August 2009

HR Totals, Last 14 Years – ’09 Birds Last

Someone asked me to do some research and find out where the ’09 Birds are compared to the other 13 years as far as team homers are concerned:

In order from most to fewest…

1) 97 – 2004

2) 91 – 1997

3) 88 – 2007

4) 85 – 2005

5) 84 – 2008

6) 79 – 2006

7) 76 – 1996

8) 74 – 2003

9) 73 – 2002

10) 67 – 1998

11) 57 – 2001

12) 52 – 2000

13) 47 – 1999

14) 43 – 2009

Will the ‘Birds hit at least four more homers in the next 17 games?

Did You Know? (Two)

That…Jacob Julius has hit in every spot in the Shorebirds order this season (1-9)

Here are the amount of games he has batted at each slot in the order…

First – 1

Second – 3 

Third – 3

Fourth – 3 

Fifth – 8

Sixth – 15

Seventh – 6

Eighth – 5

Ninth – 3

 

That…tonights starter Ryan O’Shea has allowed one or fewer runs in nine of his 22 starts this season.  He has allowed two or fewer runs in 16 of his 22 starts.  He has not allowed more than two runs in his last six starts. 

 

 

 

Bernardo & Polanco Drafted

The Liga de Beisbol Dominicano held their draft for the upcoming season in the Dominican Republic about a week ago now.  I was talking today with Luis Bernardo and he brought it to my attention. 

Luis Bernardo was drafted in the sixth round and Elvin Polanco was selected in the ninth round.  Bernardo was drafted by Tigres del Licey and Polanco was tabbed by Estrellas Orientales. 

Pretty impressive considering there are only five picks per round.

The league is comprised of the best Dominican players.  Most all of them play in the United States for the Major League Baseball organization.  Many play actually play in the South Atlantic League.

The first pick in the draft was Pedro Alvarez, who played college baseball at Vanderbilt and now plays in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. 

Here is the leagues website…http://www.lidom.com/

Recent Hudson Article

I was just chatting with Kyle Hudson in the clubhouse and I realized that his hometown paper had just recently written an article about him.

It was published on August 18th in the Journal Gazette – Times Charleston.  Direct Link-Article

DELMARVA, Md. – Playing the 104th and 105th games of his minor-league baseball season in Sunday’s doubleheader, Kyle Hudson could find comfort from any fatigue.

Two years earlier the former Mattoon star was probably sweating through an even tougher double-day Illinois football practice.

Hudson still is benefiting from his time as an Illini receiver.

“Last winter I did workouts from Lou Hernandez, the football strength coach,” Hudson said. “He got my body ready for the season. I’m not an old man yet.”

In fact, the 22-year-old Hudson is holding up quite well with a .293 batting average that ranks third on the Baltimore Orioles’ Class A Delmarva Shorebirds team and 11th in the South Atlantic League.

Only two Shorebirds have played more games this year than Hudson, who is playing his first full professional season after an injury limited him to 11 games in the short-season Class A last year at Aberdeen, Md.

Now in a full Class A season, Hudson after playing both games of Sunday’s doubleheader did take a day on the bench Monday before the Shorebirds’ scheduled off day on Tuesday.

“The manager said I looked a little tired,” Hudson said. “I could have played and would have liked to have played.

“It’s a lot more games than I ever played. It’s been a little tough but I’m enjoying it.”

Playing mostly left field with a few games at the center field position he played for Mattoon and Illinois, Hudson had an enjoyable June hitting .303 in 89 at-bats and an even more enjoyable July with a .326 average again getting 89 at-bats.

He would not blame his 10-for-42, .238 batting through 14 games in August on a tired swing.

“That’s just how baseball is,” he said. “One thing I’ve learned is you have hot streaks and cold streaks. You go 3-for-5 and your two outs might be the hardest balls you hit all night. If you’re in a little rut, you make a few adjustments and hopefully you’ll be all right.”

Surprisingly, in building his season totals of 106 hits in 362 at-bats for the .293 average, the left-handed hitter has a .318 average in 85 at-bats against left-handed pitchers and .285 in 277 at-bats against right-handers, a switch from high school and college days when southpaws sometimes gave him troubles.

“You know, I’m not sure I can explain it,” said Hudson, who has half of his eight doubles against lefties to go with one triple this year.

The numbers probably bothering Hudson the most are ones showing he has been caught stealing a team-high 14 times while ranking third on the Shorebirds and 10th in the South Atlantic with 28 stolen bases.

“That’s one thing I think I have to work on,” said Hudson, who last year as an Illinois junior set a Big Ten Conference record with 40 stolen bases in 49 tries. “I’ve been thrown out too much for my liking. I think it’s just picking the wrong pitches to steal. I have to find the right time and the right count.”

