Probably no player in the O's farm system has gotten off to a faster start at the plate than Delmarva first baseman Tyler Kolodny.
The 22-year-old, right-handed hitter batted .226-9-42 in 107 games with Delmarva last year.
But this year he is crushing South Atlantic League pitching so far and is batting .387-6-11. Today, he was named SAL Player of the Week.
He leads the league in homers (6), slugging (1.000), total bases (44), extra-base hits (12) and triples (3).
"It's a credit to Tyler. He came into camp in great shape," Delmarva manager Ryan Minor said. "He was disappointed how he played at this level last year. This year he came in almost with a chip on his shoulder, disappointed to be back at this level. I think he's trying to prove he deserves to move up at some point.
"He's tearing our league up right now. If he can just keep a portion of this play up it will be big for him. Last year he had a tendency to swing at just about anything. But this year, he's taken a little different approach. He's been patient and is waiting on his pitch. He's not afraid to hit with a strike or two strikes," Minor said.
Kolodny, the O's 16th-round pick in 2007, is 7 for 12 over his last three games with four homers and 7 RBI. He has played third base mostly in his career and will play some third and first for Delmarva.
Last year, he did not hit his 6th homer until June 28th.
Meanwhile, Minor says catcher Justin Dalles should be okay after suffering a concussion in Sunday's game with Hagerstown. The Shorebirds put Dalles, a 6th-round pick last June, on the disabled list today.
He was taken from the field in an ambulance Sunday after a play at the plate in the 12th inning.
"He's going to be fine. It was a normal baseball play. They were trying to score a run in the 12th inning. The throw kind of took him back into the runner and there was a collision at home plate. It was scary for a moment, but he'll be fine.
"He's a tough kid and he'll bounce back. Any catcher gets hit at the plate. I think he hit his head on the ground, but fortunately he's going to be okay.
"He's been doing exceptionally well behind the plate. He's a high energy guy and you have to control his energy some. But he's done well blocking the ball and throwing runners out and receiving the ball."
In eight games, Dalles was batting .370-2-5. Minor said he was coming along nicely with the mental part of catching as well.
"He's a typical young catcher in terms of calling a game. He still can get in a mode of throwing too many breaking balls early in the count and sometimes you get behind hitters that way. But he's been tremendous behind the plate and a surprise somewhat at the plate. He's been spraying the ball all over the field."
Catcher Michael Ohlman has been on Delmarva's DL since April 12 after fouling a ball off his left knee. Last June's 11th-round pick should return to the active roster in a day or two, Minor said.
Despite losing the last three games vs. Hagertown, the Shorebirds are 6-5 and tied for first. They have scored 69 runs the first 11 games and have a team ERA of 5.40.
Righty Jake Cowan (1-0, 1.80) pitches for the Birds tonight at home vs. Hagerstown.
I'll have more from an interview with Ryan Minor over the next day or two.