Not many O’s fans will remember Stanton Cameron. But in 1992 he hit 29 homers for the Frederick Keys.
His name is worth mentioning in a story about Brandon Waring because Cameron is the only player to ever hit more homers for Frederick than Waring did this year.
The 23-year-old Waring, who joined Double-A Bowie on Tuesday, batted .273-26-90 this year with 35 doubles in 128 games for the Keys. (Waring homered and drove in five runs in his first Bowie game Tuesday night).
Quite a performance for a player completing his first season in the organization.
Wednesday night Waring was named Most Valuable Player in the Carolina League for this year, and at that time he became the first Frederick Key in the team’s 21-year history to ever gain that honor.
Waring was traded from Cincinnati to Baltimore as part of the deal that sent Ramon Hernandez to the Reds last December. The right-handed hitting Waring said the trade has been good for his career.
“From day one, I viewed it is as something positive. I knew the Orioles didn’t have too many guys at the corner positions, so here I’d have a chance to move up and have a shot to play in the big leagues.”
Waring plays both first and third base. He was used mostly at first early in the season and more at third in the second half. He is considered better on defense at third base.
While he works hard on his defense, it’s his home run power that gets attention. Waring led the Pioneer League in homers in 2007 and was third in homers in the Midwest League in 2008.
This year he has been dominant at times in the Carolina League. Right now he is second in the league in homers and first in doubles, RBI, slugging and extra-base hits.
“I’ve had a good season. The power numbers are up. I’ve been more consistent this year than last year. I haven’t had too many prolonged slumps. I’ve been more relaxed this year, not trying to do too much and that’s helped.”
But where does his raw power come from?
“I think it comes from bat speed and strength. I’ve learned this year you don’t have to swing hard to hit home runs, just put a nice quick swing on the ball and that translated into more home runs. Just stay within yourself.”
Waring said he hasn’t looked at his stats much, but he is - by far - the O’s minor league home run leader.
27 - Brandon Waring
12 - Jeff Fiorentino
12 - Caleb Joseph
12 - Brandon Snyder
“My game is hitting the ball hard and driving in runs,” Waring said.
David Stockstill, the O’s Director of Player Development, said the organization is very impressed with the player who was the Reds’ seventh-round draft pick in 2007.
“He has made a lot of progress this year,” Stockstill said. “We have worked to shorten his swing to cut down on the strikeouts.
“He has a chance to become one of our top prospects, but he has a few things to do. He needs to continue to shorten his swing, read pitches better and become more consistent.
“He has very good raw power to all fields, the ball really explodes off his bat. He can hit the ball a long way.”
When Waring needs some hitting advice or someone to provide an encouraging word, he doesn’t have to go far. He can pick up the phone and talk with his dad, Tom, in Columbia, South Carolina.
“My dad was always my coach in little league. He’s very encouraging and always has something positive to say. He’ll call or text me every day to keep me sharp. He’s been to a lot of games this year.
“He shoots video when he comes to games. He’ll take it home and analyze it and let me know if something is wrong. He’s seen my swing since I was little so he knows if something is off.”
While Josh Bell is considered by some to have the inside track at being the O’s future third baseman, others say don’t count out Waring just yet.
“We are tickled to death to have both of them,” Stockstill said.
Frederick Keys, single-season home run leaders:
29 - Stanton Cameron, 1992
26 - Brandon Waring, 2009
26 - Mario Delgado, 2005
24 - Jason Franz, 2006