He was named to the All-Prospect Team last December by the Arizona Fall League, but left-hander Tanner Scott’s Carolina League debut did not go smoothly.
Pitching for Single-A Frederick, the 21-year-old southpaw with the fastball that can touch 100 mph had an ERA of 12.19 with 15 walks in 10 1/3 innings in April. On April 27, he gave up seven runs in just 2/3 of an inning.
But the Orioles’ No. 11 prospect according to Baseball America has been almost unhittable since the calendar flipped to May. In 15 games since then, he is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.13. Over 16 innings, he has allowed two hits and two runs with 13 walks and 22 strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitting just .043 (2-for-47) against him in that stretch. Over his last five games, he has pitched 11 scoreless innings with seven walks and 18 strikeouts.
Frederick manager Keith Bodie is a big fan of Scott’s vast potential and said his command has been improving.
“The thing about the walks, a lot of them happened early and he struggled out of the gate,” Bodie said. “He and our pitching coach, Kennie Steenstra, have worked on a mechanical adjustment and it’s been working. He’s more able to repeat his delivery now. His timing has been better and he is more in sync lately. His body is not out in front with his arm lagging.
“I compare him to Billy Wagner, who I saw a lot of. He throws hard out of a low arm angle and he rides the ball. He threw some really good breaking balls here (Wednesday night). As that improves, the fastball gets even better. When he is in the zone he is tough to hit.”
With that .043 average against a 12.38 strikeout rate for every nine innings since May 1, is Scott is simply overpowering some hitters in this league?
“Yes, he is,” Bodie said. “He is doing what you would expect somebody with that stuff to do at this level. And he is doing it. So that is good. We also watch how he does it as much as the results and he’s been impressive.”
Bodie said he can see a day coming where Scott’s command makes the improvement to the point that will be needed to get hitters out at higher levels, as he advances toward the major leagues. A fastball/slider mostly two-pitch pitcher, for now the concentration is on the fastball command first.
“He has a better feel right now for his fastball,” Bodie said. “The fastball command has to come first. That gives him more leeway with his secondary pitch. If he misses, he can come back with a 96 to 99 mph fastball and that’s pretty good.
“Right now, with the early struggles he had, it is about throwing strikes with his fastball first and then you mix in the slider. Look at (Wednesday) night, he probably threw about 85 percent fastballs, and right now that is what he needs to do because of his earlier inconsistency. That is the necessary step. It is so early in his career. If we want this kid to be the guy we want him to be, you have to show a little bit of patience.”
In Frederick last night: Orioles right-hander Yovani Gallardo made his first minor league rehab start allowing three runs in three innings for Frederick in Game 1 of a doubleheader. For fans looking only at a boxscore and concerned, Gallardo felt quite good about his night at Harry Grove Stadium. Click here to read his post-start quotes.
In Baltimore last night: The Orioles bashed seven homers - all in their last five at-bats - in a 12-7 win over Boston. The Orioles scored 25 runs over the past two nights in completing a four-game split that leaves them one game out in the American League East. It was an impressive comeback after they were outscored 13-4 in the first two games of the series. They outscored Boston 25-16 the last two nights. The four-game series score: Orioles 29, Boston 29. The Orioles lead the season series over Boston, four wins to three, by a 49-45 score.
The Orioles have hit more than seven homers in a game just once in team history. They hit a club record eight last June 16 at Camden Yards in a 19-3 win over Philadelphia. Boston’s seven homers allowed tied its team record.
O’s first two games of series: four runs, 11 hits, no homers, 3-for-13 with RISP.
O’s last two games of series: 25 runs, 25 hits, seven homers, 8-for-22 with RISP.
O’s starting pitchers did not have a great series, allowing 19 runs and nine homers over 20 1/3 innings. The O’s rotation has only five quality starts over the last 17 games, pitching to an ERA of 6.40 in that span. O’s pitchers have allowed 23 home runs over the last nine games.
So here we are, two games shy of the one-third point of the 2016 season, with the Orioles one game behind Boston for the division lead. The New York Yankees come to town to tonight.