Christian Walker, who is working as the everyday left fielder for the Tides, had hits in each of his first seven games this season. He entered Friday's game with Gwinnett batting .346/.433/.615 with two homers and seven RBIs. The team's top five outfielders — Walker, Henry Urrutia, Dariel Alvarez, L.J. Hoes and Xavier Avery — all batted at least .296 through seven games, proving the competition for playing time is generating results at the plate.
First baseman Trey Mancini, who last season won the Eastern League batting title, opened the season with four home runs in his first six games for the Baysox. The rest of his team entered Saturday with four home runs between them. Other bright spots for Bowie include left-handed relievers Ashur Tolliver and Donnie Hart, who combined to not allow an earned run and yielded just six hits between them through six total appearances (8 1/3 innings).
Through two starts with the Keys, right-hander Matthew Grimes (0.82 ERA) has been one of the best pitchers in the Orioles organization. Grimes struck out seven in five scoreless innings in his first start of the season, then allowed a run on six hits in six innings while striking out six more in a late loss to Lynchburg on Thursday. Grimes, a 6-foot-5 right-hander, was selected out of Georgia Tech in the 18th round of the 2014 draft.
Outfielder DJ Stewart, the Orioles' top draft pick in 2015, entered Saturday for the Shorebirds with three hits in his first 25 at-bats this season, though he did also have five walks in that span. Fellow 2015 first-round pick Ryan Mountcastle homered on the first day of the season, but had just four hits in his next seven games and entered Saturday with a team-high 11 strikeouts. Right-hander Lucas Long allowed one run, struck out eight and walked none in 11 innings over his first two starts.