The Bowie Baysox finished with a record of 75-66 in the AA Eastern League last season, and come back in 2012 with a similar looking squad lead by head coach Gary Kendall.
The biggest story breaking camp into Bowie is the addition of top prospects Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop to the Baysox roster to begin 2012. They will man the middle infield with Machado at SS and Schoop at 2B. Though many scouts have noted that the Orioles could have wisely started them at separate levels so they could both get time in at shortstop (their natural position), the Orioles brass decided to keep the pair together seeing them make a great double play duo last year at Delmarva and Frederick. Could this be an early look at the 2014 big league middle infield? Might just be.
Other roster notes:
- L.J. Hoes has been assigned to Bowie again this year, but should be given a shot at AAA at some point this season after receiving a big league Spring Training invite this year. No idea where he will play at Bowie since Schoop will take the 2B job. This could be a sign that they want to work the local prospect into an outfield spot from here on out.
- Xavier Avery is supposedly listed on AAA Norfolk’s roster out of camp, but sources say he will most likely start the year at AA. Unclear as to why this is listed in such a way, but it could be a big surprise to the system if Avery gets a shot at AAA and Hoes sticks in AA, though Norfolk is short on outfielders after losing Kyle Hudson, Matt Angle, and Tyler Henson and releasing Cory Aldridge from minor league camp. Compelling storyline to follow there.
- Brandon Waring is starting the year at Bowie, but many believe he should be given a shot at AAA this year, especially since the organization gave up Brandon Snyder this past off season and Josh Bell has become somewhat of a non-prospect. This means that Joe Mahoney will man first base at Norfolk, but third could become a spot for Waring soon enough at that level if Bell continues to struggle.
- Caleb Joseph is entering his third year at Bowie, and while the catcher has put up nothing more than average offensive numbers, scouts say he has been a huge part of developing Orioles pitchers and helping guys take their game to the next level. There is no tracking of advanced stats defensively in the minor leagues, but Joseph projects as an above average catcher on the field, but without the hitting numbers, sticks in a tough spot. Especially with Matt Wieters as the Orioles catcher for years to come, unless the organization has plans to work Joseph to eventually become the backup to Wieters, he could be a trade chip for the team come July if his bat can start off hot.
- The two highlights of Bowie’s pitching staff will be Tim Bascom and Bobby Bundy. Bascom was the Orioles minor league pitcher of the year in 2011, while Bundy is the brother of Dylan Bundy, Orioles first round pick last year and number one prospect who is starting at Delmarva. Bobby had a breakout year last year at Frederick and is making his name one to know for fans.
- Pitching staff most likely to include these names: Zach Clark, Pat Egan, Eddie Gamboa, Sean Gleason, Cole McCurry, Jacob Pettit, Pedro Viola, Ross Wolf, Robert Hinton, Stu Pomeranz, and Wynn Pelzer (acquired in the 2010 trade of Miguel Tejada to San Diego)
- Other position players most likely include: Tyler Kelly (making the jump over high-A Frederick), Edgardo Baez, Antoan Richardson, Ronnie Welty, Carlos Rojas, Travis Adair, and Allan de San Miguel
- Unsure of where a few guys will land, including Buck Britton (older brother of LHP Zach Britton), Joel Polanco, Robbie Widlansky, and Billy Rowell.
- Speaking of Rowell, the Orioles failing first round pick in 2006 (most notably known for being drafted one spot ahead of Tim Lincecum) has supposedly been converted to a pitcher this spring. The Orioles have been very quiet concerning this topic and have not made any announcements, but multiple sources in Florida have told me now that Rowell projects as a pitcher in 2012, his last season under contract in the Orioles farm system.
And if you are interested in going to the Baysox opening series this weekend against the Harrisburg Senators, you will be able to see Nationals starters Michael Morse and Rick Ankiel playing in Bowie as they start the season on rehab assignments.
Follow me on Twitter @AviMillerBSR for up to the date Orioles news and farm system updates.