When the Orioles drafted Tyler Townsend in the third round of the 2009 MLB Draft they knew they had a guy who could hit for both power and average. After all, he did hit .426 with 24 home runs in a record setting 2009 season with FIU. However, it was unclear how his college stats would translate to the pros. Though it’s a small sample size, his bat hasn’t slowed down one bit since the transition to pro ball and the results have been nothing short of impressive.
If Townsend can continue to mash like he did with both Delmarva and Frederick injuries will be the only thing standing in his way going forward. All of his injuries in 2010 were hamstring problems which, surprisingly, were never an issue during his college career.
Townsend’s stroke and smooth hip rotation give him the ability to both hit for power and average. His steady, level swing contributes most to his plus hit tool. His weight transfer and ability to absolutely murder fastballs give him plus power potential, though we haven’t seen much of that yet. Despite being labeled as a power hitter, Townsend’s strikeout rates have been relatively low throughout his time in the minors and are an encouraging sign going forward.
If he can post his 2010 numbers over an entire season in which he stays healthy, he would definitely be considered the Orioles’ first baseman of the future.
Townsend will likely return to Frederick in 2011, after receiving just 78 at-bats there in 2010, and should see a promotion to Bowie when Joe Mahoney gets the bump to Norfolk.