Position Player of the Week – Christian Walker, 1B (Double-A, Bowie)
.308/.403/.607 (33/107) with 5 2B, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 15 BB, 19 K
Walker has natural bat-to-ball skills, which he has always displayed at every level dating back to college. The issue has always been the power, which has finally started to blossom. Walker is in better shape this season, which has slightly increased the bat speed. While he is still not going to light the world on fire, I think Walker is a solid second-level prospect that the Orioles must be thrilled with at this point. While the power will likely not play to this effort at higher levels, I think he has enough in the skill-pool to give the Orioles something. I really do caution you to not get overly excited about the power, as I have seen many of the homers this season and a large portion of them are off organization player pitchers. Regardless, the numbers are there and the bat has been productive.
Starting Pitcher of the Week – Parker Bridwell, RHP (High-A, Frederick)
Welcome back, Parker. He has turned around his season in one month, posting the numbers that many have been waiting for. However, the numbers are only the start of the domination, as Bridwell has looked terrific in May. I was in attendance for two of the starts, and the progression from April was astounding. Bridwell’s changeup has become one of the most improved pitches in the Orioles entire system, and he was absolutely dominant with it this week against Wilmington. Bridwell has begun to mold himself into a legitimate prospect again, and could boast a potential three pitch arsenal with plus offerings all around. He faced Wilmington and Myrtle Beach this month, both which have solid lineups filled with prospects such as Joey Gallo, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Hunter Dozier and Raul Mondesi. One noteworthy stat – Bridwell registered 20 swing and misses against Wilmington – pure domination.
Relief Pitcher of the Week – Jimmy Yacabonis, RHP (Low-A, Delmarva)
8 G, 10.0 IP, 0.00 ERA, 1 H, 0 ER, 5 BB, 13 K, 7 SV
I watched Yacabonis attack hitters and put up solid numbers last year in the NYPL. I was fairly intrigued by the max-effort reliever and thought he could be a decent option down the road. In 2014, Yacabonis has taken his game to a new level, as he has yet to allow a run the entire season. Yacabonis has a 92-94 mph fastball that he pounds the zone with. He’s a strong kid with great push that allows his fastball to explode through the zone. The change and slider have always needed work, but they have both improved a tick enough for him to string together this terrific start to the year. I imagine Yacabonis moves to Frederick at some point, as he has been absolutely dominant in Delmarva. The only knock you could say about him has been the 12 walks this season.