The Baltimore Orioles Low-A affiliate Delmarva Shorebirds currently possess the highest winning percentage (.764) out of every single league from rookie ball all the way to the majors. Their 42-13 record has been the only bright side for the Orioles organization this season and the players that compile the Shorebirds have been surpassing expectations.
The Shorebirds pitching has been nothing but phenomenal. They currently have seven pitchers with at least three wins and not a single loss. Not only that, but 11 of their current 17 pitchers all have an era below a 4.00, including five that have below a 2.00.
The Shorebirds pitching staff also has eight pitchers with a 1.10 WHIP or lower, three of them with a WHIP below 0.98.
Their pitching staff is led by none other than Grayson Rodriguez, the Orioles 11th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft. Rodriguez is currently the Orioles fourth top prospect and is also 95th on the MLB Top 100 prospect list.
Rodriguez is currently 6-0 with a 1.47 era through eight starts. The Shorebirds ace has struck out 61 batters through 43 innings pitched while just allowing 12 walks, tied for least on the team among starting pitchers.
Oh, and his WHIP is a whopping 0.84.
Rodriguez is coming off back-to-back shutout wins in which he recorded 10 strikeouts in each start.
Ofelky Peralta, 22, is a name that most Orioles fans, let alone baseball fans, aren’t too familiar with. However, he needs to be given some recognition. The Orioles signed Peralta back in 2013 after a scout for the Orioles saw him pitching in the Dominican Republic. Now, he’s lighting it up for Delmarva.
Peralta has a 1.99 era with a 4-0 record through nine starts, the most on the team. He sits just behind Rodriguez on the team in strikeouts with 59 and possesses a WHIP just above 1.00.
While his stats aren’t as impressive as Rodriguez, he is still dominating lower-a ball for the Shorebirds right now with a fastball that tops off at 98 mph.
The Orioles fourth-round selection in the 2018 MLB Draft, Drew Rom, 19, is proving to be a notable pitching prospect for the Orioles.
He’s coming off a 3.2 innings shutout in which he struck out eight batters while giving up just three hits. He currently has a 4-0 record with a 1.49 era and is third on the team with 55 strikeouts (42.1 IP).
Rom is the Orioles 27th ranked prospect but is looking to prove he belongs higher on the list. But at 19 years of age, Rom has plenty of time to develop.
While not as impressive as their pitching, the Shorebirds lineup is still one to be reckoned with. Delmarva currently has six batters with an average over .270, five batters with an OBP over .350, and five batters with a slugging percentage over .400.
The team currently has 35 home runs and five players with over 20 runs batted in.
Adam Hall (SS)
Adam Hall, 20, was the Orioles second-round selection in the 2017 MLB Draft. He is the team’s 14th ranked prospect (#3 infielder).
Hall is on an absolute tear this season for the Shorebirds. He’s hitting .323/.403/.429 with a .832 OPS. And while he only has two home runs, that’s o.k. He’s not known for his power. However, his 14 stolen bases are the most on the team while his 23 runs batted in are fourth.
Hall is showing great promise for the Orioles and he could possibly become the team’s future shortstop as well. But that’s way down the road and it’s nothing to look forward to this season or even the next.
Robert Neustrom (RF)
Yet another 2018 draft pick, the Orioles fifth-round selection is tearing it up for the Shorebirds. With a farm system compiled of a bunch of outfield prospects, Neustrom is doing everything he can to stand out from the rest.
Neustrom is currently batting .329/.429/.529 with three home runs and 14 runs batted in through 70 at-bats. The Shorebirds outfielder also has the highest OPS on the team with a .957.
The Shorebirds right fielder has hit safely in eight of his last ten games.
Robbie Thorburn (LF)
Robbie Thorburn, 24, is actually an interesting watch on this Shorebirds roster. He’s not one of the Orioles’ top-30 prospects nor is he in the MLB Top 100. In fact, the Orioles drafted Thornburn in the 31st round of the 2017 draft. However, Thornburn is showing that the Orioles have yet another outfield prospect to keep an eye on.
Thorburn is hitting .290/.324/.413 with three home runs and 13 runs batted in through 35 games with the Shorebirds. While most may think it’s not that impressive, Thorburn has actually improved over the past few years.
In 2017, Thorburn had a .188 batting average in 38 games with the Orioles rookie team in the Gulf Coast League. Then, in 2018, he was called up to the Aberdeen Ironbirds (Class A Short Season), where he improved to a .253 batting average, but with no home runs and just 10 runs batted in.
So he’s definitely been improving and it’s relatively easy to notice.
The Orioles need all the help they can get. Their other minor league affiliates (Norfolk Tides-AAA, Bowie Baysox-AA, Frederick Keys-A, etc.) are not having the same success as the Shorebirds this season. And it’s safe to say the Orioles also haven’t, but fans expected that.
Coming into the 2019 season, fans expected the Orioles minor league games to be the spots for good baseball. The games would be able to give a good glimpse of who the Orioles future will consist of.
Unfortunately, the Shorebirds seem to be the only baseball team in all of Maryland that is worth going to see.
One can only hope that changes sometime in the coming years.