Beginning with the first week of the 2006 Delmarva Shorebirds season, I began a feature on monoblogue called “Shorebird of the Week.” Through 2014, I’d selected over 150 players for the honor, some twice in two different seasons.
As is the usual fate of those who pursue the dream of playing major league baseball when they sign their first contract and report to their first minor league team, most of those selected didn’t make it to The Show. Each year over 1,000 amateur players are drafted by the 30 major league clubs, with hundreds more who live around the globe signed as free agents. All this to be one of the players available at any one time during the season to take the field in a major league game.
Generally it takes two to three years for a good player at the South Atlantic League level to advance to the major leagues. Most “can’t miss” prospects start at higher levels, so it’s rare for us to get a top draft choice unless he’s selected out of high school.
So it is that it took until season number four of doing the SotW for a player I selected to become part of a major league team. But on April 21, 2009 I took advantage of a rain delay at the Shorebirds game to watch my first inductee take the mound at Camden Yards and create the need to begin this page on my website. He was later joined by another selection, bringing to two the first class of inductees to the SotWHoF.
One indication of how long this page has been around is that there are some players who are no longer active. What I have decided to do is eliminate the photo for inactive players as I try to keep the active ones current to their last major league team or organization, if I can find a suitable picture. I have also shortened the seasonal descriptions in favor of linking career statistics at baseball-reference.com.
My first inductees made up the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2009.
Major League debut: April 21, 2009. Bergesen was called up from AAA Norfolk to replace the injured Alfredo Simon in the rotation and drew the start at home against the Chicago White Sox.
In that contest, Bergesen became the second of four O’s 2009 rookies to win their big league debut as the Orioles prevailed 10-3. Obviously a rain delay at the start didn’t affect Brad’s nerves too much as he allowed three runs (one earned) and four hits in 5 2/3 innings, leaving with the Orioles leading. Bergesen allowed two walks and struck out four.
Rest of the season: Bergesen stayed in the big leagues until an injury he suffered July 30 against Kansas City ended his day and eventually his Orioles season. During his run Brad was 7-5 with a 3.43 ERA in 19 starts and appearances, allowing 126 hits in 123 2/3 innings. Brad fanned 65 while walking 32 (a 1.28 WHIP) and even went 1-for-5 at the plate in 2 National League park starts, with a single against Washington. His best outings came mostly in the stretch between Memorial Day and July 4th, where Brad was 4-0 with a 2.06 ERA over 7 starts.
Career: Brad spent the next two-plus seasons bouncing between Baltimore and Norfolk attempting to find his form again. In 2012 the Orioles ran out of patience, designating him for assignment in July. He was quickly scooped up by the Arizona Diamondbacks and finished out the 2012 season in their bullpen.
Released by the Diamondbacks after the season, Brad pitched for a season in Japan but wound up injured at the end of the 2013 season. Brad took the entire 2014 season off to recover and tried his luck in 2015 with the independent York Revolution of the Atlantic League – less than a month later he was injured again. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: April 27, 2006
Major League debut: May 28, 2009. Hernandez was summoned from AAA Norfolk to fill the roster spot of reliever Chris Ray and the starting slot of injured Koji Uehara. Against the Detroit Tigers, David pitched 5 2/3 innings and gave up all five hits and the lone run in the Orioles’ 5-1 win. Hernandez gave up four walks and struck out three, and was the fourth of the four O’s hurlers to win their debut.
Rest of the season: David bounced back and forth between Baltimore and Norfolk, spending most of the season in the Orioles’ rotation. Just as Bergesen did, Hernandez made 19 starts (with one relief appearance) but finished 4-10 with a 5.42 ERA.
David pitched well until August, after which he staggered home by finishing the last weeks of the campaign 0-6 with a 7.65 ERA. For the season, Hernandez pitched 101 1/3 innings with the O’s, allowing 118 hits (including 27 home runs) and walking 46 while striking out 68. This gave him a WHIP of 1.62.
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. Career statistics.
Just one new player comprised the Class of 2010, but he distinguished himself as the first position player.
Major League debut: September 10, 2010. Snyder was inserted as a defensive replacement at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning in a game the Orioles won 6-3 at Detroit.
