2013 was a terrific season for Aberdeen, as they made the playoffs for the first time in their existence. In the past, the Ironbirds have fielded poor teams, with the occasional talent to get excited about. Unless there was a Parker Bridwell, Manny Machado or Matt Wieters, you probably did not miss much at Aberdeen. However, last year was impressive and the team had a good crop of talent, starting first with Hunter Harvey. While the club does not have pure talent such as Harvey this year, they do have a few intriguing names on their break camp roster. Please keep in mind that this roster will significantly change in the next week or two, as players just signing from the MLB Draft will enter the system and be slotted at Aberdeen. It is also important to remember there are still a few young prospects in the GCL that will surely make the move to Aberdeen. Short season rosters change more than any other roster, and it can become difficult keeping up with all the alterations.
Aberdeen officially begins their season on Friday, June 13th, on the road at Hudson Valley. Their first home game will be Friday, June 20, against Staten Island.
Pitching Staff: Augey Bill, Garrett Cortright, Nick Cunningham, Eric Green, Alex Santana, Janser Severino, Stephen Tarpley, Brady Adamek, Derrick Bleeker, Stefan Crichton, Dariel Delgado, Dioni Dominguez, Ivan Hernandez, Nik Nowottnick, Elias Pinales
Catchers: Alex Murphy, Tanner Murphy
Infielders: Ronarsy Ledesma, Byron Capellan, Cam Kneeland, Cory Segui
Outfielders: Manuel Hernandez, Oswill Lartiguez, Andrickson Zorilla
Three to Watch:
Stephen Tarpley: If you have wondered where the 2013 3rd round pick has been, look no further. Tarpley was known to be a project when drafted, but I thought we would have seen him at Delmarva to start the year. Obviously, the Orioles held him back in extended and continued to work on his mechanics. Tarpley had some issues with his landing on delivery and also had a little too much stress in his elbow and shoulder. It will also be interesting to see if the Orioles have lowered his release at all. I have had scouts tell me in the past they believe his upright delivery causes his fastball to be flat and get hit around up in the zone. Tarpley is an intriguing talent with a good arm capable of throwing 92-94. His arm speed is solid and he is an athletic player. It would not shock me to see him tear up the NYPL, but he needs to show improved mechanics before that happens.
Jonah Heim: Sure, he is not even on the break camp roster, but he is already in Aberdeen and I have been told he will likely split time with Alex Murphy behind the dish. Heim is a super raw prospect with the bat, but he has some bat speed and raw power. It may take some time for him to tap into this power, and the plate discipline and approach will need some refinement. He will be one of the youngest guys in the NYPL, and was one of the youngest in the draft last year. Another aspect to note is the competition level at the Buffalo, New York area is a notch lower than your typical region. Heim needs some time to get acclimated, and the more I think about it, keeping him in extended and short-season was definitely the right move. The defense has been impressive. I have talked to scouts about the glove and they were generally impressed. I liked what I saw in Spring Training.
Alex Murphy: The Calvert Hall alum has the ability to develop into a decent bat. I see raw power and he has a decent approach at the plate. Murphy has enough talent with the bat that it could carry him through the beginning parts of the system. The one issue with his game has always been the defense. Scouts were split on whether he could stick as a catcher last season, and I have not heard anything to change that opinion yet. He could end up requiring a move to first base, which would then mean he would have to really hit. As with most young prospects in the NYPL, the skill-set is incomplete, but Murphy has enough going on with the bat to be intrigued.
Alexander Santana: A personal favorite of mine, as he has a plus curveball that he can command and control. It has good depth and he really loves to throw it. There might not be much more to his game, but the fastball can show some life and explosion, even if the plane is not terrific. Santana is an example of a pitcher with one really good pitch and the rest is fringe. However, I am curious to see what the Orioles do with him. I doubt he can start, due to the exertion in the delivery.
Dariel Delgado: I do not have much info on the young righty, but I do know that he has an electric arm that can sit 92+ mph. The secondary stuff needs some work, but the Orioles were patient with him last season and he put up some sexy numbers in the GCL last year. He is likely a max-effort reliever, but he could be dominant at Aberdeen this season.
Randolph Gassaway: Another player that is not actually on the roster yet. However, Gassaway was the most impressive player I saw in the GCL/Rookie camp this Spring Training. The bat speed was evident and he really has a smooth and relaxed swing with minimal movement through the zone. There is a slight arc and he certainly has some raw power that could eventually be tapped into. I need to get an expanded look at Gassaway, but the first image of him was very impressive for me. I suspect he sees some time in Aberdeen this year, and I would be very surprised if this is not the case.