As far as a pro debut goes, it was a pretty solid one. The Orioles’ third-round draft pick, Jacksonville University outfielder Austin Hays, had three hits last night for short season Single-A Aberdeen.
Hays showed some speed on his first pro hit, a gap shot to left-center field in the third inning that went for an RBI triple. He had a 3-for-4 night with a run, stolen base, an RBI and a couple of nice defensive plays.
It was his first game, but not his first day with Aberdeen, and already IronBirds manager Luis Pujols is impressed with the No. 91 overall selection in the draft.
“From day one, I’ve been really impressed with Hays,” Pujols said this afternoon at Ripken Stadium. “He worked out with us for four or five days and then his first game last night he got three hits. Been impressed with his arm, his speed, his desire to play.”
The right-handed batter and right fielder who will turn 21 July 5 hit .350/.406/.655 for Jacksonville this season. Over 54 games he had 16 doubles, two triples, 16 homers, 15 steals and 42 RBIs.
“He’s got a plus arm and his speed is good and I really, really like his swing,” Pujols said. “His swing is level. You like guys whose bat spends a lot of time level through the strikezone. That’s what I see on him. He’s a line drive hitter and if you pitch him the other way, he can hit it out there too.”
Aberdeen is going to send three Orioles 2016 draft picks to the mound in the coming days. After Travis Seabrooks starts for the IronBirds tonight, three new draftees will take the mound the next three games.
Ninth-round pick, right-hander Lucas Humpal out of Texas State, will start on Friday. Tenth-round pick, right-hander Cody Dube from Keene State (NH) starts on Saturday and 11th-round pick, lefty Zach Muckenhirn out of the University of North Dakota gets the start on Sunday. They will probably pitch around three innings each in their pro debuts. Aberdeen could soon be going to a six-man rotation.
Miranda strong again: Triple-A Norfolk beat Lehigh Valley this afternoon 6-0 as Cuban-born lefty Ariel Miranda had a second straight scoreless start. He pitched six shutout innings today. Over his last two starts, Miranda has thrown 13 innings allowing four hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts. He has lowered his season ERA from 5.37 to 4.40. He now has 68 strikeouts this season, second-most among Orioles minor leaguers. Richard Rodriguez worked the final three innings in back of Miranda to complete the shutout, Norfolk’s fifth shutout win of the season. The victory helped the Tides finish the homestand with a 4-3 record.
Norfolk was leading 2-0 entering the sixth inning before shortstop Ozzie Martinez belted a grand slam deep to left field. It was the second grand slam of the homestand for Martinez, who joined Rochester’s Kennys Vargas as the only players to have multiple grand slams in the International League this season. Over his last 132 games, Martinez has three home runs - each of which has been a grand slam.
Two more get signed: The Orioles today announced the signings of two more draft picks. They have officially added second round pick Keegan Akin, a left-hander from Western Michigan University. They also signed right-handed pitcher Brenan Hanifee from Turner Ashby (Va.) High School.
The Orioles have now signed 23 draft picks, including five of their top six selections and seven top 10 round picks.
A slew of roster moves today: With the All-Star breaks over in the South Atlantic League and Carolina League, the Orioles have made several roster moves today including moving 2015 first-round draft pick, outfielder D.J. Stewart from Single-A Delmarva up to Single-A Frederick. In 62 games with Delmarva, Stewart hit .230 with four homers, 25 RBIs and an OPS of .719.
Moving from Delmarva to Frederick are: Stewart, right-handed pitcher Ryan Meisinger and lefty Garrett Cleavinger.
Moving from Aberdeen to Delmarva are: Lefty Reid Love, outfielder Randolph Gassaway, lefty Robert Strader and right-hander Michael Burke.
Moving from Double-A Bowie to Triple-A Norfolk: Pitcher Jason Stoffel.
Moving from Frederick to Bowie: Pitcher Michael Zouzalik.
Going to the disabled lists are: Infielder Sammie Starr (Delmarva), catcher Steel Russell (Frederick), outfielder T.J. Olesczuk (Frederick), catcher Joel Polanco (Bowie).
Reinstated from DL: Infielder Steve Wilkerson (Frederick).
Activated from temporary inactive list: Pitcher John Means by Bowie.
Pitcher Max Schuh was released today.