Two days later, Brandon would get his first at-bat against the Tigers in a 6-2 loss, getting the start and batting ninth. He popped out to short and went 0-for-3 on the day.
Rest of the season: Brandon eventually got into ten games, going 6-for-20 (.300) with two doubles and three runs batted in. He struck out three times and was caught stealing once during his brief stint. The highlights for Brandon were two-hit performances at Toronto on September 24 (with his first double and an RBI) and against Detroit on October 1.
Since: Brandon played briefly with the Orioles in 2011, but has since spent time as a prototypical “AAAA” player with the Texas and Boston organizations from 2012-14 – he made his last major league appearance with Boston in 2013. In 2015 Brandon suited up for one game with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Atlantic League before rejoining the Orioles’ organization – however, he never made it out of Bowie. Since the season ended, Snyder has inked a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves. Career statistics.
The Class of 2011 remains my largest, and featured my first player to make his debut with another organization.
Shorebird of the Week: May 10, 2007.
Major League debut: April 1, 2011. After being selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft and making the team out of spring training, Beato was immediately thrown into the fire by pitching in relief on Opening Day at Florida. Coming on to begin the sixth inning of a game the Mets trailed 5-0 Pedro pitched two scoreless innings, allowing three hits, including a double to John Buck – the first pitch Beato threw. The Mets eventually lost 6-2.
Rest of season: Pedro went on to set a Mets record by not allowing a run in the first 18 2/3 innings of his MLB career – a stretch that included Pedro’s first MLB win April 27 in Washington. In 60 appearances, Pedro went 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, allowing 59 hits and 27 walks, fanning 39. However, Beato faded in the stretch with a 6.23 ERA after August 1.
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 Cinicinnati Reds let him go as a late spring-training cut). Beato returned to the Orioles fold for the 2015 season but never reached the big club. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: August 7, 2008.
Major League debut: April 3, 2011. It wasn’t supposed to happen quite that soon, but when Brian Matusz was scratched from his first start of the season down in Tampa the Orioles called Britton up to replace him in the rotation. Britton allowed a run on three hits in a six-inning start as Baltimore finished a surprising three-game opening sweep, 5-1.
Rest of season: Zach made 28 starts for the Orioles, and as one would expect from a highly-touted rookie he had his ups and downs. Some of the high points were a 5-1, 2.63 opening in his first six starts and a dominating three-hit shutout of the Seattle Mariners on May 12. But the lows were deep valleys – being sent to AA Bowie after giving up 8 runs in 2/3 of an inning to Boston July 8 only to return and be shelled for nine runs in just 1/3 of an inning at New York July 30. He also spent a few weeks in August on the disabled list. Overall, it averaged out to an 11-11 mark with a 4.61 ERA. Zach allowed 162 hits in 154 1/3 innings, striking out 97 while walking 62. His overall WHIP was 1.45.
Interestingly enough, Britton proved to be no slouch at the plate, going 5-for-8 (.625) with a home run he hit at Atlanta. It was the first home run by an Orioles pitcher since Kris Benson hit his lone career home run in 2006.
Since: Zach 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. When Britton ran out of options after the 2013 season, the Orioles got creative and it’s paid off huge. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: August 14, 2008.
Major league debut: May 20, 2011. Getting the start at second base against the Washington Nationals, Ryan went 1-for-4, grounding out to third in his initial at-bat. His first hit in that 17-5 loss came in his next at-bat, a single off Washington starter Jason Marquis.
Rest of season: Ryan was sparingly used in the month’s time he was first on the Orioles’ roster, getting into just nine games and, not surprisingly, hitting just .217 (5-for-23) with just one run batted in. But once he was recalled to stay in late August, Ryan saw increased playing time and the average moved smartly upward. He finished with a .281 mark (25-for-89) with no home runs and seven knocked in. Oddly enough, all four of his extra-base hits (all doubles) occurred in a five-game stretch from August 23-28.
But Ryan’s strong finish was marred by missing the last few days of the season as he underwent surgery for a sports hernia. It’s expected he’ll be at full strength for the 2012 season.
