Buck Britton, along with many players from last season’s Bowie roster, moved up to Triple-A Norfolk, where expectations were high for the 2022 season.
After all, the top pitching prospects and many other high profile position players were set to make their Triple-A debuts. After the first series against the Charlotte Knights, there were mixed reviews.
Norfolk would ultimately split the series three games a piece, but for these high minors players, the opening series was a success and a brief glimpse of the talent they possess.
Grayson Rodriguez, of course, was one of the highlights of the series. Making his Triple-A debut, Gray-Rod threw four innings of one-hit, no-run ball to go along with seven strikeouts.
Though he would not get the victory due to only pitching four innings, he would pace the team, as they would go on to win 12-1. This should be the start of a short stay in Norfolk as Rodriguez pitches his way into the Orioles’ starting rotation this year.
Another player who made noise this week in Norfolk is Yusniel Díaz. The major piece of the Manny Machado trade, injuries have derailed the trajectory many anticipated when the Orioles forced the Dodgers to part ways with the former top-five prospect.
Díaz has opened 2022 bulked up and ready to prove the pundits wrong. After five games, Díaz has more than proven 2022 will be the turning point in his career.
Starting out the year 7-for-18 (.389 BA), Díaz has heads turning. He leads the team with eight RBIs, has four extra-base hits, including a two-homer game in the third game of the series. He’s added eight walks to his 15 total bases and has an outfield assist as well.
As Díaz looks to stay dialed in, the Orioles will be paying close attention to make the call on the young outfielder. Tides fans will be looking for him to continue his hot start.
Another standout of the first series is prospect-to-watch, Robert Neustrom. After a season-opening 0-for-3 performance, Neustrom went on to collect eight hits in his next 24 at-bats.
Showcasing his power, Neustrom would have four extra-base hits this series, including two home runs on majestic swings.
Neustrom had the game-winning hit in the third game of the series and a game-tying home run in today’s eventual loss. Carrying an OBP of .345 and slugging .593, Neustrom has totaled 16 bases and made an outstanding play to collect an outfield assist.
Along with Díaz, Neustrom is making a push to start the season by peaking the Orioles’ interest on making his way up to the big leagues.
Position players weren’t the only players making strong cases either. Reliever Cole Uvila appeared in three games this week, collecting a win and not allowing a run in a week where the Tides bullpen picked up two of the three Norfolk victories.
Uvila pitched three innings, allowing no hits, striking out four and walking none. He carries a WHiP of 0.00 after the first series and looks like a reliable option out of the pen for the Tides early in the season.
While we can highlight many players from the first week, these men stood out and were a big part of helping the Tides win three of the six games to open the season. While we will keep our eyes on these players, others will rise to make a difference in each series going forward.
With high expectations comes high demand, and our Tides are ready to put forth the extra effort that will lead towards a successful season. After an off day Monday, Norfolk is back in action against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders.
Which player stood out to you the most for the Tides this week? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter! And, make sure to use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content to show your Birdland swag!
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