We have recapped and analyzed the 2013 Baltimore Orioles season, but in the spirit of our Minor League Monday segment, today we are going to provide some recaps on all five major minor league affiliates for the O's. One affiliate makes the playoffs for the first time.
There was some success in the minor league's for the Birds in 2013 as Baltimore saw three of their five major affiliates have a .500 or winning records and the short-season class A Aberdeen Ironbirds made their first ever playoff appearance.
AAA Norfolk Tides (77-67)
The Orioles AAA affiliate had another successful season, considering the slew of roster moves that took place courtesy of the seemingly weekly bus ride that took place between Norfolk and Baltimore, much like last season. Although they did not make the playoffs, they just missed as they tied for the wildcard spot with Rochester, but due to losing the season series with them, the Tides were left on the outside looking in. Of the guys still in the organization, OF Jason Pridie had the best all around offensive season for the Tides as he hit .269 with 15 home runs, 57 RBI, 24 doubles and a .333 OBP in 479 at bats. Jairo Asencio went 5-0 with 28 saves and a 2.66 ERA in the closers role for the Tides over 47 appearances.
AA Bowie Baysox (71-71)
The Baysox missed the playoffs by just five games as they battled their way to a .500 season in the Eastern League's western division. Bowie was a good home team finished 40-30 at home, but the road doomed their playoff chances. There were several players that had good offensive seasons for the Baysox, but there is one guy that easily stood out. Catcher Caleb Joseph tore the cover off the ball all season and finished the year with a .299 average with 22 homers, 31 doubles, 97 RBI, and a .346 OBP. Joseph was named a season ending Eastern League All Star for his efforts and is currently playing winter ball in Venezuela. The next big name minor league pitcher you will read about is not Eduardo Rodriguez, but Mike Wright. Wright had a fantastic season for the Baysox and finished with a 11-3 record along with a 3.26 ERA in 26 starts. He also made one start for the Tides and pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
Advanced A Frederick Keys (61-78)
It was not the season the Keys wanted to have in 2013, but the team produced several memories this year and saw some great talent grace Harry Grove Stadium. Much like the Baysox, the Keys saw a catcher lead them offensively this season as Michael Ohlman, currently in the Arizona Fall League, hit .313 with 13 homers, 29 doubles, 53 RBI and a robust .410 OBP. Ohlman is developing into a fine offensive player and his eye at the plate greatly improved as he drew 56 walks in 100 games. Tim Berry is another pitcher you soon hear from in the organization, and is also in Arizona with Ohlman right now. Berry finished the year 11-7 with a 3.85 ERA.
Low A Delmarva Shorebirds (54-82)
Although it was not a good year for the Shorebirds, they are still just a short drive from Ocean City, MD so that is reason enough to check out a game! There were no real standout offensive performers that were in Delmarva all season, but Christian Walker, who performed so well that he was promoted twice this season, began his year with the Shorebirds and hit .353 with three homers and 20 RBI in 116 at bats. He also boasted a video game like .420 OBP. Starting pitching was not the star of the show for Delmarva, but the real story came from Orioles former 2009 first round pick Matt Hobgood. Pitching primarily in relief this season as he worked his way back from rotator cuff surgery that caused him to miss all of 2012, Hobgood pitched extremely well. He finished his Shorebirds season with a 7-3 record, 3.71 ERA, and 47 strikeouts in 63 innings. He would later be promoted to Frederick, where he struggled a bit, but it was a good sign for the first rounder as he works his way back.
Short-Season A Aberdeen Ironbirds (40-32)
The lone Orioles minor league affiliate to make the playoffs, the New York-Penn League McNamara Division winners brought playoff baseball to Ripken Stadiumt pl for the first time in franchise history. The Ironbirds fell in the first round of the playoffs, but it was still great to see them secure that playoff appearance. First baseman Trey Mancini led the way offensively for Aberdeen as he hit .328 with three homers, 18 doubles and 35 RBI in 68 games, while also boasting a .382 OBP. Sebastian Vader was the unquestioned ace of the Ironbirds staff as he went 7-3 with a 2.43 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 85 1/3 innings pitched. Orioles 2013 first round pick Hunter Harvey also made three starts for Aberdeen this season and represented himself well a 2.25 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched.
It was quite a year in the entire Orioles organization and there are certainly some names to keep an eye on as future Camden Yards participants. Congratulations to the Ironbirds on their playoff appearance!
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