At AAA Norfolk Ryan played in 94 games, putting together a solid .284/10/37 line with a .794 OPS.
Career: Ryan missed out on The Show in 2012, spending his season mainly with AAA Norfolk. 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. Instead, Adams signed a minor league pact with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2014 but was released at midseason. Adams attempted brief comebacks in 2014 with the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League and 2015 with Sugar Land in the Atlantic League. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: July 27, 2006.
Major League debut: June 22, 2011. Davis had a debut he may want to forget, going 0-for-4 and committing an error which allowed the Pirates to escape with a 5-4 win in Pittsburgh. Two fly outs, a ground out, and a strikeout were the extent of Blake’s line, along with the error. But you can’t completely blame Davis, for his error was in the bottom of the fifth and the Orioles had chances afterward.
Blake’s first career hit was two days later, a triple against Cincinnati which staked the O’s to an early 2-0 lead in a game they’d win 5-4.
Rest of season: Davis spent two months with the Orioles, putting together a serviceable .254 average (15-for-59) in 25 games. He managed to hit his first Major League home run on August 13 against Detroit, a game which was one of his three multi-hit games. Ironically, he was sent to Norfolk on August 22 in order to clear a roster spot for the return of Ryan Adams. Not among the September callups, Blake was instead designated for assignment on September 6 and is no longer on the O’s 40-man roster.
At AAA Norfolk Blake got into 62 games, hitting .280/5/27 with a .706 OPS.
Career: After his 2011 cup of coffee, Davis never made it back to the major leagues. After spending all of 2012 with AAA Norfolk, Davis went on to play a season apiece with the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliates before resorting to the independent Long Island Ducks in 2015. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: April 24, 2008.
Major League debut: July 17, 2011. Leading off and playing left field against the Cleveland Indians, Matt grounded out to short in his first at-bat to begin an 0-for-3 effort; however, Angle drew a walk in his final at-bat in an 8-3 O’s victory. He wouldn’t get his first major league hit until being recalled from Norfolk a month later, finally breaking through with a single at Minnesota August 25.
Rest of season: Aside from his brief July cup of coffee (0-for-7 in 2 games), Angle came up for good in late August. Once he returned, he predominantly started in left field although there were a number of games Angle appeared as a late-inning pinch-runner. On the whole, Matt only hit .177 (14-for-79) in 31 games, with his first major league home run coming September 24 at Detroit. Angle also batted in 7 runs and, more importantly, was 11-for-12 on the basepaths. That total was good for fourth on the team and only 2 off the lead; however Matt played in over 100 fewer games than any Oriole ahead of him.
Down at AAA Norfolk, where Matt played most of the season, he hit .271/4/33 in 108 games and swiped 27 bases in 30 attempts. That stolen base total led the Tides and tied for third in the International League.
Before spring training, however, Matt was designated for assignment by the Orioles and claimed by the Los Angeles Dodgers on February 23.
Career: Angle became a AAA mainstay after leaving the Orioles, spending two seasons with the Dodgers organization before moving on to the Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics minor league affiliates. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: June 18, 2009.
Major League debut: September 4, 2011. Kyle became the quickest Shorebird of the Week to make the climb to The Show when he started in left field at Tampa Bay, batting eighth. Kyle would go 0-for-3, grounding into two double plays to begin his big league career as part of a forgettable 8-1 loss to the Rays. The next night, Kyle would get his first major league hit as he singled off Yankee reliever Scott Proctor.
Rest of season: Kyle got into 14 games, but hit just .143 (4-for-28) without an extra-base hit. He also struck out 6 times and batted in 2 runs. Unlike Matt Angle, the fleet Hudson stole only two bases in as many attempts but Kyle did see frequent usage as a pinch-runner down the stretch, too.
However overmatched Hudson seemed in his brief Oriole stint, it didn’t take away from a fantastic season which saw him leap all the way from single-A Frederick to the big leagues. At Frederick he hit .279/0/2 in 23 games and stole 8 bases, with Bowie Hudson had a .308/0/10 line with 7 steals in 28 games, and at Norfolk Kyle hit .297/0/11 with 26 steals, finishing fifth in the International League in that category despite playing only 68 games. Obviously the whirlwind tour caught up with Hudson at the end.
