Position Player of the Week – Dariel Alvarez, OF (AA, Bowie)
.361/.370/.567 (35/97) with 11 2B, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 2 BB, 6 K, 1 SB
Alvarez has been a pleasant surprise this season. He was playing RF last season and I pegged him as average. In 2014, Alvarez has played CF and it is quite amazing how different he looks. The glove plays average in CF, but average is significant in terms of value. An average defensive CF is worth more than an average RF, considering what a player needs to cover at the position. He has a plus-plus arm as well, which plays tremendously from CF. With the bat, the biggest difference is he shortened the swing. Last year, his swing was elongated and his hands would drift. That is not happening anymore and the swing is generally more fluid. He is still more of a free swinger, as indicated by the 2/6 BB/K ratio. Teams will start to make some adjustments on Alvarez, but this is exactly the start the O’s hoped for out of the Cuban.
Starting Pitcher of the Week – Hunter Harvey, RHP (A, Delmarva)
26.0 IP, 14 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 13 BB, 29 K
Scouting and evaluation are primarily what we focus on at ON, making it an easy decision to give Harvey the award. He has quickly ascended in the prospect world, and the Orioles have to be ecstatic with the development so far. The change needs refinement, but Hunter Harvey is a very talented prospect and has some sack on the mound. I have nothing else to add besides this tweet below, where my buddy Wittmann absolutely crushed it.
— CJ Wittmann (@CJWittJr) April 30, 2014
Relief Pitcher of the Week – Jason Gurka, LHP (AA, Bowie)
16.1 IP, 10 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 14 K
Here is a pitcher that gets overlooked often, mainly because the Orioles have a plethora of lefties currently ahead of him on the depth chart. With Brian Matusz, Zach Britton, Troy Patton, Chris Jones and formerly Michael Belfiore ahead of him – it clearly has become a struggle to envision a role for Gurka at the next level. But do not let that discourage your thoughts on him.
Gurka runs his fastball low 90’s with some sink on it, and will miss bats with this pitch. His hard slurve comes off his good plane and can devour lefties. He needs to use the change more against right-handed hitters for success, but it has gotten the job done against them so far at Bowie. I think his ceiling is likely a LOOGY, but I would like to get another expanded look on him against some right-handed hitters before sealing that mark on Gurka.