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Updates on Orioles prospects Brian Gonzalez, Jomar Reyes at Class-A Delmarva

The more you follow a team’s minor league system, the faster you get to the point where you only care about the low-minors, where raw but projectable players leave a little more to the imagination than players who you might have seen dozens of times in High-A Frederick or Double-A Bowie.

So I was jealous when Baseball Prospectus prospect team member Tucker Blair, formerly of OriolesNation.com, spent the weekend in Salisbury watching the Shorebirds’ series against Greensboro. Reports from the games are already being posted on BP.

Last night at Bowie’s home opener, we chatted a bit on some of the high-profile prospects in Delmarva, including 2014 third-round pick Brian Gonzalez, massive third baseman Jomar Reyes, and a trio of hard-throwing, intriguing college arms.

What are the initial reports you had on Brian Gonzalez, and how did that match up to what you saw last week?

The initial reports on Gonzalez were more polished than your typical high school player, not a ton of growth left but...

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Mitch Horacek, David Hess contrasts in success for Frederick

They went about it in different ways, but High-A Frederick pitchers Mitch Horacek and David Hess showed in both ends of Wednesday’s doubleheader against Lynchburg that big league potential comes in different packages.

Horacek threw a seven-inning, complete-game shutout in the first half of the double header, then Hess allowed two runs on five hits in the second half of the two-game sweep.

Horacek, a left-hander signed in the ninth round out of Dartmouth in 2013, used primarily his sinking 87-88 mph fastball and his slider, which sat 78-82 mph, to keep at bay a talented Lynchburg lineup that features three top draft picks.

He pounded the zone with first-pitch strikes, went to a three-ball count just twice in 23 batters faced, and coaxed swinging strikes on a fastball that was deceptive out of the hand but hardly overpowering.

In 2014, his full-season debut with Class-A Delmarva, Horacek was 6-10, but with a 3.80 ERA and a South Atlantic League-leading 151 strikeouts in 137 1/3 innings....

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Double-A Bowie rotation boasts 1.59 ERA through first turn

When Double-A Bowie's rotation was announced last week ahead of minor league Opening Day, it was clear that it would be a strength for the team. I don’t know if anyone thought it would be this good, at least the first time through.

Dylan Bundy’s three scoreless innings on just 34 pitches Monday completed the first turn through the five-man group, and Bundy combined with Tim Berry, Elih Villanueva, Parker Bridwell, and Brandon Kline for 22 2/3 innings.

Only three earned runs from Bridwell, who struck out nine on Saturday, and one run allowed by Villanueva, went against the Baysox starters. Kline might have turned in the best pitching performance in the organization so far this season, with five scoreless innings and 10 strikeouts on Sunday.

Overall, that places the rotation’s ERA at 1.59. The numbers could tell a far different story after a second time through, but when I get down there this weekend, I suspect to see that they’re telling the truth and this is one of the best Orioles minor...

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Orioles fan gets national attention for turning his back on Yankees star Alex Rodriguez

Anyone could have guessed that New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez would be lustily booed on the occasion of his first road game since being suspended for all of 2014 for performance-enhancing drugs. 

But everyone gets booed, and one fan needed to go a bit farther.

Throughout the Monday night's game, fan Tim Anderson -- most recently seen on these pages for catching all of the home run balls at Camden Yards -- tweeted pictures of a man who stood and turned his back on Rodriguez each time he came to the plate.

Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard blog first posted it, then Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post caught up with the man, identified as Tolbert Rowe, who articulated his disdain for Rodriguez just as well as he showed it.

"I don’t respect him,” Rowe, a 56-year-old who serves on the Caroline County board of education, told Kilgore. “He doesn’t deserve to be watched. Absolutely not, I’m sorry. You know, and now they got all this about his tying Willie Mays’s record and the $6 million,...

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Looking back at the Ravens' Jonathan Ogden-Lawrence Phillips decision

Oh, what could have been.

Former NFL running back Lawrence Phillips, already in prison on auto theft and domestic violence charges in California, is under investigation for allegedly murdering his cellmate over the weekend.

As if there was any doubt that selecting Jonathan Ogden over Phillips as the first draft pick in Ravens history back in 1996 was the right move — and to be clear, there isn’t — this latest allegation only makes it clearer.

But being a bit unfamiliar with the back story — I was in first grade at the time — I went back through our online archives to find some interesting reads on the decision, both before and after the fact.

It goes without saying that Phillips’ career paled in comparison to the 11-time Pro Bowl, Hall of Fame career of Ogden. Here’s a miniature timeline of some of The Sun’s accounts:

- In a column that had a miniature mock draft tagged at the end on April 13, Vito Stellino had Phillips going to the Ravens, and discussed the possibility of teams trading...

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Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop celebrate 'cannons' with smoking gun salute

When Danny Valencia bounced a chopper to the left of the pitchers mound late in Saturday’s win over the Toronto Blue Jays, second baseman Jonathan Schoop knew two things that would immediately follow.

Third baseman Manny Machado bare-handed the ball while charging to his left, and Schoop knew he’d make the throw, safe or not. After the play ended — and Machado improbably recorded the out — he locked eyes with his infield companion, Schoop, blew on his hands, and holstered his fingers like a gun.

“It’s for the cannon,” Schoop explained Monday. “After he threw him out, he looked at me, and I knew he was going to give me that. I’ve known him for a long time.”

The two are “brothers,” Schoop said, and the salute was born of a friendly debate as to whose “cannon” was better.

“We’re trying to keep each other loose, we try to joke around,” Schoop said. “He told me he has a better arm than [me]. I told him I’ve got a better arm than [him], but it’s all love. Me and him joke around.”

Machado said...

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