Frederick Bencosme gets off to good start at Bowie (plus other minors notes)

BOWIE, Md. - He is one of the Orioles young international players that has already worked his way among the club’s top 30 prospects. And middle infielder Frederick Bencosme, age 21 from the Dominican Republic, is off to a good start for Double-A Bowie.

Ranked as the club’s No. 27 prospect by and No. 28 via Baseball America, Bencosme spent the entire 2023 season at High-A Aberdeen batting .246 with a .657 OPS.

This is a kid that clearly works hard to better his game and along those lines he spent two months in winter ball in the Dominican Republic with Aquilas Cibaenas. He went 3-for-10 in five games but spent a couple of months around the team, learning and gaining knowledge.

He said players like former big leaguer Melky Cabrera and current Chicago Cub Christopher Morel mentored him.

“I was working like four days a week in the weight room and practicing with them. It was a great experience. Melky was talking to me about pitcher strategies. And I also learned I have to understand what kind of hitter that I am," he said.

Maybe some of that experience has helped Bencosme in his first eight Bowie games. He is 10-for-29 batting .345/.424/.483/.907 with a double, homer, five RBIs, four walks and three strikeouts in his Double-A debut.

The bat-to-ball skills and good contact rates have always been big for Bencosme, who doesn’t swing and miss much.

“That’s a big part of my game. Since I was a little kid, that is my strength. I remember tryouts with all the teams watching me play, I didn’t strike out one time. I just need to mix in that contact with some power and I’m stronger now,” said Bencosme, who was rated as the O’s No. 8 international prospect in our top 20 international rankings in February.

This spring, Bencosme came over from minor league camp several times to join the Orioles in spring training games. More chances to learn from older players.

“It was a really good experience,” he said of the games under the Florida sun. “Talking with some veteran players like (Anthony) Santander and (Jorge) Mateo. I was there last year too, and this year was even more fun. Trying to take advantage of all my opportunities.”

Bencosme is known in the international signing circles as a late bloomer. Signed late in the process, months after the signing deadline opened on Aug. 14, 2020, the O’s got him for the modest sum of $10,000.

Bencosme did a recent interview with me at Bowie media day speaking all English. He was great. His language skills have improved and keep getting better and better and it’s another sign that this young man is driven to be better – on and off the field.

He loves being part of an O’s international program that is really thriving right now.

“Great. Amazing. We have a lot of talent coming up," he said. "(Samuel) Basallo, Thomas Sosa, Braylin Tavera, Leandro Arias, Anderson De Los Santos. We have a lot of talented players and I think Koby Perez (vice president, international scouting and operations) is doing a really good with us in our country and in Venezuela too.”

And while Bencosme has done a good job learning from older players, when it comes to international kids that are just 16, 17 and 18 right now, they look up to him as one of the more veteran international prospects even at just 21.

“They watch me as an example and I want to help them,” he said looking to pay it forward.

Also on the farm: Here are three players from the other three full-season affiliates off to really good starts.

* At Triple-A Norfolk, lefty pitcher Cade Povich has a 1.10 ERA in three starts. Over 16 1/3 innings, he has allowed just four hits with five walks and 24 strikeouts, producing a 13.22 K rate. Acquired in the Jorge López trade with Minnesota on Aug. 2, 2022 with three other pitchers including Yennier Cano, he is rated as the club’s No. 9 prospect by both MLBPipeline and Baseball America.

In his most recent start Saturday for the Tides, he averaged 92.1 mph on his fastball and got six swings and misses on nine swings against it. He had a 50 percent whiff rate in that outing. Povich leads the International League in strikeouts, WHIP (0.55) and average against (.077).

* At High-A Aberdeen, right-handed pitcher Moisés Chace from Venezuela has thrown eight scoreless innings in two games allowing three hits with two walks and 15 strikeouts.

At age 20, the Orioles signed him for $225,000 in July of 2019.

A scout from outside of the O’s organization told me has been sitting 92, 93 mph with his fastball, touching 95.5 in his most recent game. He’s been getting a lot of swings and misses on both his four-seamer and changeup. He also throws a two-seamer, curve and slider. He has a 0.63 WHIP to date.

* At Low-A Delmarva, young catcher Aneudis Mordán is 9-for-26 thus far, batting .346/.452/.615/1.067 with a double, two homers and five RBIs.

He was ranked as our No. 17 international prospect in February and was signed for $225,000 out of the Dominican Republic on Jan. 15, 2021. He is considered a bat first catcher right now and is working to improve his arm strength.

But there is some pop in that bat that produced a .281 average and .915 OPS last year, mostly in the Florida Complex League. Mordán is one of several promising young catchers the O’s have in the international ranks, even after Basallo.

O's take series opener: Meanwhile in the bigs, the Orioles recent longball barrage continued last night as they hit three more in a 7-4 win over Minnesota. The Orioles are now 10-6 and are 1.5 games out of first place and they are 5-1 in series-opening games.

Ryan O'Hearn and Gunnar Henderson hit solo shots and Cedric Mullins connected for a two-run blast in the win. Baltimore batters have now hit at least three homers in three straight games for the first time since May 10-12, 2018. They have hit 14 homers the last five games.

The Orioles are now 7-1 when hitting two or more homers.

In winning five of their past seven games, the Orioles have scored 42 runs, hit 15 homers and hit .283 as a team with an OPS of .847 in that span. Last night was the first time this year that O's pitchers did not walk a batter and it was the 12th time they have allowed four runs or less. 

Click here for another look at Mullins' remarkable catch in the top of the first. 

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