Charlotte was also solid.
Since: Injuries and ineffectiveness led to a sophomore jinx for Delmonico, leaving him as perhaps the most vulnerable ChiSox regular for demotion or release. None of the White Sox outfielders were offensive juggernauts, but Nicky had the worst season out of any of them. And while it took about a third of the 2019 season to occur, indeed Nicky was released by Chicago on June 10. He’ll be among many angling for a 2020 comeback, and to that end the White Sox resigned him to a minor league deal on December 16, 2019. Career stats.
Shorebird of the Week: June 5, 2014. Also 2014 Shorebird of the Year.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 2nd round draft choice in the 2013 draft from Santiago High School in Corona, California.
Major League debut: September 2, 2017. Barring injury, it was pretty apparent this day was going to come along about the middle of 2016 when he was doing at Bowie what he had done at Delmarva and Frederick – pick apart the league’s pitching. So among the September callups was Sisco and he was placed into the mix right away, but in the most subtle of fashions: as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth inning in a game they trailed 7-1 to Toronto. His first battery mate was relief pitcher Alec Asher, who Chance guided through a scoreless inning without much drama except for a wild pitch. But since he was technically replacing Manny Machado (the #2 hitter) in the lineup, he would have been seventh in the batting order and his turn didn’t come up.
Sisco would not get an at-bat until his third game in Cleveland September 8, a pinch-hitting appearance where he struck out looking against reliever Bryan Shaw. The elusive first hit would come at New York in Chance’s next game September 14, a pinch-hit double off Masahiro Tanaka, followed in his next AB by his first home run, off fellow rookie Giovanny Gallegos.
Rest of season: Sisco made a series of late-inning appearances before getting his first start at home against Tampa Bay on September 24, the day after the Orioles were officially eliminated. (Out of the 10 games Sisco played in, that was the Orioles’ only win.) He would start three more times in the last week and finish with a 6-for-18 mark at the plate (.333) with 2 home runs and 4 RBI. Add two doubles to the mix and Sisco had a resounding OPS of 1.232 for the month – a very similar debut to that of Trey Mancini in 2016.
He wasn’t as dominating at Norfolk as he was in the lower minor leagues, though: Sisco only hit .267/7/47/,736 OPS in 97 games, striking out 99 times while walking 32. For a catcher, he was also a doubles machine as he hit 23, keeping a string of 20+ doubles each season he’s played intact – even if he needed to go to Arizona to do it in 2015. The only thing he didn’t do well was catch baserunners, as he only got 23% of them. Defense is the part of the game Chance will need to improve upon going forward.
Since: Some of the luster came off Sisco’s prospect status in 2018 as he was demoted to Norfolk at mid-season to create some lower-pressure at-bats and allow him to further work on his game, returning when rosters were expanded in September. His role as backup to Caleb Joseph was usurped to a great extent by fellow 2013 draftee (and 2018 SotWHoF member) Austin Wynns, meaning Chance had to take a chance that he will be retained going forward.
Indeed, Chance was kept by the Orioles for 2019 but spent the season as a backup to new acquisition Pedro Severino. He’s not been able to take the next step to a starting position, nor has his bat reached the level he established in the minors. Career stats.
For the first time since a stretch from 2012 to 2014, and fifth time overall, every player on the Class of 2018 list made his debut for the Orioles. Just as the case was in 2012 when it was also a five-man class with all debuting for the Orioles, some made larger contributions than others during the season.
Shorebird of the Week: July 10, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 10th round selection in the 2013 draft from Fresno State.
Major League debut: June 5, 2018. A couple days after previous backup receiver Andrew Susac was optioned to Norfolk, the Orioles decided to give Wynns his first shot at claiming a job that was a revolving door of sorts during the first third of the season – Susac had replaced Caleb Joseph, the Opening Day starter who had fallen into a deep slump and dispatched to Norfolk to get his game back.
Batting eighth in the lineup facing the New York Mets in Flushing, Wynns guided starter Alex Cobb and three relievers (Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier, and Brad Brach) to a 2-1 win in the opener of a two-game set, also going 1-for-3 at the plate. That first hit came in his first at-bat against Mets starter Jason Vargas, with a foul out to third and a strikeout completing his batting night. Wynns handled 10 chances (9 strikeouts and a foul pop fly) flawlessly, although he did allow a wild pitch from Givens to get through. Two nights later in Toronto, Tyler Clippard gave up Austin’s first home run as his second MLB hit.
