Rylan Bannon on his homers, his defense and more

When the Orioles made the trade sending Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers, the key player returning to Baltimore was outfielder Yusniel Díaz. But the other position player acquired in that deal has had a pretty solid year as well.

Rylan Bannon, who plays second and third base, hit his second homer for Double-A Bowie on Tuesday night. The trade that made Bannon an Oriole also provided him a promotion. He was hitting well in the hitter-friendly High-A California League, and now he is getting his first shot at the Double-A level with the Baysox.

Not bad to have advanced that far since he was drafted just last season in round eight out of Xavier, where he was the Big East conference Player of the Year. After Tuesday’s homer, Bannon now has 22 homers in 98 games for the season.

Bannon can drive the ball, and that is just what he tries to do.

“I think it is my intent and mindset,” he said. “I get in the box and I am not trying to guide the bat to the ball and get a base hit. I get in there and am thinking about doing damage and hitting the ball hard. I want to hit the ball on the barrel. When I found that mindset is when my game started to elevate.”

Bannon hits out of an open stance with a high leg kick as he attacks the pitch. At Rancho Cucamonga before the deal, he was batting .296/.402/.559 in 89 games with 17 doubles, six triples, 20 homers and 61 RBIs. Bannon produced a 1.027 OPS against left-handed pitchers and .951 versus right-handers. He was a California League midseason All-Star.

He’s been able to draw some walks while also hitting the homers.

“It is about being selectively aggressive. You get your pitch, put your best hard swing on it. You will be aggressive sometimes on pitches you should not swing at, and that is part of it. You need to limit that as much as possible and stay within your zone and where you’re looking. Right now when I get in there and see something I like, I want to put my best swing on it,” he said.

Bannon’s defense has been cited by some scouts as below average. He doesn’t exactly agree with that assessment.

“I think my bat stands out to everybody, but I really take pride in my defense too. I fly around out there and make some plays and really put in the work on defense. I don’t think that sticks out at people as much as my bat, but I take pride in my defense. You can’t make everybody happy. But I put in the work on it and go hard every single day. People are going to write what they are going to write,” he said.

When Bannon heard he was being traded to the Orioles, he immediately knew someone to call. That was Single-A Frederick left-handed pitcher Zac Lowther. They were teammates for three seasons at Xavier. But not just teammates. They were roommates for that time also.

“Right after I was traded I texted him to say ‘See you soon, buddy.’ It was sad when we were not teammates anymore. But he’s a great dude and fun to play behind. He said this was an awesome organization with some great coaches and coordinators. He said there are a lot of good guys, and that I would really enjoy it with the Orioles. Look forward to seeing him down the road,” Bannon said.

Farm notes: Single-A Delmarva shortstop Cadyn Grenier has missed a few games after a ball hit his face on a bunt attempt in a recent game. But so far Grenier has not been put on the disabled list. The Orioles’ second draft pick in June, he was selected No. 37 overall. Grenier is batting .214 in 19 games with Shorebirds.

The Orioles’ top pick in 2017, lefty DL Hall, has been named the Orioles’ minor league Pitcher of the Month for July. Hall went 2-1 with a 0.67 ERA in the month. In five games he pitched 26 2/3 innings, allowing just 10 hits and a .116 average against. Hall walked 10 and fanned 39 for Delmarva. He won two weekly South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week awards during July, and his ERA for the year is now down to 2.27.

Austin-Hays-Bowie-at-bat-orange-sidebar.jpgDouble-A Bowie outfielder Austin Hays went 0-for-4 last night for short-season Single-A Aberdeen. He is 3-for-20 with two RBIs in five games with Aberdeen on an injury-rehab assignment. Hays has been out since May 24 with a right ankle injury, and this assignment should get him some at-bats to round back into shape before he rejoins the Baysox.

Outfielder Yusniel Díaz continues to struggle in the early going since his trade to the Orioles. He went 0-for-5 for Bowie last night and is batting .143 in 10 games. Right-hander Branden Kline picked up his 10th save in 11 chances in Bowie’s win last night. He lowered his ERA to 1.75.

Lefty Drew Rom threw three scoreless on Wednesday for the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Orioles. He’s allowed one run over nine innings in his past three games and has a 2.05 ERA after his first seven pro appearances. Over 22 innings he has walked three and fanned 22. The Orioles selected Rom in the fourth round of the draft in June out of Highlands (Ky.) High School. He was signed to an overslot bonus of $650,000.

The Dominican Summer League Orioles are 29-22. They are in second place in their division and seven games out of first place.

Orioles notes: The Orioles ended an 11-game road losing streak with Wednesday’s 7-5 win over the Yankees in New York. The Orioles are 4-2 this year at Yankee Stadium. They are 13-40 in road games, and six of those road wins have come in New York. They went 2-0 at Citi Field against the Mets in June.

The Orioles offense has produced 47 runs the last five games and 72 in 11 games since the All-Star break. The Orioles have gone 31-for-93 (.333) batting with runners in scoring position since the break. Over their last nine games they have produced these hits totals: nine, 11, nine, nine, 15, 15, 15, six and 15. Since the break, the Orioles have raised their team batting average from .227 to .235.

Alex Cobb picked up his first win since June 5 yesterday at Yankee Stadium when he allowed one run over six innings. That was the Orioles’ fifth quality start the last six games, and the rotation ERA is 4.14 in those games. The Orioles have 47 quality starts this year, but the team is only 21-26 in those games.

Tonight, right-hander Andrew Cashner (3-9, 4.33 ERA) pitches against former Oriole Yovanni Gallardo (5-1, 4.81 ERA) as the O’s begin a four-game series at Texas.

Finally, when Jonathan Schoop batted for the first time with the Milwaukee Brewers last night, he should have known better than to hit the ball where he did.

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