The short-season Single-A Aberdeen IronBirds begin a new season on Monday at Hudson Valley and then open at home at Ripken Stadium next Wednesday against that same team.
Aberdeen’s manager is Gary Allenson, the Orioles’ Triple-A skipper the last five seasons at Norfolk. His pitching coach is former Oriole Alan Mills and the batting coach is former Double-A Bowie skipper Brad Komminsk.
Right-hander Sebastian Vader, the Orioles 18th-round pick in 2010, is going to be the IronBirds’ opening night starter and Jaime Esquivel will pitch Game 2. Others expected to be in the rotation are Mark Blackmar, Juan Guzman and Cameron Coffey.
Here are some of the position players currently with Aberdeen even though the final roster is not set yet. The 2012 draft picks are shown with the round where they were selected.
1B - Doug Bream, Joe Velleggia, Cameron Edman
2B - Jerome Pena, Creede Simpson (round 25)
SS - Dudley Leonora, Joel Hutter (round 10)
3B - Torsten Boss (round 8), Ryan Zrenda
OF - Roderick Bernadina, Will Howard (round 22), Austin Knight, Chris Clinton, Anthony Vega (round 30)
C - Sam Kimmel (round 18), Pedro Perez
As I wrote yesterday, the Orioles have reached contract agreements now with over 20 draft picks. They expect to sign between 25 and 30 of the 40 players that they drafted last week.
Among the latest players to reach agreements are 18th-round pick catcher Sam Kimmel of Stetson, 22nd-round pick outfielder Will Howard of Kennesaw State, 30th-round selection outfielder Anthony Vega of Manhattan College and 38th-round pick catcher Jack Graham of Kenyon College.
The Orioles signed two players as free agents that were not drafted. They are University of Maryland pitcher Sander Beck, who went 6-2 with a 2.87 ERA this year for the Terps. They have also signed University of San Francisco first baseman Nik Balog. The lefty batter hit .302 this year with 15 doubles and was fifth in the West Coast Conference with 44 RBIs. He will report to the O’s Gulf Coast League team. Beck is with Aberdeen.
The Double-A Bowie Baysox are a team on a roll right now. The Baysox beat Portland last night 2-0 for their seventh consecutive win, the last two by shutout.
Jake Pettit pitched the first five innings and was followed to the mound by Mike Belfiore and Greg Burke, who picked up his 13th save. The three pitchers combined on a one-hitter and retired the last 16 Portland batters.
The Orioles Dominican Summer League team has begun its season and is 3-8 so far. Miguel Garcia has an ERA of 2.57 through two starts while Wilmer Aquino is at 1.80 after two starts. Rafael Moreno has a 1.13 ERA after two games and Johan Salas has pitched five shutout innings.