Turns out the photo of Wynns was taken at the end of his debut game.
Rest of season: With the exception of a two-week stretch just before the All-Star break where he was optioned back to Norfolk, it appeared the Orioles had found their elusive backup catcher to Caleb Joseph – and perhaps his eventual replacement since Joseph was non-tendered for 2019 and may not return. In a pleasant surprise, the guy whose offensive prowess may have been questioned as a .260 lifetime hitter in AAA and .266 overall – by comparison, Chance Sisco is still a career .306 minor league hitter – slashed a more-than-adequate .255/4/11/.669 OPS for Baltimore in 42 games. This was even better than the .230/4/16/.633 he slashed in 41 games at Norfolk, most of them early on. (Austin’s Norfolk totals were hurt by going just 4-for-30 after his return there June 29. At the time of his initial promotion Austin was hitting .257, which closely mirrored his MLB mark.) Going forward, the question doesn’t seem to be whether Wynns has the ability to stick but more of whether he could handle the full-time role with just 42 big league games under his belt. Matt Wieters in 2016 was the last Orioles catcher to be behind the plate for over 100 games, so the job may go to someone the Orioles sign as a veteran for this coming season to give one of their two young catchers more time with the Orioles’ staff as the newcomer’s backup, with the other starting at Norfolk.
Since: Austin’s MLB playing time decreased in 2019 as he slipped to become the #3 option for most of the season. It meant he spent much of his time splitting the catching duties at Norfolk with major league veteran backup Jesus Sucre; however, he remains in the Orioles’ mix for 2020.
Stevie Wilkerson (FKA Steve)
Shorebird of the Week: June 11, 2015.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 8th round pick in the 2014 draft from Clemson University in South Carolina. He was previously drafted by the Red Sox in 2010.
Major League debut: June 20, 2018. Brought up when Pedro Alvarez was designated for assignment (and eventually outrighted) it was an interesting (if brief) debut for Stevie: Wilkerson was part of a double switch in the bottom of the ninth inning at Washington. This National League special was necessitated as the Orioles were protecting a 3-0 lead and easing the recovering Zack Britton back to game action as a setup man. With one out in the ninth, Buck Showalter went to Brad Brach out of the bullpen and, hedging against having his pitcher come up in the top of a prospective 10th inning, replaced third baseman Jace Peterson (who was batting sixth in the order and had just batted in the previous half-inning) with Brach and placed Wilkerson in the leadoff spot vacated by Britton, who came on in an earlier double switch.
His brief evening at third base resulted in no chances and perhaps a welcoming handshake from Washington’s Michael Taylor, who got there after a two-out walk loaded the bases. Had the Nationals tied the game Stevie was due up third in the next inning but it ended as a 3-0 shutout.
Wilkerson was in the starting lineup the next evening, playing third base and batting eighth. With the unenviable task of facing Nationals ace Max Scherzer, Stevie grounded out to short in his first plate appearance to end the second inning and grounded out to second to lead off the fifth. Drawing a two-out walk to keep the seventh inning going against Scherzer, Wilkerson was the final Oriole to reach base in a 4-2 loss.
The elusive first hit for Stevie came the next night against Atlanta’s Sam Freeman, a ninth-inning single that gave the Orioles a 6-3 lead in a game they eventually won 10-7 in 15 innings.
Rest of season: That first hit was Stevie’s parting gift to the Orioles, as he was sent down in favor of more bullpen help from fellow SotW member Donnie Hart after a 15-inning game. Wilkerson returned just a few days later to replace the injured Craig Gentry, only to go on the DL himself with a strained oblique on July 3. Rehab took Wilkerson to the GCL and Bowie before he returned to Norfolk in August – then he injured a hamstring days later. Still, Stevie was promoted from Norfolk off their DL once rosters expanded in September and returned to play a little bit; however, his average plummeted from .235 when he went down with the oblique (albeit on only 4-for-17) to a final line of .174 on 8-for-46 hitting, with just 3 RBI and 3 extra-base hits, all doubles. His two best games were a 2-for-3 game against the Angels with a double on July 1 and a 2-for-4 day at New York on September 22. The July game was the one where he hurt his oblique and lost over a month of the season.
