Here’s a look at prospects who have improved upon their pre-season status, and some who have seen their stock fall in 2011.
Bobby Bundy – With an improved changeup and cleaner mechanics, Bundy has become a more complete pitcher this season. He’s now relying less on his above-average curveball as his out pitch, and has learned to work in his changeup nicely. He’s working down in the zone more often and as a result has allowed just six home runs in 91 innings pitched.
Clayton Schrader – The Orioles knew they were getting a guy with plus stuff when they drafted Schrader in the 10th round of the 2010 draft. But no one was expecting him to post dominating numbers like he has thus far in 2011. He opened the season with the Shorebirds, and after striking out nearly two batters per inning at Delmarva he earned a promotion to Frederick.
Jonathan Schoop – Schoop has probably improved his stock more than anyone on this list. He put up an .890 OPS with Delmarva and moved up to Frederick at just 19 years old. He’s the second youngest player in the Carolina League only to Manny Machado and is holding his own.
David Baker – Baker missed most of 2010 with an appendix injury, but he’s healthy this season and has added a slider to his arsenal. So far, the new slider is paying dividends, as Baker’s struck out 23 batters in 25 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .189 average.
Sebastian Vader – One of the most projectable arms in the system, Vader has already seen his velocity rise 2 mph this season and has been dominant during his second run in the GCL. Both his fastball and breaking ball grade out as future plus pitches.
Roderick Bernadina – Like Jonathan Schoop, Bernadina is from Curaco, and is also the brother of Washington Nationals outfielder Roger Bernadina. Roderick has some serious bat speed, above-average speed, a strong arm, and has tagged GCL pitching for a .388 OBP (9 BB to 7 K) and .861 OPS.
L.J. Hoes – As the seventh youngest player in the Eastern League, Hoes has hit .314 with a .367 OBP and 14 walks in 153 at-bats. It’s clear he can hit, and the only thing holding him back from the “Stock Up” section is the fact that he has no true defensive home. The Orioles shifted him from second base to outfield at the beginning of the season, but his bat isn’t as valuable in left field.
Dan Klein – Performance is not what’s holding Klein in the “Neutral” section; he posted 37 strikeouts with just 6 walks in 32 innings between Frederick and Bowie. The problem with Klein is a reoccurring shoulder injury that has kept him out since early June. It’s unclear when he’ll return to game action, but when healthy he’s a top 10 prospect in the system and his stock would be way up if he wasn’t hurt.
Trent Mummey – Mummey’s another player whose status as a prospect is unclear due to injuries. When he’s played Mummey has made it look like the Orioles got a steal in the 4th round last year. He’s shown power that almost no one expected, has continued to play stellar defense and get on-base at a high rate like he did in college. Two injuries have kept him off the field this season: a concussion and a pulled hamstring. If Mummey can stay healthy and produce like he has in 2011, his stock will sky rocket.
Tyler Townsend – Hamstring injuries were never an issue for Townsend in college, but they have limited him to just 62 games in 2011 and over 100 total over his minor league career. When he’s been on the field, Townsend has looked like the true first base prospect the Orioles sorely need. The one slight issue with Townsend is his low walk rate (just 9 walks in 238 at-bats), but I believe that’s largely due to his aggressive approach and that he has the ability to walk more if he wanted. In his last 10 games, Townsend has more walks (5) than he did in his previous 52 (4), and has still posted a .333 average with a 1.147 OPS.
Aaron Wirsch – Wirsch was out for most of 2010 with an oblique injury and is once again hurt. He wasn’t particularly sharp in three outings for the IronBirds, with 10 walks in 10 innings pitched.
Mychal Givens – The Orioles 2009, 2nd round draft pick, Givens opened 2011 as the Delmarva second baseman but hit .195 over 57 games and was demoted to Aberdeen. He’s improved upon his stats with the Shorebirds, hitting .284 with the IronBirds but still has a slight hitch in his swing that could cause timing problems.
Brenden Webb – Webb, who signed for a $250,000 bonus as a 30th round draft pick, is striking out in over 30% of his plate appearances at Delmarva and hasn’t shown the power that most expected.
Brandon Waring – The 25 year old third baseman is hitting .189 in his second go around with the Baysox.