Last time we checked in mid-April, the Orioles top three prospects were off and running for the 2012 campaign, as we saw Dylan Bundy pitch a whole lot of scoreless baseball for Low-A Delmarva, Manny Machado was working his way into the AA level at Bowie, and Jonathan Schoop was having a few offensive struggles at that same level.
Fast forward to today, and the three have had their ups and downs along the way to where they are at this point.
1) Dylan Bundy: After his expected promotion to High-A ball at Frederick, Bundy has definitely experienced some more experienced hitters who can catch up to his mid-90s fastball, forcing him to steadily mix in a good amount of changeups and breaking pitches. With a 3.42 ERA in 23.2 innings over five starts with the Keys, Bundy has a 25:8 K:BB ratio, and this minor (and I mean minor) bump in the road should be no worry to Orioles fans. This may actually be a good thing, considering last time I saw him pitch with Delmarva, it was not too pleasing to see a very low amount of offspeed offerings.
I could see the Orioles pushing Bundy to AA by season’s end, but it would be nice to see the fireballer finish off his 2012 innings limit with Frederick, a level that he is being challenged just enough at and able to really develop his pitching techniques while not being overwhelmed.
2) Manny Machado: After seeing some low points through the first half so far at AA, Machado seems to be finding his own more recently, hitting .342 in his last 10 games with four doubles and two home runs. Machado’s glove has played very highly above average at shortstop, stopping most thoughts from scouts saying he could not stick at that position, though we have to remember that at this point, he is only 19. With some Orioles fans talking about Machado being a September callup, I would have to call that a terrible idea. Not because of anything Machado has done, but he simply needs a full season at one level of the minor leagues to really acclimate himself to a set of surroundings and really figure out who he is as a baseball player.
I fully expect Machado to stay at AA for the entire 2012 season, and perhaps make the jump to AAA in 2013, but there is no reason to rush him.
3) Jonathan Schoop: A below average offensive season for Schoop so far, his bat, like Machado’s, has heated up as of late, with a .286 average along with three doubles and four home runs. His glovework has been solid throughout at second base, and though I still say he should have been given the chance to be the every day SS at Frederick, the pairing of him and Machado as future double play partners seems to be working out.
Even more so than Machado, Schoop will stick at AA for the rest of this season. The Orioles have a flood of utility infielders capable of taking at bats right now between the big leagues and AAA, so I see no need to push Schoop up any farther at this point in time.
Follow Avi Miller on Twitter @AviMillerBSR for up to the date Orioles news and daily farm system updates.