The Delmarva Shorebirds are set to begin the 2014 season with arguably the best roster in the O’s Minor League System. The Orioles have their first three selections from the 2013 draft down on the Eastern Shore, along with a talented cast around them. Below is the opening day roster (thanks to Steve Melewski of MASN) along with three to watch and three potential sleepers.
Rotation: Steven Brault, Hunter Harvey, Mitch Horacek, Sebastian Vader, Austin Urban
Bullpen: Jon Keller, Williams Louico, Bennett Parry, Dylan Rheault, David Richardson, Dennis Torres, Luc Rennie, Jimmy Yacabonis.
Catchers: Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns.
Infielders: Anthony Caronia, Federico Castagnini, Drew Dosch, Jeff Kemp, Trey Mancini, Hector Veloz.
Outfielders: Conor Bierfeldt, Josh Hart, Lucas Herbst, Gregory Lorenzo, Mike Yastrzemski.
Three to Watch:
Hunter Harvey – RHP – Three-piece arsenal, already touching 93-96 mph in Aberdeen last year and has been hitting 97-98 mph in Spring Training. He could be one of the premiere minor league talents in baseball by the end of the season.
Chance Sisco – C – Sisco can hit. The approach is advanced for a high-school draftee, and he has a beautiful swing as I laid out in my report over at Baseball Prospectus. Can the defense come along quick enough?
Josh Hart – OF – Plus defender with terrific instincts in CF. Potential plus contact hitter with ability to be an on-base machine. Hart could be the spark plug the O’s are waiting for, but he is raw with the bat still and this is his first test.
Jon Keller – RHP – Big-framed college pitcher drafted in 2013 that has missed some time due to injury. He will pitch every three days out of the bullpen with the hopes of moving back to a starting role in 2014. He has a big-time fastball but needs refinement of the secondary arsenal. Expect to see Keller eased in this season, but he could be tremendous out of the bullpen.
Drew Dosch – 3B – Dosch did not play after signing with the Orioles in 2013. He has a terrific eye at the plate and some dormant power. The defense might need some work, but he is no dud at the hot corner. He could really surprise this season, but it should be noted that he might need to become acclimated to pro ball.
Mike Yastrzemski – OF – Average tool set across the board, but just does “something” every night to pique your interest. The grandson of the great Yaz could have another solid season in the O’s minors and start to rise his prospect status.
The Shorebirds will be fun to watch this season, with a strong opening day roster and some terrific arms. The rotation should be relatively strong, with potential additions of Stephen Tarpley, Kevin Grendell, Jake Pintar and others possibly later on in the season. If there is one team to get out and watch this season, it should be the Shorebirds.