In a bit of a surprise Kyle was let go by the Orioles, released on January 19, 2012. He was signed to a minor league deal by Texas on January 28.
Career: Kyle moved around the minor leagues a lot over the next four seasons but never came close to returning to the big leagues. The Texas Rangers passed him on to Tampa Bay before the Rays made a minor league trade to send him off to the Philadelphia Phillies – and that was all in the 2012 season. After a year’s absence, Kyle returned to the Orioles’ fold just before spring training of 2013 and played the season with Bowie. In 2014 Hudson played for awhile in the Los Angeles Angels chain before drawing his release.
2015 saw Hudson given a unique opportunity: Kyle was plucked from the volunteer coaching ranks at his alma mater to participate in an experiment: the Los Angeles Dodgers were looking for designated stealers. He was one of five players signed for what was dubbed a “speed camp.” In 15 games split between the Arizona Rookie League and advanced-A Rancho Cucamonga Hudson attempted 15 steals, succeeding 11 times. After hurting his calf, though, Hudson went on the DL and was subsequently released in August. Career statistics.
Pedro Florimon, Jr.
Shorebird of the Week: April 3, 2008.
Major League debut: September 10, 2011. Pedro went 0-for-3 in a 5-4 loss at Toronto, starting the game at shortstop and batting eighth. His three official at-bats were all strikeouts, although in his first plate appearance he laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance Kyle Hudson, who had singled and advanced on an error.
Rest of season: Well, there wasn’t much to tell as Pedro only appeared in four games over the last 2 1/2 weeks. Pedro did get his first big league hit on September 25, a two-run double off Detroit’s Brad Penny. He ended up 1-for-8 (.125) with the double and 2 RBI, along with six strikeouts and a walk in four games.
Pedro spent the remainder of the season at AA Bowie, hitting .267/8/60 in 133 games for the Baysox, ranking among the team leaders in nearly every offensive category.
After the season, Florimon was placed on waivers by the Orioles on December 5, 2011 and claimed by the Minnesota Twins. The Twins then outrighted him to AAA Rochester a week later.
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 slow 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 and signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates, for whom he made brief appearances in 2015 while spending most of the season at AAA. Career statistics.
The Class of 2012 has the distinction of two members who made the quickest rises from Shorebird of the Week to the SotWHoF – one was picked as an SotW in 2011 and one made the jump within a season for the first time. Two made some significant impacts while the others had modest beginnings.
Shorebird of the Week: May 14, 2009.
Major League debut: May 13, 2012. Almost three years to the day after being picked as a Shorebird of the Week, Xavier got the start at home against Tampa Bay, batting leadoff and playing left field. He started the home half of the first by grounding out to second, a feat which he accomplished twice more before striking out and being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the last inning of a 9-8 loss. He also made one putout in left.
Rest of season: The next night, Xavier would get his first big league hit, leading off the game against New York’s Ivan Nova with a double. Avery rode the shuttle from Baltimore to Norfolk the rest of the year, losing his #13 in the process to Manny Machado – in his last few games he wore #70. In the 15 May games where he was the temporary left field starter, Avery hit .217 (13-for-60) and his limited playing time thereafter only allowed him to bump up his overall big league numbers to .223 (21-for-94) with a home run he hit on June 29 against Cleveland, 6 RBI, and an OPS of .645 to go with 6 stolen bases. Down at Norfolk Avery hit just .236 in 102 games, so he may be ripe for a little more seasoning in 2013.
Since: Avery has been a AAA mainstay in several organizations: traded in a late-season 2013 deal to Seattle for Michael Morse, he spent 2013 and 2014 in the Mariners’ organization before splitting a whirlwind 2015 between the Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants, and Minnesota Twins’ affiliates. Career statistics.
Major League debut: July 7, 2012. A lack of other healthy options gave Mahoney a surprise promotion just before the All-Star break. Playing first base and batting eighth in Los Angeles against the Angels, Mahoney had the unenviable task of facing Jered Weaver. But he flied out to right in his initial at-bat before grounding out to second and flying out to right again, going 0-for-3 in his debut. No one else was hitting much either in a 3-0 loss.
