I wanted to relay an interesting story about Luis Pujols that I gathered from my 30-45 minute conversation with the new Shorebirds manager before the Hot Stove Banquet on Saturday.
Here is a little background so you understand. From 2003-2006, he served as the first base coach of the San Francisco Giants.
Now, during his time with the Giants, one thing he did on a daily basis was throw batting practice. He always threw to group one (generally group one in batting practice is the top 4 hitters in the order). Barry Bonds was always in that group. Also in the group at times were guys like Marquis Grissom, Rich Aurilia, Edgardo Alfonzo and others. Barry was always in the group because he batted 3rd.
I contacted the Giants for pictures of Pujols before he was announced as manager and they sent me a great one of Pujols and Bonds (below). Regardless of your opinion on Bonds, the point of the story is that the Shorebirds new manager has been around the game and will have a ton of neat stories like this one.
I’ve known Michael for a few years now and its hard not to root for him. I’m writing this post to nominate Michael Ohlman for the Orioles Moe Drabowsky Comeback Player of the Year award. The honor is handed out annually to an Orioles minor league player that has comeback from trying circumstances and has exceeded expectations. Remember Kieron Pope – he won the award in 2010 after the horrific right femur injury.
Michael’s off season was tumultuous to say the very least. The suspension, the car accident, it has all been well documented so let’s hit the fast forward button.
After playing in eight tune up games for the GCL Orioles, Ohlman was quickly called up to the Shorebirds in early July. In 51 games (50 starts), he batted .304 with 16 doubles, two home runs and 28 RBIs. Ohlman reached base in 47 of his 50 starts and led the team with a .411 on-base percentage. Ohlman finished with 14 multi-hit games with the Shorebirds.
Since he was called up to the Shorebirds, here are his rankings amongst ALL “A” ball players (South Atlantic League and Midwest League).
- 4th in walks with 33
- 13th in on-base percentage (.411)
- T-15th in doubles (16)
Another really impressive aspect of his year is the walks vs. strikeouts. He’ll finish with 33 walks and 27 strikeouts, the only Shorebirds player with more walks than strikeouts. He is one of only three players in the entire SAL with more walks than strikeouts (at least 100 at-bats). Brent Keys (Greensboro, 34 BB:30 K) and Nolan Fantana (Lexington, 61 BB, 43 K) are the other two.
The final thing to consider is the advancement Ohlman has made from prior seasons. In 2010, he batted .174 in 34 games for the Shorebirds. He struck out double the amount of times that he walked (34K:16 BB). In 2011, Ohlman batted .224 in 105 games for the Shorebirds (96K:48 BB).
Maybe it’s because I’ve known Michael for three years so I have a natural bias, but over my 4 years in the SAL, I don’t know if I’ve seen a player take a bigger leap from one year to the next.
Congrats to Michael on a very strong year!
It seems like we could be getting a preview to what next year’s starting outfield might look like for Delmarva. Last night (August 23), Lucas Herbst played left field, Gregory Lorenzo was in center and Roderick Bernadina was in right field.
All are relatively new to the team, so it is certainly in the realm of possibility to think that they will start 2013 with the Shorebirds. With ten games to go, Bernadina has played in 22 games, Lorenzo has played in 11 and Herbst has played in four games.
All three have played well. Bernadina is batting .333 (25-for-75) with a home run and nine RBIs, Lorenzo is hitting .372 (16-for-43) with two triples and an RBI while Herbst is 3-for-17 with a home run and four RBIs in four games.
Last night, the trio combined for four of the ten hits and two of the five RBIs.
We’ll see how things shake out the rest of the year…
The promotion last night (August 22) in Lakewood, New Jersey was Hockey Night. Not exactly sure what they did for Hockey Night, but I know they played “O Canada”, the Canadian National Anthem, before our national anthem.