The Orioles’ fourth-round draft choice from 2008 has 20 games in this season and maybe winter instruction leagues to correct that.

A year ago when recovering from his broken hand just as last season ended, Hudson was glad to get the chance to make up for lost time in the instructional leagues.

Now after playing in 105 games to date, he still would not see a fall assignment as a chore cutting short vacation time.

“I wouldn’t mind it,” Hudson said. “It’s always a good opportunity to go back and play somewhere. I have things to do. I need to work on my reading pitchers.”

Even a doubleheader in the dog days of August beats those double preseason football practices.

“When I was talking to Lou lately I said ‘good luck in Rantoul and try to stay cool,’ ” Hudson said of a recent conversation with the Illinois strength coach. “Double days were not a lot of fun.”

Did You Know? (Three)

That…Tyler Kolodny leads the Shorebirds in extra base hits with 32 (20 2B, 3 3B, 9 HR).

Extra Base Hits

1) Tyler Kolodny – 32

2) Ron Welty – 31

3) Joe Mahoney – 27

4) Xavier Avery/Elvin Polanco – 24

No other player is at or above 20 extra base hits on the season.

 

That…Nathan Moreau tossed 26.0 consecutive scoreless innings at Perdue Stadium before Karexon Sanchez hit a solo homer in the seventh last night.  Here are his last four starts at Perdue Stadium…

7/13 – Lexington – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R

7/18 – Bowling Green – 6.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R

8/5 – Hagerstown – 7.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R

8/19 – Lake County – 7.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R

In nine starts this year at Perdue Stadium, Moreau is 3-1 with a 1.90 ERA.  Pretty impressive.

 

That…Oliver Drake and Ryan O’Shea lead all pitchers in the SAL in fielding percentage.  Each has a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.  Both have had 38 total chances on the season without an error.  Fielding percentage is based on number of chances and amount of errors. 

 

 

 

Article on Levi

Here is an article I found about the newest Shorebirds player Levi Carolus.  It was written last season in the Bluefield Telegraph.  The article was authored by Brian Woodson on July 28, 2008 when Levi was playing with the Bluefield Orioles. I thought it was an interesting read…

 

BLUEFIELD — Many Appalachian League players are just starting their professional careers.

Levi Carolus is a veteran. At age 20.

Of course, his childhood hero, Andruw Jones, was a World Series hero for the Atlanta Braves at 19. Carolus wants to get where Jones is.

“That is my dream,” said Carolus, who has played six different positions in 23 games for the Bluefield Orioles.

A native of Willstad, Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles — the same hometown as Jones — Carolus has taken a long road to Bluefield.

“I was playing for a team from Curacao in the Netherlands and the scout from the Orioles seen me and asked me if I wanted to sign with them,” Carolus said. “I was like ‘OK’.”

At age 17, Carolus wound in the Venezuelan League, playing there for two seasons. He was in the Gulf Coast League in Florida last year before winding up in Bluefield for the ’08 campaign.

“I played two years in Venezuela and did good there and they gave me a (work) visa and last year I played in the Gulf Coast League and did good.” Carolus said. “Now I’m in Bluefield.”

Carolus, who has played 17 of his 23 games at third base, was hitting .211 (16-76) with five runs scored, three doubles, a triple, one home run and six runs batted in heading into Friday’s game with Danville.

“It’s good,” said Carolus, who had stolen three bases, but had also struck out 32 times and walked just once. “I don’t hit it well right now, but I try, that’s it.”

Baseball was always a passion for Carolus, and he was always willing to play anywhere on the field. That has definitely turned into one of his strengths.

“I played third, shortstop, first base, outfield, that is one of my strengths, being able to play several positions,” said Carolus, who has committed nine in the field. “I grew up playing shortstop and then third base and then I go to the outfield, and then I started playing some first base too.”

Carolus was first seen by a Baltimore scout while he was playing for his native country. They liked what they saw and Carolus liked what he heard.

“They followed me and (asked) me if I wanted to try out for them,” he said.

“It was no problem, they saw me and said ‘We want to sign you’.”

While Carolus is nearly 2,000 miles from his home, there is a familiar face in Bluefield. Arthur Bonevacia, an outfielder for the Orioles, was a childhood friend in the Netherlands.

“We played together for about 10 years back in the Netherlands and here,” Carolus said. “It’s good to have a friend here, that’s good.”

Both have learned to enjoy their time in Bluefield.

“He likes it here too,” Carolus said. “Bluefield is pretty nice, I like it. It’s got nice people, it’s been real good so far.”

Carolus has found the pitching to be quite a challenge in the Appalachian League, one year after batting .222 (37-123) with four home runs and 26 RBIs at five different positions in the Gulf Coast League.

“They throw you more curveballs and more changeups in the Appalachian League,” said Carolus, who also had 23 runs, 11 doubles and six stolen bases for the 32-24 Orioles’ entry in the GCL. “In the Gulf Coast League they throw you more fastballs.”

