Notes on Norfolk and on Machado’s impressive doubles surge

Here are a couple of rather impressive notes on the Orioles’ Triple-A Norfolk club, which is hosting Lehigh Valley tonight with Steve Johnson on the mound.

* Norfolk’s 29-12 record is now the second best in all of minor league baseball, topped only by Single-A Ft. Myers of the Florida State League at 29-10.

* Norfolk is averaging 6.7 runs per game over its last 21 games and 5.5 runs per game on the year.

* Playing in a big pitcher’s park, Norfolk batters have hit 28 homers in 20 home games at Harbor Park. That is more than the Tides hit at home in two entire seasons in 2006 and 2008. At that pace, Norfolk would hit 101 home park homers this year, shattering the club record of 64 set in 2010.

* Danny Valencia has homered seven times in his last nine games. He has 11 homers on the year to tie for the International League lead. During an 11-game batting streak, Valencia is hitting .353 with seven homers and 16 RBIs.

I know some are wondering if he plays second base, and he doesn’t. He’s a career corner infielder. But, as of yesterday’s game, Valencia has now played in the outfield, and he is starting in left field tonight for the Tides.

I hear that the Orioles are not changing his position here, he’s still an infielder, but why not take a look at him some in the outfield? That is exactly what they may do in some upcoming games.

Back with the big club, here are some updated stats on Manny Machado and his doubles tear. He had three doubles in Wednesday’s game here at the Yard and has hit five over his last four games. Machado has 11 doubles in the last 18 games and has hit 15 in his last 28 games after starting the year with two doubles in the season’s first 12 games.

He is second in the AL right now with 17 doubles to Mike Napoli’s 18. At this pace, he would produce 69 doubles this season. The club record is 56 by Brian Roberts in 2009.

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