ANAHEIM, Calif. - As the calender turns to May, the Orioles’ four full-season minor league teams have a combined record of 46-45.
Triple-A Norfolk is 11-10, with Double-A Bowie 11-11, Single-A Frederick 8-16 and Single-A Delmarva at 16-8. The Shorebirds remain in first place by two games over three other teams in their division of the South Atlantic League.
Meanwhile, for a 28th round draft pick last year out of UNC-Charlotte, Delmarva left fielder Zach Jarrett is sure looking good right now. The righty batter is hitting .338/.400/.663 with five doubles, seven homers, 18 runs and 14 RBIs. Not bad for a player that hit just .201 last summer at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
Jarrett has mashed left-handed pitching, going 12-for-27 with three homers and six RBIs. He’s hitting .444 with an OPS of 1.356 against southpaws. His name is all over the South Atlantic League leaders and among Orioles minor leaguers, Jarrett ranks third in average, first in homers (no one else has more than four) and tied for second in RBIs.
Jarrett has a famous dad and grandad. His father is Dale Jarrett, a three-time Daytona 500 winner and a NASCAR Hall of Famer. Zach is the grandson of NASCAR Hall of Famer Ned Jarrett.
Norfolk notes: Over the last 12 contests, Norfolk’s starting pitchers have gone 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA. Tides starters have allowed two earned runs or less in nine of those 12 outings, helping Norfolk go 7-5 over that stretch.
Infielder Drew Dosch has hit safely in five straight games, batting .350 (7-for-20) with four doubles and four runs. Dosch, who missed nearly three weeks of the season with a left hamstring injury, led the league with 36 doubles last season, the fifth-highest total in Tides history. Norfolk has outscored its opponents 16-4 in the first inning and 14-6 in the second. That gives the Tides a 30-10 advantage over the first two innings this year.
Bowie notes: As the Baysox look to snap a four-game losing steak tonight, left-hander Keegan Akin takes the mound. He is 2-0 with an 0.83 ERA in his last two starts. He pitched six scoreless his last start versus Richmond. Akin was the Orioles minor league Pitcher of the Month last June for Frederick, going 3-1 with an 0.90 ERA over five starts.
Outfielder Ademar Rifaela has hit safely in eight of his last nine games. Over his past 15 games, Rifaela is hitting .382 (21-for-55) with seven runs and five RBIs. His .347 batting average ranks fifth in the Eastern League. Baysox catcher Martin Cervenka has hit safely in 15 of his first 17 starts with the team, batting .333 (22-for-66) with six doubles, a homer and eight RBIs. He ranks tied for sixth in the league in batting and is hitting .373 versus right-handed pitchers.
Frederick notes: The Keys ended a five-game losing streak and nine-game road losing streak with Sunday’s 9-4 victory at Buies Creek. Starter Jhon Peluffo threw five scoreless innings of three-hit ball and is 2-0 with an ERA of 3.29.
Keys left-hander Tyler Erwin had another good outing on Saturday. Despite allowing his first inherited runners to score, he pitched 2 2/3 scoreless, allowing one hit with three strikeouts. For the season, Erwin leads Frederick bullpen pitchers with 13 2/3 innings and leads all Keys pitchers with a 0.66 ERA. Keys outfielder Ryan McKenna is fourth in the league in batting (.326), second in hits (29) and tied for third in runs (19).
Delmarva notes: Delmarva opens a seven-game homestand tonight with the first of three against defending league champion Greenville. The Shorebirds squandered a late 6-1 lead, falling to Hickory in walk-off fashion 7-6 on Sunday. Mason McCoy led the offense, going 3-for-3 with two triples, two walks, two runs and two RBIs.
First baseman Seamus Curran, an eighth-round pick in 2015, is batting .280 with four homers and 16 RBIs. He is 6-for-16 during a four-game hitting streak with two homers and six RBIs. Delmarva starting pitchers are 10-4 with a 2.35 ERA and the bullpen has an ERA of 2.71.
Orioles minor league batting average leaders
.347 - Ademar Rifaela, Bowie
.345 - Joey Rickard, Norfolk
.339 - Zach Jarrett, Delmarva
.333 - Martin Cervenka, Bowie and Corban Joseph, Bowie
Orioles minor league ERA leaders
1.02 - David Hess, Norfolk
1.23 - Zac Lowther, Delmarva
1.44 - Cameron Bishop, Delmarva
2.41 - Jordan Kipper, Bowie
2.77 - Brenan Hanifee, Delmarva
Update: O’s prospect Ryan Mountcastle has played in extended spring training games the last two days. He has been out since mid-March when he was hit by a pitch in a minor league spring game and suffered a hairline fracture in his right hand. So Mountcastle is getting closer to heading north with a team sometime soon. That team would almost certainly be Double-A Bowie.