Many O’s fans may not even know his name right now, but one day the Orioles hope he turns into something that has been extremely rare in their organization - an O’s signed and produced major leaguer from the Dominican Republic.
In July of 2010, the Orioles signed the then 16-year-old Hector Veloz to a $300,000 bonus which is believed to be the largest the O’s have ever given to a Dominican-born amateur.
After batting .225 in 67 games for the Dominican Summer League O’s in 2011 and .268 last season in 34 games in the Gulf Coast League, and eight games with short-season, Single-A Aberdeen, the now 19-year-old Veloz is currently Aberdeen’s starting third baseman.
The right-handed batter hit two homers and drove in four last night in the IronBirds’ win over Brooklyn at Ripken Stadium.
In 17 games for Aberdeen, Veloz is batting .306 with four homers and 13 RBIs. He is 4-for-8 with six RBIs in his last two games.
It is very early in the process for the Orioles in trying to develop Veloz into a major league caliber talent, but this year he’s doing some nice things, O’s director of player evelopment Brian Graham said.
“Veloz is getting better,” Graham said. “His defense has improved and his approach on offense is getting better, his two-strike approach is getting better. He’s young and there is a still a large development window ahead of him.
“He’s a young kid with some tools and raw power and his body is in much better shape than it was two years ago,” Graham said.
Veloz is batting .360 against left-handed pitching but has hit his four homers over 37 at-bats with a .270 average vs. right-handed pitching.
Last night he became the 10th player in Aberdeen history to have a two-homer game. The night before, Connor Bierfeldt, the O’s 29th-round pick this year, became the ninth.
Since starting the season 0-5, Aberdeen has now won four in a row and nine of 12 to go 9-8 on the year and over the .500 mark for the first time.
The Orioles may not have a need right now for an outfielder with Nolan Reimold’s recent return from the disabled list, but L.J. Hoes is trying to remind the organization that he’s still got a pretty good bat at Triple-Norfolk.
His 0-for-4 last night ended a torrid five-game stretch when Hoes went 12-for-20. In 30 games since June 1st, he is batting .348.
Since June 8, the 23-year-old Hoes leads the International League in average (.389), hits (35), walks (17) and OBP (.486) while ranking among IL leaders in runs (T-3rd,18) and OPS (8th, 1.008).
In 80 games for the year, Hoes is hitting .306 with 19 doubles, three homers and 37 RBIs. He has drawn 44 walks to enhance his .403 on base percentage.
Single-A Frederick’s Michael Ohlman hit a three-run homer last night to continue to his recent very hot stretch at bat. Over his last nine games, Ohlman is 18-for-35 with five doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs.
In 48 games for the Keys, he is batting .335 with nine homers, 33 RBIs and an OPS of 1.055.
The Orioles second pick in June’s draft, high school outfielder Josh Hart, had three hits on Thursday in a Gulf Coast League game. He is 4-for-13 with a double and five RBIs in his first three pro games.