Shorebirds Canadian SS Sammie Starr (Toronto) coincidentally had a great game. With the Shorebirds down 4-3 in the top of the eighth, Starr hit a two out home run to left field to tie the game. It was his fourth homer of the season and first since July 20. The Shorebirds of course went onto win 6-4 in 10 innings. In the tenth inning, Starr hit a sacrifice fly to center to put the Shorebirds up 6-4.
He also doubled earlier in the game.
Maybe we should play O Canada at the final three Shorebirds home games?
By the way, Starr takes a four game hit streak into game one against Hagerstown.
Some other notes…
- Gregory Lorenzo has hit safely in eight straight games and nine of his ten played
- Roderick Bernadina has hit safely in 16 of 21 games played
- With the win last night, the Shorebirds secured their first series win in August
- Eduardo Rodriguez lowered his ERA to 3.23 after last night, sixth best in the SAL
- The Shorebirds are now 7-7 this season in extra innings games
Eduardo Rodriguez has been outstanding this season, especially of late. Here are his numbers in his last six starts combined…
30 IP, 22 H, 7 ER, 22 K’s, 5 BB (2.10 ERA)
His ERA has dropped from 3.84 to 3.31 during the span.
If Rodriguez qualified (not enough innings), he would rank 7th in the SAL in ERA.
Shorebirds go for back-to-back wins for the first time since in August tonight.
In Zach Davies’ last 14 innings on the mound (including a six inning gem on August 21 at Lakewood), he has allowed just two earned runs. His ERA has dropped from 4.04 to 3.76 during the span.
Davies now ranks eighth in the SAL and sixth in the Orioles farm system with a 3.76 ERA.
I talked about this on the broadcast last night – when is the last time the Shorebirds had 2 young starters that put up these type of numbers?
Davies – 3.76 ERA
Eduardo Rodriguez – 3.31 ERA
You probably need to go back to 2008 when Zach Britton and Luis Noel as 20-year old pitchers. Britton went 12-7 with a 3.12 ERA while Noel went 10-8 with a 3.96 ERA.
Michael Ohlman also deserves some space. On Tuesday, he hit a double to deep center field to increase his on-base streak to 17 games. The more impressive figure to me is that he has nine more walks (28) than strikeouts (19). I challenge you to find me a player in the SAL with 40+ games played and 130+ at-bats with 9 fewer strikeouts than walks.
Time to pack the bags in the hotel on a getaway day – check out is at 11am.
Joe Velleggia was assigned to the Shorebirds from Aberdeen and Michael Rooney was sent up to Double-A Bowie.
Bret Lasky gives you a look at the unique challenge for left-handed batters and right fielders at McCormick Field.
Einar Diaz, Shorebirds field coach, spent much of the off season in Panama as the manager of the Panama National Team in the 2011 Baseball World Cup. It was the first time that Panama had ever hosted the event (39th World Cup).
The Panama National team did very well in round-robin play going 5-2 with wins over Greece (8-3), Chinese Taipei (14-8), Puerto Rico (4-2), Japan (6-2) and Canada (12-3). They won five straight games before losing to the Netherlands (the eventual winner of the entire event) and the United States.
Panama was one of eight teams that advanced past the first round. Panama opened the second round with a win over Venezuela, but a loss to South Korea ended their hopes of a gold medal run. Panama wound up finishing eighth.
Netherlands beat Cuba 2-1 to win the gold medal.
Panama placed three players on the All-Star Team: Damaso Espino, Concepcion Rodriguez and Fernando Seguignol.
Einar is part of a long and established list of former major league players from Panama. Some of the current players include: Carlos Ruiz, Mariano Rivera and Manny Acosta. Former players include: Rod Carew, Ruben Rivera and Ramon “Ray” Webster.
The Shorebirds have the benefit this year of a young, but really experienced coaching staff. Diaz, Ryan Minor and Troy Mattes are all under the age of 40 and have an encyclopedia’s worth of baseball knowledge.