After slow start, Dylan Beavers' bat heated up as he advanced to Bowie

With the promotion Sunday of infielder Max Wagner from High-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie, the Orioles now have their first four picks from the 2022 MLB Draft all together at the Double-A level with Jackson Holliday, Dylan Beavers, Wagner and Jud Fabian. 

Holliday was the No. 1 overall pick in that draft with Beavers at No. 33, Wagner No. 42 and Fabian No. 67. The last three are all college draft picks but Holliday, who is baseball's No. 1 prospect, is the 19-year-old phenom having a sensational season. 

Beavers has put up some very solid numbers in his own right and just got to Bowie last week, going 8-for-20 in his first five Double-A games. His bat is hot now, but it wasn’t always that way in 2023. He began the year with Aberdeen and after 45 games was batting just .214 with a .664 OPS.  But then in his next 40 games with the IronBirds he had this line - .343/.443/.580/1.023 with 29 walks and 21 extra-base hits.  

Now ranked as the No. 10 O’s prospect by and No. 22 by Baseball America, his bat was smoking. He is a player that gets some 60 grades from scouts for his power, running and arm.  

Beavers told me over the weekend in Bowie that when his bat was slow to get going this year, he tried not to overly stress about it and instead draw on experience from college ball at the University of California. There he began his career as a two-way player and later as a power-hitting outfielder was good enough to be the No. 33 overall selection. 

“I had been through that (slumping) in college, so it wasn’t completely new to me,” Beavers told me at Prince George’s Stadium. “It wasn’t like I just came out of high school and never had failed before. So, was just sticking to the process and trusting that all the work I put in was going to come around at some point. I would say eventually, sometime around June, I really just simplified and trusted the work I put in. That is when things started to click.

“I had played a college season and knew the amount of at-bats I would get here. Probably about double in college, so I knew that I had time to figure it out. I knew this year wasn’t going to be make or break. The long run is what I value at this point.” 

But like any player, Beavers could tire of seeing the scoreboard every night and seeing numbers and stats he didn’t like. He’s human and even though there was plenty of time to go, the day-to-day at that point could be stressful. 

 “Early in the season when I didn’t get the immediate result, I probably was a bit short sighted and hit the panic button. I would be thinking about mechanical things in the box trying to be perfect with everything. Finally, after enough failure it was like, ‘Let’s start at square one. Keep it as simple as possible. Be early to the fastball and trust my body to adjust (to offspeed).’ That approach helped me. It was a good learning lesson.” 

Beavers then started to rake in Aberdeen and is now batting .400/.500/.550/1.050 in five Bowie games with three doubles and three RBIs.  

He said he is open to any tweaks and/or adjustments the O’s hitting coaches have suggested for him.  

“We have tried a lot of things and not everything stuck. But I guess any hitter tries a lot of stuff which doesn’t stick – it’s what works for you. We have tried a lot. But it wasn’t a complete (swing) redo for sure. Definitely, early in the year, I kind of worked with one swing and thought I was in the right spot. After some game at-bats, I didn’t know how I felt about it. I did a bit of a switch and took a few steps back. It eventually all ironed out and worked out.” 

He went back to being more upright in his stance from past seasons and added a higher leg kick which seemed to help his rhythm and timing in the batter’s box. It’s helped produce a more consistent bat path and allowed him to more often elevate the ball to more tap into his power. 

For the year his 29 doubles are second among all O’s minor leaguers and he’s added three triples, nine homers and 51 RBIs with a .281 batting average and .845 OPS in 90 games between the IronBirds and Baysox. He ranks 10th on the O’s farm in OPS and 11th in RBIs and his 13.7 walk rate is ninth-best. 

Baseball America and both put 50 grades on his fielding and both see him with a plus arm. 

Beavers said the O’s farm players are riding the wave of success in the organization right now, from the MLB team with 70 wins to the No. 1 ranked farm.

“It’s nice to be a part of it. Be part of a winning culture and organization that is moving forward and trending upward. I want to be around the best players and prospects, and I am enjoying this,” he said. 

And no doubt it’s a selling point for the O’s minor league coaches to have prospects like Gunnar Henderson, Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser get to Baltimore. 

“It’s just nice reassurance that there is a process you should trust,” said Beavers. “And even if you don’t get those results right away, if you trust and stick with it, it will all work out in your favor.”

And there seems to be a strong chemistry among the farm players, just like there is in the major league clubhouse.

"I think we have a lot of different personalities at every level I’ve been to since I signed last year. There are a lot of good guys in this organization," he said.

Now his goals for the rest of the year include having the ability to take the high level he is now playing at and stay there.

“I’m just trying to keep it simple. Show up every day and put my best foot forward. Make the adjustments to pitching at this level. Keep up with the speed of the game. Keep it simple and finish out the season healthy are the two main things I am working on now," Beavers said. 

Top draft moves to Delmarva: The Orioles will move five players from their 2023 MLB Draft from their Florida Complex League team to low Single-A Delmarva, including their top draft pick, Vanderbilt outfielder Enrique Bradfield Jr.

Bradfield went 5-for-9 (.556) in three FCL games including a double and scored three runs. He was the No. 17 overall pick last month.

The Orioles are also sending to Delmarva from the FCL roster, UNC outfielder Mac Horvath their second round pick, third-rounder, outfielder Tavian Josenberger, from Arkansas along with Southern Miss outfielder Matthew Etzel (round 10) and North Greenville University shortstop Jalen Vasquez (round 20).

In three FCL games, Horvath went 5-for-9 (.556) with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs. Josenberger was 0-for-6 in three games while Etzel went 5-for-11 (.455) and Vasquez was 1-for-5 (.200).



Orioles lineup vs. Astros (plus notes)
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