Rest of season: Insofar as big league action was concerned, the rest of the season consisted of a late-inning defensive substitution and lone at-bat in a game at Detroit August 17 where starting 1B Mark Reynolds was ejected. He lined out in his one plate appearance, finishing his 0-for-4 line in 2 major league games. (Thus, he has yet to make his Camden Yards debut.) Mahoney was returned to Norfolk the next day and didn’t receive a September callup as the Orioles were flush with first base-outfield types. For Norfolk Joe batted .265/10/56/.708 OPS in a team-leading 132 games.
As more evidence his place on the Orioles was tenuous, Joe was designated for assignment on November 28 and picked up off the waiver wire by the Miami Marlins two days later. It’s expected he will compete for a outfield/first base job with the rebuilding Marlins.
Career: Mahoney began 2013 on a high note, playing briefly with Miami in April before the injury bug slowed him down. By season’s end, though, he was out of a job and decided to retire during the 2014 season. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: April 14, 2011.
Major League debut: August 9, 2012. The quickest to go from SotW to Hall-of-Famer (until that record was broken by the next inductee), Manny got the start at third base in his debut against Kansas City. Despite an 8-2 loss, Machado opened his career in the majors well: after grounding out to short in his first at-bat, Machado tripled and eventually scored off Royals starter Will Smith for his first hit before getting hit #2, an infield single off Smith. The eventful game ended with Machado’s pop out. He also handled three chances cleanly.
Rest of season: If the rest of the season is any indication, Machado may be in the bigs and never look back. He won an American League Player of the Week honor in his first week after a torrid start and, while his bat eventually cooled off, his season still was memorable as the phenom hit .262/7/26/.739 OPS in 51 games. He can be forgiven for a 3-for-19 performance in the playoffs, for it was really the first time he looked overmatched. Moreover, the performance was just as good as his 109 preceding games in Bowie, where he hit .266/11/59/.789 OPS as a raw 19-year-old in the Eastern League – a league generally populated by players half a decade older and more experienced.
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 two All-Star teams, secure both Gold and Platinum Gloves, and cement the left side of the Orioles’ infield. In 2015 he was the lone major league player to play in all 162 games. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: April 19, 2012.
Major League debut: September 23, 2012. Never before had a Shorebird of the Week made it to The Show in the season he was originally picked, but Dylan Bundy defied the odds and made the big leagues in his first full professional season. He’s the first Shorebird (excepting rehab stints) who played for both Delmarva and Baltimore in the same season since Jim Hoey in 2006.
While he was actually called up a few days earlier (September 19) Bundy’s debut was somewhat anticlimactic, as he came on in the eighth inning at Boston to face pinch-hitter Ryan Lavarnway. Both he and the next batter, Danny Valencia, were retired on fly outs. Bundy’s line: 2/3 of a perfect inning, no strikeouts or walks in a 2-1 loss.
Rest of season: Let’s get the other big league appearance out of the way first: two days after his debut, he pitched one inning at home against Toronto, giving up a hit and a walk. The hit belonged to Anthony Gose and the walk to J.P. Arencibia. His total line is just 1 2/3 innings in two appearances, enough to get his feet wet.
But go back to the 26 in a row he set down to begin his career with Delmarva, or the 30 innings he pitched here, allowing zero earned runs. (Only five hits and two walks, along with two unearned runs, blemished his record here.) At Frederick he was 6-3 in 12 starts, allowing 48 hits in 57 innings while striking out 66. Bowie presented a bit of a challenge, though, as Dylan was 2-0 in 3 starts, but allowed 6 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, striking out 13 but walking eight. It’s probable that Dylan isn’t quite through with the minors yet, but probably is only a half-season to perhaps next September away.
Since: A series of injuries over the 2013 through 2015 seasons have stalled Bundy’s progression to the point where he’s no longer the Orioles’ top prospect. Working only 65 1/3 innings over three seasons will do that. But hope springs eternal for Bundy, who will be out of options for the 2016 campaign. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: July 2, 2009.
