This, that and the other

While the Orioles were learning about pitcher Asher Wojciechowski over the summer, the right-hander was busy learning more about himself.

Wojciechowski admitted that he began to feel fatigued later in the season as it extended beyond the usual point when he’s done. He had to push through it, with manager Brandon Hyde providing some extra rest along the way.

After completing his final start in Boston, where he tossed six scoreless innings, Wojciechowski said he’d devote the offseason to “really getting after it” following a brief rest period.

Wojciechowski-Pitches-at-TB-Gray-Sidebar.jpg“Really trying to prepare my body for a long season,” he said.

“I’ll get back to working hard and preparing myself for the long season next year, especially having more experience this year and knowing kind of what the dead-arm period I went through a few weeks ago. And just to prepare myself for that, prepare myself for this amount of innings.

“It’s kind of been an unknown the last few years, how many innings I would throw. Throwing this amount, I know how it feels. I know what I need to do and I’ll make it a big focus (with) importance on taking care of my body and just getting in as good of shape as I can for next season.”

* Pat Leyland, who worked this year as Single-A Delmarva’s development coach, has accepted a job with the White Sox in player development.

Leyland turned down an offer to manage one of the Orioles’ Rookie-level Dominican Summer League teams and left the organization.

The son of former major league manager Jim Leyland served as a player/coach with Double-A Bowie in 2018 prior to joining the Shorebirds staff.

* A scout from outside the organization who watched shortstop Gunnar Henderson in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League predicted that the second-round pick will move to second or third base “if the bat evolves.”

The scout sees tremendous upside with Henderson and notes the line-drive stroke, pull power and ability to use the middle of the field.

Henderson struggled a bit with off-speed stuff, which isn’t a surprising for an 18-year-old engaged in his first professional season.

I liked the description of fifth-rounder Darell Hernaiz as a “wiry, athletic puppy.”

The Orioles selected Hernaiz out of Americas High School in El Paso, Texas. He turned 18 in August and posted a .371 on-base percentage in 29 games with Aberdeen.

Hernaiz had committed to Texas Tech University.

“He can play shortstop and has a chance to hit at the top of the lineup,” the scout said. “He showed a feel for the game and loves to play. Legit shortstop. I like his upside.”

* Infielder Rylan Bannon, 23, hasn’t hit much in the Arizona Fall League, slashing .197/.256/.254 in 18 games with the Surprise Saguaros before last night. But 2019 has been a very good year.

Bannon, obtained from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, batted .317/.344/.549 with 10 doubles, three home runs and 17 RBIs in 20 games with Triple-A Norfolk after moving up from Bowie on Aug. 13.

A scout from another organization who watched Bannon at Bowie compared him to Dodgers infielder Justin Turner “at the same stage.”

That alone should grab your attention.

“He’s a tough, strong, athletic baseball rat,” the scout said. “High intensity with lots of intangibles. Both his bat and glove have made mega strides. He’s much better defensively at third base than second base. He shortened his stroke and is hitting the ball with authority. His power is coming.”

The same scout said outfielder Ryan McKenna played a big league center field, but was ill-suited for the power game.

“He’s afflicted with the launch-angle syndrome,” the scout said. “It’s not for him.”

I’ve heard that same observation about a few other players in the system who weren’t taking advantage of their line-drive strokes and kept hitting long fly-ball outs.

* An underrated benefit of having Austin Hays on the roster next season is how he gives Hyde another pinch-running option off the bench.

It won’t happen a lot, of course. Hays is going to get regular playing time in center field. But he can be a weapon on the nights he isn’t playing.

Hyde used DJ Stewart, Dwight Smith Jr. and Austin Wynns as pinch-runners last month. Hays increases the team speed and athleticism.

So there’s also that.

Today’s question: Would you consider Hays for the leadoff spot, bat him second or put him more in the heart of the order?

blog comments powered by Disqus