In fact, aside from making the Show Stevie had a lost 2018. It began with him on the restricted list until he served a 50-game suspension, then 16 games at Norfolk before heading to Baltimore for 3 games, returning to Norfolk for 3, coming back to the Orioles for 4 games, missing six weeks with his oblique injury, going to rehab for a total of 7 games (2 at the GCL complex league and 5 at Bowie), then returning to Norfolk for one game before the hamstring injury. He finished the regular season by appearing in nine Oriole games before getting some makeup at-bats in the Arizona Fall League. For his minor league season all told (27 games), Wilkerson slashed .263/4/15/.776 OPS in just 99 at bats, adding a solid .282/0/9/.710 OPS line in 20 AFL games. Out of a potential 190 games or so, including both major and minor leagues as well as the AFL, Stevie was in just 63.
Since: After being designated for assignment at the tail end of spring training, Stevie was outrighted to Norfolk – but he didn’t stay long and eventually had an eventful year, including his enshrinement in Cooperstown as the first position player to earn a save (earning the moniker “Dr. Poo Poo”) and making what could have been the catch of the year in the season finale. All those highs, though, were just big bumps in a relatively mediocre season overall for the utility player, who was designated for assignment once again on January 31 in favor of pitcher Travis Lakins. Five days later, he was outrighted once again to Norfolk, but would be invited to spring training.
Shorebird of the Week: June 16, 2016.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 11th round pick in the 2015 draft from Radford University in Virginia.
Major League debut: June 29, 2018. One of two pitchers to earn their first promotion from Norfolk that day to replace Jimmy Yacabonis and Yefry Ramirez in a bullpen taxed from consecutive extra-inning games, Meisinger was the first to be pressed into service. Spelling starter (and fellow rookie) David Hess in the 6th inning of a game against the Los Angeles Angels where the Orioles were already trailing 6-0, Ryan came on in a two on, two out situation and retired Justin Upton to close out the inning.
In the top of the seventh, Albert Pujols touched up Ryan for a leadoff double, but Meisinger fanned Andrelton Simmons for his first big league K – unfortunately it came on his first big league wild pitch and Simmons reached on the play. Undaunted, Ryan coaxed a fly ball and double play to escape the inning, but could not escape Martin Maldonado’s home run to lead off the eighth. One deep flyout later, Meisinger passed the baton to Paul Fry, his green cohort also making his MLB debut. In the final line Ryan pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing a run on two hits with a strikeout. He didn’t figure in the decision and left the game with the Orioles down 7-0 in a game they would drop 7-1 – only memorable for being the second Oriole game of the season to feature two major league mound debuts.
Rest of season: Meisinger had already advanced from Bowie to Norfolk despite somewhat pedestrian numbers (no decisions, a 4.42 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 18 1/3 innings), but the jump to Norfolk also seemed to jump-start his season: a 2.05 ERA (0.95 WHIP) in 15 appearances, with a win and a save in his last outing before the promotion to Baltimore. All told, Ryan was 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 27 1/3 Norfolk innings, giving him an overall minor league total of 2-0 with a 3.13 ERA in 32 appearances (46 innings), a 1.26 WHIP, and 55 strikeouts vs. 15 walks.
On the other hand, his Oriole numbers were less stellar: a 2-1 record but a inflated 6.43 ERA based on allowing 15 runs on 18 hits in 21 innings scattered over 18 appearances, including one late-season start. That ill-fated start at Boston inflated his ERA by a full two runs (and allowed for another member’s debut) making his totals look more ineffective than they were based on a WHIP of 1.333 (10 walks and 21 strikeouts.) It also negated the modest 8-inning scoreless streak Ryan had in September, even as his best game came much earlier: spinning three shutout innings against a power-laden Yankee squad on July 9. Considering he spent about 2 1/2 weeks on the DL while with Norfolk it was a fairly successful season for Ryan all things considered.
Since: Ryan didn’t even make it to 2019 as an Oriole: waived on December 10 to make room for infielder Rio Ruiz, he was immediately snatched up by the St. Louis Cardinals, who in turn designated him for assignment on December 21. The Cardinals outrighted Ryan to AAA on January 4 and that’s where he spent an injury-plagued 2019 season.
Shorebird of the Week: May 26, 2016.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 13th round selection in the 2015 draft from Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina.
Major League debut: August 10, 2018. As the Orioles’ dreadful season wore on and it became apparent with the trades of several veteran players that the retooling was underway, the question not only became when Mullins would be brought up but how soon would he be in center field replacing the longtime fixture Adam Jones. Unsuccessful in trading AJ thanks to his 10-and-five rights, and with Mullins fighting an early-August stomach bug, it took a little longer for Cedric to make it to the Show – some figured the center field takeover would be in 2019 since Jones was a pending free agent and unlikely to come back.