Major League debut: September 25, 2012. Hoes had to wait two long weeks from his September 11 callup to actually get into a game. His actual debut came in the 9th inning of a 4-0 loss to Toronto when he was called upon to pinch-run for designated hitter Jim Thome. One batter later, the game was over.
Rest of season: Like Bundy above, we can get the other big league appearance out of the way first. The next day against Toronto, Hoes pinch-hit in the bottom of the eighth for Nate McLouth, grounding out softly to short against David Carpenter for his first and so far only big league at-bat. He also made his debut in the field, getting an inning out in left field.
Yet Hoes was certainly deserving of his brief cup of coffee, as he hit .265/2/16/.741 OPS at Bowie in 51 games before a promotion to Norfolk, where he batted .300/3/38/,771 in 82 games. More importantly, LJ struck out 76 times on the season but walked 65. 20 steals didn’t hurt his cause, either.
Since: Hoes began 2013 in AAA but was briefly called up by Baltimore before a trade with the Houston Astros (that also included minor league pitcher Josh Hader) netted the Orioles pitcher Bud Norris. It led to perhaps the one and only time in major league history a player got his first major league hit off the pitcher he was traded for – on August 1 Hoes singled off Norris in the Astros’ 6-3 loss. Hoes stayed with the Astros for the remainder of the season, but bounced between Houston and their AAA affiliates over the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
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. Career statistics.
The Class of 2013 is the smallest since 2010, as the Orioles system found itself between established prospects like Machado and Bundy who rocketed their way up the ladder and a number of promising guys who are only now reaching the AA level. One reflects the value of perseverance and the other more raw talent and tools.
Shorebird of the Week: August 9, 2007.
Major League debut: May 1, 2013. Clark took over for starter Wei-Yin Chen to begin the 5th inning of what would become an 8-3 loss at Seattle against the Mariners. Trailing 5-0, Clark got through his first inning all right despite a walk but fell apart in his second frame, allowing three consecutive hits and three runs charged to him. In 1 2/3 innings he struck out one (Jesus Montero) and walked two.
Rest of season: There are some interesting tidbits about Clark: he is by far the oldest inductee into the SotWHoF so far and he took the longest to make it at almost 5 1/2 years. And the season of his debut was perhaps the wildest roller-coaster ride any professional can make.
It all began with being placed on the 40-man roster in late 2012. Once the season began Zach made five solid, if not overly effective starts at Norfolk, where Zach was 1-2 with a 4.56 ERA, striking out 20 and walking 7 with a 1.44 WHIP in 25 2/3 innings. He then made his debut, only to be designated for assignment and demoted to Bowie – and that’s where the adventure really began.
His six Bowie appearances were the first in a conversion of Clark to a knuckleball pitcher, and the results the rest of the season weren’t pretty: 1-4 with an 8.62 ERA in 24 innings, allowing 32 hits and 20 walks there before another demotion to the rookie Gulf Coast League and an 0-2 record in 4 appearances. But there his numbers were somewhat passable – a 6.75 ERA and 21 hits in 17 1/3 innings, but only 6 walks against 8 strikeouts.
Finally, with Frederick, Clark went 1-7, 9.74 in 10 starts, giving up 51 hits and 42 walks in 44 1/3 innings. It’s a long way from his 2012 where he excelled at Bowie and Norfolk. But while he became a free agent November 5, the Orioles resigned him to a minor league deal on January 7.
Career: With the ill-fated knuckleball experiment not working out, the Orioles released Clark after extended spring training in 2014. Clark pitched in 2014 and 2015 with Camden and Somerset in the independent Atlantic League before calling it quits. Career statistics.
Shorebird of the Week: April 21, 2011.
Major League debut: September 25, 2013. While Schoop was one of several September callups by the Orioles, getting the nod the day after the minor league season concluded, his debut would not come until after the Orioles were eliminated from postseason contention, Getting the start, batting eighth, and playing second base against the Toronto Blue Jays, Schoop singled in his first at-bat off Toronto starter Esmil Rogers, scoring when Ryan Flaherty followed with a home run. He also hit into an inning-ending 1-4-3 double play before smashing his first home run off Kyle Drabek to lead off the sixth inning. Add in an eighth-inning walk – where he scored on a second Flaherty home run – and three assists and two putouts (including a double play) defensively, and it was an exciting debut for Schoop, reminiscent of Manny Machado’s in a 9-5 Oriole win.
