Josh Michael: Recent promotions clear way for left-hander Cameron Ming

The low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds got off to a roaring start and thanks in large part to the performance of their starting rotation. A couple of those starters, Michael Baumann and Zac Lowther, have been promoted to high Single-A Frederick, clearing the way for left-hander Cameron Ming.

Ming, 22, was selected by the Orioles in the 14th round of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Arizona.

With the likes of guys like Brenan Hanifee, Baumann and Lowther on the short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds roster in 2017, Ming pretty much got overlooked despite his success on the mound.

Over 10 appearances and seven starts with the IronBirds in 2017, Ming went 2-1 with a 2.92 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP over 37 innings (he also made one appearance with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles in 2017, as well). Over his 37 innings with the IronBirds in 2017, Ming struck out 30 while walking just four.

In addition to his terrific command on the mound, another thing I liked about Ming when I watched him pitch was his ability to get outs on the ground. While with the IronBirds last season, Ming recorded 1.29 groundouts per every air out. Any time you see a guy in the Orioles organization recording more groundouts than air outs, is a really good thing when Camden Yards is the ultimate goal.

I was pretty surprised when the opening day rosters came out and Ming was not on the Shorebirds roster. When you looked at the stacked Shorebirds pitching staff, it was somewhat understandable how Ming was left off, but I was still surprised by it.

Thanks to the promotions given to Baumann, and later Lowther, Ming is now on the Shorebirds roster and he is making the most of it.

Over three appearances (one start), Ming has yet to allow a single earned run while striking out 16 and walking just two over 10 1/3 innings. In addition, he owns a minuscule 0.39 WHIP and batters are hitting just .063 against him, as he’s allowed just two hits all season.

There was one thing that I highlighted for Baby Birdland back in December, when I was writing about Ming’s debut season, which needed improvement. That was pitching ahead in the count. Last season with the IronBirds, opponents hit .357 against him when he was ahead in the count. Although it’s a very small sample size, he has drastically improved in this regard in 2018 with the Shorebirds holding opponents to a .048 batting average when ahead in the count.

It really speaks volumes to how far the Orioles farm system has come when someone like Ming has to wait for others to get promoted to get his first shot at being on a full-season affiliate. Do not be surprised if you start hearing a lot more about this lefty now that he’s joined the still-stellar Shorebirds pitching staff.

Josh Michael blogs about the Orioles for Baby Birdland. Follow him on Twitter: @BabyBirdland. His opinions on the Orioles will appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s longstanding initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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