So after being named Carolina League MVP last year while also winning the Brooks Robinson award as the O's Minor League Player of the Year, what will Brandon Waring do this season for an encore?
In his second year in the O's organization he'll move up to Double-A Bowie and tangle with Eastern League pitching.
"This year will be the most challenging year yet," the 24-year-old Waring said. "The pitchers are more refined, they have a plan and can throw all their pitches for strikes. I'm going to try and build on my success of last year and take it one game at a time."
Waring hit .273--26--90 last year and had an OPS of .874 in 128 games with Frederick. He led the league in RBI, slugging and extra-base hits and was second in homers and doubles.
Reports from Florida indicate he has picked up where he left off last year with the bat.
"Everything is going well. This off-season I worked hard to get ready. It was a short off-season because I played in the (Arizona) Fall League. I'm back at Ed Smith, I was there with the Reds. I'm seeing the ball well and have hit a couple of balls hard."
Waring played at the Ed Smith complex when he was with the Reds before the trade to Baltimore in December of 2008. The Reds drafted Waring in round seven out of Wofford College in 2007.
In an O's organization lacking in power hitters, Waring stands out. He hit 27 last year (one at Bowie) and no one else on the farm hit more than 12.
Waring's homer count:
2007: 1st in the Pioneer League with 20 in 68 games
2008: 3rd in the Midwest League with 20 in 119 games
2009: 2nd in the Carolina League with 26 in 128 games
In three seasons, covering 324 games, Waring has hit 67 homers with a slugging percentage of .522 and OPS of .879.
After splitting time between first and third base with Frederick, he is expected to play mostly at third for Bowie.
"I think last year they didn't know me yet and wanted to see what I could do (at both positions). They saw me play third enough to know I can handle myself over there. I think there is more value in playing third also."
Waring knows Josh Bell is considered the "future" Orioles third baseman but says "if you are going to make it you will and it doesn't matter who is ahead of you."
Now if he could only get on someone's Orioles' top ten prospects list. After all he achieved last year, Baseball America did not list him recently among the O's top ten.
"It doesn't bother me at all. You want to have success, but it's in the past now. I don't look into that. They have a publication and have to do what they have to do. I just go out and play my game."
More notes on Waring:
*He became the first player in the 21-year history of the Keys to win the MVP award.
*He hit right-handed pitching better last year than southpaws with an average of .286 and slugging of .531 vs. righties vs. .245 and .497 vs. lefties.
*Baseball America did tab Waring as the organization's top power hitter.
*In two seasons with the Reds, Waring played 153 games at third base and 13 at first.
*With Frederick in 2009, his OBP was .354, his slugging average .520 and his OPS was .874.
*In 2007 at Wofford, Waring hit 27 homers and was second in the NCAA in homers and slugging.