But when third baseman and occasional outfielder Danny Valencia was let go, it was Mullins who took his place on the roster. As for the changing of the guard between Jones and Mullins, that came on the very moment of his debut as Cedric was called on by Jones to lead the team out and ran out to center field to begin a new chapter in Orioles’ history, with Jones moving aside to right field. Batting ninth and facing Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi, Mullins socked a run-scoring double down the right-field line and cut the Orioles’ early deficit to 3-2. Ironically, he subsequently scored on a Jones single to put the Orioles ahead 4-3.
One inning later, Mullins came through again with an RBI infield single off Eovaldi to make it 6-3 Baltimore, scoring on a later hit to make it 8-3. Later he walked against Drew Pomeranz before finally being retired by Ryan Brasier on a flyout. Cedric had one more hit in him for his debut, doubling off Joe Kelly in the bottom of the ninth and scoring the 31st and final run in what became a bullpen collapse and a 19-12 Orioles loss. Mullins became the first-ever Oriole to have a three-hit debut, while collecting three putouts and chasing a half-dozen other hits in an eventful center fielder’s night.
Rest of season: Coming off an injury-plagued 2017, Cedric began 2018 where he ended the previous year, in Bowie. By the end of May, though, his .313/6/28/.875 OPS numbers begged for a Norfolk promotion after just 49 games. While Mullins was more average in 60 Norfolk games, slashing .269/6/19/.771 OPS with the Tides, the Orioles decided his time was now. Mullins became the everyday center fielder and, while his bat couldn’t stay as hot as his 3-hit debut would suggest Mullins kept his average over .300 through the rest of August – this included his first MLB home run off Cleveland’s Neil Ramirez. As the league and long season caught up to Mullins, it was inevitable he would cool down and September was a struggle for him as he hit just .187 for the month.
Overall Mullins picked up 170 big league AB’s, hitting .235 with 4 home runs, 11 RBI, and a .671 OPS. Surprisingly, he had only 2 stolen bases after swiping 21 in 109 games in AA and AAA.
Since: For the steps forward Cedric took to get to the Show, he took two big steps backward in 2019; demoted twice due to offensive struggles and not really getting untracked until the very end of the season in Bowie. Because of that and the emergence of other outfield options, Mullins may be a roster casualty before the end of spring training next season.
Shorebird of the Week: Selected as Shorebird of the Year for 2015.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 11th round pick in 2014 from West Virginia University. He was previously drafted by the Braves in 2011.
Major League debut: September 26, 2018. John thought his season was over and had gone home once Norfolk wrapped up.
But thanks to a toxic combination of injuries, innings limits, and ineffectiveness, and knowing they had at least two starters out for the rest of the season, the Orioles first summoned Means to Sarasota to work back into baseball shape before being thrown into the fire – he was called up for a series at Boston then the final homestand against defending AL champion Houston. Originally intended to be a starter for one of the remaining games, a disastrous start by fellow Class of 2018 member Ryan Meisinger placed John in a unique situation as a long reliever in the opener of a day-night doubleheader: he came on to begin the third inning to spell Donnie Hart, who had finished the first inning for Meisinger and added one more.
It began well enough, as Means fanned Mitch Moreland to get himself into the books and open a 1-2-3 inning against the 5 to 7 hitters in the Boston order. But once the lineup turned over, it got rough: double by leadoff hitter Mookie Betts, infield single from Andrew Benintendi, and three-run jack from J.D. Martinez. Suddenly the 5-3 hole Means had inherited was now 8-3, and it got worse the second time through as Moreland avenged his strikeout with a double, the first of three consecutive hits that tacked on two more runs. Overall, John threw 3 1/3 desperately needed innings but allowed five runs on six hits; however, he did collect four strikeouts. Upon John’s sixth-inning exit, Boston led 10-3 – but they weren’t finished, roughing up fellow rookie pitcher Cody Carroll and position player Jace Peterson for nine more runs to pound the Orioles 19-3. It was the second of seven straight losses to close out the season.
Rest of season: John did not appear in any other Oriole games. His season began in Bowie, where in eight games (seven starts) he was only 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA in 46 innings. But a 1.21 WHIP and a solid 41-to-13 strikeout-to-walk ratio allowed him to move up to Norfolk in mid-May and the numbers improved: 6-5 with a 3.48 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 111 1/3 innings, 89 strikeouts and just 19 walks. Combined, John was 7-9 with a 3.72 ERA in 157 1/3 innings, striking out 130 and walking only 32, for a 1.26 WHIP. The only flaw may have been allowing more hits than innings pitched, but only 15 were home runs.