While Jones started the influx of talent from the Netherlands into the major leagues, others have followed, including Jair Jurrjens, a pitcher with the Atlanta Braves and Wladimir Balentin, a highly-touted outfielder for Seattle.

Carolus grew up watching the exploits of Jones, who is still a Gold Glove center fielder, only now with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I followed the Braves because Andruw Jones is from our area so I followed the Atlanta Braves growing up,” Carolus said. “I like (Alex) Rodriguez too, there are a lot of players up there, you hit the ball good, that’s it.”

It can be tough for a 20-year-old being so far from home. Still, Carolus is willing to do what it takes to live his dream.

“It’s a long way, but I have played for years in this game,” Carolus said.

It’s my job now, you just have to do it. It’s tough, but you just have to keep moving on.”

His parents made the long trip to Bluefield earlier this month, visiting the region and even taking a road trip with the team.

“They stayed 10 days here, they told me Bluefield is pretty nice,” said the 6-foot-1, 160-pound Carolus. “They go with me on the road to Danville and that was good, they liked it here.”

After being discovered by a Baltimore scout, Carolus spent two years in the Venezuelan League. He hit .186 (27-245) with 24 runs scored, three homers and 11 RBIs at age 17, and followed that the next year by hitting .281 (39-139) with 37 runs scored, six home runs, 25 RBIs, but also struck out 34 times and walked just twice.

While the Orioles have been patient with Carolus — who won’t turn 21 until Sept. 21 — he realizes that he must produce to continue moving up the Orioles chain.

“You have to keep playing hard, do your job and keep going up,” Carolus said. “If you do your best you go up. If you do bad, you stay here or go down and nobody wants to see you so that’s why you want to go to the MLB.”

Being in a country where English is the pre-dominant language, life can get a little lonely for Carolus and the numerous other Dominicans on the Orioles. That’s another sacrifice that must be made to live their dreams.

“I try to help (the others) when I can,” Carolus said. “It’s toughest sometimes like when your mom calls you and they have a problem back home and you feel bad because you can’t be back home with them and you can’t do nothing, but everything is going good right now.”

Carolus in on a team with a plethora of position players, all looking for playing time. That has been a difficult adjustment, but it’s also provided a break for a man who has played baseball year round for most of his life.

“Sometimes you have to play four days in a week and that’s hard,” Carolus said. “Because you’re playing in spring training and extended spring and now you play here with another season so you do get tired.”

Still, the eye is on the dream. Just like it is for all the Orioles.

“If you want to keep going up,” Carolus said, “you just have to keep working hard.”

Eddie Gamboa to Double-A

Former Shorebirds pitcher Eddie Gamboa was promoted from Frederick to Bowie on the 17th!  Think about how impressive his season has been.  A 21st rounder in 2008 going from the South Atlantic League to the Eastern League in one season.  Wow!  Remember that he spent all of ’08 in the Appalachian League for Bluefield.  

Gamboa was outstanding in Frederick.  In 14 appearances, he went 4-0 with a 0.55 ERA.  In 33.0 innings pitched in the Carolina League, he allowed just two earned runs.  
He has not appeared for Bowie yet.  
Just a remarkable season for a great guy in Gamboa.  

Carolus En Route

Levi Carolus has been promoted from the Aberdeen Ironbirds.  He is not in the starting lineup today but he is a reserve on the lineup card of course.  

Carolus hit .320 in 44 games for the Ironbirds.  He was named a mid-season New York-Penn League All-Star.  The all-star game was yesterday in State College, PA.  He went 0-1 in the game.  
He is taking the roster spot of Tyler Kolodny, who was placed on the DL on 8/17.  

Kolodny on DL

Shorebirds third baseman Tyler Kolodny has been placed on the Disabled List today, retroactive to 8/15, when he injured his left wrist during a plate appearance against the Sand Gnats.  Corresponding moves are expected as the ‘Birds are now playing a man short. 

Kolodny is wearing a brace on his left wrist.  More evaluations will be done upon our return to the Eastern Shore.

Edgar Alfonzo – Manager Savannah

Edgar Alfonzo is the first year skipper for the Savannah Sand Gnats.  He is also the older brother of Edgardo Alfonzo, long-time third baseman for the New York Mets.

Edgar has some ties to the Baltimore Orioles.  He spent three seasons as a player in the Orioles minor league system.  In 1993, he played for the Bowie BaySox and hit .264.  The following season, Edgar hit .309 for the Bowie BaySox in 124 games played.  In 1995, he played for the GCL Orioles, the BaySox and in Rochester (AAA).

Edgardo Alfonzo played in 12 big league seasons, eight of them with the Mets.  He has a lifetime MLB batting average of .284.    

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