BOWIE, Md. - It has been an exciting few days here in Bowie. On Tuesday, the Double-A Bowie Baysox sent outfielder Austin Hays to join the Orioles. Today, Bowie’s Garabez Rosa was named the Eastern League Most Valuable Player.
But tonight’s scheduled playoff series opener between Bowie and Altoona has been rained out. The first two games in Bowie are now scheduled for Thursday and Friday nights at 7:05 p.m at Prince George’s Stadium. Go to baysox.com for ticket information.
Rosa joins Calvin Pickering in 1998 and Lou Montanez in 2008 as Bowie players to win Eastern League MVP. Rosa topped all Eastern League hitters in batting average (.310), hits (162) and RBIs (91). The 162 hits are the second-highest single-season total in Bowie franchise history and the 91 RBIs are tied for seventh most all-time. He also finished second in the league in total bases (232) and tied for second in runs scored (75) and hit 14 home runs.
A 27-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, Rosa has played for Bowie for most of the last five years.
“First thing, thank God for everything and allowing me to be a part of this game. I dedicate this MVP to my family. But the good thing is that we made the playoffs and that is over now. We just want to play well right now,” Rosa said through Baysox shortstop Erick Salcedo, who served as a translator.
Said manager Gary Kendall of Rosa’s award: “Awesome. You look at his body of work all year, to maintain playing well all year. He’s played several positions. Just an integral part of our lineup. Speaking to other managers, other clubs like him, too. He just finds a way to beat teams offensively. We are just so happy for him and it’s well deserved. He was the MVP of our championship team in the playoffs here (in 2015). He’s proud and he should be.”
Several Baysox players talked about losing Hays for the playoffs here but being thrilled to see him go to Baltimore to join the Orioles. He was just here yesterday for Bowie’s workout before finding out later in the day he was heading to Baltimore.
DJ Stewart has played alongside Hays in Bowie’s outfield since Hays move up to Bowie from Single-A Frederick on June 22.
“Just really excited for him,” Stewart said this afternoon. “He’s had an incredible year and he deserves it. It kind of hurts us a little bit as we play in the playoffs without him. But he’s not here to win a Double-A championship. We are all here to help the big league team. We all are. We want to help the Orioles get to the playoffs and win, and we are all excited for him. It is really cool to be playing with a guy one day and the next day he’s in the big leagues.”
Rosa said: “It is really exciting and I’m happy for him. We saw him just yesterday. He is a great player and he had a special season. He just crushed the ball and he’s a great teammate and person. Just so happy for him.”
The Baysox rotation for this series with Altoona will see right-hander David Hess (11-9, 3.85 ERA) start Game 1 tomorrow and be followed by lefty Tanner Scott (0-2, 2.22 ERA) for Game 2, with right-hander Lucas Long (9-6, 2.95 ERA) for Game 3. If the series goes to Game 4, lefty John Means would be the possible starter, with righty Yefry Ramirez possible for a fifth and deciding game. Right-hander Alec Asher, optioned from Baltimore to Bowie, is scheduled to pitch in relief in Game 2 after Scott.
Hess has had a strong finish to the season, going 3-2 with a 2.25 ERA in six August starts. Over 40 innings, he allowed just 23 hits with seven walks to 33 strikeouts.
“His changeup has really become a solid pitch for him and has kept hitters honest,” Kendall said. “Even if his curveball and slider are not sharp, his changeup has really worked against a left-handed lineup. He’s been commanding the ball much more and his velocity has maintained all year (from 92-94 mph). He’s been a really consistent guy for us. He’s 11-9 but had some tough-luck losses and he easily could have won even more games.”
The Baysox went 14-5 against Altoona in the regular season, taking four of the five series between the teams. This marks the seventh postseason appearance in franchise history for Bowie, which won the 2015 Eastern League championship.
Meanwhile, the Frederick Keys host Lynchburg tonight in Frederick in Game 1 of a best-of-five series in the Carolina League playoffs. Right-hander Cristian Alvarado (7-9, 5.00 ERA) is the Game 1 starter. The scheduled Game 2 starter is lefty Brian Gonzalez (5-7, 4.91 ERA), with lefty Reid Love (6-4, 3.71 ERA) set for Game 3.