Since: Thought to be a long shot to make the Opening Day roster, John instead broke out an improved fastball and devastating changeup to not only make the team, but pitch well enough to be selected as the Orioles’ only All-Star (although he did not pitch in the game.) Since he was still rookie-eligible despite a 2018 debut, Means finished second to Houston’s Yordan Alvarez in Rookie of the Year voting. He’s a favorite to be Baltimore’s Opening Day starter in 2020.
The Class of 2019 was the smallest since 2014, the result of both a dwindling number of prospects as the weekly honorees are now one position player and one pitcher per month and Shorebird teams since 2015 being perhaps less talented than previous renditions. But three players made it to the Show, with two extending the record haul from the star-studded 2014 Shorebird team to eight players.
Shorebird of the Week: May 9, 2013.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 2nd round selection in the 2012 draft out of the University of Virginia. He was previously drafted by the Red Sox in 2009.
Major League debut: April 20, 2019. One day short of a decade after the SotWHoF came into being it received its 41st player, and he was a player who overcame setbacks which have derailed many a prospect. His debut, however, came as a result of being the most rested pitcher on the Norfolk Tides’ roster.
Selected as the 26th man for a early-season doubleheader made necessary by a rainout the previous night – and despite giving up runs in four straight appearances previously, giving him a gaudy 8.53 ERA with the Tides – Kline came into game 2 against the Minnesota Twins as a mop-up pitcher, as the Orioles were already trailing 13-4 after 6. Ironically, his first batter faced was fellow SotWHoF member Jonathan Schoop, who Kline retired on a grounder to second. Kline would get through the seventh inning in order, but in the eighth found out big league hitters will crush mistakes made behind in the count as he gave up a leadoff home run to Mitch Garver and another tater two batters later to former Oriole Nelson Cruz, putting the Orioles down 15-4 in a game they would lose 16-7 – the final run came off first baseman-turned-pitcher Chris Davis. (Branden was far from alone in giving up bombs – the Twins had 8 in the game, with at least one off all four pitchers.) In his debut Kline did not strike out or walk anyone, and the home runs were his only two hits allowed. After the game he was returned to Norfolk.
Rest of season: Kline would circle back and forth on Baltimore’s minor league shuffle a total of six times, with his final callup coming when rosters expanded in September. His stints with the Orioles ranged from the one-night stand he had in the doubleheader and two days in late July to about six weeks his second time up in late April and the full month of September. For the Orioles he was 1-4 with a 5.93 ERA and 1.54 WHIP in 34 appearances covering 41 innings. He would get 34 strikeouts (the first being Minnesota’s Marwin Gonzalez in his second appearance, a scoreless inning) and allow 19 walks to go with 44 hits. While Brendan had flashes of brilliance, such as the scoreless September he threw (8 1/3 innings in 9 appearances), for much of the season he wasn’t the reliable bullpen piece the Orioles were looking for.
Oddly enough, though, his Norfolk numbers were worse: 1-1 with a mediocre 6.86 ERA in the juiced-ball AAA International League. (13 walks in 21 innings was also worrisome.) A brief stint with Bowie in June, before callup number 3, netted Kline a scoreless trio of appearances covering three innings.
Just days before spring training got underway for 2020, Branden was designated for assignment to make room for infielder Pat Valaika. He was outrighted to Norfolk on February 5, but still invited to spring training.
Shorebird of the Week: May 15, 2014.
How acquired: Drafted by Baltimore in the 14th round of the 2013 draft from Vanderbilt University in Nashville. He was previously drafted by the Red Sox in 2009 and the Mariners in 2012.
How acquired by debuting team: Traded for pitcher Tyler Herb, March 23, 2019.
Major league debut: May 25, 2019. Called up to replace outfielder Mac Williamson, who was designated for assignment, Mike was placed into the starting lineup against the Arizona Diamondbacks, playing left field and batting seventh. His first taste of action would come when he struck out swinging against Diamondback starter Taylor Clarke. Subsequent to that, he would line out to left and be hit by a pitch by Clarke, eventually resulting in his first major league run. However, another strikeout against reliever Archie Bradley gave Mike an 0-for-3 line in his debut, with no chances in the field despite sliding over to center field for the final two innings of a 10-4 loss to Arizona.
