Shorebird of the Week – August 29, 2013

This photo of Greg Lorenzo seemed to be most appropriate, as I took it shortly after he slid into second. On 38 of 45 occasions this season, Greg has been successful in swiping an additional 90 feet of enemy territory, leading the Shorebirds by a wide margin in that department and currently sixth-best in the South Atlantic League.

But for the longest time this season, it seemed like the hardest 90-foot distance for Lorenzo to travel was that space between home plate and first base. At the All-Star break Greg was hitting a puny .208 and only getting on base 27% of the time, but in the second half Greg has improved to a .279 batting average and .301 on-base percentage. Now those aren’t particularly outstanding, but in order to steal bases the trick is getting on base in the first place and Lorenzo has improved in that regard.

Admittedly, we were a little bit spoiled by Greg’s performance at the tail end of last year, where he went 24-for-72 in 19 games and swiped six bases. It capped off a season where he jumped from the Gulf Coast League to Delmarva in the total space of just 53 games, and was seemingly a breakout offensive campaign from a player who had never hit higher than .252 in any of his three previous seasons. So perhaps his .244/2/41/.612 OPS for 2013 is along the lines of what we should expect from Greg, a Dominican native signed by the Orioles in 2009.

Looking ahead to 2014, it’s not out of the question the 22-year-old may find himself back for a third tour of duty in Delmarva. Having said that, job one for Greg has to be finding a way to cut down on strikeouts. Granted, Lorenzo has over 500 plate appearances this season, which leads the team – Joel Hutter may end up with right around 500 as well – but not only is he near the top of the league in stolen bases, he’s fifth in strikeouts as well. (Of the four players above him, three are prototypical power hitters and the fourth looks like a draft bust from 2011.)

For many of the thousands of players who play professional baseball, raw speed is their calling card. But baseball is a funny game in that, unless you put the ball in play or force the pitcher into walking you, seldom do you get to first base. With 143 strikeouts and 22 walks, the old adage that “a walk’s as good as a hit” is something Lorenzo will need to heed in 2014 if he wants to advance beyond the South Atlantic League. In terms of raw batting average, Greg has done well in August, but that other phase of the game merits attention as well.

Finally, as a reminder: next week’s Shorebird piece will be a season review and selection of my Shorebird of the Year, followed the next Thursday by my picks and pans. Sometime in December I’ll induct the Shorebird of the Week Hall of Fame Class of 2014, which will probably consist of two or three players, and then it will go dark again until April 3, 2014, when the Shorebirds open their nineteenth campaign on the road, with the home opener April 10.

One thought on “Shorebird of the Week – August 29, 2013”

  1. in the winter how about an article on 10 guys who you predict will be on the delmarva 2014 opening day roster?

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