Nice Article – O’s Minor League All-Stars

Steve Melewski from MASN wrote this article yesterday.  Lots of former Shorebirds made his list of 2009 O’S MILB All-Stars. 
Let’s take a look at the O’s minor leagues today. I present Melewski’s 2009 Orioles minor league All-Star team.

I didn’t consider a player that made the Majors before August 31, eliminating players like Brian Matusz and Matt Wieters. I didn’t consider players that played in fewer than 50 games, eliminating Josh Bell, among others, from consideration.

This isn’t necessarily a listing of the best prospects, just those that had good years at those positions. For the outfield, I did not pick a left, center and right fielder, just three that played in the outfield this year.

Now the team:

1B – Brandon Snyder: In 131 games between Bowie and Norfolk, Snyder hit .289-12-88. He tore it up at Bowie, but struggled at Norfolk. He had a great Arizona Fall League and his stock continues on the rise. I don’t know for a fact, but my hunch is the O’s see him as a better prospect than Aubrey and Hughes.

2B – Miguel Abreu: Abreu gets a slight edge here over Justin Turner. With Bowie he batted .290-4-45 and was durable, playing 130 games. He still can’t draw a walk, just 12 in 130 games, a real issue that may be holding him back.

SS – Pedro Florimon: In 115 games at Frederick he batted .267-9-68. He showed more pop this year and played solid on defense. He’s the current best at a thin position in the O’s farm that perhaps Mychal Givens can help soon.

3B – Brandon Waring: After going .273-26-90 for Frederick he was named the O’s minor league player of the year and Carolina League player of the year. He led all O’s farmhands in homers. He played mostly third in the second half of the season.

C – Caleb Joseph: He was leading the Carolina League with a .328 average on August 1st before a late slump left him at .284-12-60. His defense needs some work but he looks to be clearly the best catcher right now in the system while the O’s wait to see more from guys like Michael Ohlman and Justin Dalles.

OF – Matt Angle: He batted .289-1-32 in 123 games with Frederick with a .370 OBP and led the O’s organization with 42 steals. He also played solid defense in CF and showed a strong arm.

OF – Xavier Avery: He hit .262-2-36 and stole 30 bases at the age of 19 for Delmarva. He’s still learning the game but the O’s were thrilled with his progress this year and some project him as a future leadoff hitter in the Majors.

OF – Ronnie Welty: He batted .290-10-67 with Delmarva and was a post-season South Atlantic League all-star. He led the Shorebirds in most offensive categories.

Others had good years and easily could have made the team in the OF including Jeff Fiorentino, who hit .312 at Triple-A and Jonathon Tucker who was rock solid for Bowie. Danny Figueroa hit .319 in 78 games with Bowie and had an OBP of .444.

DH – Robbie Widlansky: He could have edged out Snyder at first base. After winning the Carolina League batting title, we could not leave him off this team. For the Keys, he hit .340-7-59 in 86 games. This after beginning the year in extended spring training when full-season clubs headed north in April.

Lefty starting pitcher – Zach Britton: If we eliminate Matusz from consideration, who else could this be? He went 9-6, 2.70 for Frederick and was the Carolina League pitcher of the year.

Righty starting pitcher – A tough call, but because he was durable and pitched all year, I’ll give a slight nod here to Jake Arrieta, who went 11-11, 3.40 between Bowie and Norfolk. This also could have been Brandon Erbe or Kenny Moreland who was 10-3, 2.74 between Aberdeen and Frederick.

Lefty reliever – Chad Thall: He kind of quietly had a real solid year at Bowie, going 2-2, 2.69 in 53 games and the league hit just .214 off him.

Righty reliever – Many solid candidates here but I’ll go with hard-throwing Luis Lebron, who between Frederick and Bowie fanned 90 in 60 1/3 and gave up a batting average of just .137. He allowed just eight hits in 27 1/3 with Bowie, amazing.

This could have easily been Eddie Gamboa, who went 11-0, 1.08 between three teams or Pat Egan, Jim Miller or Josh Perrault.

Not on purpose, but there were no short-season players on the squad. I promise this month to present an article or several, looking closely at those teams.

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