Rest of season: Jonathan appeared in the last 5 Oriole games, going 4-for-14 (.286) with the home run and RBI, striking out twice and walking once. It followed an injury-plagued season which saw Schoop play 70 games with Norfolk, hitting .256/9/34/.697 OPS along with July rehab stints in the Gulf Coast League (9-for 25 with 3 HR and 9 RBI in 8 games) and Aberdeen (8-for-14 in 3 games, with 2 HR and 9 RBI.) Combined, his rookie level OPS was 1.408.
Schoop went on to play for the league champion Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League, but hit just .177/3/6/.594 OPS in 16 games.
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. He’s anticipated to be the second baseman there for the foreseeable future. Career statistics.
Now for the Class of 2014. I nearly had two people in this class because pitcher Tim Berry was called up to the Orioles in June but he did not pitch in the one game where he was on the roster. For the last couple months of the season after Berry went down with an injury, though, I was convinced the Class of 2014 would be barren. That changed with the suspension of Chris Davis in early September.
Shorebird of the Week: April 18, 2013.
Major League debut: September 17, 2014. With the Orioles clinching a playoff berth and Chris Davis suspended, it opened up an opportunity for the team’s Minor League Player of the Year. Walker drew the start against Toronto, batting seventh, and had a run-scoring opportunity in his first at-bat with one out and a runner on third. Alas, Walker struck out against Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ. Later, Walker flied out to right against Happ before chasing him from the game with his first major league hit, a double to lead off the seventh inning. Walker was then lifted for a pinch-runner in Baltimore’s 6-1 victory. Christian handled eight chances flawlessly in the game.
Rest of season: Walker ended up in six games down the stretch, going 3-for-18 (.167) with a home run against Boston’s Rubby De La Rosa on September 20, part of his two-hit game against the Red Sox. He made one fielding error in the six games and struck out nine times in 18 at-bats at the big league level.
Walker got the chance to participate on the Orioles’ post-minor league season “taxi squad” by hitting .301/20/77/.884 OPS at Bowie for 95 games before 44 Norfolk tilts where Walker hit .259/6/19/.763 OPS. For the season Walker had 26 home runs compared to 27 other extra base hits (25 doubles and two triples), suggesting good raw power. Christian was one of the fastest risers in SotWHoF history, making it the very next season after being selected. Only Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy have progressed more quickly.
Since: Walker was blocked from significant playing time in Baltimore by the resurgent Chris Davis, spending most of the season at AAA Norfolk. Christian got into a handful of games with the Orioles, though. Career statistics.
If you listen to the adage about “growing the arms” the Class of 2015 should be one of your favorites. All five inductees this year are pitchers, although one was a shortstop once upon a time for the Shorebirds. After next season I will include their career stats as I follow their paths.
Shorebird of the Week: May 5, 2011.
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 the 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 may sign with the team once again. 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.
Shorebird of the Week: May 28, 2009.
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.
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.
Shorebird of the Week: May 31 ,2012.
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.
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 Zach 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.
Shorebird of the Week: July 12, 2012.
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.oo 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.
Images of David Hernandez, L.J. Hoes, and Oliver Drake via Zimbio.
Image of Brandon Snyder via milb.com.
Image of Pedro Beato: David Zanine/USA Today Sports.
Image of Zach Britton via Amazon.com.
Image of Pedro Florimon: AP/Genevieve Ross.
Image of Xavier Avery: Yahoo Sports.
Images of Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy: Getty Images/Greg Flume.
Image of Jonathan Schoop via Wikipedia.
Image of Christian Walker via MLB.com.
Image of Scott Copeland: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports.
Image of Eduardo Rodriguez: AP/Brandon Wade.
Image of Mychal Givens via Portland Press-Herald.
Image of Zach Davies via Fox Sports.