After playing over 90 games at Double-A Bowie in both 2010 and 2011, O's minor league outfielder LJ Hoes was probably not thrilled to begin 2012 back with the Baysox, but that is where he was in April.
He did enough though to play his way to Triple-A Norfolk for the first time this year and now, with the numbers he is putting up with the Tides, he may be forcing the Orioles to make him a callup at some point soon, if not be a September callup, at the very least.
In 61 Triple-A games, the 22-year-old Hoes is hitting .319 with two homers, 25 RBIs and an .812 OPS. He has been consistent in batting .303 against left-handed pitchers and .327 against right-handers.
I asked manager Buck Showalter today if Hoes is someone that has become a consideration to come to Baltimore.
"What did he have four knocks last night?" Showalter said. "He's done well there. But to me it's more about reading Ronnie's narrative (Norfolk manager Ron Johnson's game reports) every day than the statistics. He's doing well. I'd say, not that he has put himself on the map, he's continued to be on the map.
"The plan was for him to start in Double-A and, if he presented himself well, to move to Norfolk and that is exactly what has happened. I love the way that his at-bats are being described and just as important how he is playing left field," Showalter said.
A scout told me today that Hoes, in his opinion, is by the far the best player currently with Norfolk and that he felt Hoes could come to the major leagues and hit well here right now.
Hoes has made improvement along the way with Norfolk, batting .294 in June there, .300 in July and he's at .455 in eight games in August. Hoes is 9-for-19 over his last four Tides games. Reports say his defense in the outfield has been very solid as well.