The Baltimore Orioles got their season underway on Monday, but their full-season affiliates will not have their Opening Days until Thursday. This season, we will see four of the O’s big-name prospects skip minor league levels to being the season.
It’s not unusual, but it’s also not the norm to see prospects completely skip one of the A-class levels of the minor leagues, but that will be the case for four of the Orioles top prospects in outfielders Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays, right-handed pitcher Cody Sedlock and left-handed pitcher Keegan Akin.
Mullins, who is quickly becoming a household name among Orioles’ fans, is probably making the biggest jump of the quartet as he will bypass High-A, and begin the season with the AA Bowie Baysox after spending the entire 2016 season with the Low-A Delmarva Shorebirds.
Over 124 games with Delmarva, Mullins, a switch hitter, slashed .273/ .321/ .464 with 55 RBI in 517 at bats. He scored 79 runs while swiping 30 bags in 36 stolen base attempts. Most notable were Mullins’ extra base numbers: 37 doubles, 10 triples and 14 home runs. He certainly performed well last year, and has garnered a ton of praise from O’s Manager Buck Showalter and Executive VP/GM Dan Duquette, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in AA.
The other three are all skipping Low-A and will go straight to the High-A Frederick Keys after being drafted and playing for the Short-season A Aberdeen Ironbirds last season.
Sedlock posted a 3.00 ERA with a 1.07 WHIP over nine starts and 27 total innings pitched for thee Ironbirds last season. He also held opponents to a .158 batting average and struck out 25. Considered by most to be the Orioles’ second best prospect behind Chance Sisco, Sedlock will look to continue using his power sinker to induce a large amount of ground balls.
Akin also made nine starts for the Ironbirds and posted a 1.04 ERA and a 0.85 WHIP over 26 total innings. In addition, he struck out 29 and walked just seven. Opponents hit just .161 against him and he did not allow a single run over his final six starts of the season.
Hays led the Ironbirds last season with a .336 batting average and added four home runs, nine doubles, two triples, 21 RBI and scored 14 runs over 38 games. He also boasted a .386 OBP and a .900 OPS.
Sedlock was the Orioles’ first round selection last June, while Akin was their second round selection and Hays their third. All three performed very well for the Ironbirds last season, and in their first full season of professional baseball, all three will look to succeed at the High-A level.
By: Josh Michael