Rest of season: Yastrzemski spent just 40 games at AAA Sacramento, slashing a solid .316/12/25/1.090 OPS and convincing the Giants he was worth a chance despite the inflated offensive numbers throughout AAA in 2019. Once he came up to the city by the bay, he was there for the duration, getting into 107 games and hitting .272 with 21 home runs, 55 RBI, and an OPS of .852, which translated into an OPS+ of 123 – he was 23 percent above league norm. Mike’s WAR of 2.8 was good for 7th among all players debuting in 2019 and led among all Giant position players.
While he couldn’t find that elusive first hit in his debut, he got it the next day against Arizona starter Luke Weaver. Officially a single, Mike was thrown out trying for second on a bloop to left field. But the first home run came at, of all places, Camden Yards, off Oriole pitcher (and spring training teammate) Andrew Cashner. A more dramatic home run, however, would come some months later when he went deep in his first visit to Fenway Park, in front of his legendary grandfather Carl.
Shorebird of the Week: April 17, 2014.
How acquired: Baltimore’s 1st round selection (22nd overall) in 2013 draft from Bandys High School in Catawba, North Carolina.
Major league debut: August 17, 2019. Brought up from Norfolk to replace fellow pitcher Tom Eshelman on the roster, Harvey received a low-leverage situation in which to make his debut, coming in to pitch the eighth inning of a game where the Orioles trailed at Boston 4-0. And while it wasn’t the easiest assignment with the dangerous J.D. Martinez leading off, Harvey got Martinez to ground out. While he then walked Andrew Benintendi on a full count, Hunter recovered by fanning Christian Vasquez and Mitch Moreland to end the inning. The Orioles failed to score in the ninth and lost 4-0.
Rest of season: Harvey remained with the Orioles until the end of the season but was held out of their final 15 games thanks to his injury history and number of innings he’d logged over the season. Held to one-inning appearances for the most part, Hunter threw 6 1/3 innings for the Orioles, allowing a run on three hits while striking out 11 and walking four. It followed a season which saw Hunter transition from bring a starter at Bowie (2-5, 5.19 with a 1.42 WHIP in 59 innings) to reliever at Norfolk (1-1, 4.32, 1.08 WHIP in 16 2/3 innings.) Between the two stops Hunter struck out 83 and walked 26 in 75 2/3 innings, meaning 82 innings was about as far as the Orioles wanted to take a guy who had thrown just 63 2/3 innings in the previous three seasons combined after missing all of 2015.
Image of David Hernandez: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer.
Images of Brandon Snyder, Eddie Gamboa, and Cedric Mullins: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports.
Image of Pedro Beato via Jason Martinez/MLB Trade Rumors.
Image of Zack Britton: Paul J. Bereswill.
Image of Pedro Florimon: AP/Chris Szagola.
Image of Manny Machado: AP/Matt York.
Images of Dylan Bundy: Tommy Gilligan/USA Today Sports.
Image of Jonathan Schoop: AP/Tommy Gilligan.
Image of Christian Walker: Charles LeClaire/USA Today Sports.
Images of Scott Copeland: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports.
Image of Oliver Drake: Joseph Garnett, Jr./Getty Images.
Image of Eduardo Rodriguez: AP/Brandon Wade.
Image of Mychal Givens via Portland Press-Herald.
Image of Zach Davies via Fox Sports.
Image of Steven Brault: Matt Freed/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Image of Donnie Hart: Benny Sieu/USA Today Sports.
Image of Parker Bridwell: John Cordes/Icon Sportswire.
Image of Trey Mancini: AP/Gail Burton.
Image of Stefan Crichton: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
Image of Michael Ohlman: Toronto Blue Jays via Observer Media Group.
Image of Josh Hader: Norm Hall/Getty Images via Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Image of Jimmy Yacabonis: Evan Habeeb/USA Today Sports.
Image of Nicky Delmonico: Quinn Harris/Icon Sportswire.
Image of Chance Sisco: AP/Chris O’Meara.
Image of Austin Wynns: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images via Zimbio.
Image of Stevie Wilkerson: Greg Fiume/Getty Images via Zimbio.
Image of Ryan Meisinger: Ed Zurga/Getty Images via Zimbio.
Image of John Means: Will Newton/Getty Images.
Image of Branden Kline: Tony Gutierrez via The Frederick News-Post.
Image of Mike Yastrzemski: Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle.
Image of Hunter Harvey: Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun.